UAL Meets - Michael Wolff

Inspiration, curiosity and the courage to take a risk are at the heart of great design, according to Michael Wolff in a Q&A with UAL students and staff.

The design and brand legend spoke at the second UAL Meets, which give the University’s community a chance to quiz some of the leading names in the creative industries.

The wide-ranging conversation with Michael veered from advice to accept fear and resist the familiar (“I don’t regard my experience as my friend”) to musings on the individual as a brand (“Brands came from burning a mark into a cow’s bum; for me, it’s how you live in someone else’s mind”).

He also called for more imaginative inclusive design, to address issues such as the need for more “fun and glamorous” wheelchairs and the fact that “most of the stuff on sale for older people is crap”.

“The wheel was invented 8,000 years ago,” he added. “Why did it take 7,960 years to put it on a suitcase?”

As co-founder of Wolff-Olins, one of the world’s most iconic design companies, Michael is widely recognised as a leading thinker on brands and how organisations express themselves through design. He now runs Michael Wolff & Company, where his clients range from Mothercare to the Ministry of Sound.