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About Simian

I have been working in digital design / advertising since 1996 and have been fortunate enough to work with some of the world's best brands on both sides of the Atlantic. I have previously worked at a large advertising agency based in New York City, and at a smaller Independent Boutique agency in Manchester.

Through this mix, i feel i have learn't the best of both worlds, which means i can be nimble and flexible in approach, as well as being more strategic in developing full 360 integrated advertising campaigns.  I was a Creative Director for Lexus at Amaze for over 4 years, but in July 2014, i became a creative director at AKQA in London.


With a background in traditional graphic design, i feel i bring a degree of finesse and attention to detail to the online brands i work on. During the late 90's i won many awards and had work featured in a large number of design annuals, books and magazines with my experimental flash websites under the moniker of "simian".

I have since focused on being more commercial, but this with grounding in the more experimental side of design, i am able to take the most mundane brief, and make it engaging, playful and above all successful. I have been lucky enough to win 8 FWA's, a Webby, and recently a Big Chip Award for the Lexus website. I am also honoured to be a judge for the FWA awards.

The return of 'Simian'


Fuelled by the enjoyment i had whilst producing the 'Simian' book - 'A journey of love and hate', i decided to do a new version of the 'Simian' series. Previous volumes (1-6) had all been online and built in flash. I have moved on from this now, and for the latest incarnation, i decided to go back to my roots, and design a series of 4 limited edition prints, entitled 'The Remix Series'. Each print features a different character. I guess you could call this simian volume 7. The Giclee prints are A2 size (6.53 x 23.39 inches) and each one is limited to 10 copies (sold out).

Featured Project

'Simian - a journey of love and hate' documents a long running project which was born out of frustration, and the need to get away. It goes inside the mind of a creative who dreamed of bigger and better things. This book was recently funded via Kickstarter

The book deals with a moment in time, when anything was possible. It was the early days of the internet, and rules were there to be broken. A new tool called 'flash' allowed artists and designers, to take there work to a new level, and add a new dimension to it.


...writing this foreword today, Simian still has a dark allure, powerfully capturing a set of emotions dripping with loneliness, anger, and alienation in way that I’ve experienced so few times since
— Hoss Gifford, OneMethod, Toronto

'Blab' presentation 2013

I was incredibly excited and honoured to have been asked recently to do a ‘Blab’ mini talk at the Bench Gallery in Manchester, by my good friend Matt Booth.

If you have not heard of ‘Blab’, they are a series of talks by guest speakers from around the UK, and further afield. Some of the previous speakers were Studio Output, Mr Bingo, Hoss Gifford, Ian Wharton, Fantasy Interactive, Rapha Racing and Peter Saville. In the past couple of years, I have been really lucky to attend some of these, and I found them really inspiring, and it’s a great way to get a load of creative’s together under one roof.
The brief for my talk was ‘inspiration’, and so i based my talk around the theme ‘mavericks’ that have inspired my work over the last 20 years.

Latest Article

It enables you to still have a hands on ‘analogue’ approach rather than being consumed by digital. There’s nothing like using your hands, and getting them dirty.

Since making the transition from traditional graphic designer into the world of digital, about 16 years ago, one thing has struck me, and thats the lack of 'craft' that a lot of young designers are starting to portray. A lot of people from my generation are still managing to bring touches of analogue into a digital world. Whether it be leave behinds, a range of T-Shirts, bespoke comics or beautiful prints (talking of prints... have you checked out my new simian ones for sale)

The way i have been 'hanging on' to analogue, is with the production of leave behinds, predominantly for pitches. This article looks at some of the leave behinds i have created, and more importantly why i have created them. It also talks about why creating items like this, keeps the punk DIY ethic alive. Also, as a creative, if you can make your clueless CEO, or a beige Account director ask 'why have you done this?' then you have succeeded.

Note to Self  - October 2013

I was recently invited to speak at the 'Note to Self' event in Manchester. The theme was on colaboration, and i presented for 30 mins, on how me and my team went about creating the new pan european Lexus website. Previous 'Notetoself' presenters have included - James Somerville, Ben Holden, Julian Gratton, Brendon Dawes, Young Creative, David Judge, Dave Kirkwood, Ben Pepper, James O'connell, Golden, Bruno Maag, Richard Sharp, Jeffrey Bowman, Trevor Johnson, Andrew Brookes, Jake Smith and Dan Clarke


The online portfolio of digital creative director Ross Mawdsley.  ©2015