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Thursday 19 November 2015

David McKendrick awarded honorary degree

Founder and partner of B.A.M. and former creative director of Esquire magazine, David McKendrick, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Design on Thursday 19 November 2015.

On receiving his award he said: “It’s a great privilege and a very humbling experience to receive this honorary doctorate from this amazing institution.”


McKendrick has had an incredible career as a designer and art/creative director, successfully reinventing historic brand Esquire UK, twice. His brilliant eye, research, hard work and attention to detail are what makes him the creative force that he is today.

In 2014, McKendrick set up a creative agency B.A.M. with Lee Belcher (former art director at Wallpaper). The agency’s initial projects included a full redesign of the magazine for world-renowned auction house Christie’s and Esquire’s Big Black Book.

After graduating from Glasgow School of Art, David McKendrick began his career as a designer at Graphic Thought Facility, one of the most innovative design companies in London. The group produced work for Tate, Booth-Clibborn Editions, the Design Museum, the V&A and Habitat.

Speaking about his early career, McKendrick said: “My first job taught me a lot of things; mainly that I wasn’t going to be a superstar over night, but it also taught me the importance of taking small steps in building a lifelong career. By taking these small steps and working hard along the way I made myself indispensable and in my experience being indispensable always leads to opportunities.”

He joined Esquire in May 2007 and it wasn’t long before his creative vision helped the brand gain widespread recognition for its cutting-edge and bold design and art direction, winning David numerous awards.

Under McKendrick’s direction Esquire Magazine UK has been involved in two complete re-designs; the first winning both himself and the title a series of national awards, and the second doubling the circulation within one year.

He was central to developing teams at the National Magazine Company, leading the UK branch of the magazine into the digital realm with weekly output now available for the iPad, plus the expansion of Esquire UK into a luxury print edition – The Big Black Book – which he still works on.

Previously, McKendrick worked as art editor of the Bespoke department at Wallpaper* magazine and as a senior designer at the fashionable design group, North.

No stranger to Southampton Solent, he has been giving guest lectures at the University for the last six years, as well as setting briefs and competitions for the students.

Speaking to the assembled graduates, McKendrick said: “It’s not easy working in the arts, it’s not a straight forward career, but it’s a career that affords immense opportunity and freedom. So if I could give any advice it would be to get stuck in; work hard and most importantly be yourself; this way you’ll find where you fit in and the rest will fall into place.”

Almost 2,500 students will be graduating with degrees and professional qualifications from Southampton Solent University during ten ceremonies over five days (16-20 November).