Posted 11 December 2023
Interview by Nicole Fan
Mention Alex Farquhar

StormBrands graphic designer Alex Farquhar on finding inspiration everywhere

For as long as Alex Farquhar can remember, he’s felt the urge to express himself creatively, be it through skateboarding, painting, fashion, or design. The need to “scratch that itch” motivated him to choose the latter and enter the world of brand and packaging design, where he’s been working on everything from logo creation to in-store activations. Now a graphic designer at independent branding, design and communications agency StormBrands, Alex collaborates with clients such as Pets at Home and Kellogg’s, and he's discovered that inspiration is never in short supply. Here, he shares how everyday life stimulates his creativity, when to trust your instincts and why rule breakers like Virgil Abloh inspire his practice.

Alex Farquhar

Alex Farquhar

Job Title

Midweight Graphic Designer, StormBrands



Selected Clients

Kellogg’s, Pets at Home, Morrisons, Wainwright’s

Previous Employment

Junior Designer, Stormbrands, 2021–2023
Junior Designer, Mission Media, 2019-2020

Place of Study

BA Digital Media Design, University of Brighton, 2018–2019

Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do at StormBrands?
I’m a graphic designer who specialises in branding and packaging design. Together with my team, I work with clients to bring ideas to life. This is often through rebranding packaging, crafting logos and doing motion design – but it also involves rolling out social media campaigns and in-store activations, as well as getting into the finer details of brand guidelines.

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
For me, inspiration comes from everyday life. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always felt the need to express myself creatively and scratch that itch, whether through skateboarding, painting, fashion or design.

People are quick to put creatives in a box – they think if you’re a musician, then that’s all you can do or are supposed to do. I’m inspired by rule breakers, people that go against the grain. I think Virgil Abloh is the perfect example of this: he continued to express himself creatively in many different mediums, such as music, art direction, fashion design and product design.

“People are quick to put creatives in a box. I'm inspired by rule breakers, people that go against the grain.”

Alex farquhar designer graphic design creativelivesinprogress 04

Morrisons Organic tote bag that Alex designed

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Morrisons Organic product range that Alex worked on

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Morrisons Organic brand guidelines that defined the project

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
A good understanding of Adobe Creative Suite is definitely needed for a branding and packaging designer, along with knowledge of the key principles and rules of design. I am still learning new things in these programs every day, especially with the integration of AI. It’s important to keep learning.

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
My favourite project from the past year has been working with Kellogg’s US, redesigning one of their Cracker brands. To date, this has been the biggest project I have worked on from start to finish and it’s been such a learning curve for me.

It really covered everything and I’ve been involved at every stage: from collaborating with our strategy team, to bringing ideas to fruition (through logo creation, packaging design, art direction, e-commerce, and website design), all the way through to establishing brand guidelines. Plus, the rebrand looks ace! I am super-excited to see it on the shelf.

How I got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
It was a daunting time trying to find my feet after finishing uni – there were a lot of internship applications, trial tasks and interviews. Thankfully, I landed an internship in London a few months after graduating.

I think the key thing is being persistent, putting yourself out there, networking and continually working on passion projects that show off what you can do and what you're interested in.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
The Covid-19 pandemic has been my biggest challenge so far. I had just finished an internship in London and was offered a full-time position. I was so excited – but then Covid hit and I was put on furlough. Although I was very grateful for furlough pay, this really knocked my confidence and I took it personally.

It took me quite a while to bounce back from this. But it’s important to know (and to remind yourself) that these things are never personal. Although it was a challenging time, it helped me to grow as a person and designer, and it taught me how to better deal with challenging situations.

“Be persistent, put yourself out there and work on passion projects that show off what you can do.”

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Curiosity. One thing I’ve learnt is to never stop asking questions; this allows you to grow and learn. I feel super-grateful to work with such a talented group of people at StormBrands who I can always lean on and ask questions to whenever needed.

Inspiration. Inspiration is such an important part of my life that then transfers into my work. I get inspired by everyday life: by nature, music, textures, fashion, product design, or even seeing someone else speak about their passion. I think it’s so important to find your inspiration from different areas and things.

Belief. I think every designer would agree that we all suffer from imposter syndrome – the belief that we’re not good enough or shouldn’t be where we are. One thing I’ve learnt in the last year is to believe in myself and my capabilities more: I am good enough. This confidence and belief in myself not only makes me feel better, but it has a positive impact on my work too.

Alex's workspace at StormBrands' Leeds studio

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
I think social media and self-promotion is so important if you’re a freelance designer or creative, but not necessarily vital if you’re looking for a job at an agency and have a solid portfolio.

Personally, social media hasn’t played a big role for me when applying for jobs but LinkedIn has been beneficial when it comes to self-promotion and networking. I also find social media to be a great way of seeing what other agencies and creatives are up to!

Have there been any courses, programmes, initiatives or access schemes you have found helpful or would recommend to get into your sector?
If you want to get into the sector, I think it’s important to follow and keep up to date with agencies and studios you can see yourself working at. Before StormBrands, I would follow these agencies on Instagram and LinkedIn so I’d be the first to know of a new role.

In terms of helpful courses, my team and I had a presentation workshop with a professional who taught us how to make the most of our presentation skills. This benefitted me massively because a big part of any graphic designer’s job is presenting your work to your team and clients in a way that is easy to understand and that shows your confidence and knowledge. I would recommend every designer to take an opportunity like that if they get it!

“I get inspired by everyday life: by nature, music, textures, fashion, product design.”

Alex's packaging animation for Wainwright’s Dog Food

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Trust your instincts. I’ve sometimes rushed over an idea or sketch for fear that it won’t be liked or understood. These are often the ideas that are most well-liked! If you think something looks good and makes sense, most of the time others will too.

Also, never settle. Push your ideas and concepts as far as you can. Don’t settle on something because it ticks the boxes – question whether it can do more.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
Create a solid portfolio. It’s really important as it shows off your various skills and capabilities, your sketches and ideas, your finished projects and your thought process. If you think you don’t have enough projects or work to show in your portfolio, create one or two concept passion projects that demonstrate your capabilities.

Get yourself out there. Put your portfolio in a PDF or on a website and start applying for places you could see yourself working at. Network with the people in these agencies to show your interest.

Have the right attitude. This is so important as a graphic designer. Learn to take feedback on board, be open to ideas and suggestions, and receive these learnings and feedback with a positive attitude so that you can apply them to your work.

Keep going! Job interviews can be challenging but treat them as a learning process and don’t give up.


StormBrands is a Creative Lives in Progress Company Partner. Every year, we collaborate with like-minded brands and agencies to support our initiative and keep Creative Lives in Progress a free resource for emerging creatives. To find out more about how you can work with us, email [email protected]

Interview by Nicole Fan
Mention Alex Farquhar