United by Design: Flying the Flag for York’s Creative Industry

16 November 2018

As you know, this week is York Business week, which is seven days dedicated to inspire and grow local businesses as well as celebrate all that is great about doing business in the City of York and the wider sub regions. We love helping local businesses get the recognition they deserve, so we have been out and about, chatting to York businesses to hear all about the great work they’re doing.

One of the businesses we met with was award winning graphic design company, United by Design, which was founded by Owen Turner in late 2008. Working closely with start-up’s, growing and established businesses across an interesting range of sectors, United by Design works across a range of industry sectors, connecting brands and their audiences through careful strategy, thoughtful design and effective collaboration. One of the areas they specialise in is the food and drink sector, with clients such as the hugely successful Brew York brewery, but also work with a variety of companies and organisations such as the Wilberforce Trust, Benenden Health, National Catholic Safeguarding Commission and most recently Bytemark, a UK cloud hosting technology company.

In the evolution of the business, one of the things that has made United by Design become a unique contributor to York’s local economy, is the work they do to keep University graduates in York. United by Design has always recruited from a graduate level and over the years have also taken on interns and welcomed students for work experience. Working closely with local schools, colleges and universities, such as the York St John Careers Development team, Business School and Graphic Design programme, Owen regularly engages with young people, sharing knowledge and experience of his professional journey whilst raising awareness of the fantastic opportunities the brand and design agency provide to both students and graduates through valuable, payable work experience.

United by Design is a leading example of a business which is promoting York as a centre for creative, digital and design companies. Through recruiting young, innovative people with the right skillsets is helping grow digital/creative economy in York and creating new opportunities and benefits for both established business and new businesses.

Owen is also an integral part of business community, he is an ex-director of York Professionals and was heavily involved in the evolution of York Business Week before it was handed over to Make it York and continues fantastic sector specific groups like the Guild of Media Arts. United by Design are about to also launch GLUG, an international networking group that focusses on bring creative together for talks and social gatherings, in the New Year.

Owen, who was raised in Ryedale, has been exposed to amazing opportunities with the likes of working with Dyson, for example, but has always recognised that creative companies can work anywhere, not just in more major cities such as London and Manchester and has used his passion and drive for the craft and commercial impact of design to put York on the map as the next up and coming hub for creativity and innovation.

Whilst they have already won a Silver and Gold in the Design Business Associations ‘Design Effectiveness Awards’, Owen and his team members have ambitious aspirations for the future of United by design, from wanting to grow the business and grow the size of their time to becoming a national player in the design industry. He said “we want to be around for a long time. We want the city to grow and we want to grow with it.”


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