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Chance to hear from Huddersfield man who is a top executive at Coca Cola

James Sommerville to talk at The Design Conference in his home town

Huddersfield-born James Sommerville, founder of design studio ATTIK and now vice-president of global design for Coca-Cola

He began his career as a street artist before co-founding global design studio ATTIK and becoming a top exec at Coca Cola.

Now Huddersfield-born James Sommerville is set to share the secrets of his success with a hometown audience at The Design Conference this week (Thurs, Oct 5).

James, now vice-president of global design for the Coca Cola Company, will deliver a keynote speech via live video link from his base in Atlanta, USA.

He will talk to the event’s 200 delegates about his journey from chalking pavements to establishing ATTIK with co-founder and fellow Batley Art College student Simon Needham in 1986 – initially in the attic at the home of James’ grandmother.

ATTIK, later based at Fitzwilliam Street before moving to Leeds after 19 years in Huddersfield, grew to employ scores of people with offices in New York, London, Sydney and San Francisco before it was sold in 2007 to a multi-million dollar US advertising agency. James was appointed to his current role in 2013.

Delegates at the conference will hear about some of James’ acclaimed work for famous brands including Sony, Heineken and Schweppes – and why he still champions Yorkshire design despite living on the other side of the Atlantic.

The conference at Bates Mill, Milford Street, will also welcome Huddersfield-born John Lee, a celebrated film props and model-maker who has worked on blockbusters including Aliens, Casino Royale and the soon-to-be-released Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Other speakers will include Tom Foley, creative director of typeface designers Dalton Maag, who hit the headlines for designing the new BBC Sport font; designer Eve Warren, of branding agency Robot Food; Craig Oldham. founder of design house The Office of Craig Oldham; and Huddersfield-based photographer Chris Nunn.

The conference has been organised by Wilson’s Republic, a not-for-profit design network founded by Huddersfield-based designers Darren Evans and Aidan Nolan.

Darren said: “There is no shortage of both budding and established talent across the North and Huddersfield’s location in the very centre – not to mention the town’s history of world class invention and creativity – makes it a befitting destination for this inaugural event.

“Although it was logistically difficult to get James over to Huddersfield, the fact he wanted to speak is a great boost for us and just shows how much respect exists for design in this region.”

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