“The Old Man”
— Mark’s tribute to former employer, mentor and friend Glenn Tutssel
With great sadness Glenn Tutssel, exceptional Designer and Creative Director has passed away.
Glenn worked with a huge variety of brands, from the BBC to Barcardi, and his legacy is left in all those designers that he worked with and influenced over his long career.
I was fortunate enough to work with Glenn for 6 years at Tutssels then Enterprise IG after he merged his business with others to create the foundation for what is now Superunion. I had the honour of working with Glenn on an amazing portfolio of work including the rebranding for Peroni, the branding and packing for Penderyn, the first Welsh whisky and many of the Diageo Classic Malts.
It was at college in 1998 that I first learnt about Glenn. The head of design Jack Gardener said after reviewing my work – “I’ll have you working for someone like Glenn Tutssel someday” at the time I wasn’t aware of who he was talking about but after a quick search through the college library’s D&ADs and design books I was immediately a fan. I had about 6 interviews with Glenn and the Tutssel’s team before eventually being offered a job and remember that it wasn’t my polished folder that sealed the deal but my sketches and roughs that Glenn asked to see.
Glenn’s reputation as a Creative Director went before him and as a young designer I knew I had to step up to his expectations. I remember a very tough day when I shared with him my ideas for a small identity I’d been working on for a couple of days. Unimpressed ‘We’re not there yet’ was the gist of the critique. He prompted me to think in different direction and said let’s catch up later. Head down and brow wet I cracked on for the rest of the day anxiously fearing the worst. I showed Glenn my new thoughts later, he sifted through them much as he had in the morning, he pulled out one which he looked at for a long moment and then he said “I wished I’d done that”. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the week. As many others have mentioned he was always after ‘The One’ idea and when you nailed it he would make you feel super human.
Glenn was Inspiring, passionate, energetic, driven, single minded and a great story teller.
I recall with great admiration seeing Glenn presenting a range of whisky packaging that we’d been working on for a couple of months, he spoke with such fervour to the clients (I think there was about 6 of them in the room) for about 20 mins before showing them anything, he talked about how we had approached the project, the fun we had been having and how excited he was to present them the work, they were literally on the edge of their seats…so was I! When he finally finished presenting the work they were standing up clapping. I am still yet to see a standing ovation after a concept presentation again.
Leading by example Glenn would always be at his desk before anyone else and would quite often be the last to leave and if we had to do a ‘late one’ or needed help with mock-ups he’d be the first to roll his sleeves up. Every night Glenn would leave his desk immaculate, lining up his sharpened pencils ready for the next day.
Glenn continued to guide me even after I left Enterprise IG, I remember talking with him about setting up Buddy with David Jones in a pub in Waterloo. We were nervous and anxious about making the leap, he asked me what did Gemma (my wife) think, I said she was supportive and up for it, his response was “then what are you waiting for?!”
Glenn worked hard but he also played hard too, I enjoyed many a lunchtime or after work pint in the Hope in Farringdon or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street and more recently the Bear Of Rodborough near his family home in Stroud amongst many other drinking establishments.
His passion for design and “ideas beautifully crafted” never let up and despite being terminally ill he worked right up until he could no longer.
Glenn leaves behind Jane, Lauren and Leon, a wonderful family who I know meant the world to him.
“The Old Man” or TOM as he would often sign-off his correspondence will be deeply missed but very fondly remembered.