In Conversation With Sophie Buckland, Design Director

Sophie Buckland, Design Director

14 June 2021

Kendra RogersHead of Insight & Strategy 375 6465

In our latest conversation, I sat down with Sophie Buckland, who was recently promoted to the role of Design Director here at psLondon.

Sophie has been showcasing and honing her incredible creative talents at psLondon for over 6 years. She is a passionate creative, avid gardener and has an admirable desire to give back to both her community and her working environment. I wanted to understand more about what inspires her, as well as picking up a few tips from her on gardening.

As always, we started with what Sophie does at psLondon.

SB: I’m a Design Director at psLondon, which is a very new and exciting role for me. I was promoted to sit alongside Scott McNamee in this role in May this year and together we oversee the quality of output from the creative team, sitting across all of the creative projects between us.

Sophie has been filling a leadership and quality role at psLondon for some time, so it seemed like a natural next step for her. I was curious to discover how she ended up at our consultancy and why she has chosen to stay for so long.

SB: Having been at psLondon for a long time I’ve developed an understanding of the brand, how we best work together as a team and how to maximise the quality of the work that we produce. The role isn’t a huge shift from my day to day - I guess I’m just progressing up the ladder a little bit.

“We have a relatively flat structure here at psLondon and are each given a degree of responsibility. We’re trusted to do great work.”

Although the agency has changed and grown over the years, its people, culture and warmth have stayed the same. This paired with the broad range of client work are the reasons I'm still here. The team structure at psLondon also appealed to me, being able to work across different teams and directly with the founders of the business who are very hands-on.

Sophie has taken the lead in establishing and building out our Diversity and Inclusion committee. I wondered what spurred her to champion this initiative and why she thinks it’s important to psLondon.

SB: I helped to form the Diversity and Inclusion Committee partly as a commitment to the company and also to grow and develop my learning. Earlier this year we took part in an Anti-Racism workshop and this piqued my interest. I did my own research and looked at various initiatives but hadn’t really factored in the work side of things and felt that both the company and myself have a lot to learn and gain from being involved.

Anything we can do to learn and create more awareness within our teams, with our clients and across our industry as a whole can help. It’s about trying to spread awareness but also be aware of the restrictions we do have currently and how we can change and improve on certain things.

Sophie and I have bonded over a lot, but one thing, in particular, is our shared love of gardening. As I consider her to be more of an avid gardener than me. I wanted to find out how she got into the hobby.

SB: So first of all, I’m definitely a novice gardener so my viewpoint on gardening comes from a passion as opposed to education. I started gardening in my previous rented flat, deciding to make small improvements here and there and seeing the benefits it had on my life and on the garden.

“Gardening makes you slow down, become more mindful and practise the art of patience because you certainly don’t get instant gratification from the process.”

I’m quite an impatient person and gardening has taught me to take the time and commit to something. Having a bit of greenery to enjoy when living in London gives us some much-needed respite from the bustle and commute of city life.

As Sophie shared her love of gardening I realised that I haven’t watered my plants for two very hot days! I ask what her favourite thing in the garden is and whether she has any tips for those of us without green fingers.

SB: My veggie patch is my favourite. The benefits exceed looking pretty and the fact that you get to eat the fruits of your labour is nothing short of amazing. You can just think of something that you enjoy eating and try to grow it yourself. I’m most excited about my aubergines. I've planted 15 so am hoping that at least one of them works out. There are many things you can learn about gardening, but I think you have to have an interest and a bit of curiosity before you make a start so that you keep it up.

Sophie spent her childhood in the country growing up on a dairy farm. I asked if this experience had any influence on her love of nature.

SB: I think when we’re young we take everything for granted. I had to grow up and follow my ambitions to a big city to make me truly appreciate what I had. I miss having access to nature all the time, so this made me want to have my own little green space and make it nice.

In a final thought on nature, I asked Sophie how her love of the natural world influences her work.

SB: There’s definitely something in this idea of patience, and noticing in myself a general sense of impatience. Sometimes when you do things you do them for instant gratification and results, but I have a real appreciation for being able to take a bit more time and work to create something that exceeds my expectations. This reflects back into my work. Using time wisely, allocating time to think and get inspired provides a better output for both you and the client.

“Like creative output, gardening will always surprise you because it has a wildness to it and no matter how much you try to control the process you have to let nature take its course organically.”

Growing up on a farm means I’m always keeping my eye out for interesting things around London, especially wild plants like Elderflowers which are great for making cordial. In Crystal Palace where we live, we have lots of beautiful and colourful Rhododendrons.

Finally, given Sophie’s new role, I was interested to hear what her dream client or sector would be?

SB: I’d love to work with some of the incredible Museums or Art Galleries scattered around London. I have a general interest in that world and would love to work on a campaign that encourages more people to visit their local museums and galleries and get involved with culture a bit more. Now that we can get out more I think it’s also important to support more local exhibitions.

Sophie has shared a list of her most recently visited galleries:

Museum of the Home

Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Photographers' Gallery

House of Illustration

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