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Mentor Colin McKeown

Expertise: Branding, design, product or service development.

Personal Summary:

With over 30 years experience in advertising, design and the creative industries, I have designed branding and communications strategies for both public and private sector clients. Having held many senior positions in design, I have also practiced in Dublin and London and continue to operate throughout Ireland and the UK as creative director in my own business Whitespace Design. In today’s business climate, user experience dictates business success and I work with clients to understand their market place and identify ways for their business to succeed. I advise, provide design tools and experience, to help them balance the creative with the requirements of running their own business. At all times I consider the best media to promote and improve business success for their services and products.
A believer in the importance of improving education and skills throughout the creative industries, I am also a member of the Creative and Cultural Skills Advisory Board and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Design Alliance. A STEAM ambassador for the Design Council, I also provide mentoring and careers advice to schools.
In 2014 I was appointed to the Irish Design 2015 team as a regional coordinator, responsible for promoting and activating creative networks in Ireland. This highly successful initiative has elevated the importance of the design and craft industries in Ireland to an International audience and at national level.
Recent consultancy projects have included the Harnessing Creativity Project, an EU funded, cross-border initiative for the creative industries in Leitrim, Enniskillen and Omagh. Having designed the branding for the project, I have also been involved in developing and delivering creative workshops and one to one mentoring.

Mentoring Experience:

When developing mentoring workshops, I concentrate and plan effective sessions that are appropriate to the creative community. To date I have covered all the important aspects of business including: good business practice, making the finance work, developing a brand, promotion and marketing, pitching a business idea and staying creative. With the Harnessing Creativity Project, one to one sessions helped designers and craft makers focus, on the aspects of their business that needed a different viewpoint in order to find solutions. Having worked with a number of craft designers, the isolation felt being on their own can be damaging and prevent the success of their business. I encourage discussion and group exercises that enable attendees to solve problems and realise that everyone is facing similar problems.

In 2013 I mentored Welig Crafts in the Ards Pennisula as part of an Institute of Directors and Arts Council initiative. Welig were traditional craft people weaving baskets from home grown willow. The main problem was being able to produce volume from their work. I advised them to identify other revenue streams that could provide a better return for the business. They have now been comissioned to create life size willow figures, as part of an interior or display. We also considered and produced new branding, marketing materials and signage for the business.

Recently I have also worked with Bernie Murphy and Elsie Tweed in the North West, to mentor and develop a wider range of products. Branding and the marketing have also been an important part of the ongoing plan and discussion. In both cases the intention is to reach a broader audience for their products.


MSc Future Communications
BA Honours in Visual Communications (First Class)
Advanced Diploma in Art and Design
Wordpress web design course.
Service Design Training, PDR Wales Cardiff


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