TM is ready

We started out in 1997 with a manifesto and a clear set of principles. (design for communications. smart concepts. groovy colours. all challenges relished. all media covered. saving the planet. open 24 hours.) Back then we were a rarity – championing sustainability and creating effective, beautiful communication design.

Today so much has changed. Our sustainability objectives are no longer niche – demand and activism have increased awareness, driven pioneering advances in materials and techniques, and focused attention on the needs of communities. We’re all for it, let’s go!

We have a core team of designers and doers but we’re part of a much larger whole, the Useful Simple Trust. We share space and knowledge with engineers, architects, sustainability experts and design educators. This breadth of experience gives our practice design ambition and environmental rigour.

Sophie Thomas

Founding Director

My practical experience in the delivery of award-winning, innovative and highly sustainable communication projects has taken me to some amazing places, from a scientific laboratory searching for dark matter deep down a North Yorkshire mine for the Weller Astronomy Galleries to high in the sky on top of the Super Trees looking down on the beautiful Gardens By The Bay in Singapore. I have had the privilege of working with some brilliant people both in the Thomas.Matthews team and as our clients, bringing challenges and complexity to my day to day.

I established the studio in 1997 with Kristine Matthews in a small flat on Bermondsey street. We established it on strong ethical and sustainable foundations, and these continue to be fundamental. I campaign on these at industry and government levels and have established a number of social enterprises that aim to advance the design industry’s capacity to respond to environmental challenges through knowledge sharing and investigation.

My long-term interest in sustainability and materials has led me to share my experience of closed loop thinking with other designers, and in 2012 I founded The Great Recovery, a programme to build capacity and understanding of circular design in the materials supply chain through practical exploration (i.e. tearing things apart and re-designing them). This programme ran through the RSA to 2016.

I have a letterpress print shed in my garden, created campaigns in glass and I collect ocean plastic from around the world as well as holding a Thames foreshore license and am currently a Covid volunteer vaccinator.

Sophie Thomas

Founding Director

Leah Harrison Bailey

Creative Director

I joined Thomas.Matthews in 2013 after years running a graphic design partnership founded whilst at the Royal College of Art. Now Creative Director, I lead our talented TeaM and am involved in all the projects that come into the studio. As a member of the Useful Simple Trust leadership team I have spent three years on the executive board and continue to be involved in the running of the wider trust.

My role is naturally multifaceted and requires many responsibilities – from working directly with clients, developing strategy and directing design to company running and, very importantly, tea making.

I have spent over 20 years working in the design industry, initially in Edinburgh and then in London. My experience is broad and varied but I have found my creative home working for positive impact delivering communication in the built environment. From exhibitions to brand strategy – I love the opportunity to define a challenge, imagine an answer and realise a solution in physical form.

I also read, walk the South Downs and tidy up after small people.

Leah Harrison Bailey

Creative Director

Peter Clarkson

Senior Designer

I first joined TM as a fresh-faced graduate after interning at various studios, eager to plant some roots and develop as a designer.

I felt very lucky to become a part of the Thomas.Matthews family – it’s a particularly unique studio and as one of the longest serving team members, it’s been a fascinating and invaluable experience to be a part of the evolution over the years.

My role within the studio spans all stages of the design process. Whether it be presenting and kick-starting a project, to crafting and developing a design concept into a real-world solution, I love being a part of the process, seeing it come to life and meeting the challenges of the brief head-on.

Outside of the studio I’m a keen cyclist and photographer. I love nothing more than exploring and travelling by bike or experiencing new cultures and countries with a camera in my hand.

Peter Clarkson

Senior Designer

Tamara Piña

Senior Designer

I’m a bit of an anomaly in the industry in general: a librarian-to-be turned into a designer after completing an MA in Art Direction and Communication Strategy in Barcelona. I moved to London in 2011 to join the Thomas.Matthews team after winning a grant from the Spanish Government to work in sustainability.

I have grown as a designer and person in this team and city. As a senior designer, I have a holistic view of what the team needs, not just from a design perspective but also as a friendly face, for the team to rely on. I believe it is important to create a supportive culture within the studio.

Outside of the studio, I divide my time between museums, the gym and the basketball court (used to play semi-pro). I have a healthy (my colleagues might differ) obsession for The Simpsons memes and and I always have a song in my head (not necessarily a good one).

In a nutshell: Ink collector, sea lover, clumsy iPhone user and Ikea flat-pack master.

Tamara Piña

Senior Designer

Emily Parkes

Mid-weight Designer

I first joined Thomas.Matthews as an intern in September 2017 after completing my BA in Illustration at The University of Brighton. I was initially part of the team for 6 months, during which I worked on the design of this website. I spent the following 18 months freelancing for organisations, from start-up environment to established studio, before re-joining TM as a full-timer in September 2019.

I work across a variety of projects, such as visual identities, signage solutions — most recently The Giant’s Causeway. I have learned an invaluable amount from this team and feel very proud to work for an organisation whose founding principles put sustainability at the forefront of the design process.

Outside of studio hours, a frequent crave for country air takes me back to my Somerset roots, or searching for London’s green(est) spaces.

Emily Parkes

Mid-weight Designer

Jamie Burns

Junior Designer

I joined Thomas.Matthews after working as a Junior Designer at Objectif, who are a Graphic Design studio specialising in design in the built environment as well as classic book design. My experience here was an exciting first step into the design industry coming out of a BA Hons in Graphic Design at The University of the West of England.

During my time at TM I have been involved in a spectrum of interesting projects across digital, print and spatial design. The most rewarding project has to be my involvement in developing environmental graphics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

My studies in Bristol were key to sculpting my evolving understanding and values within design. I seized the opportunity to explore themes as a multi-disciplinary designer and discover my interest in design as a tool for social change.

Outside of the studio I enjoy visiting galleries and exploring new parts of London by bike. In the summer months I like to explore further afield around the UK, to places like Cornwall, in my self-built camper.

Jamie Burns

Junior Designer

Leo Sims

Junior Designer

Since joining Thomas.Matthews in the summer of 2019, I’ve enjoyed providing Arabic design support to the creative team for one of our international projects. While balancing bilingual hierarchies can often be challenging, it encourages us to reconsider the logic behind why we create something the way we do.

Having previously worked abroad as a freelancer and in-house for cultural organisations, it’s refreshing to be surrounded by considerate designers who I can bounce ideas off. This constructive environment is helped by the fact that TM is part of a multidisciplinary Employee Benefit Trust, which encourages a broader scope of critical thinking, despite perhaps the over-zealous provision of baked goods and sweets.

After fulfilling my higher education between the London College of Communication and Leeds College of Art, I’ve worked at improving my Arabic and getting better at drawing satirical cartoons. When I’m not telling myself I need to do something constructive, I enjoy seeing live music and reading a good novel.

Leo Sims

Junior Designer

Francesca Lain

Account Executive

I joined Thomas.Matthews in March 2020 after having worked with them as a client for over a year. What drew me to TM is their collaborative approach to projects, and the patience and care that are put in every aspect of the project, no matter how small. 

I moved to London from Italy in 2014, right after graduating with a BA of Architecture in Venice. Since then, I have worked in the museum and heritage sector for over 5 years. I have worked in visitor experience and retail at the British Museum, Geffrye Museum and the Old Royal Naval College. During my time at the Old Royal Naval College I have coordinated the roll out and launch of their rebrand across Internal Comms, Wayfinding, Website build and Marketing campaign touchpoint. 

At TM I coordinate between our clients and our design team to make sure we stay on top of things and that no detail is left behind.  

Outside of work I enjoy decorating and gardening, as well as listening to live music. 

Francesca Lain

Account Executive

Chin Cheung

Project Manager

I joined Thomas.Matthews in September 2018, after 5 years as an Art Buyer and Production Manager at a top 3 DBA agency, specialising in FMCG branding, and 10 years previously in the print industry, working with some of London’s leading design agencies, cultural institutions and luxury brands. I was drawn to Thomas.Matthews’ ethos and creatively led approach and the clients and sectors we work with.

I’m responsible for the scoping, programming and production outputs of the studio and third-party collaborators, supporting the internal team and our clients – from bid to project delivery stages.

Outside the studio I can be found rummaging for vintage clothes at markets and on ebay.  I’m often found with a chocolate bar or biscuit in hand (both in and out of the studio) and 90’s Hip Hop on my playlists.

Chin Cheung

Project Manager