Meet Ross Haxton, Managing Director of GLIMMA EMEA. Ross’s journey, from cutting his teeth at top London design agencies to leading global super-brand projects, is a testament to GLIMMA’s visionary approach to brand visibility. Join us as we delve into his wealth of experience, insights and the innovative strides he’s taken in translating brand vision into dynamic and future-proofed environments.
Hailing from the stunning Edinburgh, Ross Haxton, MD of GLIMMA EMEA, began his brand and design journey courtesy of a first-class honour’s degree from the Edinburgh College of Art.
Landor then provided him with his first role in design, which proved to be a baptism by concept design fire.
“I started my professional career at Landor in the brand environments concept team, arguably the best introduction a designer could wish for. One minute, we’d be designing a brand environment concept for a luxury retailer, and the next, designing details on food counters for a global fast-food chain.”
Ross Haxton, Managing Director of GLIMMA EMEA
After stints at top London agencies, Ross spent a year in Sweden, immersing himself in what many consider the epicentre of contemporary design.
“I took a lot from my time in Stockholm. Here, I was able to merge personal immersive experiences of understanding with how to translate a brand beautifully into an effortlessly elegant environment. Surprisingly, I spent much of my time designing for Systembolaget: Sweden’s government-owned alcohol retailer!”
Returning to London’s gritty hustle and bustle, Ross worked across multiple brands, formats and scaled projects within his design practice, heading up large brand and environment design teams.
“This was the ‘Airmiles’ phase of my career. From designing banks in Canada to supermarkets in Hong Kong, shopping malls in Jeddah and workplaces for multi-national consultancies everywhere, I was literally intercontinental. At this point, I developed a unique appreciation for the importance of airport design, which has served me well since we [GLIMMA] now work for one of the world’s largest airlines.”
With significant international branding and environment design expertise (and a million air miles!), Ross then set up his own practice, giving him the freedom many designers yearn for and an opportunity to flex his design skills.
“This was definitely my ‘global super-brand era’, in which I worked for brands such as Adidas, David Beckham Academy, Chelsea FC and Newcastle FC, designing flagship stores, concept exhibitions and designer outlet concept stores. The ‘fingertip’ future-proofing of brands such as these, where consumers and brands both drive accelerated change, means that you’re designing a generation ahead on every store element. It’s an exhilarating and incredibly satisfying experience being able to design futures.”
Adidas Sports Performance flagship concept store
Ross led on developing store fit-outs designed for London, Manchester and Birmingham
After travelling internationally designing banks, workplaces, value and luxury retail spaces, supermarket chains, premium eateries and global fast-food chains: where does one go from here?
“Well, the obvious graduation for me was to look at where these places of work, play and learning cluster. So, I started to take a helicopter view and focus on cities, towns and real estate, looking at how I could translate the detail of my designs for super-brands into creating super-places.”
Head-hunted to be MD of a small Southwest London design practice, Ross grew the agency into a specialist multi-disciplinary practice. Here, Ross and his team delivered brand and environmental design, architectural services, marketing and project management for billion-dollar real estate developments featuring workplaces, universities, retail, leisure, and residential homes for new cities in booming economies.
“I worked across Central Europe and the Middle East for a decade, creating city, town and neighbourhood masterplans and developing a massive range of content for retail spaces, workplace and leisure brands and a host of inspiring start-ups. This was my ‘seven-to-eleven era’ – not a reference to the convenience store, but more so the scale of investment. It was a heady mix of conveyor belt concept design – quickly restoring all my skills from my Landor days – on top of a host of expansive economic powerhouse master planning projects that required a whole new set of skills. The numbers went from seven figures to eleven, hence the era naming.”
Ross's sojourn in Europe and the Middle East had him developing town and business district masterplans
In his 7-11 era, Ross was able to master both form and function across a huge portfolio of retail clients
“The 'fingertip' future-proofing of brands – where consumers and brands both drive accelerated change – means that you're designing a generation ahead on every store element. It’s an exhilarating and incredibly satisfying experience being able to design futures.”
With his concept conveyor belt, Scandi-chic, super-brand and seven/eleven eras behind him, in his role as MD of GLIMMA, Ross has entered the ‘age of brand visibility’.
“It’s surprised me how blind many brands are to their physical brand visibility. I never really had the opportunity to see every store or concept I designed through the eyes of the customer because being design-side, you don’t get to spend time to see everything you have designed. With the digitalisation of everything, many brands have neglected their physical brand, so here at GLIMMA, we’ve created BrandEye, which enables everyone involved in a brand to see how it shapes up and stands out anywhere in the world. It’s an amazing system, which has been adopted by some of the world’s most powerful brands to manage everything from design to implementation across their entire physical portfolio, from staff uniform to retail, planes, trains, automotive and workplaces.”
So, how would he describe his role in this new era of brand visibility?
“I’m working with brands to enable them to translate their visions into physical environments that are viable and physical, so more consultative, but very much involved in providing guidance and expertise of the design strategy. I’m also travelling again: from Malmo to the Middle East, via the MidWest!”
If you’d like to chat with Ross about design, BrandEye or to arrange a speaking engagement, get in touch: