About Us

S2 is a design agency with a mission to get beneath the surface. By gaining a complete and comprehensive understanding of where you want to go, we will collaborate with you to map out the best possible way of getting you there.

Our Creative Directors

Darren Southworth - Brand Design


My parents always said I was a ‘creative child’. I remember from my childhood always painting or building things. Whether it was with paper, paint, used-cardboard boxes, sand or any broken piece of wood lying around, I would have my hands dirty, like a mad scientist, giving life to a new creation.

Composition, structure, appearance, simple forms and how people interacted with them always fascinated me. I was never the easy child; If there were two obvious directions available, I would look to see if there was a third, never taking the easy route but searching for the best route that gave a unique perspective and increased value to my journey. So it was no surprise to my school peers that my future career would take me into the realm of design.

It’s fair to say I have ‘served my design time’; after University, working up from paste-up artist at a national daily press room, through reprographic studios to creative director roles, understanding and mastering the disciplines, processes and pipelines necessary to implement effective design.

I believe in collaboration and partnerships. We are not on the journey alone, and neither should we be. Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with some great people and organisations; working with individuals and start-ups to international organisations, from not-for-profit charities to commercial enterprises, political parties to ethical lobbying organisations; a career and portfolio that has crossed generations and borders.

My passion has been to deliver imaginative thinking that changes the lives of people and creates positive outcomes for businesses. I love to bring well thought-out ideas to life in ways that inspire an emotional connection to a brand with flawless delivery, no matter the challenges.

As a problem-solver and being self-critical, I always start by stripping back the detail, retaining everything of core value and asking “Is it relevant to your story?” Self-analysis is essential for branding and being data-driven allows you to prove with a degree of certainty which journey directions are the best options for our partners.

After all, It’s all about the journey.

Andy Stonehouse - Brand Strategy


Hi, I’m Andy (or AJ, to some people).

From my early years I was always happiest with a pencil and paper creating and sketching. I’m dyslexic, so drawing became a refuge and a way for me to express myself. It’s always been a part of my life.

I first started doing commercial design projects in the late 80s, working as a freelance designer in the Midlands. I’m that rare find of an ‘old school’ designer who is still hands-on in the industry, crafting creative design work to this day.

I started my career with a huge drawing board, craft knives, marker pens and a darkroom, so it’s safe to say I’ve witnessed and adapted to quite a few developments within the industry. Not least the huge impact of computing on the design world, and the changing face (and speed) of brand engagement due to social media.

Embracing and capitalising on the ever-changing landscape and the impact of new innovations is all part of the job – but I’m a firm believer that a strong concept and solid problem-solving are always the best foundation for any project.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the reasons that drive people’s responses to any given cue. Why a certain turn of phrase can motivate people to take action, how a particular colour can make us feel emotion or even create a physiological response with us. Some colours can literally make your heart beat faster.

Psychology is a key weapon in any designer’s arsenal to help us create more impactive communication materials for our clients.

Over my years in this industry, I’ve been employed in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. I’ve worked full-time in the charity sector, in publishing, in creative marketing, in branding and in general graphic design agencies too.

In 1998, I became the Studio Director at a London agency with clients as diverse as international banks and the world safety body for nuclear power, to SMEs, charities and local councils.

I have been involved in every aspect of graphic design – from new company launches to creating identities for international organisations. I’ve devised national advertising campaigns (from billboards to press ads), launched new magazine titles, and worked on everything from book design, packaging design and marketing, to promotional campaigns, exhibition design, website and new media development projects. It’s fair to say I’ve been around the block a few times.

That said I don’t believe anything can affect a companies success the way good brand strategy and positioning can. It underpins every other activity. This is why I’ve specialised in brand identity and positioning – it’s where my passion really lies as it is where I can create the biggest impact for my clients.

For me, the process of creating an effective brand strategy and design can be summed up in two sentences.

“Design without strategy is merely decoration.
Strategy without data is simply conjecture”