Ben Serbutt, Design Lead

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Ben is our Antipodean Design Lead, supporting and guiding our design team through the work, and their careers at &us. 

Passionate about both creativity and creating for good, read on to discover how he collaborate and connects with colleagues, what inspires him, and how he stays close to his roots.

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What’s your work background?

From my earliest medium of crayons on walls, I always wanted to be creative. I started out in magazines, from Wanderlust in London to Smash Hits in Sydney, learning the art of storytelling in words and images, then freelanced through the slowdown of print publishing at many London agencies, public-facing and branded content.

I then wanted to use my powers for good so oversaw design and content at Olympic legacy sports volunteering charity Join In, dipping my toes into social impact metrics and behavioural science. From there I moved into charity website discovery, design and branding for the likes of Greenpeace, Action Against Hunger and the Canal and River Trust. 

Why did you choose to come and work at &us?

I increasingly saw the opportunities design thinking could offer, especially to the third sector. New models of funding are needed, with people wanting a value exchange. Plus, there’s loads to learn here: From innovation best practice and from a range of people in the consultancy world. 

What does your morning routine look like?

Routine?! As a co-parent half my mornings are about supporting the kids out the door and possibly a walk if the sun’s out. Then I’ll settle into wrangling Slack and supporting my Design team to produce great work.

What does an average working day have in store for you?

The cliché is true: No &us day is the same. But themes emerge of mentoring the Design team, collaborative workshops with clients, upskilling in innovation practices and driving all our visual output, for both clients and &us. 

What’s the best thing about your job?  

The people and the learning opportunities. 

How has your work day changed in the last year: What new things will you be keeping? And what can’t you wait to go back to?

I’m enjoying getting back to in-person. People are at the heart of work and we’re all Zoomed out. 

Predictions for the next year? What will clients want most of in the next 12-24 months?

Everyone’s looking for some certainty after the constant change of the last few years, but the irony is “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again” – Justin Trudeau. Helping them accept and feel safe in that knowledge will be our ongoing challenge. 

What is the most random thing on your desk?

My grandfather’s watch. It’s an old Citizen that he received from the railway upon retiring. I recently brought it back from my mum’s home in Australia for repair. And for some grounding to my roots.   

Who was your last email from?

Slack is much more my weapon of choice nowadays. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“Don’t be a busy fool” from an old colleague and friend. I sometimes still am!

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

An artist or geographer, as those were the teachers I loved. I got to be a designer, so the creativity continued. 

How do you relax outside of work?

By seeing friends or visiting an art gallery. Never found a hobby that sticks!

What would be your super power if you had one?

Knowing the perfect magazine for anyone. Go on – test me… 🙂 

Want to know more about joining ben at &us? Find out here.