My dad was a printer. My mum was a fashion designer. I loved sport. After a quick stop off at Bournemouth University to learn how to make all kinds of awesome stuff for the internet and some short courses with University of the Arts London, I kicked off my career as a designer.
I started off at Achtung! in Amsterdam, later moving back to London to take a digital creative role at Clinic.
From there, I freelanced at agencies including 4Creative and Ogilvy & Mather before joining Blast Radius to work in Amsterdam, Hamburg and London.
I joined We Are Social as creative lead for Adidas in 2012 and was promoted to creative content director in 2014.
I am fortunate enough to work for a truly amazing and open-minded client at one of the most exciting agencies in the world. Over the past four years, my team has delivered awardwinning campaigns for Adidas on some sporting events I could once have only dreamed of being involved in – the World Cup, Olympics and Euros.
Since I was featured in Campaign’s Faces to Watch, our YouTube show, Adidas Gamedayplus, delivered more than 35 million views across two seasons. We announced the world’s biggest transfer in style with a music video featuring Stormzy and Paul Pogba. And I had a daughter with my partner.
Fuck the haters
When you’re first starting out, some people may not believe in you. They are the ones who give you that fire in your belly. Go prove them wrong. Get an amazing job. Do groundbreaking work. And smile when you see them again.
The best work doesn’t just land in your lap. You have to go out and prove yourself. Earn people’s trust and hustle yourself into a situation to earn the best briefs.
Have a thing
Find a way to stand out. Whether it’s taxidermy, sick tats or speed-knitting. Give people a reason to remember you because there are so many great creatives out there having rad ideas that just having great work is not enough.
Don't be that guy
The creative who can’t take feedback is not a creative that people want to work with. The way you communicate with others is just as important as your ideas. It’s not the 70s. Don’t be a walking ego.
Check and check and check again
Attention to detail among designers and creatives is often non-existent, so taking extra care and attention is an easy way to stand out in the crowd. My biggest annoyance when checking work is spotting typos, a pixel that’s out of line or a lazy grade. It only takes a second to double- and triple-check things.
Clients are people too
Some creatives are scared of clients when actually they’re the most inspiring people to talk to. Some clients want the new. Some clients want the exciting. And some clients just want to do amazing work.
Take any time in front of them as an opportunity to inspire them to do something big.
Gareth Leeding is the creative content director at We Are Social. He featured in Campaign's Faces to Watch in 2015.