My main goal has always been to make feature films. When the time is right, I’ll dive in. Ed and I have been writing films since we graduated.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Creative director and partner at Zolmo in London. I graduated university with a short animated film called Solar and later worked at visual effects company The Mill. I’m a regular speaker at universities, conferences and serve on juries for The Webby’s and D&AD Student Awards.

What do you do for inspiration?

Surround myself with supremely talented and passionate people, speak often with young talent, and look as far outside a finite world of one creative specialisation as possible.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

iTunes Movie Trailers



What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

We have thankfully had some great successes at Zolmo since we founded in 2009—from an Apple Design Award to over 8 million downloads of Jamie Oliver’s Recipes and being in Design Week’s Top 50 Design Consultancies. We recently launched our best product yet, Touchfit, with champion athlete Georges St-Pierre. My most personally meaningful achievement is still writing and directing Solar with Ed Shires. The film was an absolute and undivided labour-of-love.

How many hours do you work each week?

At times, up to 70. While I have the energy and passion I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How do you relax or unwind?

Aside from spending time with family, there are only two places I can fully switch off—at the gym, or the cinema.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Probably trying to be the next Eric Clapton. I have been playing guitar since I was 7 and at 14 made a conscious decision to pursue my other passion of design as a career. It was the right choice.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Hearing customers get real enjoyment from using our products. Touchfit has the potential to get thousands of people healthier and happier. Revenue notwithstanding, if it made a difference to just one person, I’d be happy with that. The most difficult part is dealing with my lack of patience, there are dozens of things I want to do and they can’t be done at once.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

Two things in particular. Working with John Lander at a digital agency in Manchester, and meeting AKQA founder Ajaz Ahmed at the Escape Awards in 2008. Both good friends, mentors and facilitators to milestones in my career. And two of the most talented people you could hope to meet.

What software could you not live without?

Google Drive

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?



Industrial Light & Magic

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

It means we’re part of a family of the best web and mobile talent on the planet. That’s an inspiring place to be.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

I was 16 and it was my first paid job, a site for a photographer called Victor Trusch. I built the whole thing in Flash with 3D transitions, blue-screened VFX and agonising interactivity. Other than being driven by the confidence of youth, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to try and match the work from Big Spaceship or 2Advanced. It’s not currently online, but I still use it as a case study when I speak to students.

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

I’ve spent the past two years writing a book for young people to get the most from their creativity, in any discipline. Ajaz kindly wrote the foreword and there are contributions from Academy Award winner Lord David Puttnam, Ogilvy Chairman Rory Sutherland, IDEO’s Tim Brown and Michael Wolff among others. Jamie Oliver also wrote an incredible afterword. The book will be out later this year. Hardest thing I’ve done.

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

Exercise. I would have a fraction of my focus during work if I didn’t spend an hour at the gym four times a week. Physiologically and psychologically it’s perfect fuel for creativity.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Creative education has such an awful reputation at the moment and I have long since tired of hearing “I dropped out and made it on my own!” Good for them, but there’s a better conversation to have. I actually champion the value of degrees and education, as long as the course is structured correctly and provides the right conditions for students to explore and excel.

Narrow or specialist creative higher education is extremely shortsighted for the health of the individuals and economy. Creative people have the gift of agility and education is a perfect time to explore as much of it as possible. The School of Communication Arts in London is a brilliant model for creative education.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

I love driving. In my opinion Audi design the best cars.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

The UK. We have the best storytellers, filmmakers and designers.

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

Zolmo is looking to become a major player as an entertainment company and I don’t think there are many that do things the way we do. We will continue to make the most premium products we can for mobile, tablet and interactive TV.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

My main goal has always been to make feature films. When the time is right, I’ll dive in. Ed and I have been writing films since we graduated.

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

I paid to see Oblivion twice at the BFI IMAX. The visuals and sound design in that film blew me away.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Be cavalier and dare to fail.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Always a pleasure Rob, thank you.


Ian Wharton. Creative director / partner at Zolmo
Ian Wharton. Creative director / partner at Zolmo

Solar. Award-winning short animated film
Solar. Award-winning short animated film


Jamie Oliver's Recipes
Jamie Oliver's Recipes

Phaidon Design Classics
Phaidon Design Classics

EA Battlefield 2 Trailer
EA Battlefield 2 Trailer

Sony Killzone 2
Sony Killzone 2

Touchfit: Georges St-Pierre Trailer

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