Jonathan Alder

I’m a Director and co-founder of Alder and Alder with my wife, Charlie. We started the business in 2005. I’ve been working in the design industry since 1989, so I’ve got a lot of experience to share! The first 16 years were spent in London, first as a designer, then creative director, working for clients like AXA, Ernst & Young, The British Library, The Early Learning Centre and HSBC.

What I like most about what we do is helping ambitious organisations fulfil their potential. I enjoy solving problems, and that’s essentially what we do. Our clients come to us with their challenges and opportunities. They bring us questions, we give them answers. That could be a brand identity. It might be a logo design. Or it could be a brand strategy. Whatever it is, we help them to make an impact.

I’ve spent most of my life living in London, so living in Exeter is, quite literally, a breath of fresh air. I love the fact that we’re 20 minutes from the beach or 20 minutes from Dartmoor. And we’ve got the river Exe about 50 meters from our doorstep.

When I’m not in the office I spend a lot of my time with our son. Spending time with an 11 year old is a great way to stop thinking about work! I also used to really enjoy screen printing, but I haven’t done that for a while, so I’d like to get back into it. I try to spend more time running, rather than sitting. And I’m thinking about getting a bike.

Charlie Alder

I’m the other half of Alder and Alder; a co-Director and founder. Jonathan specialises in branding, I specialise in illustration.

I was born and grew up in Exeter, so being able to come back here and start my own business, and a family, is really special. Before we moved back to Exeter I worked as a designer in London for 12 years. My last role was Art Editor on a national weekly magazine. I made the switch to illustration when I came back to Devon. I was signed by the Bright Agency in 2005, and since then I’ve steadily grown my portfolio and client list. You can see my portfolio here.

Most of my clients are in publishing, specifically children’s books, and it’s always exciting to see one of my titles on the shelves in a bookshop! I work on fiction and non-fiction titles, for clients in the USA and Australia as well as the UK. My job hasn’t required any glamorous international travel (yet), but I live in hope!

Being a mum and a business owner is really hard work, but the opportunity to be in control, to be able to do what I want to, when I want to, is well worth it. Being able to get to sports day and carol concerts and all of those things has been great. And the opportunity to spend time with him when he comes home from school is (usually!) a lovely way to end the day.


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