Established in the mid-nineties as an interior design business, SMC Design quickly expanded, branching into graphic design and artwork consultancy. In 2005, Andy Yuill (designer extraordinaire and the subject of this very feature), bought the company with a colleague. SMC Design found a new home in Bermondsey, London, where the studio has been based ever since. Since then, many things have changed for SMC; the company has expanded to meet the exciting challenges of the evolving design industry and a wonderfully enthusiastic group of designers have grouped together to ensure that SMC continues to succeed.
Wanting to discover the man behind the business, we caught up with Andy to discover the ins-and-outs of running a successful design firm, discuss the challenges faced by this evolving industry, and celebrate the studio’s successes, (of which there have been many).
After graduating from Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, Andy moved swiftly into the world of design, joining SMC Design in 1989. As one of the premier companies operating in the marine industry, Andy now has more than 30 years’ experience in both the design and cruise industry. Despite his years’ experience, Andy remains as excited about the industry as ever, “My passion and enthusiasm for the industry and impact we made on design in the cruise industry drove me to continue, and now more than 30 years later I’m still as passionate about design and the cruise industry as ever before.”
As managing director of SMC Design, Andy’s role spans far and wide; nevertheless, he maintains “an active role with all clients”, starting at the beginning of a project and ensuring continuity throughout. Speaking on the comprehensive design process, Andy comments, “I’ve always enjoyed the initial concept phase of a project as this is where we establish brand and design direction for our clients.”
“We have pushed the boundaries when it comes to the development and presentation of design and that is reflected in the use of ever developing technology.”
But where does the SMC Design team find inspiration for its ever-flowing stream of projects? “SMC Design is a very professional design consultancy who retains its originality and creativity by ensuring that the collective of the company – which is the staff – bring new, fresh and exciting ideas to the table”, answers Andy.
Perhaps its Andy and his team’s ambition that sets SMC Design apart from the rest. When asked what factors change when designing for cruise, (as opposed to land-based hotels), Andy simply responds that the considerations do not differ; “Design on a cruise vessel has to be considered to have no limitations”, he states matter-of-factly.
“We take great pride at SMC Design in all aspects of our work. Our creative concepts, detailed packages, and specification go hand in hand to result in successfully completed projects.”
Having worked in the industry so extensively, you might expect Andy to have a favourite project, in which case, you would be wrong. Diplomatically, Andy tells us, “To be honest I have no favourite project, just many very enjoyable periods developing a variety of clients dreams and desires”.
“Any exciting projects to come?” we prod, to which Andy responds, “SMC Design continues to work with our existing clients and new clients all of which are exciting, and all of which SMC Design will continue to give their unique and enthusiastic design commitment”.
So, with all his time spent operating in the industry, what does Andy think of the upcoming, (and first-ever), Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami, where SMC Design will be in attendance? Andy recognizes the event as being a much-needed platform for the cruise interiors industry, commenting “the inaugural event offers a unique and exciting opportunity to bring together the world’s leading specialists in this market”, before continuing excitedly, “Never before have all these individuals been gathered together under one roof. Who knows what will happen!”