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Q&A with Max Fraser

Deputy director of London Design Festival, editor of Design Guide

I wear two hats: one is as the Deputy Director of the London Design Festival and the other is as editor of LONDON DESIGN GUIDE, which is published by my own imprint, Spotlight Press. I live and work in London, as you might have already have guessed! I’ve written several design books over my career, curated design exhibitions and consulted for public and private bodies.

Software / hardware

I use most of the standard softwares and have very little need to use anything more specific. I work with plenty of other people who use specific softwares for designing etc. I use Apple devices (desktop, laptop and iPhone) but I’m increasingly fed up with our constant connectivity through devices. I like paper too.

Ideal work environment

I’m increasingly baffled by modern society’s assumption that productivity is only achieved by working in a regimented office space between defined hours in the day, ideally in front of a computer or in a meeting. Humans are so much more nuanced than that - within the office environment, light levels, flow of oxygen, comfort, calm and options for solitude as well as outdoor spaces all benefit our wellbeing and, supposedly, our productivity.

However, creative thinking can happen at unexpected moments - most of my best ideas have been dreamt up in unusual places: on planes, while dancing in a nightclub etc… Few of us recognise the importance of those moments.


I work across so many different projects that it is almost impossible to define my inspirations within that mix, as every project is collaborative. However, right now, it’s fair to say that the great city of London is continually the source of my inspiration.

Admire most

The list of artists I admire is continually being added to: Alberto Giacometti, Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Naum Gabo, Bridget Riley, Anthony Caro, Carlos Cruz Diez, Gerhard Richter - as this list implies, I favour abstract art over figurative.