Thursday, 28 June 2012

WEDF Talk by Karen Welman from Pearlfisher

Last night I took a trip to the Arnolfini in Bristol to attend a talk by Karen Welman, founding partner of the infamous Pearlfisher. To me they have always been one of those companies that I am incredibly in awe of and jealous of at the same time, because they create such great, beautfiful clever work and packaging that I could look at for hours on end.

From Waitrose to Coca Cola, Absolut Vodka to Innocent, we have all probably got atleast one piece of packaging in our homes that has been designed by them. Most of the packaging that I have ever picked up and loved the look of has been designed by them, they seem to get it right every time.

So I was pretty excited to find out that Karen was speaking at the Arnolfini so bought my ticket the day before and waited in anticipation. I am always intrigued to find out how people have 'made it' in the business, especially women, as I find it hard to find people to relate to, so it's good to know that it is do-able! 

She spoke more about the journey of Pearlfisher, how their company works in terms of their culture and how they invest time, money and commitment into their employees and it was very refreshing and insightful to know that design can be like that.

They have people who have been with them as a workplacement and then grown to be a Creative Director and have been with them for over 15 years. Every 'big' birthday they take all their employees on surprise holidays to India, The Alps, The Ice Hotel.

She told a story about how the Cawston Press packaging, which I love, was born out of a 4 week letterpress course that they had all the staff do (even the receptionist), and I suppose this kind of investment and commitment to your employees really makes all the difference.

I can't really put into words how inspiring and uplifting a talk it was, it just made me realise the kind of mind frame, ambition and drive that you need to create great things. Here are a few snapshots from the talk, and if you want to have a look at their gorgeous work it can be found at

The Pearlfisher team on their 5th birthday holiday to the Alps...

... and in the Maldives (I think, wherever it is, it looks hot!)

Create, embrace and force the change on yourself 

Boob of the month award... 

Cawston Press packaging 

Pearlfisher letterpress course

No free pitching! 

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