Elmwood London Appoints Iván Mato as Executive Creative Director, Driving a New Wave of Innovation-Led Growth

NewsApr 02, 2024
  • New York 06:16 AM
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Elmwood London has appointed award-winning JKR lead Iván Mato as its new Executive Creative Director, as the global design consultancy looks to stay ahead in a climate of intense corporate competition and rapidly advancing digital technology.

In his new role based out of Elmwood’s UK HQ, Iván will spearhead the studio’s global client growth – with a particular focus on high-impact corporate briefs whilst also supporting the team on existing consumer clients. Iván will lead the charge on projects that are shaped by fast-changing creative technologies such as generative AI.

Iván brings over 20 years’ experience working across corporate, consumer and hospitality branding for a range of prestigious agency and multinational brand names. Most recently, he was Creative Director at global agency JKR, where he oversaw a rebrand for The National Lottery – sparking a 34% increase in retail sales – as well as leading on the creation of BEES, a multichannel ecommerce platform for Belgian beer giant Ab InBev that attracted 3.7 million monthly users across 26 countries in the space of just four years.

“We’re delighted to have Iván overseeing creative direction for Elmwood London during this exciting period of transition and growth,” says Andy Lawrence, Global Executive Creative Director for Elmwood. “As a respected industry leader, Iván’s repertoire of work is impressive. He has consistently been able to answer complex design challenges with amazing ideas, executed in a beautiful way.”

“Amid the relentless march of new technology, Iván’s combination of physical and digital brand experience also places him at the forefront of new creative innovations in brand design,” Andy continues. “He has the skills we need to expand our footprint further into fast-growth areas. Already, just days into the role, he’s made his presence felt in a series of key projects we are running around AI.”

In the early stages of his wide-ranging career, Iván worked in-house at Nokia Design, giving him a unique perspective on client-agency collaboration and partnership. In later agency roles, he went on to collaborate with many of the world’s leading brands across various industries; from Mars Inc, Pedigree, Evian, Cunard and Ocado to NIO, Yamaha, Quickbooks, Deutsche Bank and Apollo Tyres. Within each position, Iván has always maintained a multidisciplinary focus – going beyond the specifics of graphic design to think about branding in the broadest sense possible.

Iván is also a strong believer in the power of branding to generate sustainable growth; whether that’s developing new contender Avid Hotels into a 150-strong portfolio for the InterContinental Hotels group, or nurturing a thriving internal culture. Standout growth was a key theme in both Iván’s most recent Creative Director positions. This includes at design agencies forpeople and JKR, where he helped transition the company from its mainstay of FMCG packaging design to a digital-first remit.

A self-confessed typography fanatic, Iván’s love of branding began early, during his childhood in his native Spain. He is passionate about putting people at the core of the design process, continuously improving creative projects via user participation, co-creation and client engagement. This approach has won Iván multiple accolades for his work, including from Clio Awards, D&AD and the Art Directors Club.

His passion for generating real-world results from design – as well as driving brand-powered sustainable growth – will be critical to expanding Elmwood’s unique status within the wider MSQ group. The studio was acquired by the international marketing company in 2022, forming the foundations of a new global agency model that can flex across multiple design systems and digital content platforms.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate across Elmwood’s huge cross-company network of skills and connections,” says Iván Mato. “I can’t wait to explore what makes Elmwood’s corporate and consumer work so special, and to learn more about the studio’s ‘design better’ philosophy. To be able to meet that ideal within the context of the studio’s vast pool of in-house talent just gives it even greater impact and velocity.”

“I’m also looking forward to building on my previous digital work with clients to explore the tantalising relationship between branding and next-gen tech at Elmwood,” Iván continues. “I see the reach of knowledge that we have here at Elmwood as an opportunity to craft something very compelling for the consumer and corporate markets. At the same time, we have the freedom to branch out into new avenues of strategic growth, making our mark within the fast-evolving brand landscape.”