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Design Podge 2016 Creative Network

Design Dodge 2016

It was Thursday afternoon and my calendar popped up reminding me that Friday was the Podge Lunch at the Institute Of Directors. Podge lunches are justly famous in the creative world as they bring together many of the finest leaders in different fields together for a blazing lunch/evening all under the organisation of a legend in the business, Phil Jones. I must also thank the other two talents that make this all possible, Barbara and Claire Jones (yes this is a family run business) who work tirelessly to make this a flawless, stylish, fun event and make it all look easy!

Friday’s event was Design Podge where Phil essentially invites the leading designers and CEO’s of the top design agencies in the UK to sit down together, putting all competition and feuds aside, and pool ideas, interests and innovations over a good meal. Think old style lunches, the ones that start at 12.30 and then go on until the last man standing, which in the design world can be very late indeed.

This Podge lunch was the 22nd year, the very first was launched at Quaglinos back in 1994 and they have been a success from day one. What is special about these lunches is the gentleman that organises them. Phil Jones started his career, way back when, as a typesetter, and due to a combination of skill, charm and professionalism rose to be one of the leaders of his profession. As digital came in he swiftly adapted and soon became a major player in that area too and now sits on the board of many design and digital agencies. The reason he manages to pull together so many leaders in the different industries is that he is a consummate networker, liked and admired by all who know him. He is a mentor to people starting in the industry and no Podge lunch has ever passed without his promoting new talent to the assembly, exhorting them to hire up and coming creatives in their agencies.

The real secret to the lunches is that he likes everyone who is there and he is a great judge of character, but what holds these events together is something else entirely. I will quote a friend of Phil’s at Clockwork, Syd Nadim. “The reason the network functions so well is that if anyone worked with someone they met at the event and then fucked them over, Phil would hear about it, and no one would risk that”. Not because Phil is a mafiosi type figure who would come raging after you, quite the contrary, but because you would never want to feel you had let him down or disappointed him somehow. Phil is a true maven who also connects all the most interesting people and a great guy just to have a beer or coffee with and chat, which may actually be the glue that binds.

The Podge events also comprise a Music Podge, Sports Podge and Digital Podge. Next month will see the launch of a new website pulling all these together at Design by James Henderson at Brilliant Path and website by Adam Smith at Rawnet.

Each year a different agency volunteers to create the theme for each lunch, last year was SEA Design, this year was The Beautiful Meme and next year’s volunteer was my entertaining table companion Jonathan at Browns Design. Every year people jump to volunteer and the camaraderie at these events is superb. I have been going for 8 years now and would not miss them for the world.

Bruce Duckworth spoke this year, he has just been appointed the new president of D&AD, and is looking forward to his new role forging an even greater relationship between D&AD and the creative world. You can read his manifesto for yourself here:

The next Digital Podge is on December 2nd followed by Manchester Stodge Podge on March 9th and Sports Podge on May 5th.
Next month:

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