We are a strategic design unit, based in London. We help all kinds of organisations to make things people want, rather than make people want things.

Strategic design bridges disciplines and departments, roles and responsibilities.
It is concerned with all the factors around a thing, not just the thing itself.

Taking this approach means we base our work and build our teams around the problems you actually have.

If you think we can help you, then contact us here

A thing, in a shop

Look here; it’s a thing, in a shop: Yes, that’s right, the new Artefact Cards are now available to buy in the Somerset House shop. They saw them at the Makerversity Christmas Fair and said “well, what are those, and can we sell them in our shop..?” Which was good, because a big part of…

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On not writing books

“You should write a book.” Sometimes I say this to other people, sometimes other people say this to me. It came up again this week. Anjali and I had lunch, and spoke of our mutual delight on Neil announcing he’s writing a second book. The first book is a super useful read, a manual to…

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The Parasite As Host?

I has a DM from Lee at the weekend, after we’d caught up last week for the first time in ages: “…loved your comment re Monzo as an incumbent – smart, in an ‘of course’ way. Might make a nice blog* post…”. So here it is. I’d mentioned the poster and campaign below, and the…

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Next Gen Artefact Cards

It’s taken a little while, due to longer than expected things (which I’ll perhaps blog about at length at some point). But the next generation, retail-ready Artefact Cards are hitting the presses this month, to be on sale (and on shelf in lovely establishments) by the end of January. I have enough of the pre-production…

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The New Twickenham Gates

“The venture, led by London-based architects Wilson Owens Owens, provides a unique focal point when fans arrive and delivers a recognisable starting point for their experience at the world’s largest dedicated rugby stadium.” So say England Rugby, on their site, about the new Twickenham entrance gates. In reality, it turns out they’ve tried to send…

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“Working with Smithery has been a brilliant adventure for my entire team. They are not afraid of a challenge and their creativity and passion have opened our minds up to more innovative ways of working by helping to shape our thinking, actions and behaviours. Their work has helped us to create the culture of change we’ve needed to continue on our path of growth.”

Julie Doleman


“I’ve found that if you have half an idea that you are excited about – John probably has the other half. He has a generous imagination earthed in an intellectual rigour that makes him a rare bird. I have benefited from his eclectic frame of reference and uncanny ability to make generative connections between people, ideas, genres. Working with John feels like play – why isn’t all work like that?”

Tracey Camilleri

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

“We love working with Smithery; an awesome source of brilliant ideas and endless energy in our creative process.”

Thomas Moradpour


“John is the single most creatively fertile person I have met in the last five years”

Adam Morgan

Eat Big Fish