Hot 50: O-R

Many good things start small, picking up momentum until they’ve practically taken over. Digital arts organisation Onedotzero is one of those good things. It has now become a global phenomenon, with annual events networking around 60 cities worldwide and r


Many good things start small, picking up momentum until they’ve practically taken over. Digital arts organisation Onedotzero is one of those good things. It has now become a global phenomenon, with annual events networking around 60 cities worldwide and reaching thousands of people. Onedotzero’s growing success is recognised in this year’s Hot 50 as a great advocate for moving image and interaction design

Onedotzero was born at the start of the desktop digital revolution in the mid-1990s. Supporting and promoting small film-makers, it explored moving image across a single screen and became committed to providing a home for visionary moving image experimentation. Since its inception, the organisation has collated and commissioned hundreds of hours of original programming for its festivals, events, DVDs and other projects. It marked its tenth anniversary in 2006 with a series of events at some of London’s leading art institutions, including OnedotzeroTransvision at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, OnedotzeroAmour at Tate Modern and OnedotzeroMetamorphosis at the Hayward Gallery.

Onedotzero’s annual UK festival Adventures in Motion took up a new residency at BFI Southbank in London last November.

The festival showcased groundbreaking cinematic work, sensory installations, explosive live audiovisual and music performances.

Michael Peters:

You could say that Michael Peters was one of the founding fathers of design consultancy as we know it. Along with Terence Conran, Rodney Fitch and the Michael Wolff/Wally Olins pairing, he laid down a way of working that has been tweaked and adapted, but largely followed ever since.

In the 1990s Michael Peters Group was known for great work and a system that brought designers, client-facing people and planners together in teams. This model was adopted by the many spin-offs, from Wickens Tutt Southgate (now Brandhouse) and Pearlfisher to Tutssels (since subsumed into WPP-owned The Brand Union).

Branding, manifested in packaging, but also in identity projects, was MPG’s business and that line continued through Peters’ career into The Office of Michael Peters, then on to Identica, which he founded in the early 1990s, and his new consultancy, Michael Peters & Partners, established last year.

The publication in 2008 of Yes Logo by Black Dog Publishing sums up this extraordinary life, the influence Peters has had and the huge respect he has generated over the years. Written by Sarah Owens and designed by David Hillman – formerly a partner of Pentagram, which preceded the 1990s greats into consultancy – the book tells a human story. Above all, it shows amazing work, the quality of which many current practitioners would do well to emulate.

Peters has earned an OBE for his services to design. Would that more would follow his lead in valuing great design.


Deemed by many within the interaction design sector to be one of the key players in that community, London consultancy Poke was voted Agency of the Year in 2008 at the Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards, jointly organised by Design Week sister titles New Media Age and Marketing Week.

A part of advertising agency Mother’s clutch of creative groups, Poke was established seven years ago by, among others, Simon Waterfall, Peter Beech, Nick Farnhill and Tom Hostler, who had seen their seminal consultancy Deepend go down in the dotcom bust of 2001. They were joined as directors by Nik Roope and Iain Tait.

Poke is renowned for online campaigns for brands such as phone directory enquiries service 118 118 and fashion retailer Top Shop. It has won awards for the humorous Cock-a-Doodle site to raise funds for testicular cancer, the Penguin books site and many others.

And its partners have developed interesting sidelines – Roope, for example, is behind the cult Hulger phones that blend old product design with digital technology. But as far as design is concerned, Waterfall is arguably the key director. Though not yet 40, he became a Royal Designer for Industry in 2007, and from 2007/8 was president of D&AD.

At D&AD, Waterfall was expected to bridge design and advertising in the way that Poke has succeeded in doing.

However, because of circumstances beyond his control – the organisation’s lack of a chief executive throughout his tenure, following the sudden departure of Michael Hockney in May 2007 – his presidency was spent largely holding the show together with chief operations officer Dara Lynch, rather than progressing the agenda.

Jane Priestman:

Though an assessor for the Hot 50 for a number of years, Jane Priestman was not aware of her inclusion in this year’s listing at time of going to press. But her colleagues on the panel were adamant that she should be included, in recognition of a lifetime’s service in design and architecture.

An interior designer by background, Priestman worked as head of design at the now defunct British Rail and at airports authority BAA in the 1980s and 1990s.

But for almost 20 years she has been an independent consultant and design management guru, with transport design as her forte, working on international projects with consultancies and transport authorities. Her staunch support of design management earned her an OBE.

She has, meanwhile, become deeply embedded in architecture and building. She has chaired the prestigious British Construction Industry Awards for many years and has been involved in various initiatives relating to the built environment.

Generosity is one of Priestman’s key attributes – generosity with her time, expertise and professionalism. She is also keen to foster younger talents.

Her strengths are legendary within design and she is hugely respected. She has, however, yet to be awarded many of the gongs that she has undoubtedly earned.

Red Bee Media:

Red Bee Media has a tendency to dominate digital broadcast design. Its name is guaranteed to be on most pitch lists, and sealing the deal never seems to be a problem.

The number of big projects it has won has caused controversy within the industry. It has stronger resources than rivals, because of its heritage as the commercial subsidiary of the BBC that was sold to Australian banker Macquarie Capital Alliance Group in 2005. However, its work is undeniably award-winning.

In 2008, Red Bee Media won the Grand Prix at the Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards for its campaign for digital channel Dave.

Originally known as UKTV G2, ‘The Home of Witty Banter’ was rebranded as Dave and went on to deliver a £4.5m profit in the first six months. The relaunch was an enormous success, demonstrating how effective good branding design can be.

It collected top prize at the Design Week Benchmark awards in the Media category and a runner-up placing for Best of Show. Red Bee Media has also worked on BBC Three’s digital campaign, elevating the channel from the animated blobs to a more engaging, multiplatform entertainment hub.

The future looks bright for Red Bee Media. In late 2008 it was in the final stages of its first branding project for Disney – Disney creative services director Simon Amster having appointed it in June to develop a ‘graphic toolkit’ to package the entertainment 53 brand’s content sold to other broadcasters.

Start the discussionStart the discussion
  • Post a comment

Latest articles