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Q&A with Ian Caulkett

One half of Two of Us

My name is Ian Caulkett, I am one half of Two of Us, a small design and branding practice. I am based in Brighton, UK.

How did you get started in design, what is your background?

All I have known since I can remember is that I wanted to work in the creative industry. My interest has grown from an early age due to a combination of some influential and encouraging art teachers, and without sounding too self-assured, being good at it. I followed the same path from school, college, university and into my career.

Where did you study? Looking back, could you recommend your path for beginners?

I studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Norwich School of Art and Design. I think everyone is different when it comes to studying, but being in a creative environment and being around creatives all day opens you up to different ways of thinking, working and collaborating.

What is a turning point in your professional career?

The turning point to my professional career is definitely co-founding my own practice. It felt like a next step after years of experience working across a variety of projects and collaborating with others, but also a beginning of defining a shared ethos and working relationship, and quickly having to learn and develop new skills like business development.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you work at studio all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

I don't have a particular preference, but I do find I need to mix it up a little, get out of the studio once in a while, go on photoshoots, or just work on ideas from a cafe or (due to my location) the beach.

Where are your favourite places in Brighton or outside?

I have lived in Brighton for three years now and always find new places to explore and inspire. There are a lot of independent shops, cafes, pop-up galleries, and of course the beach. I find the best way to clear my head is a long run along the seafront, or out over cliffs – nothing beats it.

Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues you admire most?

It sounds obvious but my business partner Ash, I think if there wasn't mutual admiration there it would't work. We have different working styles, backgrounds and inspirations, but the combinations come together to form our own offering, ethos and an entity that is bigger than either of us.

I admire anyone in the creative, arts, and music industries that are doing what they love, to their own agenda, doing it well, and making a living – it's not always easy, but it's rewarding if you get it right.