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The DBA is a vibrant community of design consultancies and design-driven businesses – a powerful alliance shaping the future of design in business.

With a membership of over 400 businesses, the DBA is a valuable network, support and voice for all those involved in the delivery, commissioning and management of design who share a common commitment to operate at the highest standards of professional practice.

We support the development and growth of you, your team, your business and brand. We facilitate enlightening interactions with your peers and communicate the value of your work. Isn’t it time you joined us?

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Board Of Directors

There’s a breadth of complexity to the challenges that businesses and government face today that provides an unparalleled landscape for the design industry to step up and demonstrate its ability to solve complex social and economic challenges, and drive opportunity through innovation into the organisations we work with and for.

But the design industry must become the architect of its own future, which is why the work of the DBA is so pivotal in galvanising the sector to achieve this change.

The DBA’s Board of Directors is fundamental to this process. Elected from the membership, our Directors possess diverse, yet highly relevant experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting table of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support and enable the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.

Jim ThompsonJim Thompson

DBA President

Managing Director 20.20

Jim is the Managing Director of 20.20 and has led the business since January 2004. He has helped orchestrate the business’s growth as a leading European strategic design consultancy, specialising in retail and leisure. Jim oversees the development of the firm’s strategy, offer and people – developing and expanding the business focus to new sectors.

Jim also serves as a client director on accounts, and has a real expertise in food and specialty retail; sports and stadium brand experiences; and betting and gaming experiences. His more recent clients have included Arsenal Football Club, American Express, Victor Chandler, Pets at Home, Hobbycraft and Nokia. He joined the business in August 1996 as director of brand and communications and was responsible for the rebranding of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets.

Jim is a board director of the Design Business Association and was appointed President of the Association in September 2013.


Deborah DawtonDeborah Dawton

DBA Chief Executive

Design Business Association

Deborah began her career with the RSA working on their Student Design Awards and she set up her own business delivering design events, competitions and conferences all over Europe for leading organisations.

In 2003 Deborah joined the Design Business Association as CEO. Funded entirely by the design industry with a remit to drive up their professionalism and the profile of design’s value in business, the DBA’s membership has more than doubled along with the association’s turnover to nearly £1million.

She was President of the Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA) for two years until March 2013. Deborah is a member the European Design Leadership Board, an expert group of design advisors to the Commission and in this capacity is often asked to address policy makers on the role of design in policy.

Her experience of the design sector in the UK, this European-level insight and her work with BEDA, has resulted in her being consulted on the potential structure and strategy for design support in various countries.


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Aileen Geraghty

Managing Director 999 Design London

With her design led background, Aileen has a wide range of both strategic and practical commercial experience including branding and identity, integrated campaigns, FMCG and retail, events and environments.

In 2002, Aileen was appointed Managing Director of 999’s new London venture having held the position of Design Director at their Glasgow HQ for 8 years.

Since the opening of the London studio, Aileen has been instrumental in the development of a highly varied client base and succession of creative roster and contract appointments. These include two consecutive appointments to the BBC and British Council rosters; Digital UK – the largest public awareness campaign in history; Arts Council England; Guardian News & Media Group; King’s College London; BT; The Metropolitan Police’ Guide Dogs UK and TFL.

Over the past 15 years Aileen has contributed to 999’s success in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards with highly varied projects for clients including the NHS, King’s College London, The National Trust and most recently for The Financial Times.


seancarneySean Carney

Chief Design Officer Royal Philips

Sean joined Philips in March 2011. He has more than 25 years of experience as an international creative thought leader in design and management, focused on brand and user insight. He has a proven track record in building, leading and inspiring multi-disciplinary, award winning design teams across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Sean Carney’s personal mission is to improve lives through meaningful, relevant design and he is perfectly poised to do so as the Chief Design Officer for Philips.

Before joining Philips, Sean was leading the Global Experience Design operation within the Imaging & Printing Group for Hewlett Packard and was based in San Diego, California. He was a key driver in leveraging creativity and design thinking to drive meaningful innovation across every touch point of the user experience. This ensured that design played a more progressive role in the organization to effect positive business impact.


ericka_000Erika Clegg

Founder Spring

Erika is co-founder of Spring, the strategic communications design agency that creates change for the staff and customers of organisations as diverse as EDF Energy, the Moroccan National Tourism Office, National Trust, Bollinger and Houghton Hall. She’s enterprising, unconventional and once she has a clear vision in place, moves heaven and earth to make it happen. She expects excellence and admires talented people, making sure to have plenty of them around her. Erika based Spring in Southwold, Suffolk because she’s also bloody-minded enough to believe you can run a global communications business from anywhere, and because she wants to make the world a better place in her own community as well as others. She’s mum, a runner, and a firm believer in the power of good.


paulflowersPaul Flowers

Chief Design Officer (CDO) Lixil Water Technology

During Paul’s diverse international career, he has worked from small prestigious London design studios to some of the largest organisations in the world, including FM (UK), Design House (UK) IBM (UK), Electrolux (Italy) and Philips (Netherlands). From November 2005, he was the Senior Vice President of Design for Grohe (Germany). In April 2015, Paul Flowers was appointed to the new role of Chief Design Officer (CDO) at LIXIL Water Technology.

As a design expert, Paul has resided on many international design juries from The NDTV (Television) Awards India, The Designer Kitchen and Bath Awards UK, IF Design Communication and Product Awards Germany, The Perspective Design Award Hong Kong to the DBA Effectiveness Award, and has been a keynote speaker at international events like WAF, Waterwise Conference Oxford, Design City Luxembourg, WACOM Anniversary Japan, and Sleep Event amongst numerous others.


nannaulrichgudumNanna Ulrich Gudum

Vice President, Design LEGO Group

During the last 20 years, Nanna has worked in creative positions at the LEGO Group headquarters in Denmark. Her background is a master in Architecture and a degree in Industrial Design. Currently, she has a team of over one hundred creative resources and she covers half of the LEGO product portfolio targeting children of all ages from Toddlers to Expert LEGO consumers.

Nanna’s key contribution to the success of the LEGO portfolio is her unique understanding of connecting a strong creative skill and strategic innovative thinking with commercial, business and supply chain understanding. Nanna has an eye for new concept and business opportunities. One of her big achievements has been the introduction of LEGO for Girls with great success; this extended the LEGO consumer segment and started a completely new toy category for girls in the market place.

At LEGO she has been instrumental in refocusing the core product offering during LEGO turnaround as well as introducing new ways of working within the LEGO Design Organization. Her focus has been attracting and retaining international design talent to Billund, Denmark, and building a strong innovation team with a global creative mindset yet still operating within a constraint business and complexity environment in order to create strong commercial successes with the consumer in focus.


lesleygulliverLesley Gulliver

Managing Director The Engine Room

Lesley leads on strategy at The Engine Room, a brand agency in Yorkshire. With a strong focus on strategic objectives, she is interested in measurable returns and understands design in terms of impact, growth, service development and culture change.

She cut her teeth in the industry working for a small agency, grew with it and, as a Director, was instrumental in its growth to a 30-strong £3 million turnover consultancy. She moved to the North of England to become Head of Division in a PLC, delivering communications solutions for the web.

She then had a stint working in government-funded business support, working specifically with design agencies to develop their offers and further commercialise their services.

Prior to joining The Engine Room, she was self-employed for nine years as a brand consultant. Lesley is a Design Associate for the Design Council. She has also recently guest presented in Manchester for Hyper Island and in London for the Central Research Laboratory. She has a first class honours degree from the UCE Business School and also studied at L’Université de Toulon et du Var in the south of France. Lesley has a keen interest in theories on person-centred psychotherapy and organisational culture.


jeremylindleyJeremy Lindley

Global Design Director Diageo

Jeremy is responsible for design across Diageo’s current brands and new products worldwide. His role is to transform Diageo’s design capability and output. Recent projects have included the redesign of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Baileys Original Irish Cream and the creation of John Walker & Sons Diamond Jubilee – a limited edition of 60 bottles retailing at over £100,000.

Prior to joining Diageo Jeremy was Head of Design for Tesco Stores Ltd. He was responsible for design across the portfolio of 19,000 private label products and for leading the Store Formats and Design teams. His early career was spent working as a Design Consultant and University Lecturer.

Jeremy is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and is active in a number of Design Industry bodies.


brianmansfieldBrian Mansfield

Chairman Taxi Studio

Brian began his career as a Graduate Trainee for British Airways back in 1992. For the next six years Brian gained a hands-on marketing ‘apprenticeship’ via a variety of roles at both BA’s HQ and internationally, including a stint as Country Manager in Grenada at the tender age of 24 and culminating as head of Financial Cards within BA’s Loyalty Department.

As part of this project Brian worked with kae: marketing intelligence, a boutique strategic marketing consultancy, and was invited to join them as a manager, where for the next two years he led brand strategy, innovation and marketing strategy projects for blue-chip clients including American Express, BT, Hilton International and Pret a Manger.

Brian then spent the next six years as a Strategic Planner and Facilitator for hire working with, and for, some of the UK’s leading brands, design and advertising agencies including Malmaison Hotels, NatWest, Orange, Unilever & Y&R. After that he spent two and half years in Australia rebuilding the Blue Marlin brand locally through pitch wins, client growth and a strong focus on talent management.

Back in the UK, Taxi’s three creative founders united with Brian’s management and strategic experience and for the last seven years Brian has steered the good ship Taxi through tremendous growth.


stevepearceSteve ‘Buzz’ Pearce

Global Head of Design Skyscanner

Steve has the mind of an engineer, and the heart of an artist. Since the dawn of internet economy companies, he’s lovingly crafted products and services that people actually use and enjoy on a daily basis, some have become verbs in global society.

Steve is a Design Leader and knows what it takes to create products and brands with soul. He’s had the fortune of working with some of the best designers and engineers around, and together they’ve been instrumental in designing some of the most loved products on the planet.

Buzz is now leading the wonderful design team at Skyscanner. He has previously held design director positions at Skype (Microsoft) and PokeLondon.com.


willWill Rowe

Managing Director Rufus Leonard

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Will Rowe made the leap from practice to the marketing services industry, joining the Michael Peters Group in 1988. Inspired by the passion and creativity he encountered, Will spent the following decade working in advertising, direct marketing and design, focusing on the financial, commercial and operational side of agencies including Cousins Advertising and Rapier.

Joining 40-strong Rufus Leonard as Finance Director, Will became Managing Director in 2000. Working closely with Neil Svensen and the team, he has helped develop Rufus into one of the largest independent design agencies in the UK, with the unique ability to bring brand insight to the evolving digital world.

Rufus Leonard is now 75 strong and ranks in the top ten of both design and digital league tables. Championing Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability since its early days, it sponsors and supports the Carbon Disclosure Project (of which Will is a Commercial Adviser) which provides a secretariat for the world’s largest institutional investor collaboration on the business implications of climate change.


149813373124342Vicky Bullen

CEO Coley Porter Bell

After several years at smaller and mid-sized independent agencies Vicky joined Coley Porter Bell in 1995. 22 years later and she is still there, and has been CEO of the agency for the past ten years.

Vicky’s career highlights include winning a D&AD pencil for Kotex, building Kimberly Clark into our agency’s first million pound client, winning our first retail client with Morrisons and more recently winning our first ever global fashion brand.

She has a keen interest in neuroscience and applying learnings from that to the creation of brands and has driven that agenda within the agency, developing ways of working that bake in System 1 thinking from the start, so improving a brand’s chance of real world success.

Vicky is a member of WPP’s Stella, the female leadership group that champions the growth and development of WPP’s women, addressing the barriers that might prevent them from progressing their careers. She is also a member of WACL (Women in Advertising and Communication in London) and of the Marketing Society.