Elmwood: Our next chapter

NewsMar 19, 2021Editor
  • New York 11:02 AM
  • London 04:02 PM
  • Singapore 11:02 PM

A letter from Elmwood chairman Steve Gatfield

This week marks a major fork in the road in Elmwood’s journey since its beginnings in Leeds over 30 years ago. In the past 18 months, a lot of work went into enabling the demerger of the Elmwood Group studios, allowing each to pursue its own destiny and chase a multitude of exciting opportunities.

As the former Group Chairman, I wish all our former colleagues the very best in what lies ahead for them at brand agency Born Ugly and in particular, I want to thank Elmwood’s founder, Jonathan Sands, for embracing a new path for the organization. Elmwood’s global organization will be comprised of the London, New York and Singapore studios, with more to come as we build out a footprint that is constructed around the needs of global brands.

Our progress with GSK, Heineken, Danone and, most recently, Mars has been achieved with a body of work that reflects our status as a tier one partner working across all facets of the brand landscape. The role of design is changing as major brands rely less on media tonnage to win. On a global scale, the spectrum of content and channels continues to explode as technology shifts. Never has meaning and memorability been more critical, further driving demand for potent visual identity assets that are both distinctive and dynamic.


To be a design business that fundamentally matters, we have to meld art and science to achieve the special alchemy released by the tension of opposites.

As new models of brand value and utility are developed, new players are achieving success at speeds that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago due to the relentless pace of technology evolution. This will be a source of abundant opportunity, especially in arenas that are poorly served by the incumbents, including healthcare, financial services, transport and education.

So, the future is ours to seize with speed and purpose. It will present an exceptional canvas to learn and do. We are living in an age when the velocity of the new exceeds our ability to teach it. We have to be in it to know and shape its contours. I believe that in most cases the future is already here, it’s just not well distributed. Elmwood’s prerogative will be to plant our roots in the soil of what will be, not what was. A future defined only by technology’s progress would be loathsome. To be a design business that fundamentally matters, we have to meld art and science to achieve the special alchemy released by the tension of opposites. If this excites you as much as it does me then you are in the right place to build a future that is simply better, more authentic, more honest, more diverse and more inspiring. Lets get to work!