Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani: “Never stop thinking about how to solve a brief better”
Our guest this week is creative director and partner at Pentagram, Naresh Ramchandani. As Pentagram’s first advertising and communications partner, he talks to us about how creativity can make a cause visible, and why he counts idealism and pragmatism as two essential skills for creatives.
Partner, Pentagram (2010–present)
Co-Founder and Creative Director, Do The Green Thing (2007–present)
BA English and American Literature (1983–1986)
Armed with a portfolio of witty, sharp and award-winning campaigns, Naresh arrived at Pentagram following an already successful career in advertising that saw him co-found agency Karmarama and non-profit public service Do The Green Thing – as well as writing his own column for The Guardian. Joining Pentagram in 2010 as the design consultancy’s first advertising and communications partner, the move seemed to usher in a couple of other firsts, with Naresh working on everything from YouTube’s debut ad campaign to creating Pentagram’s first-ever music video.
Growing up with initial hopes of becoming a record producer, a love of music turned to a love of words, and he soon enrolled on the English and American Literature course at Manchester University. Later inspired by John Webster’s legendary ‘Martians’ ads for Smash, it wasn’t long before he landed a job as a copywriter for the London-based advertising agency HHCL, winning a Gold Lion for his campaign for Maxell Cassette tapes – and the title of best advertisement in the world – in his second year at the company.
For Naresh, the relationship between writing and graphic design is an interesting and powerful exchange, and something that he continues to explore with a host of side projects. These have included writing observational poems under the pseudonym of Henry Ponder to most recently returning to his early love of music, and writing his own LP.
Driven to create work with edge and difference, Naresh’s belief that creative thinking has the ability to shine a spotlight on important issues and encourage behavioural change is also evident. In the run-up to the General Election of 2015, Naresh and his team spearheaded the online campaign I Give An X, encouraging young people to vote; meanwhile, his environmental non-profit, Do The Green Thing, continues to tackle topics from Christmas and climate change to Brexit and cosmetics.
He talks to us about his career journey so far and why he counts idealism and pragmatism as two essential skills for creatives.
Mention Naresh Ramchandani
Interview by Marianne Hanoun