In 2011, after an award-winning career working for a range of companies including Abbott Mead Vickers, Collett Dickenson Pearce and Bates Dorland (Saatchi Group) and chairing EHS Brann (now Havas EHS), Rodger Williams launched RAW (otherwise known as Rodger Williams Associates). He works with a range of companies to help them develop their brands – from their architecture and identities to advertising, campaign planning and web design and build. He’s worked with a range of clients over the years including Guinness, Land Rover and Save the Children to name but a few.

1. What have been your key milestones and how have you celebrated them?

There have been many milestones over the years; getting into art school, first job, first awards, first company, all celebrated in different ways.

However, last year something happened that topped them all.

We built a smartphone web app for InfoBuzz, a youth charity in Gloucester. According to the BBC this app is ‘21st C Outreach’; it is too expensive to put care workers on the street, but nearly every youth has a phone. The app gives information about drugs, alcohol, homelessness and how to handle having a carer in prison but also allows confidential 1-2-1 counselling to help some of these kids who are in fairly difficult places in their lives.

During the infobuzz launch a youth detainee was brought along by the police to speak at the function. After she had spoken the prison warden that accompanied her asked me if she could speak to me. She came over and told me that what we had built was fantastic and that it would really help people like her; she told me that she was going back to prison to tell everyone that was being released to get the app and spread the word.
I celebrated that by having a little cry in the car park.

2. Have you had any setbacks or disappointments along the way and what have you learnt from them?

Lots; great ideas being killed off by any number of things; losing clients; losing a company in one instance.

You learn that you cannot control everything and that bad stuff happens.

Deal with it, learn from it and move on.

3. Have you taken any chances or risks that you feel have really paid off?

Yes, every time you present a concept or an idea it’s a risk.

The key is understanding how to minimise that risk; know your ground, your audience and prepare your arguments creatively and logically. The shock of the new where ideas are concerned can be difficult for some clients to take on board but there is no better feeling than creating work that excites the clients and brings them happily along with the creative leaps.

4. Tell us about your work life balance?

I spent 22 years working in London and learnt to heartily disagree with Dr Johnson’s view that a man who is tired of London is tired of life.

I live in the country and adore it; I enjoy visiting London, but also look forward to getting the train home.

When I am busy work consumes me; everything else goes by the board.

But I have many other things that jostle for position when there is spare time and each of them get the same amount of obsessive attention; game design, painting toy soldiers, building model terrain, war gaming and rugby union to name a few.

5. Where have you taken inspiration from?

Everywhere and everybody. Seemed silly not to really.

One of the key things about being a creative problem solver is the ability to make connections between things that others may not see; so I constantly consume art, music, film, books, news etc.

This is what, hopefully, injects originality, relevance and difference into our work.