31st October 2023
Who on earth is Ed Shropshire?
You’re familiar with our work, but not the people who make it happen. Let’s do something about that. This is Ed, one of our partners. Find out his interests, inspirations and what makes him who he is.
Who are you and what do you do at KOTA?
I am one of the three partners at KOTA who have worked together for ten years. I’m a creative (Design Director) so mainly oversee branding projects and support the design team with their own. I also work with Jonny (MD) to win new clients and onboard them and their teams.
How did you get here?
I’m a farmer’s son and grew up on a farm in Suffolk. When I was young, I was always in bands because we had an old barn to play ‘extremely’ loud music in (Dad still went mental when it was too late at night). I loved watching live music, especially in London at Brixton Academy and The Astoria. I ended up studying Graphic and Media Design at the London College of Communication (UAL), so I moved to South London when I was 19. After graduating, I worked in post-production in Soho for 5 years and ended up forming a band in East London. In between rehearsing and gigging around the city, I worked freelance here and there designing print, mainly album and vinyl covers, event posters, flyers, etc. It’s fair to say I always had my eye on graphic design and knew that’s where my main skills lay. Very long story short (including stints managing in hospitality), I eventually began working with James and Jonny in Battersea in 2013, and the rest is KOTA history.
Three favourite brands and why?
1. Established – Nike
Nike’s trainers are probably the most socially universal product/brand in the world, and the swoosh trademark is so iconic. How they went from being not much of a big deal in the 70s, to then completely taking over the trainer industry to become one of the most recognised brands in the world, is quite remarkable. And of course, the Air Jordan marketing is one of the most successful partnerships and campaigns in capitalist history.
Fun fact: The Swoosh logo was created in 1971 by university student Carolyn Davidson, for a fee of just $35 😱
2. Most Improved – The Premier League
English football’s reputation in the 1980s was on its knees due to hooliganism, and the best players in the world didn’t come to play in England until the end of their careers. English teams were banned from Europe for years, which didn’t help the state of the game here. What the creation of the Premier has done, as well as the marketing and branding it has built over the years, has now made it the most attractive place to play and invest. Today. we’re the number one most watched league around the world. Very impressive turnaround.
3. Startup – Oatly
The Oatly brand was a game changer for plant-based milk. Brands that were around prior to them were trying to look like cow’s milk and were bland in look and taste. Oatly created a brand that looked nothing like traditional milk and completely shook up the industry with its bold, brave graphical packaging. It also tastes the best, which kinda helps 😋
Good design is…
What makes the world a better place. The nicer your environment looks, the more people look after it. I feel like there should be no excuse for bad design.
When you were little you wanted to be…
An astronaut. Then a tree surgeon. Then a footballer. Then a rock star. Then a member of the KOTAVERSE obvs!
What do you geek out over?
I’m obsessed with Test Match Cricket. Yes, that’s the game that lasts for 5 days. It’s a very old, genius sport that takes huge amounts of concentration to play and is dangerous as hell 🏏 I also travel around Europe with a couple of mates of mine watching a band called IAMX…next stop, Berlin!
What’s something that usually surprises people about you?
In 1993 (when I was 12), I met Princess Diana. I think it’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life.
Also… I used to be addicted to EastEnders 🤓 After a stint at Enders rehab, I have now been clean for 3 years.