A Chat with James Sommerville, Founder at Creative Platform: Known_Unknown

KnownUnknown is a creative platform for the coming age. We are growing a community that seeks to provide opportunities for individuals to connect with each other, be inspired and engage with brands in new ways.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

My background as co-founder of UK agency ATTIK, acquired by global agency network Dentsu and then I became VP Global Design at The Coca-Cola Company. This journey over almost 40 years has provided me with a unique perspective of both small and large size agencies, as well as client side brand experience. I felt there was an opportunity to reinvent the relationship between brands and creative talent.

To create a stage for the unknown, and a chance for them to work on the known.

KnownUnknown | Creative Lives in Progress

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

As opposed to becoming just another agency, we made a conscious move towards a more decentralized model with focus on community. As part of our product development strategy we are also exploring Ai and machine learning for talent curation and match-making, memberships and utility through NFT ownerships and wallet-to-wallet messaging. Even creative mindfulness programs, support and peer-to-peer engagement. Lots more to come but the last 2+ years has helped us create what we believe will be a differentiated creative model.

Talk us through Known Unkown’s current collaboration with Monotype?

The first conversation was a simple question “What could be designed by the creative community?” When you then add in an iconic font, a global brand driving innovative ways of working, an emerging digital platform and the ability to provide access for artwork owners, it strategically and creatively aligns with both KnownUnknown and Monotype objectives.

On a project level, we liked the number 26 as it related to an alphabet. The KnownUnknown team researched and invited this group, many from different creative disciplines and Monotype provided the key ingredient. Unlike most creative/brand assignments, we all felt creative freedom was important to allow each artist to be themselves and Monotype were very supportive of this vs. over art directing the work. This resulted in a collection in which the ‘red-thread’ is the font Helvetica, but delivers personality in an individual and hopefully rich way.

What’s next for the company?

It’s great to already be in conversations with Monotype regarding future collaborations. On a broader level, KnownUnknown has an exciting roadmap, with our creative community at the core. We hope KnownUnknown can become a trusted voice in the creative industry. A platform that people think of where the world’s greatest talent and craft is combined with the world’s most iconic brands and executions.

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