1HQ is a brand agency working out of London, Amsterdam, New York and Singapore.
A team of 70, they specialise in innovation, branding, packaging and activation, and have partnered with organisations such as Unilever, Nestlé and Tesco.
Toni Papaloizou is 1HQ Creative Technical Director – we caught up with him to ask about his job.
Hi Toni. Please describe your job: What do you do?
Toni Papaloizou: I am the Creative Technical Director of the 3D Structure & Experience team, which really translates to being aware of sustainable and manufacturing technologies which are essential to consider when undertaking the creative part of my responsibilities. In fact, we expect all the team to do this, so it really is a joint activity. Better understanding translates into more rigorous and compelling solutions.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Toni Papaloizou: I report directly to Mike Webster, Director of 3D Structure, although it never feels like a traditional hierarchy as we have worked in a collaborative way, honed from over a decade working together at Seymourpowell.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Toni Papaloizou: 3D designers need an incredible bandwidth of knowledge and a degree in Industrial Design is a fantastic grounding. This includes a mix of hands on skills like drawing, model making, an understanding of materials and manufacture, to problem solving and strategic design. That knowledge base never stops increasing as every new project brings new learning, 3D design uniquely so, as you will often work in several different industries and categories over a career.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Toni Papaloizou: Up at 6am, breakfast with my wife and out the door by 7am for my commute to Windsor. I always listen to a podcast on the way in, my favourite at the moment is 100% Invisible, which I highly recommend. Mike is usually in early as well and we invariably sit together with the first of several cups of tea and go through a presentation or some work that either of us may need another perspective on. And then it’s a rush through any emails or messages, some from colleagues and clients in Singapore or Thailand, I deal with anything immediate before I can get on with current projects.
Our fantastic client service team do a great job of stopping the designers being overwhelmed with client requests, so we can get on with the up-front design. I count myself lucky that I can still do hands on design work and not just manage other designers, so much of my day is spent furiously sketching concepts but always working with the other 2D and 3D designers.
We work in short sprints so there is always a deadline, either an interim or stage presentation, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I truly hate it when it’s quiet. I always have lunch, away from my desk if possible, as I think it’s uncivilised to munch in front of your screen. The end of the day seems to come very quickly, and I will head back home between 6 – 7pm depending on the workload.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Toni Papaloizou: I like nothing more than solving an awkward little design challenge, the trickier the better. I also enjoy working with my other colleagues at 1HQ, I believe that great work comes from collaboration.
What sucks? Well I’m not a big fan of formal meetings, I always feel they get in the way of doing real work.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Toni Papaloizou: Our 3D Structure & Experience team is relatively small, but I believe we have tremendous potential to grow into a major force in the industry. I spent several years at an agency that tried to get 2D and 3D to collaborate with only limited success. 1HQ feels very different – with a deep-rooted passion to build a truly 2D and 3D brand and experience offer. We are on the way to achieving this ambition with several breakthrough projects being undertaken and I want to continue being part of delivering this ambition.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Toni Papaloizou: An A3 marker pad and a 0.4mm Uni Pin Fine Line pen.
How did you end up at 1HQ, and where might you go from here?
Toni Papaloizou: I spent the previous 2 years as an independent Industrial and Structural Designer, working directly for small brands and agencies, with several weeks working with Mike and the team at 1HQ. To be honest, the independent existence suited me but working with Mike again highlighted how well we work together and the projects were so stimulating that I accepted his offer to go full time again.
Which brands have impressed you lately?
Toni Papaloizou: Volvo, for daring to create cars that compete with the German brands but in a different and human way. Their claim that nobody would die or be seriously injured in a Volvo from 2020 is a very bold statement.
I have also watched and experienced Ocado grow into ‘the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer’ that is now being compared by analystS with tech companies. Now a software and robotic business, they have filed many patents and are developing new systems including vertical farming. Ocado is a brand that understands changing consumer behaviour and social landscapes in a challenging category.
Any advice for marketers / agency folk starting out in 2019?
Toni Papaloizou: Keep asking questions, dig deeper, till you find the real truths and answers, knowledge, as always, is power.
If you would like to appear in the ‘Day in the Life‘ feature, get in touch.