25th January 2018 |
Glug Profiles: Steve James-Royle

Hi, hey, hello Steve! How’s it going? You having a good week so far? You know what, I am! Its been an epic week and it's only mid-week! Thanks for coming in and talking to us...


Amazing... Let’s start easy, shall we? For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you, who are you and what do you do? I’m Steve, one of two co-founders of The Yard Creative. TYC is a Strategic Retail Design agency and my wife and I set it up 11 years ago whilst on honeymoon. My role at TYC is like any entrepreneur; mixed, varied and kind of crazy! I am the Creative Director, the New Business Director, Teacher and Chief Inspirer. I have an incredible team that support me to do all of these aspects.

So, how did you end up doing what you’re doing now, then? When I was younger I was only good at two things: sport and drawing. I did well in sport but it was never going to be a career. Having taken a questionnaire after sixth form, ‘designer’ came up as the top spot. I managed to get in to UCA and worked my nuts off! I started working at Corsie Naysmith in summer breaks, won a few competitions, graduated with a 1st  and got straight to it! I became Associate Director at Astound in 2002 and then started TYC in 2007.


That's incredible, and very fast-paced by the sounds of it... Have you had any mentors along the way of your career to support you through all of this? Totally! I’ve been super lucky to have some incredible mentors on the way. They include Stuart Naysmith, Ken Corsie, Ali Stoner, Mark Dickens and Michael Longmore. I learnt a ton from them all. But then major influence comes from people you meet along the way that you don’t expect. Mike Roberts, Mark Gower, Jonny Eddy and Jenny McDonagh were all peers that taught me so much!


Great! And looking back – if you were to give your younger self an advice on what to go for, or think about when you’re just about to step into the industry, what would that be? Realise that the way you think as a creative is unique and never under estimate the value of that. Being creative doesn’t mean you have to draw. You can use your skills to change so much – so don’t limit yourself!

Apart from working… What do you get up to in life? Got any exciting side hustles or passions to tell us about?
Absolutely. I enjoy my work but life is for living and work/life balance is super important. I wakeboard, snowboard and skate so travelling sideways is a big passion for me. It’s the moments of complete emptiness in my mind when riding, that keep me sane. But my reason for being is my family. I am super lucky to have an incredible wife and two super boys. It's crazy how they can inspire you to be better whilst giving you a free ticket to play lego all weekend :-)

Love that! And then... On the flip side, let's say you’re running low on inspiration, what do you do (or where do you go) to get this back on track again? Get out. Leave the desk behind, walk, talk and open your eyes to see what is around you. Plus, I always like to be near the water as it helps me think straight.


Ok, so let’s get a bit dreamy, shall we? If you could swap job with anyone in the industry, who would this be and why? I have always admired David Dalziel who has become a legend in our industry. But I’d answer by saying a recent graduate. Design is so exciting when you are starting out, and I’d do it all over again.

And… If you were given the opportunity to move anywhere without having to apply for any visas what-so-ever (and we’d sort the packing for you) — where would you go? Easy. Lake Zurich. A sweet pad on the water that I could ride on first thing in the morning, then get in the car and drive up to the mountains for the afternoon snow. Lush.    


That's sounds like the dream! Alright, let's wrap things up with a final link-blast of 5 inspiring/epic/awesome work that you’ve stumbled upon recently… 

1/ +
4/ – These guys are great!

This articles is part of our Glug Profiles series – a series of interviews aiming to highlight journeys and insights from creatives, makers, doers and cool cats from all walks of life in the creative industry, and the world. Get in touch with Malin if you'd like to take part:

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