Five minutes with Sutton Co

Linda Sutton

A word we always keep in mind during the design process is ‘why?’ There needs to be reasoning. Decorative is fine if that’s the right solution; it should always look good. But without an idea or a solid concept it’s not going to do its job.

A good idea is essential to good design. Delivered with simplicity and clarity.

Running our own design studio makes us feel liberated. In the early days, when we were freelancing for a large design consultancy, we won a big account for them. So we thought, “Why don’t we do this ourselves?”

Small is beautiful. It means we can give our clients better service, with nothing getting lost in translation. And if you’re interested in the bottom line, you’ll make a saving too.

We have over 100 bird boxes in our studio. Then there’s the Adana printing press and the box of 49 alarms clocks randomly ticking away. Now where are we going to put that 3D printer?

We find inspiration in unusual places. If you look where everybody else is looking you start looking like everybody else.

My Dad was a strip cartoonist and he always said, ‘‘Learn to draw people.” Oh, and “Switch that bloody light off.”

We get a buzz from transformation. Changing something that’s overlooked into something you can’t take your eyes off. Or cracking a brief that’s tied down in dogma and corporate guidelines, and still making it sing.

We really like dynamic visual identities. The Natural History Museum branding springs to mind. And the logos for Aol and ITV. Versatile design which defines the brand.

We try to see the big picture. Everything exists in a context, if you don’t get that; you’re wasting everybody’s time.

If you had to sum us up in a word it would be thoughtful. As in clear thinking.

The intense mix of science, technology and creativity is what makes being in Cambridge so exciting. We get to work with the University, which cultivates the startups and then the industries that grow from such fertile ground.

We are firm believers in personal projects as a means of creative growth. It tests your limits and can propel the work in directions you never thought it could go.