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Eclectic is probably the best word to describe the celebrated careers of Malcolm Garrett and Kasper de Graaf. The founders of Images&Co, a strategic communications consultancy based at LSBU’s Clarence Centre, have been there, done that, and probably designed the T-shirt.

Working together since 1981, the duo have collaborated on a wide range of high-profile projects, from designing record sleeves for the likes of Duran Duran, Buzzcocks and Simple Minds to managing racing legend Damon Hill during his Formula Ford 1600 career – as well as designing the liveries of his cars.

“It’s certainly been an eclectic past,”agrees Malcolm. “But I like eclectic.The world is an interesting place, and it’s good to cast a wide net. However ,most of what we’ve done hasn’t been as different as it might seem at first glance. It’s all about communication, and it’s mainly been for people or entertainment-led propositions. It’s what really interests us.”

It’s that determination to concentrate on the things that interest them that drove the pair to strike out on their own as Images&Co in 2011.Having worked in big production studio environments, Malcolm and Kasper wanted to be able to focus on the consultancy side of things and strategic development.

Unlike some of their neighbours at the Clarence Centre, they did not have an existing relationship with LSBU when they moved in – but they wanted to develop one. “We work a lot with universities, and with the creative industries, so for us, moving here was all about the networking opportunities,” says Kasper. “We didn’t just want office space, we wanted to work with LSBU – and since we’ve moved into the Clarence Centre I think that’s happening.

“A good example is a project we’re currently heading up called MegaBlocks. It’s aimed at using games technology to help children learn in schools. We’re fronting a consortium of organisations including Manchester Metropolitan University, LSBU, Amsterdam University of theArts, Duisburg-Essen University in Germany and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and we’re hopeful of securing funding for the project.

”The Images&Co team regularly receives extra support in the form of LSBU interns. “We’ve employed three in total now,” says Malcolm, “all from the Festival Management degree – and they’ve been really good.

”It’s a busy time for Malcolm and Kasper, our interview coming in the middle of their preparations for the fourth annual Design Manchester Festival, which is home to nearly 40 events over 12 days. “It’s one of the biggest projects we run,” saysMalcolm, “but one that we love.” And as far as business plans go, that is at the heart of Images&Co: doing what they love. “The specifics of what we do might change a little from project to project, and we often collaborate with businesses who have skills that complement our own,” says Malcolm.“But whatever it is we are involved with, and whatever part of the mesh of requirements we’re fitting into, the best thing about doing what we do is how much we love it.”

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