It’s not every day you get to interview your boss, but this week, we’ve been chatting to our Creative Director and co-founder Richard Latham, about everything from clay pigeon shooting to graphic design. Aside from heading up SO Marketing, it turns out that he’s got a taste for life in exotic locations. We’re kind of hoping that he’ll stick around though. He does a pretty good job.
A Conversation with… Richard Latham
Culture A Conversation with… Richard Latham
Hi Richard. First of all, tell us the basics. How old are you, and what do you do for a living?
Well, I’m 35 years old and I live in Leek, just North of Stoke-on-Trent. I’m the Creative Director at SO Marketing, which I helped set up 11 years ago, and we specialise in web development and design.
Ok, and how did you get here? You must have had a lot of experience before setting up your own company?
I found a passion for a design at a young age. My step-father was a designer for the Council, and as a child I would sit and watch him work. Unlike most of my friends, I was lucky enough to have a Mac at home, which got me fiddling around with software early on.
Naturally, this led into a BTEC in Graphic Design at college, and after that, a BA in Multimedia Graphics at Staffordshire University. Sadly, my step-father passed away before I graduated, but I think his memory has definitely motivated me throughout my career.
After leaving university, I did stints in both a local printing house, and a graphic design agency. The work was tough, but it taught me how things were done in the ‘real world’. I met my business partner (Our Managing Director, James Aberley) at the agency, and together we set up SO Marketing. I was only 24 at the time, but we must have done something right, as we’re now a 10-strong team with big plans for the future.
What’s the best part about being Creative Director?
Definitely seeing a project through from start to end. Watching the seed of an idea grow into a beautiful, working website has to be the highlight of my job. Oh, and the people I work with.
Any spare-time hobbies? Aside from graphic design, of course.
Well, I’m a family man, but if I do get five minutes to myself then I love to spend it clay-pigeon shooting. I’m also into mountain biking, but I won’t pretend that my stunts are as daring now as they were in my youth!
Imagine you could live anywhere in the world, money no object. Where would you live and why?
It’d have to be the Maldives. I proposed to my wife there in October 2011, and it’s continued to be a very special place for us. Maybe I could even work remotely?
If you don’t get sand in your laptop! What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
This. SO Marketing. It’s been challenging and it’s asked some extremely long hours of me, but I can honestly say that it’s been worth it. And I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing wife, Danielle.
Who’s had the biggest influence on your career, do you think?
My two fathers. My step-father inspired me through my creative endeavours, and my Dad bought me up to be resilient, hard-working and daring. All of these qualities have proved crucial since setting up SO Marketing.
If you could go to dinner with anyone in the world, past or present, who would you choose and why?
Steve Jobs. He’s influenced me from an early age and Apple products have become design legend. A quote that I’ve always admired from him is ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’, and I try to live by this everyday. Apple’s global cult following was down to his dedication to innovation combined with a customer focus. And I like to think that we do something similar, which is why we’ve retained so many of our original clients.
And finally, what advice would you piece out to a young designer, just starting out?
Don’t give up, the hard work will pay off. Also, if you want to do something, then find a way to just DO IT.
SO Marketing provides bespoke branding solutions to businesses, and specialises in web design and development. We also have some pretty awesome people working here. Get in touch!