GARY JAMES BIRKS Originally trained in ceramic design I have created award winning tableware designs and I'm a driving force within ceramics, tabletop and homewares. I have worked with the world s most prestigious ceramic manufacturers and have taught and lectured on the subject throughout the UK. My dynamic creativity can be seen on the high street as well as in exclusive boutiques around the world.
GARY JAMES BIRKS DETAILS
9a North Street, Clapham Common, London SW4 0HN
As part of the Waterford Wedgwood Group I worked within four brands: Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Minton. These brands hold high prestige and heritage with very diﬀerent brand identities and consumers. Alongside these core brands I also worked on a set of designer brands ‒ again with very diverse brand personailities: Terence Conran, Vera Wang, Monique L huillier, Donna Hay, Gordon Ramsay and Zandra Rhodes. My key responsibilities included:
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Staﬀordshire University. MA Ceramic Design - Merit
Manchester Metropolitan University. BA (Hons) Contemporary Arts 2:1
Newcastle College. BTEC National Diploma in Contemporary Arts ‒ Merit GNVQ Art & Design- Merit
Designing across all categories within the Waterford Wedgwood Group to include: tableware, giftware, crystal & glass, nurseryware, hospitality, airlines, licensing, collectables, packaging and visual merchandising. Working to deadlines, designing to manufacturing capabilities and within cost. Often requiring me to meet suppliers and visit factories. Undertaking research, following trends and evaluating competitor s products; maintaining awareness of all global market categories and design for international market places.
Design Manager LSA International In this role my main objective is to create commercially successful products from glass, ceramics, textiles, wood and cork. Incorporating both shape design and pattern I design the whole product from start to ﬁnish, as well as being involved in the manufacturing process.
Designer/Manufacturer, eBay Express Exclusives Collection. Ebay launched a new website with the intention of rivalling Amazon ‒ along with four others I launched a specially commissioned home wares range, exclusive to eBay express. I was picked for this project as a upcoming new designer and my products sold out in entirety. I helped to promote an upcoming new website through press interviews and launch materials giving the site some design integrity.
Designing for LSA is my main focus, but product development for other brands such as John Lewis, Muji, The White Company and Conran is also undertaken. Meaning I have to be versatile, understand the brand DNA of each company and translate that into the ﬁnal product for them. Working predominantly in glass, I visit the factories in Eastern Europe regularly to understand the limitations of this material, allowing me to stretch my designs further, which allows innovation and ﬂair. Following seasonal trends, to design two collections a year for LSA & further collections for third parties
Designer, Waterford Wedgwood
Stand design and build for key trade shows throughout the year
Graphic Designer, Waterford Wedgwood Whilst studying for an MA in Ceramic Design I also worked at Wedgwood putting together their in store POS. By adding in store theatre and oﬀering clarity to oﬀers and promotions I developed my typography and layout skills ‒ making my work relevant to the Wedgwood consumer in a retail environment.
Collaborating with third party buyers to design products that ﬁt their brand vision Manage a team of designers, plus freelancers on a day to day basis
Co-ordinate and manage photography for all new launches ‒ choreographing each shot appropriately, according to the product & season
Direct liaison with the sales team, incorporating their feedback into the new collections, depending on which sku s sell best, feedback from customers and usability.
For the 2011/2012 academic year Leeds University started a new course; Ceramics Foundation Degree. I was honoured to be asked to work as a consultant for them. My role as an industry professional was to ensure that the course content was correct and pitched at the right level for the students, enabling them to train in preparation for the workplace when they graduate.
Design Manager, Whittard of Chelsea Working with a design team, plus freelancers and agencies I was tasked with a major brand re-fresh in time for the 125yr anniversary of Whittard of Chels ea. This included raising the standard of the packaging and adding in store theatre ‒ as well as clearly deﬁning the tiers within the brand. The brand refresh must draw in new consumers, whilst not alienating the current consumer base;
Design key products, injecting a fresh appeal whilst retaining loyal consumers
Lab Technician, South Cheshire College Working alongside the course tutor to help students with their work; both technically and creatively. I was responsible for the working of the kiln and developed my skills and knowledge regarding what is technically possible in ceramics.
Manage a team on a day to day basis, encouraging new ideas and approaches where appropriate Inspire the Buying Team with creative trends for the upcoming seasons Work alongside the Buying and Merchandising teams to ensure the correct product is in store at the correct times
Education Consultant, Kirklees University, Leeds
Assess and improve existing design processes 10-PRESENT:
LRW Design Agency, Fortnum and Mason products
Lifestyle, Poole Pottery and the Royal Staﬀord Group
A & R Design, Los Angeles, USA
Working in and visiting the Far East to improve services by working closely with suppliers
T.G. Green & Co Ltd
Maintaining a close relationship with existing suppliers and sourcing new suppliers
Working alongside a legal team to ensure all copyright stipulations are met
Vista Alegre, Portugal
Follow trends and interpret them into the core values of Whittards To keep continually informed about manufacturing processes, using this to inﬂuence processes and costs in a positive way for Whittards
Ivalo celebrates the collaboration of natural materials working in harmony to make a collection of domes with a casual feel; I designed the collection to appeal to a design led customer looking for something diďŹ€erent within the market.
Serve is an extensive collection of classic handmade glassware, designed for displaying and serving food on all occasions throughout the seasons. I designed these additions to sit within the collection
Dine was created to be a stylish setting for any occasion, formal or casual. I have introduced these new items into the collection
Drawing on Donna Hay s iconic style, this range mirrors what Donna loves to use herself in her own kitchen. Based on vintage ďŹ nds, retro pieces and clean minimalism this eclectic collection brings Donn a ideals to life.
Designed for core hospitality Loop was one of the ďŹ rst projects l led and designed from start to ďŹ nish. Designed for functionality with an integral stacking feature.
Since launching the range its success has been overwhelming and is now being adapted to sit within the Royal Doulton casual range.
Chophouse is a range designed by Terence Conran for Royal Doulton. I brought to life Conrans sketches to produce the casual range.
The award winning homeware range features ceramics, wire, glass, textiles and wood.
Gordon Ramsay by Royal Doulton: This casual range derived from the success of the formal range and has expanded to include pans, knives, glass and textiles.
I have been lucky enough to work on the Minton collection re-working archive projects. Bringing forgotten designs back to life.
As part of my role for Whittard of Chelsea I led the new branding project with the results that can be seen across all stores.
On the strength of the sales of the key handle mug I extended the mug range to include these classic mugs.
This timeless tea set was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and was launched in line with the Tim Burton ďŹ lm.
This iconic key handle range is the number one best seller within the mug module for Whittard of Chelsea.
Summer blossom illustrates what the Whittard of Chelsea target customer wants. This is the number one best selling ceramics range.
Line extensions within the chintz collection.
Working with International franchises I designed a tea range that would celebrate 125yrs of Whittard of Chelsea.
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