Main content

We are

We are a team with two decades of experience. Working with clients in the cultural sector, we create stunning, engaging, intelligent design that inspires audiences, provokes action and delivers results.

At our core, there are four, full-time designers, with a huge breadth of design knowledge. We are able to turn our hand to just about any challenge. When a specialist is needed, we can call on a broad selection of trusted Associates with expertise in key disciplines.

We have a wonderfully spacious studio (in Greenwich, South East London), equipped with plenty of pinboards, an indoor garden (with fishpond) and a well-used tea urn.

The station side entrance showing the spiral staircase uo to the main studio. Early Morning, the sun shining across desks in the studio. A picture of the indoor garden showing the lawn and picnic table and chairs, with pond in the background. Interior of one of Cog's toilet cubicles, it is decorated in an upside down fashion with pictures and shelve with ornaments upside down. Entrance to the studio with view of large painted Cog logo.

5 slideshow images (click image to view)

Michael Smith


A designer by training, Michael founded Cog Design, straight from college, in 1991 and has managed the development of the company ever since.

Michael takes the lead on large-scale branding or complex communications projects and provides a creative overview of all of the studio’s output.

Beyond the studio, Michael is an occasional lecturer in branding and design, and a regular contributor to design journals.

Ocky Murray


Ocky studied typographic design and gained an MA from Edinburgh before joining the international branding consultancy, Navyblue. He worked there for several years before joining us in early 2006.

Since joining the Cog team, Ocky has led high-profile projects such as the rebranding of The Marlowe Theatre, publicity design for Evolving English at British Library and Antony Gormley’s . Fourth Plinth project, One & Other.

Ocky’s passion for typography extends to an obsession for abandoned signs and faded advertising.

A portrait of Ocky Murray, in black and white

Ocky Murray's websites

Mike Davies


Mike has worked in design for arts organisations since the early 90s. After a decade of working at theatre specialists Scarlet and AKA (Adam Kenwright Associates) followed by years of freelance work we persuaded him to join us in 2007.

He is the lead designer for our rebranding and ongoing work with the Incorporated Society of Musicians (awarded a Design Effectiveness Award in 2011), and the branding for The Beaney in Canterbury. His editorial work includes many magazines, journals and annual reports (including the Commonwealth Foundation). His web projects include the hugely successful Norfolk & Norwich Festival site.

Outside the studio, Mike shuns digital formats, preferring the analogue pursuits of his shelves of books and vinyl records.

A portrait image of Mike Davies, in black and white

Nicola May

Studio Manager

It's Nicola that you'll talk to first if you visit or phone us; she provides us with the perfect creative environment to thrive in.

With a degree in photography, from Manchester Metropolitan, Nicola has a keen aesthetic eye. She has a background in managing creative people and joined us, in March 2012, from the excellent, bespoke furniture designers Hendzel + Hunt.


Nicola May black and white image

Ross Granger


Ross graduated from Bath in 2008, with an ambition to produce the best possible design.

He spent the next four years with the excellent Steers McGillan Eves where he quickly proved himself adept at managing even the most complex client work, from major signage projects to a broad range of editorial projects, all within the culture and heritage arena.

He joined us in October 2012 and moved to Greenwich (we're all jealous that he can walk to work) which he uses as a base for exploring London and devouring its cultural life.

Ross Granger

Ross Granger's websites

Jonathan Stanbrook


Jonathan is somewhat of a catch for us. He won a 'D&AD Best New Blood' in 2011 and then successfully gained placements at some of the most high-profile design studios in the country.

After successful placements at NB Studio, Purpose, and Lewis Moberly, we persuaded him to come and join our full time team in October 2012.

His portfolio of student work is one of the best we've ever seen; he's already creating even better work for real clients with real (small) budgets and timeframes.

Annelise Carling

Project Manager

Annelise graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2010 and went on to spend time as a designer and creative recruiter. Keen to return to a studio environment and forge a career in creative services, she’s turned her hand to Project Management and joined us in April 2013.

Outside of work you’ll find Annelise feeding her passion for art, culture and history with regular trips to museums and galleries. She spends her weekends discovering all that London has to offer.

John Burton

Associate Designer

After a non-design course through higher education, John discovered a passion for typography, abandoned his path and jumped into design.

John joined us in 2008, and soon took the lead on high-profile event campaigns and became the lead designer for the Museum of London, working on a wide range of ongoing projects and exhibition promotions, including Pirates the Captain Kidd Story.

John has now gone on to start a new adventure, in his own design agency at the seaside, although he'll continue to work with us, as an Associate, on some of our most important projects.

A portrait of John Burton, in black and white

John Burton's websites

George Gray

Associate Web Developer

George studied design at DeMontfort University and was all set for a career as a graphic designer. But he took a year out to travel and stumbled into a five-year gap as a scuba-diving instructor.

Returning to the UK in 2005 he taught himself web coding, HTML and CSS. He's now an expert in building responsive and adaptive sites, with a specialism in Wordpress.

When he's not ankle deep in code, he's usually in training for his next triathlon. Yes, he's a triathlete.

Recent projects have included the responsive websites for Winning Words and The Charles Dickens Museum.

Dave Atkinson

Associate Creative Director

Affectionately known throughout the design world as Geordie Dave.

Dave cut his teeth at the renowned creative agency, Blast, where he worked on major projects for Arts Council England and the BBC. Subsequently, as a freelance designer he’s dropped-in to some of the highest profile studios in the UK.

Having been impressed by his stint at Cog Design, we asked him to join our creative team as an Associate Creative Director. He spends stints in the Cog studio, leading on major projects and providing a creative steer when we need him.

He has taken the design lead on many projects including the alignment of five museum identities for Canterbury City Council, and the branding work for the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

Elke Pettitt

Associate Designer

Elke studied in her native Düsseldorf before moving to the UK in 2000. She worked for the music industry specialists, Small Japanese Soldier, and at Stylorouge before coming to work at Cog in 2005.

After two and a half very successful years, managing some of our high profile projects for Arts Council England and others, Elke left us to travel, work freelance and start a family.

We've kept in touch ever since and in early 2012 we were delighted to welcome Elke back as an Associate Designer, popping in to the studio for weeks at a time, when we need her to bring her special design magic.



Line drawing style portrait of woman looking to the right of the viewer.

Elke Pettitt's websites

Joe Weaver


Joe has just graduated from University of Greenwich with a First in Graphic Design.

Illustration of a young man with short hair.

Joe Weaver's websites