Jonathan Sands OBE

Jonathan has a more than forty-year career in the creative industries. Perhaps most notably he is known for building the UK headquartered design consultancy Elmwood into a global enterprise famed for winning more design effectiveness awards than any other agency ever and all started from a small provincial studio outside Leeds in the North of England. Over the years his clients have included the likes of The English FA, Wal-Mart, The Royal Mail, Colgate, Unilever, P&G, Carlsberg and many other well-known global and local brands. As well as consulting on a global basis he has also spoken at conferences all over the world From Australia to North America, from China to India and from Scandinavia and across Mainland Europe.

In 2021 Jonathan handed down the various studios located in Leeds, London, New York, Singapore and Melbourne to the respective management teams with the London, New York and Singapore studios ultimately being sold to MSQ. Jonathan still retains a significant shareholding in Born Ugly which is the new name for the founding studio in Leeds however Jonathan has also stepped out of that business and now runs a new virtual enterprise for his own consulting clients called ‘The Third Pig Company’.

Jonathan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Huddersfield University in 2000 where he also served for many years as a ‘Visiting Professor of Innovation’. He is a past council member of the Design Council on which he served for ten years. He is a fellow and past council member of the RSA and was the youngest ever Chairman of the Design Business Association and the first Chair from outside London. Jonathan was awarded an OBE for services to the creative Industry in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 2011. Alongside many other personal awards at the end of last year he was also became the very first Mentor of the Year in the ‘Connect Yorkshire’ business awards.

Finally Jonathan is a current Trustee of the Royal Armouries and Chairman of their commercial business RATE. He is a collector of classic cars, a proud father of three, a moderate golfer and a long suffering Derby County supporter.