“I guess I got to a point where my entrepreneurial desire got too great and I felt like I had no choice but to set up on my own,” he explains of the move.
Within six months of setting up Proud he found himself pitching against his former company as well as the likes of Lambie-Nairn, Spin and Dunning Eley Jones – for the job of rebranding S4C, the Welsh language version of Channel 4. Despite going up against the industry big boys, Witchell’s new outfit won the pitch and have been working towards unveiling the new branding that includes a logo, a bespoke on-screen typeface and new idents, through to truck liveries and stationery.
Coming from Kemistry – and given that Proud is just adding the finishing touches to a new identity for a TV channel – it would be forgivable to assume that this is precisely the area of expertise Witchell has set up Proud to offer. However, Witchell claims not to have such a specific focus planned for his current venture.
“I really don’t have a master plan as such,” he tells us. “Just to make sickly brands better. When I set up Proud, the idea was to keep it small and collaborate as much as possible with some of the world’s best creatives, learn from them and better myself along the way.”
And this is how it is. Proud is just five people strong and on the S4C job alone, Witchell and his team have collaborated with onedotzero, director Simon Ratigan, designer Matt Pyke of Universal Everything (and through Matt hooked up with his brother, Simon Pyke, who produces music under the name Free Farm) and also type foundry Lineto.
While the S4C channel rebranding job is undoubtedly the biggest Proud has tackled to date (it launches in January 2007), they have worked on several smaller projects outside the world of on-screen branding.
“Multidisciplinary is a word that’s bandied about a fair bit, but we definitely strive to work in as many different areas as possible,” affirms Witchell. To date Proud has created a selection of small independent start-up brands including Blokk Architects, Dogmad, FAQ and Loke. “We have also worked with Unilever, Toyota, Lancôme and Channel 4,” adds Witchell. With distinct pride.