The Chicago Journal

‘Known Unknown’ Out to Build a Budding Community of Creatives

The creative industry has evolved dramatically over the years. There has been an influx of demand for graphic design, typography, illustration, film production, branding, marketing, storytelling, and other creative business applications. And as the industry changes and adapts to today’s new digital reality, Known Unknown hopes to lead the charge in training and mentoring up-and-coming creative professionals and positively affecting the creative world. 

Known Unknown is the brainchild of the iconic design professional James Sommerville, the former owner and co-founder of global design agency ATTIK. He started the agency back in 1986 out of his grandmother’s attic bedroom and grew it over the decades into one of the biggest design firms. ATTIK employed over 250 design professionals in locations like Leeds, London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sydney. The agency is also behind some of the most successful brands like Lexus, Camel, Nike, Lucas Films, Boost Mobile, Sony, MTV, the NFL, Carlsberg, IGN, AOL, Virgin Atlantic, and Ford. 

Over the years, James Sommerville has painted an illustrious creative career for himself as a designer, consultant, and branding expert. He has also dedicated his life to educating the UK’s most promising designers by speaking in various events, conferences, and seminars, mostly teaching principles of effective design, branding, and marketing for now over twenty-five years. He has traveled to cities like London, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Manchester and to countries like Japan, the United States, Australia, Costa Rica, and Norway to teach designers how to build successful careers. 

James’ recent project, Known Unknown, hopes to take the vision further by creating one unified community of creatives dedicated to collaborating, mentoring, and coaching one another. By doing so, the organization hopes to provide a space for promising artists and creatives to thrive and discover their true potential. “I founded this project because I knew there were so many unappreciated and untapped artists out there,” explains James Sommerville. “And I wanted to see whether I could bring this unknown army to work on global brands. It’s just a way of giving these unknown voices a stage for their creativity, storytelling, messaging, typography, or illustration.”

Known Unknown invites creatives from all creative design disciplines and follows a 100% distributed model to give what is due back to artists and share the wealth with people who deserve it most. Known Unknown has currently opened its doors to submissions for the first batch of creatives who will serve as the founding members of the virtual community.

Before starting the new community-based project, James served as the Vice President of Global Design at the Coca-Cola Company, a role he held and succeeded at for five years. As executives at Coke put it, James became pivotal in creating a clear “before and after” effect in the organization, leveling up their visual experiences by a mile. James oversaw brand campaigns such as “Taste the Feeling,” “Beverages for Life,” “CokeXAdobeAYou” in Tokyo, the Coca-Cola Love Can and “Star Wars” activations alongside the beverage company.

Known Unknown hopes to provide exposure, training, and growth opportunities to over five million creatives and integrate innovations like artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, and machine learning into the creative community. Learn more about Known Unknown by visiting its website.