DESIGNER IN PROFILE: 5 minutes with Jo Sampson & Tim Mutton of BLACKSHEEP


5 Minutes with Jo Sampson (Creative Director) and Tim Mutton (CEO) of BLACKSHEEP

What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

It is becoming increasingly important for designers to create their own professional networks. When we start out in our careers inevitably we work towards becoming specialists in a particular area but to deliver a great project we need to join forces with specialists in other areas. As designers we should not just be consultants we need to offer the whole package. Websites such as are a great place for designers to start building their professional networks.


What are the key influencing elements at present?

I believe that design work should make a positive measurable impact on people and business. It has always been about having insight and an intelligent approach to design.

What sort of projects are you working on at the moment?

All kinds of projects from airlines to football stadiums, standalone restaurants, luxury hotel resorts to pop ups. As well as helping brands develop into new areas and launch brands in new territories. We have been working with Bafarat, the Saudi Arabian importer of coffee, tea, herbs and spices for the best part of six months. We have been tasked with developing the opportunities within their business, in regards to design and what design could do for them. From designing the interiors for their flagship store, analysing their brand, developing the packaging, and creating a new logo, with the goal of exporting their brand internationally.

A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a  career and a life?

My career and life is entwined and very demanding but I am very fortunate to be supported by a great team in the Blacksheep Flock.

Name 5 key essentials for 2013 and beyond.

Playful, fearless, childlike,  responsible and confident

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

Stay focused and deliver on the vision.

How important do you feel Design Awards are as recognition of designers talents and achievements? 

It is great when our projects have been recognized for design excellence especially from fellow peers and established awarding bodies. Ultimately it gives that project prominence within the field. It is also a great opportunity to gather everyone from the industry and celebrate and have some fun.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months? 

To nurture and challenge ourselves and have amazing fun while doing so.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself 

The car you drive? 

I prefer to walk – you can see more.

Your favourite place to travel to in the world?

I love London and always have, as there is so much to discover from different cultures in this city alone. Istanbul, Seoul and Sao Paulo
are all cities we would love to have the opportunity to create projects in.

Your favourite hotel/restaurant/bar?

For me the hospitality you receive in a place is what matters and what makes a place memorable. I have fond memories of getting the lift in Claridges because the chap who worked there, and had done so for many years, was so friendly and insightful. Visting the Tokyo fish market is another unforgettable experience due to the vibrancy and the hustle and bustle. Or the bicycle repair guy in Shanghai, that helped me on the side of the road.

The place that gives you the most energy?

The Blacksheep Studio

And the place that enables you to totally relax?

Running Dulwich Park

Your favourite food and drink? 

Egg, Ham and Chips.  I am currently loving the Ramsgate Brewery company, Gadds Ale House.

Anything else interesting? 

I am looking  forward to a great year with some new exciting projects. We are excited by merging projects int he Middle East and also new opportunities in countries that we have yet to experience.