Branding & design

Olins, Wally. (14 of 19). The Oral History of Wolff-Olins

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  • Recording date

    2001-11-05, 2001-12-14

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Oral History of Wolff Olins

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Reading

  • Interviewees

    Olins, Wally, 1930-2014 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 14: Wally Olins [WO] talks about Norton Commando project and its importance in establishing their reputation. Mentions lecturing in design for the London Business School and how this led to their recruiting from the LBS. Talks in general terms about the problems initially of defining their product for themselves while they were still in a highly responsive phase as well as selling this relatively unknowable product to the client, referring to some oundbreaking successes such as Bovis, BOC and Hadfields. Returns to motives for going into Germany. Names other key personnel in the early days including Brian Boylan, Crispin Tweddell, Terence Griffin, David Bristow, Tim May, Jerry Barney and John Sorrell. Expands briefly on several of them. Tells anecdote about the person who tried to burn the Dukes Road building down. Talks about the difficulties of working during the latter seventies when Britain was in severe decline, and how this partially explained WO's success in Germany. Tells anecdote about resisting an attempt to draw WO into a union situation. Describes the varied strands for the business in this period and beyond and being asked to write The Corporate Personality by the Design Council. Talks of his sense of individual responsibility to the business and the drain on him.

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