8 months! That’s all it’s taken. 8 months since I was first asked to write a little something about myself and I’ve finally had a moment to sit down and start my ‘Meet the Tweed’ article. Being that busy with work must be a good sign! So, for some reason, this article is about me, my career, and my long term friendship with the big boss Jake Jeffries.
Oh, and for some odd reason our marketing team has asked me to start by lying to you all (they needn’t worry about that, just like anyone turning up to a school reunion or submitting a CV, I’ll definitely be sprinkling this article with plenty of embellishments)! So before I tell you all how I ended up here; sat on a broken chair, between a cow’s head and a dart board, let’s start off with one truth and one lie about Jamie.
- A series of ridiculous events led to me briefly acting as Daniel Craig’s stunt double in James Bond, Skyfall.
- Rather than clean the house that Jake Jeffries and I lived in at university, the landlord decided to knock it down.
So, who is Jamie Lawton, and how did he get here?
I suppose I’ve always been destined for a career in design. My parents worked as art teachers, artists, illustrators and sign painters. My sister, Emma, is also a Graphic Designer and recently co-founded a new events platform called More Human. This year, Emma also became an Honorary Doctor of Design, although I’m sure she’ll be the first to admit the only thing she’ll be saving is pdfs!
My first Saturday job was in an art supplies shop and years later whilst studying a foundation course in Art and Design, I worked a night-shift editing photos taken on PGA golf courses. A few months later, attracted by the sun, sea and sand of the Cornish coast, I packed up and moved over 300 miles south, diving into a three year Graphic Design course at University College Falmouth. It was at Falmouth that I met Jake Jeffries, the now Owner and Creative Director of Milk & Tweed; it only took him 15 years to hire me!
After a year as a Junior Graphic Designer on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, I followed my then girlfriend, now wife, Katie, to the bright lights of London. Making sure I contributed to the rent, in amongst the multitude of potential job roles Katie sent my way, was one as a Designer in a post production company called Deluxe. That was the start of nearly a decade working in the film industry. As part of the Visual Effects department at Deluxe, one of our main roles involved something called ‘foreign versioning’. Taking graphic inserts that appear in trailers and feature films and recreating them in a range of languages for foreign audiences. Even after a number of years, there’s still something magical about seeing a new trailer or title sequence for an upcoming film come in, and sitting down with the team, ready to deconstruct the artwork and animation.
A number of years later, the opportunity arose to manage a team of designers in London and Burbank for a new post production company called EIKON. Surrounded by some familiar faces from the Deluxe days, it was a great chance to help build a team, develop new workflows and help shape an exciting new company. Following the pandemic, I think most people were eager to work more flexibly and spend less time in the office. But for me, it seemed like the perfect time for a change and I couldn’t wait to spend more time in a studio, surrounded by other creatives to share ideas and socialise with. And that, very neatly brings us to Milk & Tweed.
The start of my journey with Milk & Tweed
I have to admit, when Jake first mentioned joining the team I hesitated. He said he had the perfect role for me but having spent years working in one industry, I was nervous to jump back into ‘traditional’ graphic design and start my journey into web. Thankfully, the great thing about being a designer is the skillset is often really easily transferable from one specialty to another, and the great thing about being a manager (or head of department) is a good team can make you look good too, and Milk & Tweed definitely has one of those!
At university and in my early career I loved branding projects so it’s great to have the opportunity to be doing that again, especially when it’s for local companies where you see your work out and about. Milk & Tweed is a growing team with so many talented designers, developers and digital marketers from very different backgrounds. I’ve certainly learnt a thing or two since joining the team and hope I’ve been able to share some of my own knowledge in the process.
My favourite thing about working for Milk & Tweed
One of the things that most attracted me to Milk & Tweed was the way Jake talked about work/life balance. Even after years of working from home, I still found it difficult to switch off and would often work well into the evening (or early hours)! Jake has created a company that he’d want to work at and I think it shows. He has a young family and so those of us with kids (and even those that don’t) are grateful that we’re kicked out of the studio at 5pm, maybe after a quick game of darts for the road. We of course prioritise client work but we try and schedule projects sensibly, ensuring the team aren’t working to ridiculous deadlines week in, week out.
Mental health is so important and it’s great to get out of the office for a walk with the team at lunch, or play games with each other. The other day we were flying paper aeroplanes against one another for charity; I haven’t done that in years! But Jake knows that a happy team performs so much better and he’s created a brilliant workplace where that’s paramount. I’m very grateful to be a part of it!
What the future holds for me
In less than a year at Milk & Tweed, I’ve broken four office chairs (I’m clearly doing something wrong), failed to climb some mountains for charity, and encouraged Jake to buy a coffee machine for clients that has so far had almost no takers whatsoever! I’ve also had the joy of working on some amazing branding and website projects, had fantastic feedback from clients, shared a lot of laughs with the team, and have potentially become the best darts player this office has ever seen.
When I first considered working for a best mate, I was nervous to mix work with a great friendship but I’m so glad I took the leap. I’ve made some other great friends in the process and love going into work every day. What more can you want from a job! I look forward to seeing the Milk & Tweed family grow in the coming months and years, and one day, we’re going to finish climbing those mountains together! (There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere?!)