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Gary Cooke & Abbie Cooke

 

Gary Cooke

I'm a designer. I’ve worked across all media, straddling the analogue and digital world of design. I know what’s what, what works, what doesn’t and I never stop learning. I spend every day of my professional life working hard to create something special, because okay is not okay for me or my clients.

Not all my clients are big and successful. Some are small and successful but want to get bigger and better. Some are small and beautiful and want to stay that way, but always a step ahead of their rivals. Some are literally changing the world with innovative new medicines and they want to show the world who they are and attract the world’s brightest stars to work with them. And some are just starting out with ambition and a bright idea.

Chemistry is important and creativity is a collaborative process. Trust and getting on is important and sometimes so is falling out. The best work isn’t produced just by keeping everybody happy.

I help my clients discover what’s unique about what they do. Being unique and standing out means taking risks. I help identify the risks and create branding systems that build on their promise and engage with their audience.

I love what I do. I’ve been doing it a long time. I take it very seriously and I have a lot of fun doing it.

 

Experience

After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1978, I worked for 5 years getting to know how the design business worked, before setting up the award winning design agency Horseman Cooke, in 1983 – this later morphed into Open Agency – both top 100 UK Design Agencies.

I have worked with the world’s biggest brands, creating award winning packaging for M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Boots, innovative print for the major banks – RBS, NatWest and Lloyds, and even art directed Mickey Mouse in Disney World Florida. I have created websites for train companies – South West Trains and First Group and an award winning website for London’s most popular tourist attraction – The London Eye. I also helped launch the largest floating exhibition in the world on Queen Mary 2 for Cunard.

 

Abbie Cooke

I deliver our dynamic training courses, workshops and events.  Before Brand Cooke I worked in marketing financial services at PwC in Manchester and Moore Stephens in London before launching my own international art agency business, speakers’ bureau and charity.

I’m constantly developing my passion for enterprise, leadership and creativity – and for making a difference in the community.

I work with companies and charities of all sizes in a wide range of business sectors. I will help your organisation transform. I will inspire, motivate and train your team and will help you find creative solutions to enhance your brand.

I love what I do. I’ve been doing it a long time. I take it very seriously and I have a lot of fun doing it.

 

Experience

I’m an award winning speaker, sculptor and social entrepreneur. I have a degree in the History of Art and Design from the Manchester School of Art (MMU), a CIM diploma in Marketing, a City and Guild School of Art Diploma in woodcarving and gilding and an MSc in Entrepreneurship with distinction from Birmingham City University. I also went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and became a captain in the Territorial Army’s Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry and the TA Media Ops Group. More recently, I embraced the aspiring chief executive course at the University of London’s Cass Business School Centre for Charity Effectiveness.

In my early career, I worked in the City of London as a marketing professional at shipping accountants Moore Stephens. I loved working in the Maritime Industry and co-incidentally also loved maritime carving – and happen to be Britain’s only female ships’ figurehead carver! My passion for all things maritime evolved and I pursued a career as an artist-in-residence ships’ carver onboard London’s museum battleship cruiser HMS Belfast.

Within the shipping industry, I spotted a niche and launched an international art agency for cruise ships and soon became Britain’s largest supplier of artwork for Cunard’s prestigious Queen Mary 2 – And this paved the way for Gary to launch the largest floating exhibition in the world onboard the Queen Mary 2. It wasn’t long before my passion for public speaking spilled over into cruise ships and in 2001 I was invited to become a special guest lecturer onboard the famous QE2. Fuelled with a quest for adventure I decided to develop my business skills further and pursued a masters’ degree in Entrepreneurship.

The study of entrepreneurship – and indeed intrapreneurship within corporations – is fascinating. For a while, I became deeply embedded in the world of academia and was encouraged to go for a PhD – but instead I was ready for more action and set up a professional speakers bureau with myself at the helm. My clients ranged from ITV and DeVere Hotel Group to Borough Councils and Universities. A highlight of my professional speaking career came in 2009 when I embarked upon a European Tour with the Institute for Management Studies delivering one-day training events in London, Edingburgh, Bussels and Amsterdam.  I also enjoyed putting on art exhibitions in CEO’s offices and worked with BT Wholesale to promote the work of highly talented disabled artists with exhibitions and presentations at BT, NYK Shipping, N-Power and the British Paralympic Association.  

Inspired by social entrepreneurship I then looked for a way to ‘give back’ to society. In 2005 I co-founded Gig-Arts that became a registered charity in 2013. The charity inspires young and disadvantaged people who love the arts to create social change. I was honoured to win two awards for the founding of Gig-Arts including UK Business School Student of the Year for Corporate Social Responsibility and a British Female Inventor Innovator of the Year award.  

 

In 2010, looking for a fresh challenge, Gary & Abbie left London and moved to the Cotswolds where they had a beautiful daughter, inadvertently became part of the Chipping Norton Set and established Brand Cooke.