36 Days of Type Challenge

On the 21st February, Kerry and I took it upon ourselves to take on the 36 Days of Type Challenge. 

For those of you who are unaware of what it is, it’s a project for anyone interested in design, typography or anything creative, and it invites you to express your individual view on the letters and numbers in our alphabet.

As a participant, you can choose to do as much or as little as you like; challenge yourself to complete the full 36 days, or solely design one symbol as you wish. The letters start from A and continue through the whole alphabet, finishing with numbers 0 – 9. Kerry and I took on the challenge of doing every single letter for the whole 36 days and we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed taking part! We have loved having time set aside to practice different techniques and mediums.

I wanted to create a set of letters that were all very different, so that I could explore photography, digital illustration, hand illustration, stencils and also practice using different adobe programs. Overall it was a really exciting project and was really good to see what everyone else came up with.

It’s amazing to see how differently people think in terms of design.

If I could do anything differently, I would make the letters work better as a set, however, it was a really fun project and good to have the flexibility to create a letter from scratch.


Kerry said,  “I loved being able to design with such freedom; usually, a brief has brand guideline constraints and set deadlines, but I loved being able to set my own deadlines and spend as long or little time as I had on that particular day.”

For example, you will see that some of her typography is very experimental and creative, creating her representation of typography out of objects such as thread, fruit and even splashes of tea. Kerry tried to start each letter with a completely blank slate every day, enabling her to practice a range of processes and to create a set of 36 typographic symbols that are very different in style and finish – check them out below.


Below are both of our sets of type altogether, with mine on the top and Kerry’s on the bottom.




Shannon, Junior Designer, Drew London.

A heartfelt “thank you”

This month we say goodbye to Drew co-founder Stephen, who is embarking on a brand new adventure in systems thinking in design.

I couldn’t be happier for Stephen; I’ve witnessed his curiosity for exploring new applications outside of brand and communications for the Drew way of thinking steadily grow and I know that he has so much to bring to the table in that field.

If you’ve worked with us at Drew, you’ll have experienced the passion we hold for our creative process and how it informs everything we do. Curiosity is very much part of that process—as a team, we are constantly questioning the status quo and refining our methodology to ensure that the work we deliver is exceptional, effective and always on brand. We thank Stephen for helping instil these principles of which we’re so proud, over his five years with Drew.


Prufrock Coffee

This is one of my favourite pictures of Stephen and I. Great memories, Lets not stop the laughter.

Giving back this Christmas

It’s that time of year again; the days are shorter and the nights are colder. But there is always a silver lining, or in this case, a red and green shiny lining. It’s Christmas and the time for Christmas parties!

This year Drewnion were given the chance to plan the Drew Christmas party.

Stephen reminded us of something we at Drew have always been a big fan of: random acts of kindness. So we went back to the drawing board and started to brainstorm how we could make this a part of our Christmas day. This Christmas, Drew have decided to do something different, something exciting, and finally, something to give back to the community. We believe that Christmas should be about making sure everyone is having a good time. An idea we initially had was a sort of Christmas bingo where we try to tick off fun tasks, such as taking pictures with Santa, finding the largest Christmas tree etc. However the more we thought, from an act of kindness point of view we decided rather than having a “bingo” aimed at us, what if we used it to give back.

Rather than a picture of Santa, how about we give a rough sleeper a coffee and have a chat with them. How about we help people, and really get into the true spirit of Christmas.

Sorted, we are going to give rather than take this Christmas.

But what about our clients, our friends, and our family. We want YOU to all be part of this and to help us give something to the community this Christmas.

So we would like to introduce ourselves this year as the Drew Christmas elves. We aim to give back to those around us and we need your help. We want you to decide what we do. We want YOU to instruct US to do something to give back to the community.

Behind the scenes, we have been building:


We are very close to launching. Sign up at drewxmas.co.uk for updates on this campaign and we will let you know when things go live.

We will be posting another blog post soon to keep you up to date with the progress on things.

Getting stuff delivered

I’ve now been working at Drew for just under two months. After half a decade of being a digital project manager, I’ve been transitioning into the slightly different role of a delivery manager.

To be honest, before applying for the job at Drew, I wasn’t 100% sure how a delivery manager was different from say a scrum master, head of production or a project manager but I knew I could do the job.

My basic understanding was that I would be taking overall responsibility for the delivery of projects, people, process, tools and working practices for the whole team. Turns out I wasn’t too far off

“Quite simply, a Delivery Manager is responsible for the delivery of projects and products, particularly using Agile methods”


Drew is a small team, agile by nature and self-organising. The team work on print, branding and digital and are often all working on different projects on any given day. Their process is a lot more lightweight than I’m used to. However, what I found was far from chaos. The team were communicating well, delivering on time and Drew’s clients were happy. Living proof that it’s more important to be agile than ‘do’ agile.

I could see where things were missing but I didn’t want to start implementing things which didn’t make sense for the team or the projects. We’re not working on complex software development here, we’re building marketing and brochure sites using WordPress. I’ve never been one to add process for process sake.

“The worst thing you can do is show up at your new job and just implement what worked at your last gig. Learn and iterate! #yow16 @billwscott”


With that in mind. I decided to look to my team to define exactly what a delivery manager at Drew looks like. I was fascinated by what I found. This session was based on this retro mat activity ‘Build your own scrum master’.

I started by asking the team to silently brainstorm what a perfect delivery manager looks like.


A photo posted by Holly Davis (@projectdavis) on

There were some common themes:

  • All projects should come through the delivery manager
  • The DM should ensure that all new work has a good brief before the team is briefed
  • The DM is responsible for scheduling and timekeeping
  • Focus on continuous improvement i.e. run regular retrospectives
  • Ensure work gets invoiced
  • Acts as a client buffer but supports the team and client equally
  • Helps us plan ahead – see what’s coming up in the distance
  • Helps us win more work
  • Collates and assigns tasks
  • Protects the studio from scope creep

The team also noted the characteristics they’d like to see in the perfect delivery manager, open, happy and calm all came up more than once.

Lastly, I asked the team what they think I should know about them in order to get the best out of them. There was an interesting mix of personal and team insights.

I found out things about people which may have taken a much longer time to come to realise e.g. a member of the team being colour blind, another who finds early morning conversations and too much noise stressful, I found out whilst one developer likes to work on multiple projects at a time, the other prefers to work in blocks. One developer likes to design as well as develop, one likes client meetings whilst the other one would prefer to not be client facing.

I learnt a lot about them as individuals but I also heard things which I could affect i.e.

  • The team expressed that they really like knowing if we’re doing well, both at an individual level and company level
  • They enjoy stand ups
  • They don’t like last minute meetings or too many meetings in a day. They also like meetings to be booked in between 10-4pm. All useful stuff to know as a Delivery Manager!

My final question focused on ways the team felt like they could help me in my role. In asking this question I found out the Creative Director enjoys process improvement and planning ahead, we have therefore already started to think about how we can implement product owner training, long term planning for the studio and SLA’s. I also received offers for support with QA, help proof-reading blog posts and Freeagent support.

Starting a new job can feel daunting but I left this meeting feeling like I had a clearer idea about the team’s expectations for this role. It also helped me to get to know individuals quicker and find allies and support as I start to push forward with making some improvements.

This week I introduced myself to a client as a Delivery Manager, once I explained what I did, they said, “Is that basically project management?”. I replied, yes because at the end of the day it’s just a job title, it’s all about getting stuff delivered. I’ll look to the team to know if I’m doing the job I was employed to do.

Exploring our local cafés

It’s no secret that we here at Drew love our food and drink, we’ve reviewed Breakfast Buns previously, and now felt it was about time that we shared our favourite local cafés. Each member of team Drew joined me for a 1-2-1 and a refreshment in a café within a 10 min walk of our EC1 office.

Discover our favourite below: but please remember, all the opinions are our own.

In last place: Kings Bakery

A local Drew fav, normally for a delicious lunch (or cake). I was excited to discover how the coffee was; James not so much. Here’s the rub: the food here is FANTASTIC: super cheap and super tasty. Sadly, the coffee was absolutely dreadful, though the fantastic service more than made up for it.

Purchased: A can of Coke and a latte

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 2
Service – 5 (love the staff)
Ambience – 5 (feels like being part of a Martin Parr experiment)
Look & feel – 2.5
Value for money – 5 (cheap as chips)
Total: 12.5

James enjoying the atmosphere

James enjoying the atmosphere

kingsbakery kingsbakeryboy kingsbakerydrinks


6th Place: Fix

Super excited to take Holly to Fix; felt like it was going to be the achingly cool café we’re after. The decor was a ‘wow’ but I’m afraid the service was a wash out. Barely acknowledged to be honest. Shame.

Purchased: One large and one medium skinny latte

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 4.5 (the coffee was totally delicious)
Service – 1
Ambience – 3.5
Look & feel – 5 (looked ace)
Value for money – 4
Total: 18

fix fixdrinks

Holly fitting into the brilliant interior

Holly fitting into the brilliant interior


5th Place: JonesTown

This coffee shop is on my way to the office and it’s my favourite coffee spot in the area. However, this time I went against the grain and had a hot chocolate with Shannon for our meeting. The messaging, attitude and down right hilarious newspaper clippings put a smile on your face. The use of lego is extreme as is their tolerance to dogs, thank goodness, as Spike needs a coffee each morning as much as I do.

Purchased: Hot chocolates

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 4 (hot chocolates were not as good as the coffee)
Service – 4
Ambience – 3
Look & feel – 5 (totally hilarious)
Value for money – 3.5
Total: 19.5

jonestown jonestowncoppers jonestownfc

One of Shannon's fav coffee spots!

One of Shannon’s fav coffee spots!

4th Place (although this could have won): Counter Kitchen

This is a new kid on the block; only opening its doors in October. A beautiful cafe, really thoughtful interior design, blended with inspirational quotes and yummy products to buy. Nadeem and I thought the atmosphere was really spot on although the seats could have been a little more comfortable.

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 3 (normally this would be 5, however on this occasion, we both felt the coffee tasted burnt)
Service – 4.5
Ambience – 5
Look & feel – 5 (really well considered interior)
Value for money – 3.5 (the most expensive bill of all)
Total: 21 (should have been 23)

counterkitchendrinks counterkitcheninterior counterkitchenquote

Nadeem studying the yummy menu

Nadeem studying the yummy menu

3rd Place: Brooklyn Coffee

Although I’ve had lunch in this cafe before, it was new to Rachel. Being a Friday morning we welcomed the caffeine pick me up. A funky cafe in a creative area we were expecting the decor to be eclectic and we weren’t disappointed; old wall paper mixed with brick work and vivid yellow signage.

Purchased: A mocha and skinny latte

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 4
Service – 5 (really friendly helpful staff)
Ambience – 3.5 (distracting Christmas music was a touch too loud)
Look & feel – 4
Value for money – 5
Total: 21.5

brooklyn brooklynsign

Rachel getting ready for her coffee fix

Rachel getting ready for her coffee fix


Runner Up: Central Street Cafe

Joe and I hopped literally across the road to our ‘local’ cafe. It’s always welcoming and in the summer has the added bonus of a roof terrace. The staff are always super friendly and if Avocado on Sour Dough is your ‘go’ then this is the place for you!

Purchased: Skinny latte and a chocolate milkshake

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 5 (always)
Service – 5 (always)
Ambience – 4 (it was packed and a touch noisy)
Look & feel – 4.5
Value for money – 4
Total: 22.5

centralstreetdrinks centralstreetfood centralstreetinterior

Camera shy Joe

Camera shy Joe

The Winner: Workshop Coffee

Kerry and I visited Workshop Coffee for our meeting. What a beautifully considered cafe; from the friendly, welcoming staff, to the urban decor right through to their simply delicious coffee.

Purchased: Latte & English Breakfast Tea

Scores (marks out of 5):
Quality of product – 5
Service – 4 (they forgot Kerry’s sweeteners)
Ambience – 5 (you could work there with ease)
Look & feel – 5* (fab fab fab)
Value for money – 3.5 (LDN prices but so worth it)
Total: 22.5*

Kerry loves the atmosphere in Workshop Coffee

Kerry loves the atmosphere in Workshop Coffee

workshopcoffee workshopcoffeecups workshopcoffeeinterior workshopcoffeemen

If you’d like us to review your café and you’re in the, or near, the EC1 area: Drop me an email: elle@drewlondon.co.uk

Shillington College

I joined Drew over a year ago through the charity lead apprenticeship: Step Forward. On completion of my course Drew offered me a junior creative full time position whilst studying a Graphic Design nine month course at the Shillington College. I can learn the skills to become a Graphic Designer! I honestly couldn’t have felt happier when Drew offered me the position!

The course started in September and runs on a Monday and Tuesday evening from 6pm-9:30pm, but some of us turn up at 5:30pm in order to discuss the homework and exhibitions we’ve been to that week. It’s also a really good time to share any information about any exhibitions, events or creative talks that are on around us that we could all go to.

The first semester, which I’m currently halfway through, has had a strong focus on Adobe InDesign and the print side of design, whilst also teaching us the importance of design principles all of which are really valuable when working on live projects with Drew. The evenings consists of either a lecture or talk which guides us into the next brief. The briefs are a really unique part of this course because they allow us to work as though we are creating work for real clients.

As the first semester has developed, the briefs have become longer which is great as it gives us a chance to focus on all the elements of completing a brief such as research, mood boards, idea generation and also thumbnailing, before rolling out the final ideas and working on three main options. Thumbnailing is a really useful way of getting your ideas down on paper, so that is when we sketch out ideas before we do them.

During the conception stage we have regular reviews as a class to critique each other’s work which is really helpful for us all to push projects to the next level, as it challenges our work.
As I have completed more briefs, I’m gaining in confidence and believe my deliverables are becoming more exciting and more considered.

So far the Shillington College course has taught me loads about simply looking everywhere at what is around me and becoming more aware and inspired. We’ve been encouraged to use Instagram more and finding blogs that I genuinely enjoy reading, not necessarily to do with design but to do with what I love; here’s some that I’ve particularly enjoyed:

Its Nice That,  The Design Blog , Typetoken, Creative boom, and Logo Design Love

I have loved visiting so many inspirational exhibitions. The first exhibition I went to was The House of Minalima in Soho , which was an exhibition focusing on the print work from the Harry Potter films. It was incredible, especially having the opportunity to see all of the different elements that contributed to the final films. It’s crazy how much thought went into the production of the film, and how you only notice all these small elements when they are put in front of you.

As we head towards Christmas, I have just had my first review which went really well. Overall, I’m really enjoying the course and I think by the end of it I will be in a really good position to start my career in graphic design being part of the Drew Crew!

Week 1 at Drew London

Firstly, let me introduce myself. I’m Holly, the new Delivery Manager at Drew LDN. If you’d like to know more about my recent move to London and my search for the right agency, you might be interested in reading this post first.

I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been getting up to in my first week.

1st November

It’s only natural to feel nervous on your first day but as soon as I opened the door, I was met with the warmest of welcomes.

My computer was set-up and ready to go. The wifi password written on a post-it and a file on my desktop with all the other passwords I needed to get started. As well as a notepad, pen, sharpie, office keys and business cards.

I started by logging into my email, I had been sent invites to all the tools they use as well as a copy of my contract and the company handbook.

Stephen talked me through how they use Trello and Free Agent. He said to treat my first week as a “discovery week”, observing how they currently work and getting to know the team. Agencies champion “discovery” phases in projects so it makes sense that we should do the same with onboarding new employees.

We then all went out for Nando’s for lunch!

The afternoon consisted of the following

  • Shannon showed me how to create new job codes
  • Joe gave me a tour of the office
  • Joe and Nadeem told me about the plan for Christmas (no spoilers!)
  • Nadeem took some time out to talk me through one of Drew’s key clients i.e. key meetings, contacts, current velocity
  • Stephen discussed causal loops with me

2nd November

The day starts off with standup. I love how when a team member nominates someone else to give their scrum update they start by asking “how they are”. It’s simple but feels genuine.

Shannon mentioned in standup that she’s going to be working on putting together a structure for a talk she’s giving in a couple of weeks. After standup she asked if I’d like to join her and Stephen. Stephen facilitates a brainstorming session using the ‘yes and’ principle where you build a story based on other people’s idea. So someone writes one idea, passes their sheet of paper round and then the next person adds to it.

I then arranged a call with Stevo, a remote developer who works for Drew. He joined our Skype call from Hong Kong, naively I asked him what he was planning to do today, not realizing it was about 6pm there! We had a good chat and he gave me a great overview of what he’s currently working on.

I then started digesting some brilliant handover notes left from Cathy which gave me a great overview of the current process and weekly meetings, it was really helpful for her to say where she thought improvements could be made and where things were generally working well.

In the afternoon, I joined a call with a copywriter who will be working with us on a new project. It was amazing to see James convey the brand and the copywriter starts to translate that into a tone of voice.

Drew founders are also founders of Camerados, a social enterprise committed to ending social isolation. So I spent the day helping another member of the team organizing marketing collateral to distribute.

3rd November

I facilitated standup for the first time! I did a memory test at the end to see if people remembered each other’s commitment for the day, without fail everyone, could repeat what their team members were doing today! I’ve tried this with other teams and no team has listened quite as attentively to each other’s updates as this one!

During standup, Nadeem and Joe announced that they had made a music player where anyone in the office can add music to a playlist which plays through the office sound system. You can also skip other people’s song and see what’s currently playing. It’s pretty ace so I spent a bit of my morning user testing aka playing around with it. Impressive stuff!

I then attended my first Drewnion meeting, a weekly meeting run by the team. I think it’s a brilliant idea, it provides the space to share concerns and support each other in any problems they might be having. Kerry facilitated an agenda-less meeting. It involved 3 post-its,

  • To discuss
  • Discuss
  • Discussed

The team then added things they’d like to talk about under ‘To discuss’ and then talked through them one by one. We talked about plans for Christmas, the new music app, the blog as well as a few other things. It was great to spend some quality time with the team.

4th November

On Friday’s the Drew team all work the same hours 9.30–4.30pm. A nice short day!

During standup, I introduced hands up reffing to tighten up the standups. In short, if two or more people raise their hands when someone is talking the person speaking is prompted to finish off what they’re talking about and continue the conversation with only the people directly affected afterwards.

I was then invited to join a call with a new client to review some different branding routes and talk through the tone of voice. I was really impressed with how James (Creative Director) facilitated this meeting, by the end of it, we had got the client to sign off on a logo and type face. Success!

At lunch I popped out to meet new Twitter friend Alyson, I got in touch with her when I saw she was giving away some cool free stickers. It was a brief encounter but lovely to hear a bit about her and the inspiration behind the sticker message.

After lunch, I shared the actions from the meeting before lunch and sat down with James to discuss resourcing. We’ll be working together to look at how we can improve how we visualise project timescales and milestones to ensure we avoid conflicts and everyone is aware of what each other is working on.

The afternoon ended with a weekly planning meeting where we reviewed the status of projects currently being worked on. I came out of it with a great overview of the current client base and a focus for what to prioritise for the coming week.

True to word, just after 4.30pm the team wrapped up what they were working on and headed to the pub for a celebratory Friday drink, a great way to bring a close to a brilliant first week. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer team, they’re extremely open to trying new things and patient with me as I work out the ropes. I’m excited about working with such a talented kind bunch.

Weekly coffee notes

Every week I’m going to try a new coffee shop. This week was a flat white from Look Mum No Hands, it wasn’t as strong as I would have liked but was hot and a nice flavour. 4*.

Brave Entrepreneurs

As always, we here at Drew are passionate about all things Social Enterprise; therefore whilst Kerry and I were visiting the lovely Soil Association in Bristol, we were excited to visit the local eateries and were thrilled to discover the amount of Social Enterprises in the city, focused on bringing people, and communities together.

One of the Social Enterprise cafes that we visited was called the ‘Bearpit Social’. Over four years ago Miriam started the Bearpit Social when she felt the need to bring some brightness and joy to what was a very dark, dangerous and isolating roundabout in the heart of Bristol. The roundabout also doubled up as a daunting and intimidating underpass for over 14,000 Bristolians a day. Four transitional years later the ‘Bearpit Social’, ‘Bearritos’ and ‘Bear Fruit’ shop have grown into vibrant enterprises that hire a combined 11 staff and serve delicious organic, vegan and vegetarian food to the community.

The Bear Pit itself has turned from a notoriously dangerous spot to a haven; a safe place to come together, whether it’s for a community event feeding over 270 people, listening to live music and enjoying themselves, or helping with the veg gardens which was funded by Kew Gardens, or simply buying your daily fruit, veg, coffee or lunch!

The next phase is to bring the 3 businesses together under one refined umbrella brand ‘Bear Pit Bristol’ which will again, aim to keep developing and improving this space for EVERYONE!

Miriam said
“It’s always interesting… it’s always a journey… but finally it feels like it’s all coming together!”

It’s always so encouraging meeting such motivated folk – folk who have been brave in the face of darkness and brought brightness to so many lives.

Visiting the Bear Pit is a must. Be inspired.

Here’s a little visual diary of our day in Bristol:


Miriam of the Bear Pit Social.

Miriam of the Bear Pit Social.


Tina, the founder of Bear Fruit


The Bearitos Boys!

The Bearitos Boys!


The Bearitos Bus has plenty of seating upstairs. The refurbishment was crowd funded and carried out be kind folk of the community.

The Bearitos Bus has plenty of seating upstairs. The refurbishment was crowd funded and carried out be kind folk of the community.


A vibrant happy community for people to come together.

A vibrant happy community for people to come together.


The Bearpit graffiti

The Bearpit graffiti


The locks of love over the Harbour bridge.

The locks of love over the Harbour bridge.

Three little words…

Yesterday I attended a fantastic IoD Advance event given by Jim and Debbie of Aurora Partners which focused on understanding and developing resilience.

I’m really proud that we at Drew have established lots of avenues and channels to ensure our team stay resilient: 1-to-1s, Drewnion, happiness tracking (see below), DrewLearns, away days and daily stand ups.

Our daily stand ups
These are an essential way for each team member to share the previous day’s work flow, their planned work for that day and any issues or blockers. We find the rapid pace of the stand ups an insightful and essential way to start the day, but here’s the thing; the format didn’t include how each of us might be feeling. Since introducing the question ‘How are you?’, each team member has an open platform to honestly vocalise any underlying personal stress that may effect their working day. For example; last week I had been supporting a good friend recently bereaved, being able to say “I might be a little wobbly today” was such a relief.

I recommend every team (5-9 people is a great size) should have daily stand ups. Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more. Elle

Tracking Drew Happiness

The story behind our business cards

The latest iteration of our Drew business cards are a literal nod to our namesake; Major George Drew.

My grandfather was flattered and very supportive of his name being used for my branding agency when I set it up 12 years ago.

He often stated his belief that “you have to have great marketing to sell a product”.

The Drew team wanted to link our new business cards directly to him. Grandpa was a prisoner of war for most of WWII. Captured in 1940, he escaped from two prisons by digging and tunnelling, but was caught so ended up in Colditz Castle which put an end to his escape plans. To pass the time he found another form of escapism; making alcohol and carving.

It had always been his dream to make a chess set but he started by carving nude women, at least one a month. February, said to be his future wife, my grandmother, became the White queen with Mars (Grandpa was born in March) her king. Other characters, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Lion and the Unicorn, Walrus and the Carpenter, were inspired by his favourite fantasy stories. The pawns all represented his prison mates or the strange vegetables served up for them to eat. 

He also carved necessarily intricate fake German passport stamps for the escape teams, which we have taken literally, producing stamps for each member of staff.

I guess the next memory to recreate is distilling alcohol (watch the video of my grandfather distilling here)?!


Beautifully edge printed duplexed business cards


My grandfather, Major George Drew busy carving

My grandfather, Major George Drew busy carving

Major George Drews Great Grandson, my son, playing with the Colditz chess set

Major George Drews Great Grandson, my son, playing with the Colditz chess set

Close up of February, said to be my grandmother

Close up of February, said to be my grandmother