From Worcestershire to the World: the second act of the Tristan Palmer story


Three years ago, we told the story of the eponymous founder of Tristan Palmer Studio; a company based in Worcestershire who, with the help of Creative Commission, rapidly expanded out from a predominantly local client base, to take on projects all over the world.

Tristan signed up with Creative Commission back in 2014, quickly winning an eye-catching first brief with Pendulum side-project Knife Party. “It was all done at very short notice,” he said in 2016, “and it wasn’t a huge gig, but it set a precedent, and we haven’t looked back.”

But, while Creative Commission can open up exciting new initial opportunities, can it help enable a business to keep growing over a number of years?

Well, who better to ask than Tristan, three years on from that catch-up, with his company’s CV now boasting work with Skepta, Rudimental’s label Major Toms, HozierBring Me The Horizon and Phantoms.

“I initially signed up out of curiosity and subsequently wanted to apply for a few briefs over the following weeks, and here we are nearly six years later,” he says.

His company specialises in two types of projects — firstly, identity and creative direction projects, “where we’re able to get really stuck in from an early point in the process and help shape the long term direction of an artist, release series, or label”, and secondly, digital projects “where we are able to combine our background in solid design with innovative web development technologies to create unique websites and web-based experiences.”

‘Since we first joined, the business has grown around 40–50% year-on-year… CC has most definitely helped us on that journey.’

The latter type can range in scope: “It might be as simple as adding in subtle interactive details that haven’t been seen before; or it might be as complex as creating bespoke interactive 3D illustrations that a whole website is based upon,” while Tristan explains that, naturally, “the holy grail is when we get to do both of those things”.

His company boasts a hugely impressive rate of expansion.

“Since we first joined CC, the business has grown around 40–50% year-on-year. It’s difficult to quantify the specifics given as we were only a year into business when joining, but CC has most definitely helped us on that journey.”

The company has also developed a more international outlook project-wise, as well as relating to people networks, with Tristan saying two years ago that around 35% of their clients were local, with the rest further afield. Now, “the split is around 85–90% further afield (typically most projects come from London, LA or New York), with a few projects still coming through locally.”

 

So, the fun bit: what was the most creatively rewarding brief they’ve won on CC?

Skepta’s site is certainly still up there,” he says. “When we were first approached we went all-in with an initial presentation to ensure we didn’t miss the opportunity. It also helps that there is a really great team behind the scenes, client-side, who we’ve since been fortunate enough to work with on several great projects.

The Major Toms site has been a great little project for us recently. We initially connected through CC around 12 months ago.

Major Toms website for Rudimental’s new label

“More recently we have been working closely with the musician Andrew Gannon, where we have provided creative direction for his debut release and developed a visual identity to launch his experimental electronic alias, OnMan.”

“The project involved some complex conceptual ideas from the outset, and we explored a lot of ideas and avenues before we ultimately decided to get a full 3D scan done of his face and body, which has been morphed, treated, and warped to create collateral which is being used across the launch campaign, and will form a solid base for creating his visual output to come.”

So, as someone who has had a lot of success with CC, what are his tips for winning those briefs?

Don’t try to be all things to all men. Find a niche either in terms of your output, or your approach, the industry is becoming ever more saturated, so carving out your own specialism(s) will help you stand on your own initially.”

As for future dream clients, “Warp are still really high on our list, as are XL — I’m a huge fan of so much of their output and Richard Russell’s approach to the industry and artistry. Benji B is still an inspiration too, I’d love to collaborate with him one day too.”

Check out more about Tristan Palmer Studio here