2 Minutes With ... Hamish Campbell, Executive Creative Director at Pearlfisher

On Seedlip, Ray Gun magazine and redesigning Roland Foods

Hamish Campbell leads Pearlfisher’s studio in NYC. Since joining 11 years ago, he has worked on brands like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Colgate, Coppertone, Gregory's Coffee, McDonald's, Patrón, Seedlip, Tecate and Wild Turkey. Earlier, he worked at some of London's leading design consultancies on Bacardi, Johnnie Walker and Nike.

We spent two minutes with Hamish to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Hamish, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I've had a slightly nomadic life, growing up throughout the U.K. from Rugby, Brighton and Cornwall to a short stint in Australia, before moving back to London, and finally to New York, which I have called home for over a decade. 

How you first realized you were creative.

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved being creative, from making bases for my favorite toy (The Ninja Turtles) out of cereal boxes and toilet tubs to loving art classes at school. The idea of being able to see endless possibilities and create something gave me so much energy. 

A person you idolized creatively early on.

If I remember beyond my love of Liverpool FC and the incredible Ian Rush (one of the greatest creative strikers of all time), I was amazed—like most designers learning in the '90s—by David Carson. His freedom and experimentation with type and image—especially with Ray Gun magazine, being so disruptive—spoke to my rebellious side. I also think similarly of Robert Brownjohn's interplay of typography and cinematography in the title sequence for the James Bond film Goldfinger. It captured my imagination, taking every element and making it stunning. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I studied math and physics with the ambition to become an engineer. I am grateful I gave it up to pursue art, long before I really knew about the design and branding world. It set my life on a very different trajectory, in some kind of sliding-doors moment.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I will forever be in awe of Freddie Mercury and Queen, who broke the mold for music. Everything they touched was incredible, pushing the boundaries and never wanting to settle.  

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

One show that has captured my attention recently is Severance. It's such an interesting concept. At first, it sounds incredible that you can split your personal life from your work life so you never remember going to work. But then, part of your reality is that you never leave work. Beyond the many twists and turns, it also has stunning opening credits.

Your favorite fictional character.

Calvin and Hobbes. I love how they see the world, full of mischief and potential. 

Someone or something worth following on social media.

@itsabandoned is a must. There are so many fascinating places—from structures to theme-parks and entire cities—that have been left for nature to take back. I'm always blown away by what they find.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

Taking what worked well from the past model and now embracing a new way of working to gives us more freedom to collaborate.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

The creation of Seedlip. You don't get many opportunities to impact culture and create a new category that defines an industry while working with a fantastic client who believed in the power of branding. The design is stunning and makes me smile every time I see it on the back bar. The brand went from just 1,000 bottles in Selfridges to become a leader of the category we created, which now has 500+ competitors.

A recent project you're proud of. 

The redesign of Roland Foods, moving them from a pretty outdated look to an eclectic visual identity that celebrates their products through stunning storytelling.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I was always inspired by Saul Bass, how he created visual stories in a powerful and simple way. But one logo comes to mind as marking the moment I understood design as "intelligence made visual." And that is the Guild of Food Writers logo by 300Million. The simplicity of a spoon in the negative space of a fountain pen nib just made me smile. It couldn't be more simple and it couldn't be more perfect. 

Someone else's work you admired lately.

The recent redesign of Pepsi was very successful. Moving huge iconic brands forward is a difficult task. I like how they re-energized their past, leaning on iconic equities while giving the brand an opportunity to be creative for the next 15 years. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

My determination. I'm always persistent when finding the right answer to any challenge or problem I'm given.  

Your biggest weakness.

I'm a terrible speller. Just ask my team.

One thing that always makes you happy.

I am so lucky to have an incredibly talented team. They continually find new and inventive ways to blow minds, which makes me immensely proud and happy.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Missed opportunities. I don't see the point in doing something if you aren't ambitious enough to make it the best it can be.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

If only I was born later and got in on the Instagram travel-influencer game. Making money while others paid for me to fly first-class and stay in the best hotels around the world—that feels like a pretty cushy job.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.