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Meet Tom Rowe, Design Director of Otherway

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 1.10.44 pmShillington graduates were the unsuspected recruiters for #shillolon part-time teacher Tom Rowe, Design Director of Otherway. Tom reached out to our London campus because he’d already hired a few of our all-star graduates and wanted first pick of the top talent. 

Today we hear more about Tom’s unique approach to creative projects, making your own luck and learn why he loves to teach.

Tell us about the innovative business model for your strategically-led brand communications company, Otherway.

Otherway was born out of us getting tired and frustrated by the old processes of bigger agencies where most of us had previously worked.

We have no ‘creative teams’ and no ‘creatives’; we also don’t enter any creative awards.

Instead, we are made up of multidisciplinary talent, including strategists, designers, copywriters, and producers—all full of smart ideas with the sole aim of helping our clients and partners succeed.

Could you walk us through an experience with one of your clients?

One of our biggest projects was working with a brand called Psycle. Over two years we worked closely with the investors to launch a new London fitness concept. We led the development of the business, marketing and social strategies, as well as the creation of all branding and the interior design experience. Psycle has been featured in over 100 press articles with Vogue saying “Who knew a workout could be so much fun?” and in June Psycle was awarded ‘The best new fitness new comer’ in the Tatler Gym Awards.



Working on the project right from its’ inception was a fantastic opportunity for Otherway as it meant we could work with the client on every aspect of building the brand. We were very fortunate to have a client that really wanted to push the idea of what this concept could be, and was open to lots of ideas and strategies that weren’t normally associated with the fitness industry.



Ensuring a strong continuity through the visual identity was key, whether you were booking a class online to putting your shoes on in the waiting room before a class. We wanted to make sure that the experience felt and looked different from the offering in London at the time. The fitness industry is a competitive one, so focusing on this attention to detail across all channels helped us deliver a great project we’re really proud of.

What life and career stepping stones led you to where you are now?

I guess the first major stepping stone for me was getting my first internship once finishing my degree. This opened my eyes to what it took to be a successful designer.

I studied at The University of Brighton where the teaching was heavily focused on conceptual and creative thinking and not so much on the practical, technical skills. So landing my first gig in a studio was a bit of a shock and I realised quite quickly that ideas can only get you so far, being able to execute these at pace and at a high standard was also hugely important.

I was fortunate that this internship turned into a full time role and with it being a small agency I was often thrown in at the deep end, working on big projects outside my comfort zone. Which although scary at the time I believe this helped me understand what it takes.

The next big step was moving to an agency called Karmarama. I learnt a great deal being at a bigger place honing and crafting my technical skills. The team were awesome in taking the time to nurture junior and middle weight designers like myself at the time. Eventually though the culture changed and it was time to move on to where I am today at Otherway.

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Could you share some lessons you’ve learnt along your journey?

Make your own luck. By working hard, reading around the subject, becoming multi-skilled, being pro-active, using your enthusiasm and going above and beyond puts you in positions where better opportunities arise more naturally.

Making yourself stand out like this is weirdly still quite rare in the industry. At Otherway it’s these qualities we look for in a person.

What’s your favourite thing about design?

For me it’s about working in a team; everyone brings something different to the table and there is nothing more enjoyable than seeing an idea or project take shape within a group. Sharing that process and experience with driven, like minded people is fun, exciting and massively rewarding; even more so when you finally see it come to fruition and is out in the big wide world.

static1.squarespaceWhy were you drawn to teach at Shillington?

I come from quite a large family and a large majority of them are teachers in some sort of capacity, so I have always felt that it’s something I wanted to do.

I first heard about Shillington when I was interviewing a young designer for a role at Otherway. He was keen, enthusiastic and very pro-active, this was all backed up by a very strong, professional portfolio. I was even more amazed to hear that all this work had been done in a very short time frame at Shillington.

We’ve since hired two more graduates from Shillington and they are some of the most hard working, talented people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

I guess a lot of what drove me to start teaching at Shillington was intrigue; I wanted to contribute to a new way of teaching which excites me and I believe in some cases to be more beneficial than three expensive years in a traditional arts degree.

What do you love about teaching?

For me it’s about passing on knowledge. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some amazingly talented people in my career; who always took the time to help and teach me new things, and now I’m enjoying doing the same.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Measure twice, cut once.

Big thanks to Tom for the Q&A! Check out more work from Otherway and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Are you a graphic designer interested in teaching? We’re hiring in NYC and London.

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