Independent Writer and Consultant
Founder Director of 26 and Dark Angels

Photo credit: Stuart Keegan, Bloomsbury Festival

John Simmons is an independent writer and consultant. He was a director of Newell and Sorrell from 1984 until the merger with Interbrand in 1997. At Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, he headed many international brand programmes and established Interbrand’s verbal identity team before he left in 2003. John co-founded  writers’ group 26 at that time and has since led many projects for 26 in partnership with major cultural organisations.

John runs “Dark Angels” workshops, residential courses in remote retreats, which aim to promote more creative writing for business He co-founded Dark Angels with Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncey, and they have run workshops in many countries including Spain, France, Poland, Sweden, New Zealand and the USA.

John has written a number of internationally acclaimed books on the relationship between language and identity, including “The Dark Angels Trilogy” - We, me, them & it, The invisible grail and Dark angels. He is widely acknowledged as the ‘founder of tone of voice as a brand discipline’ and contributed the chapter on that subject in The Definitive Book of Branding, published by Sage.

In the UK he has been writer-in-residence for Unilever and King’s Cross tube station. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Falmouth in recognition of ‘outstanding contribution to the creative sector’. He continues to work as a brand strategist and copywriter, often in collaboration with consultancies such as Pentagram. CVlients in the last year include Swiss Films and Bertazzoni, Signia and Mountview.

John’s books include 26 ways of looking at a blackberry, about the creative power of constraints, and Room 121: a masterclass in business writing, co-written with Jamie Jauncey. In recent times he has become a published novelist: Leaves was published by Urbane in 2015 and Spanish Crossings in 2017. His third novel The Good Messenger will be published in autumn 2018.


“Words are at the heart of every creative project. I’ll be bringing a writer’s perspective to make sure the very best words are used by Drum award winners.”

Judging panel

John Mathers - Chairman

Director of the British Design Fund
and Consultant

Nick Finney

NB Studio

Sophie Maxwell

Futures Director

Glenn Tutssel - Head Judge

Brand Inspiration

Andrew Lawrence

Executive Creative Director

Caz Hildebrand

Creative Partner
Here Design

Chloe Templeman

Creative Director
Design Bridge

Garrick Hamm

Creative Partner
Williams Murray Hamm

Georgie Bridge

Director of Brand & Design

Hiten Bhatt

Creative Director - Design

John Simmons

Independent Writer and Consultant
Founder Director of 26 and Dark Angels

Jonathan Driver

Driver Trading

Sasha Vidakovic

Founder/Creative Director

Sophie Maxwell

Futures Director

Spencer Buck

Creative Partner & Founder
Taxi Studio Ltd

Stephen J. Haggarty

Group Creative Director