COMING UP FAST: Young meteors - James Sommerville & Simon Needham, Attik

COMING UP FAST: Young meteors - James Sommerville & Simon Needham, Attik - From the confines of James Sommerville's grandmother's attic in Huddersfield, he and business partner Simon Needham created Attik, a graphic design company that now straddles t

by REBECCA HOAR
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

From the confines of James Sommerville's grandmother's attic in Huddersfield, he and business partner Simon Needham created Attik, a graphic design company that now straddles three continents. The pair launched the business in 1986 with a pounds 1,000 Prince's Trust grant, and landed their first job designing publicity leaflets for a nearby second-hand clothes shop. Before long, local PR agencies were hiring them for design work for their larger clients, and Attik opened an office in London.

The company was among the first to adopt Apple technology in 1986, enabling it to outperform competitors on time and cost. 'The bigger companies thought it might be a fad, but it made us faster and slicker than the rest,' says Sommerville.

The London office was so successful that Attik decided to open in New York in 1997, where the duo moved into broadcast as well as print media.

Since then, they have designed everything from beer pumps to music videos and worked on the rebranding of a TV station. Their knowledge of the youth market is such that they act as consultants as well as designers to some of their clients, a list that includes Adidas, Ford, Virgin, the BBC and Sony. And they're still expanding. With offices in New York, San Francisco and Sydney, 200 staff and a projected turnover of pounds 25 million this year, they've left the original Huddersfield attic far behind.

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