Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is the Senior Graphic Designer for Formula 1, Kieran Murphy!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what have you done previously?
Hello everyone, my name is Kieran Murphy and I’m the Senior Graphic Designer at Formula 1.
Before life at F1® I was living in Sydney for a handful of years, working as a Creative Manager within a sports & entertainment agency, mainly across Tennis, Netball and Golf. Working in sport is more fun than you could possibly imagine but doing it in cities like Sydney and London is epic.
Prior to this, I had been a Graphic Designer, Senior Designer, Studio Manager and Creative Lead, across the advertising, sports and entertainment industries.
What have you done & what do you do in your current role?
A big part of developing as a designer and creative is your fluidity to work across various disciplines. I have been privileged enough to work and lead on creative campaigns across social, OOH, radio, print and motion with global and regional brands as well as top creative/media/partnership agencies.
Currently, I am in my second role at this iconic sporting giant, upon joining F1® I was the Creative Manager leading a small design team within the Commercial Partnerships department.
My time is now spent in our main Creative Studio, collaborating on global campaigns, leading on projects – pitching, developing and executing original content for our glamorous hospitality area, F1 Paddock Club, and helping shape our fan eccentric F1 Festivals along with our relatively new digital channels which includes our very own F1 TV.
I am responsible for driving the design vision and execution, communicating thoughtfully and impactfully across various mediums. A big part of my role is to collaborate and ideate with the design team and our cross-functional partners to maintain and build upon visual brand standards for a wide range of design needs.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Unlike most people who work in sport, my role doesn’t critically revolve around a match, game or race. We tend to get a lot of the creative direction and assets for the season developed before the teams testing week gets underway in Barcelona, a month out from the start of the season.
Instead, my time is split across the various other projects and campaigns. There is so much more to F1® than Sunday’s race. I’ve often likened F1® to Glastonbury festival, with Sunday’s race, the headliner on the Pyramid stage. We have plenty of activations, competitions, huge Fanzones and special events such as the Bond in Motion tour last year, not to mention top music artists entertaining huge crowds – all making up an entire weekend’s celebrations. And the best part, we do it all over again at the next race in a completely different country.
So, I guess you could say, any week is exciting, fast paced, challenging, rewarding and certainly entertaining. There is simply nothing like it.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
My path isn’t too different to the majority, I went to college, then university where I studied Graphic Arts & Design, and I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door thereafter at advertising giant Clear Channel (Adshell).
I was always quite determined to develop a career in an industry I love. It seemed to make sense to a younger version of me, to do something in life that makes me happy. Naturally, like most people from Manchester – sport is like a religion, and it was no different for me. Playing for teams across six different sports as a kid at club and county level, sadly, motorsport wasn’t one of them, but a diehard sport fanatic none-the-less.
So, as I started developing my skill set in the creative world, it made perfect sense to hone them within sport itself. It helped that I had a fair bit of experience over the years on ad campaigns for various sporting and football clubs like Aston Villa FC, Lawn Tennis Association and PGA Australia.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
Wow, where to start… It is a hugely exciting time in Formula 1 at the moment, for so many reasons. First and foremost, the return to racing in Austria on the 5th July, I genuinely can’t wait for us to get back on track.
This year, we celebrate 70 years of racing, remembering the very first Grand Prix in 1950 at Silverstone. While we continue to unleash the greatest racing spectacle on the planet, we are also keen to drive a diverse and sustainable approach. We have recently announced our We Race As One initiative aimed at tackling the biggest issues facing the sport and global communities – the fight against COVID-19 and the condemnation of racism and inequality. It’s really important to us and for the longer-term future of our sport, but equally to have a major impact on the communities we race in and countries around the world.
As a sport that lives on the cutting edge of technology, it makes sense that we are at the forefront of innovation and entertainment. After the unprecedented success of our inaugural series on Netflix, Drive to Survive, our second season dropped at the beginning of the year. I could be biased but if you haven’t watched it, that’s your weekend sorted – You’ll thank me later.
Another series we are proud of, recently partnering with the most relevant youth culture media brand in the US, COMPLEX, through A-list rapper A$AP Ferg, as he hosted The Pit, featuring some of the top drivers and teams. It drove over 45M impressions and a reach of over 20M.
I also have to mention, during this coronavirus-enforced lockdown period, which saw all sporting events taken away from us, we were excited to be able to successfully deliver a Virtual Grand Prix series achieving 30M views across TV and digital platforms This saw F1 drivers like Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell competed against other global sporting athletes from football, cricket and tennis as well as the best Esports drivers.
With all that going on, it’s easy to forget the impending rule changes that will now happen in 2022, which will bring closer racing and more balanced competition.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
The sporting industry changes as quickly as pole position, and with as many turns too, that’s one of its biggest challenges. I believe that a big part of where I am today has been down to the relationships I’ve built and the skills I’ve developed and learnt from everyone around me.
- Some simple tips that will go far…
- Question everything!
- Get as much experience under your belt as you can
- Assist on whatever projects you can, whether its design related or not, you’ll find this inclusion expands your understanding of the wider business, which helps you understand your role better and become more efficient at it
- Build a strong meaningful industry group and keep in touch with them
- Most importantly, be persistent, live what you work and set mini goals stating what you want to achieve each year
How to follow Kieran Murphy on social media…
Kieran Murphy on LinkedIn!
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with the Senior Graphic Designer for Formula 1, Kieran Murphy!