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We are
Born Ugly

Who we are

Born Ugly is a brand design agency and a creative partnership. We are a team of strategists, designers and digital activators. We are the founding studio of the world’s most effective brand design consultancy, Elmwood, before our demerger as a standalone agency in 2020. You could say ‘born again in the ugliest of years’! We are an agency with a strong track record that spans 4 decades and 6 continents but has a new direction. A direction with strong foundations and values, and extraordinary commercial and cultural impact always as its cornerstone.

Born ugly logo landscape


Years experience


DBA Design Effectiveness Awards


Creative & effectiveness awards

Why Born Ugly?

Our name is born from a fundamental truth that even the very best of ideas start ‘ugly’. Whether they help start a fledgling business or help a brand leader stretch their advantage. They all start raw, uncrafted and lacking validation. More than this, the creative process itself is ugly. It is not a sausage machine. It is a process driven by the tension that pushes boundaries and delivers extraordinary impact.

It is a process that is in our blood. Born more than forty years ago, we have always believed that ugly fights harder. Ugly has somewhere to go. It feeds bravery and endeavour. Ugly isn’t scared to embrace dangerous creative that has the power to disrupt and break through. With conviction, ugly redefines the status quo and creates something truly remarkable.

Discover the power of ugly.

Born Ugly Sharpie Marker of Potential
Born Ugly Ink Exploration

Our Team

  • Jonathan sands

    Jonathan Sands OBE

    Sarah dear

    Sarah Dear
    Managing Partner

    Sabrina ahmed

    Sabrina Ahmed
    Senior Partner, Client Services

    Wander bruijel

    Wander Bruijel
    Senior Partner, Provocation

    Rob skelly

    Rob Skelly
    Associate Creative Director

    Tim leonard

    Timothy Leonard
    Provocation Partner

  • Tim bowman

    Tim Bowman

    Adam garbutt

    Adam Garbutt

    Anna edgell

    Anna Edgell

    Alex halfpenny

    Alex Halfpenny
    Design Director

    Alyssa babaran

    Alyssa Babaran
    Provocation Manager

    Daisy crowder

    Daisy Crowder
    Client Director

  • Emma salvesen

    Emma Salvesen
    Client Director

    Holly cullip

    Holly Cullip

    Ian schofield

    Ian Schofield
    NED & Sustainability Consultant

    Jenny yeardley

    Jenny Yeardley
    Provocation Director

    Joe cooke

    Joe Cooke
    Senior Designer

    Kelly broomhead

    Kelly Broomhead
    Client Director

  • Martyn hayes

    Martyn Hayes
    Design Director

    Milly hilton

    Milly Hilton

    Olivia baverstock

    Olivia Baverstock
    Front Of House Office Manager

    Rachael edwards

    Rachael Edwards
    Design Director

    Ruth wood

    Ruth Wood
    Senior Designer

    Sarah goldthorpe

    Sarah Goldthorpe
    Senior Designer

  • Sharanjit chaggar

    Sharanjit Chaggar
    Finance Manager

    Steven shaw

    Steven Shaw
    Design Director

    Tori cawkwell

    Tori Calkwell
    Senior Client Manager

    Ella husted

    Ella Husted
    Client Coordinator

What we believe in

We believe that the best work is done when it is fun. And perhaps as you can see from our name we don’t take ourselves too seriously but in our work, we couldn’t be more passionate or driven. It is this ethos and character that we believe is the secret to the best work and one which moulds enjoyable and fruitful, shoulder to shoulder partnerships over many years.

Born Ugly creative agency designer on plastic cow
Born Ugly creative studio culture

The Furnace

Born Ugly is the founder of The Furnace, a creative hothouse where like-minded businesses with different specialisms share our studio space and work with us to deliver impact for our clients. It is home to one of the fastest-growing digital businesses in Europe, a pioneer in virtual experiences and spaces, interactive gaming and film, and a Product Design & UX Consultancy specialising in user-centric digital products & services. The Furnace is a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem of strategic partners that create innovative and exciting brand experiences.

Born ugly studio the furnace
Born ugly the furnace


Born Ugly Bags a Bronze

Born Ugly wins bronze for Identity Design at the 2021 Drum Roses Awards.

Let’s create something

Find out how we can help you break through and do the unexpected.