My name’s Elliot. I live and work just outside Bristol, UK.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate, because my ‘job’, such as it is, generally entails doing what I love. I call myself a designer as it’s a nice umbrella term for the web design / print design / branding work that I do, although I spend a great deal of time talking about design at numerous conferences around the globe and writing about design for online and offline publications. I wrote a book with a very silly title, but let’s not dwell too much on that.
In recent years, I’ve led the creative direction for several products and services, including the print magazines 8 Faces and Lagom, and have led design teams big and small. Thanks mainly to 8 Faces and my former role as Creative Director of Adobe Typekit (now called Adobe Fonts), my recent work has seen me collaborating with brands with a very specific focus on type and typography, and I became a judge for the D&AD Awards in the Newspaper & Magazine Design category.
These days I’m running things at Google Fonts Knowledge. Completely immersed in all things typographic, it’s been nothing short of a dream project. If you’re interested, I recently wrote a post about my work with GFK.
Lots of nice people have been kind enough to interview me and showcase my work over the years, including Creative Review, Communication Arts, Computer Arts, The Independent, .Net, Design Week, and numerous blogs, podcasts, and online magazines. Notable former clients include Microsoft, Virgin Group, MailChimp, EMI, Founders Fund, Campaign Monitor, Brooklyn Beta, Smashing Magazine, and Automattic.
Outside of design and all of its connected parts, I record electronic music as Other Form and have released music on several independent labels. I also run my own label, Unknown Movements, which releases music on vinyl, cassette, and digital formats from myself and other artists.
Events and interviews often require easily copy-and-paste-able bios of varying lengths, and you can find those here:
This portrait of me was taken by my wife in our garden, in November 2021, and can be used for events and interviews as required:
A brief history
Born in the suburbs of London, UK.
While working as a sales assistant at Virgin Megastore, I team up with a bunch of other sales assistants and release a compilation CD of all our music. The shop’s managers are kind enough to let us stock it on the shop floor, so I design the cover art, the point-of-sale, and the website using a WYSISYG editor called Homestead.
I graduate from university with a degree in Contemporary Media Practice (what does that even mean?) and join ‘the real world’ by getting a job as a Junior Designer for EMI Music. Turns out those websites for friends’ bands in my portfolio have come in handy.
2004 – 2007
Two years working as a web designer / developer in the music industry, first at EMI and then at Sanctuary Media, then a few months as Senior Designer at Ryan Carson’s Carsonified. During this time, I make the move to web standards, start writing about web design for magazines like .Net and Computer Arts, and take my first tentative steps into the world of public speaking.
Sexy Web Design is published with a title forced on me by the publisher. ‘Pre-sales with that title have been healthy,’ they say. Well at least I can call myself a published author now.
Frustrated by my web design work’s lack of permanence and inspired by a burgeoning interest in typography (thanks in no small part to the widespread adoption of web fonts), I start a printed magazine dedicated to type, typography, and lettering called 8 Faces.
Keir Whitaker and I create Viewport Industries and spend a year or so running events, making apps, and publishing books and magazines for the web community.
My best friend Samantha says ‘I do’ in front of our friends and family in the Cotswolds.
I’m tempted away from independent life by an offer to join Typekit as Creative Director.
Samantha and I launch Lagom: a print magazine that celebrates (among other things) that elusive idea of work-life balance.
Hi, Thea! I’m your Dad. I guess I’m a grown-up now.
Goodby, Typekit; hello, independent life, round 2. Alongside running Lagom, I re-join the world of client work and start a long-standing relationship with Colonna, serving as the company’s part-time Creative Director.
Hi, Gwen! I’m your Dad. Who needs sleep anyway? Later in the year, I take a brief break from design to help retail startup Neighborhood Goods get their editorial side sorted with everything I’ve learned from Lagom — and become the company’s Editorial Director.
Okay, that was a mistake. Back to design. Amongst other projects, I become involved with ClearScore and offer typographic consultancy on an internal branding project that leads to me working with them as a part-time Creative Director. In the summer, I join Maido as Creative Director and lead the Design team on a number of successful projects, until...
... early 2020
Well, hello there, pandemic-induced economic collapse! Now what?
November 2020 – present
It’s cool. I’m now working with Google on Google Fonts Knowledge. Yay!