Faaez Samadi
Feb 28, 2017

A life in advertising: David Holmes publishes autobiography

New book contains illustrations of the creative veteran’s decades-long career, from the UK to Singapore, where he was responsible for some of the country’s earliest iconic branding.

David Holmes (left) and a collection of his works for Raffles Hotel in Singapore
David Holmes (left) and a collection of his works for Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Creative advertising stalwart David Holmes has released his autobiography, highlighting a career in the industry that began in the 1960s.

“David Holmes’ Book”, released earlier this month, includes visuals of several of Holmes’ successful and iconic campaigns during his time as art director at WS Crawfords, Ogilvy Benson & Mather and The KMP Partnership.

Holmes then went on to found David Holmes & Partners, before joint founding Holmes Knight Ritchie in 1977, which eventually became TBWA HKR.

In 1996 he moved to Singapore at the request of renowned adman Ian Batey, of Batey Ads, to work primarily on the Singapore Airlines account, even though he “wasn't particularly looking to move from the UK”.

“When I first arrived I found that three quarters of the creatives were expats, Australians mainly,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “There was some local talent on the staff, but not employed on the blue-chip accounts. Just about all the account staff were Singaporean though, apart from two senior account directors they were English.”

His portfolio included the relaunch of the iconic Raffles Hotel, and the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board, among others.

Today, he says he is heartened by the amount of local talent.

“It seems that there is so much home grown talent there is little need to bring it in,” he said. “That has to be a good thing. In the 1970s and 80s there was a need to boost the show and it worked.”

He added: “It is oh so easy to become complacent. We all need a kick up the backside now and again. All of us. Every single job can be great, and that scares the pants off me even today.”

Holmes continues to work on commissions in his London studio. For example, he recently created six images for the Royal Mail Christmas postage stamps in 2015. 



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