‘Originally from Perth, where he studied illustration and graphic design, Mark Ho moved to London in 2006. As WBC’s Creative Director, he heads up our design department. His days are varied and include everything from designing bags for life, to approving the fonts we use in our branding. Outside of work, he’s a talented fine artist, who’s even designed clothes for Kylie. If you’ve ever been interested in a day in the life of a commercial artist, now’s your chance to hear what a typical day looks like.
Meet the Team: A Day in the Life of Mark Ho
Last year I became an official Brit.
I started working at WBC in 2007 as an in-house graphic designer. Now as Creative Director, I still arrive at work with the same motivation as I did almost ten years ago. Hard to believe I’m celebrating a decade with the company! I still get a sense of pride that the products I’ve helped design, contribute to WBC as a real market leader and influencer in its field.
Either at home or on the move, I try and squeeze in breakfast before I get to my desk. Office hours kick off at 9am. I start my working day by responding to a few emails. Then I check my to-do list so Im focused for the day.
As Creative Director, I’m responsible for the way everything looks. From brand to marketing collateral, through to coming up with new additions to our product collections. It can involve anything from boxes and bows or tissue paper and gift tags. We cover all bases when it comes to retail supplies.
Day to day at WBC, my work is incredibly varied. One minute I’ll be sign-writing on our new range of chalkboards for a deli. The next I’m designing bags for life for some of the UK’s best known brands – Whole Foods, Fortnum & Mason, London Zoo, Royal Academy of Arts, the list goes on.
WBC is a fast-paced environment with a lot going on at once; the state of my desk is often a reflection of this!
Designs for WholeFoods, Fortnum & Mason, London Zoo, Royal Academy of Arts
Last year marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We were asked to design and produce exclusive tote bags for Waterstone’s Book shop. From concept to delivery, it was such an exciting project to work on. The end results were stunning.
I find coming from an art background, lends itself to being much more image focused. Whether it’s working with our photographer to get the right shot, to photo-shopping images or illustrating something with a paintbrush on paper. It’s the creation of images that I find interesting.
It’s all in the process
A lot of my time is spent as a spectator. It’s how I find inspiration. I visit exhibitions, or trawl through Instagram or the internet. My web bookmark folder is humongous! Having a sense of what’s going on and being able to gauge upcoming trends is crucial I think. One of the perks of living in London is the exposure to the endless inspiration.
A break for lunch away from the screens is always appreciated! We’re privileged at WBC, to have our food provided for us everyday. We receive fresh goods from specialist food & wholesaler Café Deli together with hand-made bread (the tastiest in London!) from our local bakery Christopher’s.
WBC Team Work
What’s great about working at WBC, is working with an amazing team of people who compliment each other. It’s very much a team effort and the culture has always been ‘everyone mucks in’. Inspiration comes from everywhere. The team are constantly on the lookout for the next colour trend, printing process or cool promotional idea for our products.
We all enjoy the freedom to explore and develop ideas and products. I think this is what keeps it interesting for myself and the rest of the team. It’s a great feeling when you see someone carrying a tote bag you’ve worked on. Or someone contacts us to say they like the look of the website or newsletter.
Part of the day involves having meetings about upcoming campaigns with the marketing team and designers.
Bobby is the voice of WBC and with Maria, manages and schedules the content creation: publishing, events and the social image of WBC.
Lauren, who is our E-commerce manager. Along with Kevin and Katreena, they produces all our digital content and product information online. It’s their job to ensure the customer’s online experience is as pleasant and smooth as possible.
Kevin and Jeimy are my digital and print designers who I worship…without their talent and dedication, the design department wouldn’t run as efficiently as it does.
As far as best bits go, a few years back I was lucky enough to design a t-shirt for Kylie Minogue. I have been obsessed with Kylie since I was about 7 years old, so this was a dream come true. The shirt was a one-off she wore on a photo shoot, but to top it all off, it was produced by Dolce and Gabbana.
I do a lot of painting and illustrating in my spare time. I meet regularly with an art tutor who constantly challenges me. My tutor inspires me to see things in a different way or use a different colour pallet, for example. I find this invaluable as I can apply what I learn in art across to designs at work.
Depending on the day of the week, I’ll either play squash with a colleague or do some life drawing after work. Always a welcomed relief after a hard day’s work.