The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

March 20, 2013 | 6 min read

The Drum meets CCO of Moving Brands, Mat Heinl, in the latest of a series with twistorstick speaking to leading figures to find out what it takes to get a job in industry

Interview by Marc ShelkinHaving spent nine years at Moving Brands, Mat Heinl isn't in a hurry to move anywhere in pursuit of new London design jobs. He reached his role of chief creative officer by moving up the ranks of the company, having never spent a significant period at any other agency. It says something about Moving Brands that it has had the ability to hold Heinl's attention for so long. He's not in it simply for the thrill of ambition, he's in it for the challenge and reward that comes with good creative work."It's worth moving on when you think there's nothing else you can do and I still feel like there's a lot do here," says Heinl. "In nine years I really can't remember a year that's been like the previous. It's really quite astonishing when I look back how different things are, going from 10 people on one floor, in two years we went up to 70 people. Then we moved over the road, then we opened another business in Tokyo and moved over to San Francisco, Zurich - it feels like I've been in a few different companies but it happens to be in the same building."Heinl studied history at university for around six months after finishing school but opted to go with his passion for art and design instead and changed direction. He attended St Martin's College before going on an exchange to the Cooper Union in New York."It was very interesting because it's the exact opposite set-up of St Martin's," he said. "Whereas St Martin's was very open ended and conceptually focused, Cooper Union was very much about design rigour and design industry so I got a snippet of what that world was like."He got his first full-time design job in London at Moving Brands on a work experience placement less than a year after finishing college. He was interviewed by two of the company's founders, Ben Wolstenholme and James Bull, and has been at the agency ever since. Clients have included Nokia, London College of Fashion, Norton & Sons, Barclaycard, Arcadia, HP and BlackJet."I've loved all the work we've done with Norton and sons," he says. "Just because they're so anti what's going on in the world at the moment, in terms of the way they actually make those bespoke suits, it's incredible. It's generational craft which has been handed down, person to person, but Patrick [Grant] who runs the business is an incredibly modern businessman. I really respect what he's done from a business point of view as well as his creative direction so that's been a really interesting one."The best bit of career advice Heinl was ever given has stayed with him throughout his career. "I had a great bit of career advice early on from a guy which is very blunt: 'do what I ask and then do what you want to do; do both and you'll do well.' I thought it was really interesting, a really good bit of advice. At the end of the day, someone's asking you to do something, they have more information, nail that. Then, if you have a better idea, bring that to the table. Always do both if you can, and the good people usually do. They usually say I've looked at that and also think we could extend it here. Very simple, straight forward."Heinl says his influences come less from agencies and established industry names and more from his surroundings. His passion clearly is for the art of the design world, with less focus on career ambition or high profile recognition."I think all the agencies that are really interesting wouldn't call themselves agencies," he says. "I'm a big fan of Kin, which is run by Kevin Palmer and Matt Wade. I think what Berg do is incredible stuff and the guys that run that are really interesting people. I've got a lot of respect for some of the larger agencies, what Imagination has done consistently over many years is super impressive as a business. There's a kind of agnostic approach to applying design, applying creativity to really interesting opportunities."To round off the interview, Heinl took part in a quick-fire question round.Cannes Lions or D&AD Pencil?Cannes LionsOlympic gold medal or an Oscar?Olympic gold medal I thinkTea or Coffee?CoffeeFootball or rugby?RugbyFacebook or Twitter?TwitterAnt or Dec?NeitherThe Simpsons or Family Guy?Simpsons I thinkWho is the brightest person you've worked with?Great question. Some seriously smart people, I'm going to piss people off if I say... this is going to sound like sucking up but I think Ben, who is a founder of Moving Brands, is an extremely unusual person that can apply his creativity onto so many different aspects of design, business, storytelling - it's slightly frightening.Who is the most creative person you've worked with?Oh I see, OK, well I'd probably put Ben in the creative box because he really pushes that. Brightest... let's have him on both.The best looking person you've worked with?PassCreatives or suits?What's a suit?Money or happiness?HappinessApple or android?AppleDegree or no degree?TalentRetained work or pitched work?Good workWeb or mobile?I don't get the differenceIndependent agencies or networked agencies?Diplomatic answer or direct answer? It's absolutely horses for courses as far as I can tell. Independent can be very much about responsbility, I think in a networked agency the question is slightly different because you're not as near to the consequence. That's my read from the outside.Outsourced production or onsite production?OnsiteDon Draper or Roger Sterling?SterlingTwist or stickShimmyTo view the latest jobs in advertising, design, digital media and marketing in your area, visit The Drum's job section