Lesser spotted webponce
Photo courtesy of Johan Berger / misteryo.com
Matthew Knight is a freelance Technical Creative Director
Matthew is a co-founder of digital creative agency de-construct in 2001, which was sold to Aegis and became part of the Isobar network. Since 2008 he has been working with a number of agencies and clients helping them develop and deliver digital ideas and products. He is a D&AD award winner, works with charities and non-profits for at least 20% of his time, and created and curates a number of collaborative projects such as the DisposableMemoryProject.org and MeatSpaces.com.
What is a Technical Creative Director?
Most people understand the concept of a Creative Director, either in a traditional or digital context, and generally Creative Directors have a background in copywriting or art direction. Matthew’s background is technology and as a Technical Creative Director, he sits somewhere at the start of a project to help conceive and develop and augment ideas, identifying interesting applications of new and digital technology, early stage planning, scoping and feasibility, and bringing his career's experience of delivering projects to help the creative development stage to deliver more robust and feasible ideas.
Matthew was one of the founders of de-construct in 2001, starting the company after all partners had met at digital agency deepend, where Matthew had been a senior developer in the web team. As Technical Director, Matthew’s day to day role involved leading and managing the technology team, scoping and planning the projects which came to the studio, defining and developing the production process closely with the PM team, and being client-facing helping gather requirements, understand a client’s business, pitching and presenting - as well being a critical part of the creative process, both concepting and developing ideas for clients working as part of the creative team. Equally Matthew spent a great deal of his time at de-construct as a developer, creating the code which powered so much of the work de-construct created, as well as leading R&D projects, investigating new technology and keeping abreast of new paradigms in digital communication, in order to help clients make the most of any relevant platform. As a founder, Matthew also played a critical role in the development and ongoing management of the agency itself, and helped the company grow from six to around 40 by the end of the acquisition by Aegis.
During his time at de-construct, he worked for a range of clients, including Panasonic Europe, London Elects, Working Title Films, Vitra and the BBC. He built a close relationship with adidas which continued after de-construct had lost the business, as well as Lucky Voice who he went on to consult for in a freelance capacity.
In the Summer of 2008, Matthew decided to leave de-construct to concentrate on other projects, and felt that freelancing would give him the flexibility to work on a range of types of project, both commercial and non-commercial.
His first contract was with Endemol Digital for six months, as interim Head of Technology. Working with the internal digital arm of the content production company, Matthew helped put in process to manage digital projects, as well as develop internal documentation and reduce costs on infrastructure such as hosting. He also worked closely with the international team and other departments to develop relationships with partner agencies and business development opportunities. In the final three months of the contract, Matthew helped find a full-time member of the team to take on the role of Head of Technology going forward.
Wieden + Kennedy
Matthew’s second role was as a Technical Creative Director at renowned advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, in their London office. Whilst the role itself was loosely defined, the time spent at W+K included a purely creative roles, developing ideas and concepts for campaigns working closely with planners and other CDs; and more production focused roles on other projects working with the producers and external agencies. The role at W+K was four days a week to allow Matthew to work on non-commercial activity for 20% of his week.
Matthew is now working with a number of agencies and clients in a freelance capacity, including Sidekick Studios, a social innovation agency where he provides creative and technical counsel; Maek Digital, a design studio where he provides Technical direction and creative input; and a number of other agencies mostly based in London, as a freelance technical creative. He is also involved in a number of early-stage start-ups providing advice and consultancy, and spends at least 20% of his time working on charity and non-commercial projects.
Charity and Non Commercial Work
The key focus of that 20% time recently has been Matthew’s involvement in the young but ambitious charity Child’s i Foundation, who are building a home for abandoned children in Uganda. Using open-source thinking, and substantial use of social media to build a community of supporters giving ‘time, love and money’, the charity has grown from one girl’s idea to a reality in a relatively short period of time. Matthew’s role as Head of Technology is to help the charity make best use of digital tools and concepts to raise funds and awareness of the charity’s work, as well as managing developers and designers to create content and campaigns for the project. Matthew has also taken a very hands on approach including designing and building the current CiF website.
Matthew is also working with a number of other charity or not-for-profit initiatives, for instance being on the advisory board for a Cultural Olympiad project ‘Somewhereto’ through the Legacy Trust UK, as well starting a project which aims to link agencies and media networks to small-medium charities.
There are also a number of projects which Matthew has founded or gives his time to, including the Disposable Memory Project - a international photography project where people are passing around disposable cameras, tracking them online and then posting the images when the cameras return, a venture which has taken the project to 60 countries with over 250 cameras to date; MeatSpaces - a project which aims to catalogue and review places and spaces to meet and work in London for digital nomads, those who don’t have an office to work from, but move from client to client, or end up working in coffee shops.
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