Shari Solo Creative Director

Shari Solo


Seasoned, award winning multi-disciplined Director, Designer/Animator with two decades of experience in the industry

Upon graduating with a BA in Visual Communication from Kingston in 2000, at my first job interview I was told by a Children’s book publisher that I was overqualified. The second position offered to me was Art Director of a now well known shopping channel. I withdrew my application at the interview and was told I was making a huge error of judgement. In my third interview with a major Global Broadcaster, I once again presented a painstakingly crafted portfolio with hand rendered typography and ideas driven identity work. At the end of the meeting I was told the work was outstanding however there was no role available for an Art Director, only a junior Designer. I zipped up my portfolio, smiled politely, stood up with my hand stretched out and said “Thank you for your time, I’ll be leaving now.” The ECD asked that I be seated and called his Lead AD and they created a new position on the spot and invited me to join them. I was deeply influenced by these early mentors and they know who they are.

Creating global screen branding and directing productions I quickly progressed to join Code Design, the in-house design team of Soho Post Production House, M2 Television. Doing the unthinkable, I presented an interactive CD portfolio created using Macromedia’s Shockwave technology, feeling it was better in showcasing both design and film work in a memorable way. Having been presented with a computer on my 12th. birthday, picking up new software and technology was child’s play. I was immediately offered a role as AD utilising Operators for 3D, Avid, Editbox and Hal. Wanting to perfect every storyboard, promo, shoot, title sequence and channel Identity I became more and more hands-on using anything that made sense, After Effects, Maya, Final Cut, dropping all pretence and discarding any workflow and method that proved cumbersome. At that time a big change was occurring to traditional models of Art Direction accelerated by the maturing of the internet and no matter how much work done, there was an urge to move faster and do more and this led to a key decision at some point during these years: to start freelancing very early on in order to move fluidly over the changing landscape that was to become known as Digital.

Living in Berlin, Frankfurt and Los Angeles in the following 5 years, I tackled briefs directing and designing across disciplines as wide ranging as Screen branding, Interactive, Print, Online, Events and Experiential. The stimulus to move was always the need to not waste time anywhere I felt the briefs were not coming to me as fast as my creative hunger demanded. In Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt) the full-time role of Lead AD to terrestrial Channel ZDF, led me to develop on the experience of shoot direction but to a much higher level working on TV Commercials with dozens of actors, artists and large crews and all on 16mm/35mm film as opposed to the HD Cam Spots from my time in Soho London. In Berlin I created typefaces with NeuBau and motion concepts for Motor Show LED walls for BMW. In Los Angeles I created Movie Title Sequences for Silverline Pictures, eventually finding my way back home to London, where Digital had transformed the design field in general. My focus shifted to Motion in Experiential and Interactive work. Working for a number of years at Imagination, I helped to design and direct award winning pieces for motor shows, games, and emerging technologies such as touch tables and augmented reality. After Gaming overtook Cinema, I left the comfort of my regular clients and actively pursued briefs in that sector and won awards in this industry working on such titles as Driver (Atari), Call of Duty 4 (Activision, BAFTA award), Little Big Planet Vita (Sony).

In 2011, this logical progression after over a decade in the industry led to Co-Founding the Art and Design practice, Solo Kojima in Clerkenwell. I joined Japanese Paper Cut Artist, Nahoko Kojima to create a Company focussed on Applying Art to Design briefs. The Company carries out Art Consultation, Commissions and Global Public Exhibitions. As Producer/Director I have been managing all projects, external suppliers and press. My biggest achievement was leading the effort in 2015 to secure the BVLGARI Account which saw us establish a satellite office in Tokyo to create VM Bridal Art for the whole of the Asia G.China region in over 100 store windows. In 2020 I completed a Masters in Advertising Strategy at Falmouth University UK, with my research paper on ‘The Effects of Art in Advertising’ gaining me a First with Distinction.

Alongside my commitments to Solo Kojima I continue to consult independently for some of London’s most respected production companies and vfx houses with my primary focus now being complex effects and procedural design. A-Level mathematics skills are finally coming in handy.

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