James Sommerville – bio / 2021
Founder of KNOWN UNKNOWN
James recently departed the corporate world to explore what he believes will be the next revolution in the creative agency model.
The future of ‘distributed creative production’ starts by finding the greatest talent wherever it may be. James is inviting designers and creator’s from all backgrounds to be part of this emerging community.
Why? Because now more than ever there is remarkable talent emerging from all corners of the globe and “this talent doesn’t need to work for you anymore.” In the new era of distributed creativity, talent will be able to work on their own terms.
Known Unknown is 100% distributed model with a purpose to connect these distributed creatives of all disciplines from all over the world, to share, mentor, collaborate and grow together.
Vice President of Global Design, The Coca-Cola Company
James joined the world’s most iconic brand in 2013 to reinvent the definition of Design at one of the world’s greatest marketing success stories and also introduce ways across a global system to leverage design to drive innovation and create growth opportunities – beyond simply a packaging team. James transformed the ‘packaging dept. of 2013’ to a Design-Thinking led, human centered strategic design team involved in all major activations across the global system. James activated global brand campaigns in over 200 markets and introduced/built creative networks internally and externally to work in more agile ways directly with creative talent.
Under his leadership he successfully branded.
Coca-Cola Trademark, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid. Fairlife, Fuse Tea, Powerade, Dasani, Glaceau Smart Water, Seagram’s, Mello-Yello, Peace Tea, Aquarius, deValle, Schweppes, Santa Clare. In addition to many product rebrands James led key programs such as;
• Coke Bottle 100 year celebration 2015
• One Brand Strategy KOTM Identity 2016 – reinventing the icon
• Taste The Feeling OOH global campaign 2016
• Workplace 2020 design for global HQ and global offices
• “Beverages for Life” corporate visual identity 2017
• London 2012, Rio 2016 Olympic visual identities
• FIFA 2012 (South Africa), 2014 (Brasil) and 2018 (Russia)
• CokeXAdobeAYou Tokyo 2020 global design challenge
• Coca-Cola “love” can
• Coca-Cola ‘StarWars (Disney) activations
“Undoubtedly, I can openly say that James represents a ‘before and after’ in the history of The Coca-Cola Company.”
Marcos De Quinto (former CMO), The Coca-Cola Company
Founder of ATTIK
Following a word-of-mouth article on the fledgling Prince’s Youth Business Trust Charity - 1986, he applied for a start-up grant and received £2,000 seed funding to start their design company.
They launched their design agency in James’ Grandma’s attic bedroom in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK 1986.
The design agency was called “ATTIK”.
Over 25 years ATTIK grew to have offices in Leeds, London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sydney and over 250 staff.
James sold ‘ATTIK’ to Dentsu Advertising, Japan in 2007 and remained with Dentsu until 2013 in a leadership global agency role.
Design Student and “Street Artist”
James studied Graphic Design and Typography at Batley Art School, West Yorkshire, ENGLAND, 1982-1986.
Prior to leaving art school in 1986, aged 19 years old James was / ‘chalking’ on the streets in UK towns centers for income. He did this for 3 years before he and a friend, decided to come indoors and try to start their own design agency with no previous business experience.
The Prince’s Trust Alumni, Fellow and Patron
Has actively been involved in The Prince’s Trust (PT) for almost 35 years both as a recipient (1986) and today as an Ambassador and Alumni Fellow and Patron.
James has been an advisor to the national PT leadership team (inc working with former-CEO Martina Milburn) and before that he worked closely with former-CEO, Sir Tom Shebbeare on developing new strategies for the Trust to appeal to young people in the UK.
ATTIK is a great example of a successful and tangible ‘Trust product’
James appeared on ‘Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” UK for The Trust and raised $125,000. James was a Prince’s Trust (Yorkshire) executive member until relocating to USA.
James was the Chair of the Yorkshire Princes’ Trust HNW fund-raising group, raising over £100,000 from local businesses for the Yorkshire region.
James has spoken live at over x25 Prince’s Trust events including being on stage with HRH The Prince of Wales
Buckingham Palace (2007)
St James’ Palace (2014)
Clarence House (2016)
James was honored to help celebrate The Prince’s Trust 25 year celebration British TV documentary. James was honored to help celebrate The Prince’s Trust 40 year celebration British TV documentary.
Today, The Trust has helped 1,000,000 young people to date and supports more and more each day. James is assisting The Trust to launch The Prince’s Trust America.
“James has become the Virtuous Circle.”
HRH Prince Charles
James has since provided guidance and mentorship to many UK design companies as an Advisor and Business Mentor to over 50 agencies, ranging from existing (established) businesses to start-ups.
Member of the University of Huddersfield Alumni.
Past member of the UoH Executive Committee
Current member of UoH Advisory Board
Creative Industry talks;
Has spoken on Design at over x250 different locations/ live events over the past 25 years as keynote or panel speaker / judge.
International locations / speaking;