People

Meet Gareth, founder, graphic designer and chief Acid Worker

Acid.Works
By Acid.Works 3 min read
15 Jun 2023

Introduction

Gareth is the founder and director of Acid Works. With 25 years in the game, he is a passionate design orchestrator, leader and graphic designer. Who along with his team helps organisations and people around the world reach their potential. From North America, Europe and the Middle East (where he is currently based) his output, quality and consistent ability to transform complex client challenges into seamless, game changing experiences is without question.

“Growing up in the early 90s, the graphics, sounds and stories of video games profoundly influenced me. The perfect mix of art and technology dancing together. It’s how I like to think of what I best do today. Orchestrating complex client challenges into real business impact and experiences people love”.

Early years

As a young student, Gareth designed his first public work in 1998, appearing on the streets and walls of night clubs in his home town of Sunderland. In 2001 he moved to London working at a publishing house where he would soon proudly see his work on the cover of magazines across the city. An early ‘Look i did that!’ moment for the enthusiastic young designer. The buzz of the capital would soon cast its magic spell and a fascination with retail, street culture and travel would inspire many adventures to come.Some of which is captured in his 20 Sunderland University talk – ‘Adventures into Design – A 20 Year Journey’ below:

After graduating he worked as a graphic designer in the north east of England, later setting up his own agency ‘Change Design’ in 2005. Which aimed to bring his London expertise and experience back home to benefit the businesses of the city. Design for the music industry was still a primary feature in Change Design’s studio output, with multiple CD album, vinyl record sleeve and club promotion artwork. Around that time, at the age of just 25 he was invited to teach part time at the University of Sunderland’s design school. Which set a path of continued support for education. He is now an Enterprise Fellow and featured Alumni at the University of Sunderland.

One of the many CD sleeve art designed by Change Design, Gareth’s first business

Going global

In 2007 – 2009, Gareth would visit America, the Middle East, China and Japan. Landing in Tokyo on his 30th birthday. 1 year later he started his first role in Dubai, where his career (like the digital industry) would begin to scale. He joined Infusion (now acquired by Avanade), a pioneering Canadian IT and digital consultancy as Art Director. A role that would leverage his design talents and passion for all things technology, brands and retail. This natural alignment secured several trips to Toronto, New York, London and across the GCC. Where he would work on large scale digital transformation projects. From banking innovation, digital products and the interactive retail experiences. In 2013, was pulled in last minute to join team members in Niagara Falls for Infusion’s annual tech hackathon. His team would go on to win the competition against some of brightest talent in North America.

Go Team Navy Blue! Gareth’s team takes gold at Infusion’s annual hackathon

In 2014, works for IKEA was featured at PSFK’s ‘The Future of Retail Awards’ in New York. With other projects such as Sport Chek’s flagship digital store roll out, picking up various accolades in the digital industry. In 2017 he contributed to the transformative Smart Gates at Dubai International Airport, which are now used by millions of travellers annually. Later roles would see him leading initiatives at global consulting firms such as Accenture and Synechron, along with project engagements at EY and McKinsey.


Acid Works is born

In January 2020, exiting Accenture was the push to start his own practice again. Initially teaming up with new friend and soon to become business partner Mark Wane… by June, Acid Works would become a registered design company in the United Arab Emirates. And support clients globally with first class brand and digital transformation. Gareth would bring together a team of creatives and developers around the world. Delivering insanely great work and business impact as a compact, well orchestrated unit.

Gareth and early business partner Mark Wane, shooting photos for the launch of Acid Works

2022, scale, an office and a baby

Acid Works opened its UK Design Lab at Hope Street Xchange, in Gareth’s home town of Sunderland. Where it would support graduates and young designers gain exposure to clients at a global scale. Hope Street is part of the University of Sunderland business program, further continuing his connection to education. It’s also a stones throw from his mom’s place, who had recently moved into the centre of town.

The Acid Works UK Design Lab at Hope Street Xchange, Sunderland

2022 would also see Gareth travel on business to Austin Texas, Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Valencia. As well as speaking at RMIT Design University in Saigon. Importantly, it would secure new clients in the gaming and 3D industry, closing the loop of his passion and expertise, an opportunities Acid Works continues to expand upon as a core business strategy.

Gareth also hosted and directed (what is widely regarded as the Middle East’s best industry meet up of all time)  TERRA:FORM at Expo 2020with help from friends Atoyle and Human Centred Design UAE. It was a sell out event showcasing the region’s leading design companies and people. Along with a ‘Global Design Gallery’ to celebrate amazing designers and agencies around the world, in the spirit of Expo.


Personal Life

More so than ever, Gareth remains a huge gaming and tech enthusiast. Recently embracing the electric car age as a mostly happy Polestar 2 owner. Yet when it comes to music, his oldest gadgets are still his pair of Technics 1210 vinyl turntables. Gareth runs the popular Soundcloud page The Classic Mix CD Series.  A catalogue of over 800 DJ mix albums from the 90s /00s which to date has over 7 million plays and 40,000 followers. He also snowboards and enjoys street photography.

2022 seen the birth of his daughter Nabi Bae and his wedding to wife Sora in Seoul, South Korea. He is also equally proud of his Jack Russel Terrier, Rio aka @riotherussell.

Gareth, Sora and Nabi at Nakseongdae Park in Seoul, September 2022
Rio at West Beach, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai

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Thanks for reading.
We love to help you think, design and build amazing brands and services. To find out more, get in touch!

e: hello@acidworks.net
t: +971 58 178 4876

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