We grabbed a few minutes with our latest recruit to our studio team, Gary Bovill. Senior Designer, Gary came to Manchester in 2014 and lives in the semi-rural village of Marple. Here, he shares his passion for all things Italian, his closet ambition to become a detective and his journey to London and then back north.

Tell us about your career to date?

It feels like a pretty standard path for a designer! Straight from school, to art college, then to an Institute of the Arts University to do a design degree. Then straight down to London as a fresh faced 21-year-old chasing my dreams.

I moved on the Saturday and started my first job on the Monday. I worked for an Annual Report and Comms agency right in the centre of London as part of a small design team, which was more creative than it sounds. The companies we worked with had good budgets so we usually had thirty or so pages at the front of the report to be creative with before we got to the boring stuff like accounts and statistics.

I then moved on to a brand agency who worked mostly with luxury property companies, it was a lot of nice brand work for companies that renovated old mills or who developed very expensive penthouses. My wife and I then moved to Manchester as we wanted to buy a house and there was just no chance to do that in London. I worked for a PR agency in Manchester for about 4 years, where I progressed from mid-weight to senior designer, and then found my way to Studio North.

What was your initial impression of Studio North?

Well, funnily, I came for a chat with an ex-Studio Northerner, Steve Buckley, when I first moved to Manchester about any possible freelance opportunities, and something that I saw then and is prominent now is the Northern Warmth. It’s a lot more relaxed, there’s a calm atmosphere here and everyone knows what they’re doing and gets on with it. The Northern Warmth, that we all talk about, is evident, everyone is nice and relaxed.

What do you enjoy most about being a Senior Designer?

One thing I’m learning to enjoy is the confidence in my ideas. I’ve been doing this for eight or nine years now, and I’m starting to feel like I know what I’m doing so it’s nice to be able to get on with it and be trusted to do what I know.

I’m given the freedom to run with my ideas which is something I’ve gotten more used to doing at Studio North. The process is valued so there’s more time to develop my ideas and think them through instead of just going in to auto-pilot and plucking something out of thin air.

I think being a Senior Designer offers the best aspects of any creative role. I get to work on full projects instead of being a junior or mid-weight when I was in-between projects, or dipping in and out, and Creative Directors who have more managerial aspects to cope with.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

In school, I was good at sports, particularly swimming and athletics –  I even had a town record in long jump when I was in year 7. I was also good at golf and had the opportunity to progress to be an amateur golfer or go to art college.

I always wanted (and still think about it now) to work within the field of forensics, or to become a detective. I would constantly read mystery books, and now I listen to podcasts and watch shows about it all. I really identify with it as it’s not all linear which I think is the same for creative work.

What is an interesting or unusual fact about yourself?

It does depend on what people find interesting… My wife and I are currently learning Italian. I’m fascinated by people that can speak other languages, and fluently. I love Italy too, and I would love to live there, but being able to go and speak Italian fluently I think would give us the opportunity to see a different side because we wouldn’t necessarily be seen as tourists.

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