1978 – Epsom School of Art & Design
In 1978 I began a 2 year foundation course at Epsom School of Art and Design. It was great fun and I met loads of like minded friends. We were really encouraged to be creative and experimental while being introduced to all the different mediums available to artists and designers.
1980 – Epsom School of Art & Design
After completing the 2 year OSD foundation course successfully I decided to enroll on the 3 year HND graphic design course. This at the time seemed to be where the money was going to be. Although I had gained a good knowledge of fine art, it didn’t have the same appeal. I wanted to get out in the big wide world and make some cash! The course was excellent, another group of friends emerged. By the time I had completed the course I had moved into photography. I experimented with slide projector presentations and had worked with many of the popular bands and performers around at that time, such as Depeché Mode, Soft Cell, Ultravox, Tick & Tock. I even managed to get a double page spread of my photos in one of the music mags.
1984 – Benton & Bowles Advertising Agency
After searching for a job in a photographic studio, which never materialised. I decided to try advertising. A friend of a friend gave me an opening and I landed myself a job as a visualiser in and advertising agency called Benton and Bowles. They were based in Knightsbridge and were responsible for many big accounts like Nescafé, Unilever, Scholl Sandals, Babycham, Prestige and loads of others. My job was to work closely with the creative teams in coming up with ideas and produce story boards for TV commercials. It was fab and I became really good at quick visuals using magic marker pens.
1986 – Graphic Design Agency – Bond Street
Benton & Bowles merged with Masius, another advertising agency. They loads of people off but they did offer me a job. I didn’t want to work where they were moving to. So I decided to try another angle. I went to the headhunters and asked them to find me a job below the line in a graphic design studio. I landed a great job the very next day with a company in bond street, London. I can’t remember the name of the studio now, but it was right next to the Bond Street tube station. I loved it there as we worked on lots of brochures and packaging. When I was there we were also responsible for the launch of Premier TV, I think they were the first satelite TV company. I had to design a portable exhibition, and build some models and go round the country introducing people to the new technology.
1988 – Tri-Art Graphics – Creative Director
Pretty soon I grew tired of the travelling in and out of London every day. It was bad enough driving for an hour, then finding somewhere to park until lunchtime, go and move the car onto a parking meter for the afternoon and then drive home in the rush hour. late nights and bad knees from being on the clutch all the time. So I looked for a job closer to home. I managed to secure a really good job in another design studio called Tri-Art Grahics. I was now creative director. Not sure that I was up to that standard but I learned very quickly and was never scared of a challenge. I learned all my typography skills there, as I had to design and then spec up everything for the paste up guys to put together. Move to Cornwall…
1989 – Truro Graphics
After some time, being settled at Tri Art Graphics, Sue my wife and our daughter Joanna decided it would be a good idea to move to Cornwall. While on holiday I phoned around the local design companies and found myself a job with a company called Truro Graphics. At the time they were one of the best, but I had to take a 50% reduction in salary to move to Cornwall. We worked on lots of press adds for Vospers, Riders, Ivan Kessells, Landrover and hotel brochures and logos, such as the Alverton Manor and the Penventon. Western National were a big client in those days and we used to produce all their timetables and advertising material.
1990 – Adwest Limited – Director
After a year working for Truro Graphics, I was ready to move on. I met a guy called Paul Mason who was full of energy and very exciting to work with. Together with another chap, Laurie Hardwick, we started our own advertising Agency in Cornwall. Adwest Ltd was formed and I was the creative Director. It was the business and slowly we began to pick up valuable new clients. mainly in the tourist industry, starting with Mullion Holiday which later turned into Weststar Holidays. Western National and a couple of the big garages followed me to Adwest and for a couple of years we new the taste of success.
1992 – Buzz Designs – Self Employed
It was around 1992 that computers reared the ugly heads. At first I didn’t have a lot of time for the horrible, simplistic slant they gave every job that was ever produced on them because of the small choice of fonts and graphic techniques available. Paul and I went our different ways and I started my own business. Buzz Designs emerged and gave me the opportunity to walk tall in this new computerised world on my own. I embraced the new technology by getting up every morning for about 6 months and teaching myself how to operate the software. Luckily for me Western National and Mullion came with me as clients and I continued to do well, building myself a great reputation in the tourism industry. I won the Cornwall Tourist Board account and was responsible for the Discover Cornwall guide for many years after. This was the time when every holiday park wanted a cartoon character for the kids to cheer after. I also pioneered the use of colour montage pictures. By now I was also producing packaging for Gala Tea and Coffee in London.
1995 – Active Design & Print – Director
In 1995 I became involved with a company called Techfast who I had been working for over the previous few years. We decided to start a small company together. This included a small printing company and a 3 designers. We called the company Active Design and Print and we were based in Scorrier. For a while the business was quite successful and I was working with some good friends, but I wasn’t content with the print side of the business so it didn’t last more than a year.
1996 – Hudson Armstrong Design – Director
In 1996 I joined partnership with an old friend of mine Bob Hudson and we created a design company called Hudson Armstrong which is still trading today. Very enjoyable time working with good friends and building a business that felt as it was going somewhere. After 7 years and separation from my wife Sue, I decided it was time to strike out on my own and build something for myself where i could regain my own identity.
2003 – Bluejay Design – Self Employed
It was time for a change so Bob and I decided to part company. I left Hudson Armstrong Design and decided to go it alone. Bob wanted to retain the company name Hudson Armstrong, so we made a deal and I starting up my own business called Bluejay Design.
2009 – JACD – Director
In 2009 I decided to rebrand my company so I decided on Joe Armstrong Creative Design. This gave me a presence online and after a while the business began to build. Now I run a successful design business from home and things are going very well. I am also an artist selling my oil paintings up and down the country. I find it very rewarding switching from graphics to my art which allows me to be more expressive. If you want a peak at my unique art go to joearmstrongart.co.uk