Meet The Team: Chris Page

Chris shares his thoughts and wisdom, exploring early experiences that led him to where he is today, the challenges he takes on to help others, and the biggest changes he's witnessed in the industry.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

What do you do at Jelly (and TBM Group)?

I am the Founder of the group, although I’m no longer officially part of the board after going through an EOT process last year, I am currently still part of the senior management team, so I help advise our MDs on their decisions. I am also very active in our various cultural outreach programmes and I help with our typography department.

What experiences led you to where you are now?

After a fairly bumpy start where I struggled to find my place, my experiences in the creative industry have mainly been as the leader of a team of talented people. So I guess a big part of my longevity has been in recognising talent, encouraging them and then helping to shape their development. I would like to think that I’ve always been a great one for giving people the space and time to prove their worth, and I hope the EOT is the ultimate expression of that.

During your time in the creative industries, what are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed and what are your hopes for the future?

Oh wow, I have seen a LOT of changes. I come from the pre-digital age, where all artwork was physical and typography relied a lot on scalpels and manual manipulation, so things have changed exponentially from my early days. The production and art creation business has been a rollercoaster of ongoing changes in the means of production since the moment I started, and that still continues today. I think the main thing that I’ve learned is to always embrace change and to never hanker for the past, nostalgia is a pet hate of mine. Even with AI I think we will find a balance and it will end up being a tool for good.

You head up the type & lettering department at Jelly - what observations do you have about the way this medium is used by brands today?

Typography is like every other craft, it's only effective if created with thought and care, and then applied with the same careful attitude. The best applications by brands are when they appreciate and have obviously nurtured the craft of typography and delivered it well. There are plenty of examples of this and some brilliant people to admire out there who are producing great work. The brands who don't care about craft and who have obviously cut corners to get their message out there frustrate me, as it's not hard to find the right people who could have helped them. The advent and development of kinetic and programmable type is really exciting, the scope for its use is huge.

What does craft mean to you?

It’s the blend of imagination, flair and care, which is unmistakable, and as soon as you see it actually delivered in anything it’s obvious that craft has been applied. For me, ideas without craft are worthless.

What’s the best thing about being part of the Jelly team?

As soon as we started Three Blind Mice (now ThinkArtfully), and then consequently Jelly, the key to success was to surround myself with talent, who could deliver what we do effectively, and I think we have always continued to do that. So, the best thing about being part of the team is admiring their skills. We've got some really brilliant people working throughout the business and I love seeing and still being surprised at the quality of what they produce, and I do mean everyone, because pretty much all of them are better at their job than I could ever be!

Your top 3 albums/podcasts/books at the moment?

I am fairly ADHD, so I am all over the place when it comes to my ‘relaxing’ habits, it helps me to avoid favourites of anything. Rather than ‘top’ then, the last 3 albums I listened to were: Aerial by Kate Bush, Mid Air by Romy, Base and Superstructure by Meatraffle. Podcasts were: Elis James and Jon Robins, Adam Buxton, and then numerous fan casts about Crystal Palace FC! Books: England’s Dreaming by Jon Savage, Natives by Akala, Independent People by Halldor Laxness.

What do you love doing when you aren’t working?

I've got more Cancerian as I've gotten older, in that now I’m happiest at home with my family either watching TV or in the garden pulling up the wrong plants and hacking away at some greenery. Apart from that, I cycle in a fairly obsessive way, it's good for my busy head. I'm a member of the Fireflies, they are an industry group that does huge rides every year to raise money for Blood Cancer research and that's a huge passion for me, I will ride for them until it gets too hard for me, which probably won't be in the too distant future!

Find out more about the Fireflies, and donate if you can, here.

What’s the best advice you were given? And who was it from?

My best friend Barney Richard passed away tragically at the end of last year, we used to talk to each other constantly and try to give each other advice, which to be honest, we mainly ignored. But Barney showed me the value of not taking life too seriously and to enjoy the ride. Whenever he lost a creative pitch he would message to let me know immediately, I did the same to him, and somehow embracing those failures was important, it's all part of the journey, and that's great advice. I miss him terribly.

Do you have any favourite works of art? What artwork do you have on your walls at home?

Favourites again!? As I said, I'm not good at favourites, my favourite is usually the last good thing I've seen, but I guess I have consistently been a fan of Patrick Caulfield's work, pieces like ‘After Lunch’ really appeal to my graphic sensibilities.

We’ve got a range of stuff on the walls at home, a few bits by Jelly artists (of course) and an amazing photograph of a Pearly King by Henry Bourne that my wife bought me for Christmas a few years ago.