ABOUT

I specialise in crafting narratives about social and environmental innovation.

Having begun my design career in the studios of celebrated maverick makers such as Thomas Heatherwick, Marcel Wanders and Atelier Van Lieshout, I soon refocused my efforts on bringing my skills to sectors that were not benefitting from strategic design.

Now, with 15+ years working in design innovation and 10+ years leading creative communications projects for academic, government, and third sector organisations, I have a clear track record of delivering ambitious projects that make an impact.

Using bold creative and participatory approaches, my work translates complex information into meaningful narratives for people in their everyday lives, through exhibitions, workshops and graphic visualisations.

I have worked on projects for, among others: the Royal Society of Arts, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the University of Exeter, IDEO and Policy Lab – I make it a priority to work with organisations focused on developing solutions to improve people’s lives for an abundant and resilient future.

My principle mission is to forge emotional connection through my work. During the winding path of my creative adventures I have come to understand that people’s care for the world they live in depends on their emotional relationship with themselves and their environment, and the stories they tell themselves about both.

 

Within my practice I focus on three things:

Design

To every project I bring 15+ years experience in design thinking, graphic design and installation design. Whether I am creating a workshop, a printed report or an exhibition, I know my multidisciplinary skills can elevate engagement with the content, both visually and experientially. Design is the most engaging problem solving tool I know of.

Play

With every project I want to transmit a sense of play to the audience. Play is a rare experience in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, where we are weighed down with responsibilities and concerns, and yet it is such a useful tool to encourage creative thinking, even about the most serious of challenges. When people allow themselves to play, through making with their hands, conversation, and teamwork, they let go of rigidity and confined thinking and new possibilities open up to them.

Participation

The key to developing meaningful solutions around social and environmental issues is generating participation from members of society at every level. The strategic effectiveness of design and play means nothing without participation. In each project I think about ways in which people can participate and feel involved, rather than just be passive recipients of information. I am particularly interested in embodied space and physical learning as an attention grabbing antidote to our screen based culture.

Art, speaking and teaching

Alongside this communications work I have a personal art practice which is focused on the impact of the human body across multiple boundaries – physical, emotional, environmental. I run workshops for design and architecture students on using their ‘body as a research tool’ at various schools in the UK and Europe. I also regularly receive invitations to speak and teach on themes around design, innovation and sustainability.

 

Getting started

As an initial offering, I suggest a half day ‘Pick my Brain’ session where I can listen to your current challenges and work with you to develop strategic storytelling solutions. I relish opportunities to connect in person and welcome invitations to share my specialist knowledge and experience through public speaking, guest lectures and visiting tutor work. Do get in touch – leonora (at) eliostudio.com