We spoke on 2nd September 2021
Hey Kieron, first of all, how are you?
I’m very well, thanks. I hope the week is treating you well!
Give us five fun facts about yourself!
Hmmm, not sure if they’re fun, but here we go...
a) I have weird obsessions with Rubik’s Cubes. Not sure why! I guess I like the idea of complicated situations (or just the colours). I tend to use one whenever I have a creative block, whilst designing.
b) I’m currently learning Spanish. I have been having two classes a week since April and I’m loving it!
c) I’m pretty good at Yo-yos. I can even do a few cool tricks (random).
d) I’m a massive marvel fan! Spiderman FTW!
e) I am currently working on a book cover with Penguin for a very well-known singer. As much I dying to say who, I’m sworn to secrecy as we're still in the design process. However, all will be revealed soon!
So in your own words, how would you describe yourself?
I’d describe myself as someone who is fairly confident, however, I’m very conscious that there is a fine line between confidence and being a ‘know it all'. Working at different agencies within my career has taught me that.
What got you into design?
Well, I was always into design from my early school days. I would buy so many comics after school, mainly The Simpsons ones and I’d cut them up and use my cuttings to create my own bespoke comic.
Fast forward 20 years on, and although I’m not cutting up comics anymore, I am still experimenting with editorial design within my role as a Freelance Graphic designer.
You have worked with Adobe and hosted on multiple occasions, tell me more about this!
So working with Adobe regularly is pretty surreal and was very much unexpected!
I got an email 'out of the blue' from Adobe at the start of the year, to go on their Adobe Live series and design live for their audience. Over 4.5k viewers tuned in live to watch, which is pretty insane! What was even more awesome was that the day I handed in my notice to end my full-time role, to go freelance, was the exact same day Adobe emailed me. Spooky, right?
For the past few months, I’ve been working with Adobe more often, but now as a Host on their Adobe Live Series. I’ve met a lot of different creatives from all over the world through this experience. Understanding the different work processes by designers is something I truly find exciting and inspiring.
You have also judged at the New Blood Awards for D&AD, how did this come about and what were you looking for as a judge?
So I was a New Blood Judge last year and this year I was an official D&AD Judge on the 'Writing for Design' category, which was an incredible experience!
Again, a bit like Adobe, I received an email out of the blue (wild)! Within my category, we have different criteria's to look for as a judge, however for me personally, I’ve always been a fan of work that is simple, yet impactful. Also, work that strikes an emotive response is always memorable too. Bonus points, if it can make me laugh!
What is Olga & Kay?
So Olga and Kay are an ongoing self-directed collaboration between videographer and photographer Olga Kotovska and myself. We’re always very good friends, which adds another layer of awesomeness!
We’ve both got a genuine interest and passion for documenting communities and helping brands and organisations tell powerful stories through design and film. Since forming over five years ago, we’ve given numerous talks at schools and universities, conducted workshops with students, and most recently we’re working regularly with Team Catford.
Team Catford are a small team of consultants who work on behalf of Lewisham Council, which is situated in South London. They aim to encourage engagement within the community of Catford through placemaking and economic development.
Olga and I split all our design work for Team Catford, which allows us to focus on our primary skillsets, whilst being inspired by the other person. Also, as we're good friends, it allows us to be very honest and transparent with one another. We’re not afraid to challenge the other person, which is what I love! It's Olga’s vibe too!
You’ve worked for many clients, is there a project that stands out to you?
The project which stands out for me is my work with Harper Collins.
I designed a 300+ hardback publication (cover and spreads) titled, 'Still Breathing: 100 Black Voices on Racism, 100 Ways To Change The Narrative.' This publication focuses on 100 Black Voices from across the British community. Everyone featured has voiced their lived experiences to help us set up a true conversation about racism in Britain.
A lot of long days and night designing, but it was completely worth it! I’ve worked on a few publications before, but never of this size. The content itself is extremely powerful too. So in comparison to other projects in the past, this one certainly had a hold on me from an emotional perspective.
You said that you’re a public speaker and have shown this on many occasions, do you have any advice for people who want to do this?
My advice would be that once you have that real interest or passion that you’re into, being able to talk about it will hopefully come naturally. When I guest speak at universities or other events, the topic is always about something that connects with my heart. Whether is touching on community-based project or collaboration.
Your timeline on your site shows that you take many opportunities that are out there, how important is this?
I think it's very important to take opportunities. When I was young, believe it or not, I was that kid in school who had his hand up to ask a question, but if someone was chosen before me and they had a great question, I sometimes felt that mine in comparison was stupid or not as meaningful. The older I’ve become, the less crap I give, to be very blunt. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a stupid question, if you don’t know the answer.
It's okay to feel nervous of course and it's healthy, it means you want to do well. But I promise you, the pros will outweigh the cons, so always take creative opportunities that come your way and if none come your way, go out there and get it (or make your own)!
For my final question, what's next for Kieron Lewis?
So, I’ve got a few talks coming up which is exciting. My biggest one is at Adobe Max. My talk is titled, 'Empower Community Through Collaboration and Editorial Design.' You can grab a free ticket here, if you’re keen to listen.
My second talk is at The Photographers Gallery. I will be talking to 14-to 24-year-olds about how to get into the creative industry.
On the work front, I’ve got a few jobs at the moment, so I’ve got plenty to keep me on my toes. As well as my wedding to plan, ha! Busy, busy, busy - but bring it on!!