Life by Design
IDEAS, CONVERSATIONS, CULTURE
Do you live a life by design? It’s a concept that drives our founder, professionally and personally.
A creative hybrid, as a designer, strategist and innovator, James’ career spans continents. He’s directed the creation of some of the world’s game-changing hospitality, travel and lifestyle brands and wholeheartedly believes that design is a powerful and persuasive force for positive change.
Originally hailing from the UK, James has extensive experience and expertise building brands, with a sweet spot in the intersection of brand and design. Having led a string of successful, high profile project collaborations agency and client-side, James launched AboundStudio in early 2019, as he and his family left the UK for Australia’s west coast, a move very much aligned to Abound’s philosophy of designing a better way.
You see, after working on both sides of the fence, agency and client-side, James noted that agency models that permeated the early years of his career were fragmented and inflexible. Hello Mad Men, although, he’s not even remotely close to that vintage, and we’re talking brand and design, not advertising, but we do love a good metaphor here at Abound.
There seemed to be two options for clients- either a big agency or a boutique agency, both of which had limitations in accessing the right creative talent for a specific project, against a client’s specific needs. Both models seemed to provide a service that had to manipulate a static team around a project, rather than curating a specialist team, the right team. In establishing Abound, James wanted to design a different way, a collective way, working with clients not for them, co-collaborators, where the team is curated around the project, rather than the project around the team.
Couple this with the dramatic shifts to the way we work, live and play including remote working, a feature of contemporary workplaces long before (but amplified by) the Covid pandemic. We are truly unshackled by the ways we work- or we can be, if we choose to. People are more attune than ever before to assessing and reassessing what’s truly important to them. We see it every day in our work in the hospitality and travel sector, where our design permeates the entire human experience. Work/life balance as a concept is one which requires flexibility and a sense of meaning and ownership- how do we live better, work better? James’ mindset and his expectations about the life of 9-5 shifted exponentially, so why not add a relocation of 8991 miles to Perth, Western Australia? Or to be more aligned to the antipodes, 14,470 kilometres.
James believes that good design inspires us, brings us closer together and enriches each and every aspect of our life. AboundStudio’s work spans concept, identity, space and experience design. A blend of commercial experience and unbridled creativity. Collaborative and nimble project teams are curated from global and local talent and may include what others perceive as the ‘competition.’
James is a sucker for good coffee and wines from the South West, is confounded by the thought of celebrating the festive season in board shorts rather than a winter coat and very much lives according to the whims of two little tyrants who are living their best lives on the beaches of Western Australia.