Tom Heaton is a graphic designer based in Manchester, currently plying his trade as Global Creative Director at PHMG. He also works independently through Made by Formula and specialises in branding, strategy and typographic design.
Beware the person who claims to have 10 years’ experience when they should have 1 years’ experience, repeated 10 times.
— Alan Fletcher
Global Creative Director, 2021—Current
The world's leading audio branding agency. I have joined PHMG to transform the brand identity and strengthen all marketing channels—ensuring that the aforementioned title is clearly evident.
Founder & Creative Director, 2019—Current
This is my freelance persona, focussing on delivering creative for a selective group of wonderful clients. I, like most, value my time greatly which is why these are projects that I am passionate about, helping people build beautiful brands that make a positive impact.
Creative Director, 2017—2021
I joined the agency at a rocky period of history but have since helped to ensure stability, better working practices and greater growth. Ahoy has always prided itself on building beautiful brands, and more recently this has had a greater shift towards strategic and measurable branding.
Creative Director, 2014—2017
At the time of joining, DS had been operating for over 20 years with a main office in Leeds—I was brought in to help establish the agency on the other side of the Pennines. This was an intense period of branding and placemaking as 90% of projects were in the property sector.
Senior Designer, 2008—2014
I spent a long period of my career growing with Raw. There we began working on healthcare campaigns for the NHS and soon diversified into more sports-related briefs including the re-brand of Wolves FC. I became senior designer after the first 3 years and helped to solidify the agency through client wins and multiple awards.
Founder & Creative Director, 2006—2008.
I began my journey in ‘the real world’ by establishing a design studio in Chester the day after my degree show. The phrase ‘deep-end’ often springs to mind, but I was able to learn intensively about how a design studio operates at every single level.
Who have I worked with?
A few career highlights
This is perhaps my biggest project to date involving a club re-brand, sub-branding, stadium way-finding system and super-graphics. Although football club brands are now seen as a poison chalice, the new approach was welcomed by fans and gained recognition from Design Week and Creative Review.
Apparently my first word was “car” so it was great to have reshaped the home of British Motorsport—slightly too tenuous?! The typography was based on creating a racing line through each character and this was my first foray into 3D printing.
As a kid, I would dream about walking out at Wembley so getting the opportunity to do this for a design pitch was fantastic. The walk towards the stadium was the ultimate clash of excitement and nerves, which have never since been repeated. Thankfully we got the win too!
These were some of the most exciting years as a designer. We grew massively from the day I joined, worked with clients like the Premier League, The FA and Channel 4. We won awards and were featured in Creative Review’s Annual.
I’ve won a few awards over the years, but the International Society of Typographic Designers sits as my proudest. It’s an award that is all about craft and love for design. Not a black tie or swanky venue in sight, this experience was a small room full of the most talented typographic designers showcasing the best design from that year. Being sat alongside this group was incredible.
Although an area I’m not prolific at, visiting Universities and speaking to the next wave of creative minds is an incredibly rewarding experience. Returning to my old University, Lincoln, was are particularly proud experience.
As a lifelong Evertonian, a chance of creating work for the Blues was one I wasn’t going to let go. Not only did we win the competitive pitch but I managed to persuade the club that a custom typeface was integral to the success of the project. It maybe wasn’t 100% true, but it did mean I managed to create something completely original for the Toffees.
A dynamic that was deeply embedded at Raw and something I continue to push for within projects. Over the years I’ve worked with immensely talented illustrators, photographers, animators, developers, strategists etc.
I’m a firm believer in ‘we’ not ‘I’ which has made this summary section feel a little one-sided. My favourite highlight is to have worked alongside so many wonderful creatives—way too many to start naming individually—I count myself very fortunate to have been part of their journey as well as my own.
When I needed my brand designing there was only one person I was going to ask. Tom really spends the time to research and understand your brand in order to deliver the best solution both visually and conceptually. I was unsurprisingly delighted with what he created and I’ve had amazing feedback from people in my industry, many asking which agency produced it. I’ll certainly be involving Tom in any more design work going forward to enhance my business further.
— Stephen Townsend, Director, Snug Properties
Tom was able to create standout identities that captured the essence of what we do perfectly, whilst complementing our existing brand feel.
— Martin Blythe, CEO, Searchability
You arty types are off the planet!
— Steve Morgan, Chairman, Wolves FC
In 2015 I leant heavily on Tom to help me create the identity of my new business. It only took a short afternoon session for him to gather the information he needed from me to design branding and a website that completely represented what the business could be, and now is, to it’s customers. Tom has been approachable and, most importantly, available at every stage since and has provided fresh ideas that have ensured the marketing remains relevant and impactful as the business has grown.
— Jack Woodlock, Director, Empirical Search
It was a pleasure working with Tom to re-design our band logo. We’d had the rough idea knocking around as a mockup for a while, and Tom really helped to take our idea to that extra level! In preparation he was happy to chat on the phone to get a good sense of our aim and vision, and was really thorough in ensuring that the design remained in line with everything else we were doing stylistically. He presented a variety of different approaches and extensively mocked up all sorts of merchandise items so we could really get a feel for the new design. Tom responded to revisions quickly and was always really easy to communicate with, both via email, phone call and text. 100% thoroughly recommended!
— Isaac Anderson, Fast Car To Florence