Chair of the judges
British Design Fund

John has been working for forty years in the brand and design industry, leading a number of marketing, brand and design consultancies in the UK and Internationally including WPP’s flagship Brand Consultancy, the Brand Union. He led the UK Design Council through a period of change, moving on from that role in 2016 after five years as CEO.

In 2017 he co-founded The British Design Fund, a venture capital fund supporting well-designed British product start-ups. He also works with the UK government advising on how to integrate design into their Healthy Ageing Programme, part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. He is an Adjunct Professor with the Design & Innovation School of Tongji University in Shanghai, exploring establishing a Design Innovation Hub in London

His other commitments include sitting on the Board of Falmouth University, Chairing MOBIE, a home-making education charity and sitting on the Steering Group for the Creative Informatics Programme led by Edinburgh University. John also annually Chairs The Drum's Design Awards, is a returning judge on China’s IDA Awards programme and speaks regularly at Design conferences and summits around the world.

Why I am judging these awards

The definition of design and its increasingly changing role in the worlds of business, the environment and social enterprise can sometimes be difficult to pin down. What is clear is that there is an ever growing understanding of its importance, and the crucial role that its practitioners play, in making the world a better place. However, at its heart the very best examples of design … be that design thinking, UX, product, graphic … or any of a multitude of other descriptors … embrace the simplest and most powerful of mantras … brilliant ideas, beautifully crafted. So tell us about how your submissions meet these two simple criteria and watch the awards flow in

Judging panel

John Mathers

British Design Fund

Paul Gray

Founder / owner
Suisse Design

Sophie Maxwell


Stephen Haggarty

Group Creative Director

Sue Daun

Executive Creative Director

Natasha Chetiyawardana

Creative Partner
Bow & Arrow

Jos Harrison

Global Design Strategy Director
Reckitt Benckiser

claudia morris

Creative Director
B&B studio

Kate Marlow

Creative Partner
Here Design

Chloe Templeman

Creative Director
Design Bridge

Nick Finney

NB Studio

Hiten Bhatt

Head of Design

Chris Bennett

Creative Director
Start Design

Sam Stone

Creative Director
Coley Porter Bell

Stuart Wood

Founding Partner
Missouri Creative

Joohee Lee

Associate Director

Ben Griffin

Innovation Lead, Design
Innovate UK