Meet the Team: Elmwood’s Matt Churchill

Since joining Elmwood as an intern, Matt has developed brand identity, packaging, and motion design for numerous clients including LW Theatres, Fronted, GSK, Syngenta, Mars and EFG. Drawing on a passion for typography, motion, and illustration, Matt creates distinctive identities with creative flair. He also expresses his creativity through cooking, cocktails and lino printmaking.

Your role in a sentence… 
I’m a Senior Designer at Elmwood London with a particular (and peculiar) passion for brand identity, typography and motion.

Tell us a little about your Elmwood journey…
I first joined Elmwood as an intern in 2017 after graduating from Falmouth university and spending a year interning at six other studios around London. I could tell from my first week that it was a place full of lovely welcoming people making great work, and in five years I haven’t been proved wrong yet! 

I’ve had the chance to work on projects that span every imaginable field, from West End theatres to market research. One of my favourite parts of my job is learning about our clients’ worlds and working out how good design can help them show their audience what makes them unique with beauty and clarity.

What’s a piece of work you’re proud of?
I’m very proud of the identity we created for PRS IN VIVO, who are a market research and testing company. They had a really interesting challenge for us to solve, as they have techniques that make them leading experts in consumer science but struggled to create an appealing story that communicated their advantage to clients. We based the identity on the idea of seeing through complex consumer data to reveal the colourful humanity within and made sure that idea shone through every facet of the brand.

What’s a piece of work you’re jealous of?
I think Australian agency For The People have produced some absolutely fantastic work recently, particularly their work for the Tasmanian region of Derwent Valley. I think they really proved that a place can embrace contemporary design and illustration to help attract tourists and to unite local people with a sense of community. It’s a project that could easily have been unexciting and generic, but they understood what made the area unique and amplified it through design to make something I think is outstanding.

Tell about your recent work for The Week…
The Week was a really rewarding project to work on. We got to distil down what makes the magazine iconic at a glance, which is the red masthead, and be playful with it. We gave the brand license to take that red bar from the front of the magazine and make it the heart of visual stories that use beautifully simple illustrations and witty headlines to show The Week’s personality and what makes it so compelling. We had the chance to work with the incredible illustrator Luis Mendo, who helped us go from initial sketches and ideas to charming drawings full of character. One of the key realisations for us was that the new marketing illustrations needed to feel relatable to the readers and evoke the feeling of reading The Week, rather than representing the subject matter from the magazine.

What can we expect to see from the future of design?
I love that we’re starting to see clients embracing deliberate weirdness in design with custom fonts, unusual colour combos and unique logos. After about 10 years of ‘digital first’ brands adopting simple, flat identities and geometric sans serif fonts, we are finally seeing brands choosing to take more visual risks in order to stand out from the crowd. Design is allowed to be fun, and I think we’ll see more of that over the next few years. 

What’s all this about Elmwood London’s Makery series? 
The Makery is an initiative we run at Elmwood London where we host interactive workshops that give everyone the opportunity to make something and learn a new skill, whether that’s art, crafts or food and drinks. It’s open to the whole team and it’s a great way of bringing all the departments together to try something new where most people have no idea what they’re doing. 

I’m interested in all things food and drink, and I do a bit of lino printmaking in my spare time, so The Makery was really started because I wanted other people to have the chance to try out the things that I’m passionate about, and for them to teach me their hobbies and skills in exchange. It’s really flourished from there with the help of my brilliant teammates and we have been able to bring in experts to share their knowledge with us, as well as having workshops run by people from Elmwood. Rug making, coffee tasting, and Spanish tapas have been the highlights from 2022 and we have a fabulous schedule of events for this year, I absolutely cannot wait!