Labs Life: Getting to know Simon Wood

We like to give our readers an insight into the inner workings of Sutherland Labs. This time we get to know Simon Wood, who is the latest addition to the design team at our London Labs!

What brought you to Sutherland?

Woody: I always wanted to be an actor, I even got as far as performing once at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. I knew I would be doing something creative, but it wasn’t until I left university that I found my calling in graphic design.

I’ve had quite a mixed background. I’ve worked as a designer for a Film & Video agency working on a mixture of short creative films and promo shoots, mostly for the education industry, doing motion graphics as well as digital and print design. I was Creative Director at a technology company where they made a self-balancing electric unicycle called Uniwheel – check it out, it’s as bizarre as it sounds! I also freelanced for a few years as both graphic designer and motion graphics artist. My last job was Creative Director at a small website design agency specialising in financial advisors and estate agents. Sutherland has really been my opportunity to go from small agencies and start-ups to working on much larger scale projects.

What do you do for fun?

Woody: I try to keep my free time pretty full. I love to travel as much as possible. Recently ticked off Copenhagen and Paris from the bucket list. I go to Spanish classes every week, trying to learn how to communicate with my wife’s family. I’m also writing – extremely slowly – a first draft for a fantasy novel, something I’ve always wanted to do.

Simon painting outside of work

I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. Anything that gives me the feels. It could be that moment in a movie, the goose-bumps I get from an awesome new song I’ve discovered, a section of a book that gets stuck in my head, or a funny story someone has told me. I often find myself chasing those moments and that follows through into my work as I really want people to notice the work I’ve done and feel something, hopefully excitement.

I love the films and the cinema, but too often I find that there are negative experiences connected with the cinema itself instead of the film I’m seeing. I think cinemas should offering a much better experience to make the price of going to see a movie worth it, even if the new Blade Runner movie turns out to be bad – please don’t be bad, please don’t be bad!

Simon working with the design team

What does the future hold for Designers like you?

Woody: I think that the lines between developer and designer will blur as more and more design software becomes better at generating code automatically from the design. As such, as a designer I wouldn’t be surprised if we are going to be expected to make our designs actually functional and only very advanced bespoke coding will be done by developers.

We’re already well on our way with prototyping services like inVision and Marvel. Website’s like are already making it easy for designers to build fully functional responsive websites, and there are some great plugins available for Sketch such as exporting out HTML email templates straight from design artboards.

Will the new Blade Runner turn out to be a good movie? Will Woody and his designer buddies slowly replace all the coders in the world? Is it only a matter of time before he rides the Uniwheel to work? Come back for another instalment of ‘Labs Life’ to find out all these answers and more!

Snr Director, Marketing & Communications

Sutherland Labs
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