Interview with Matt Sweet, Creative Director at Yellow Fish

We had the pleasure of working on a project with Matt Sweet in 2018, and his attention to detail made a real impression. Naturally, when setting up a blog for Exhibition Designers and those looking to join the Events Industry, we asked Matt a few questions to help us understand his route to Yellow Fish.


Who is Yellow Fish and who is Matt Sweet?

Yellow Fish is a world-class creative events business, delivering exhibitions, events and brand installations across the globe. Matt heads up the creative team and can be found musing and pushing incredible ideas for his clients, which he’s been doing for over a decade.

How did you get into the events industry?

"After finishing my degree in Film + Video I started doing a mix of freelance video work alongside the odd bit of graphic design. A friend of mine spotted some of my designs and recommended me for a junior design position at a print-brokers in Brighton. I learnt a lot about the design & print processes and the real practical stuff that you only really get your teeth into after being exposed to live projects. After a few years there, honing my print and digital skills, a friend (a different friend this time) recommended me for a job at the Brighton agency Yellow Fish. My role very quickly developed from print and digital into a broad spectrum of deliverables, creating assets for conference events, exhibitions, and incentive travel marketing campaigns, to name a few. For over a decade now, I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible brands alongside a truly talented team of Fish."

What aspects of the design process are your favourite?

"Being a full-service agency means the projects are super varied. From branding and campaigns to events and exhibitions, no two briefs are exactly the same, but they all start with a brief and the ask. One of my favourite parts of the design process is the ideation stage. Smashing out a brainstorm, refining ideas and working out how we can weave in those surprise and delight moments is me in my element."

What tips would you give to exhibition designers coming into the industry?

"I think my tip would be to ask questions and never stop asking questions... however obvious or stupid they may first appear. When it comes to creating a successful experience on a stand, the more information you pull out of the client at the beginning, the better chance you will have at prioritising your key design decisions."

How has your background in film and video helped you?

"I absolutely love working with video, and it continues to be a powerful tool when you really want to capture people’s attention and imagination and especially when time is limited. I think the storytelling side of video has always transferred to all areas of my creative. I think about how I want the audience to feel throughout the journey and then carefully select, layer and balance all the ingredients I have at my disposal to sell the scene. When tackling an exhibition stand, I see it in the same way."

  • Who are my main characters and how does the story begin for the person visiting the stand?
  • What’s the feeling or scene on stand?
  • What do they want or what do I want them to obtain?
  • What might be a potential obstacle?
  • What will be the resolution and feeling when they exit?

What has been your favourite trend or emerging theme in recent times?

"I love it when the worlds of digital and analogue collide. Seeing a build that utilises hands-on controls or physical props that trigger digital or mixed-media really excites me. In general, I love how more and more installation designs are becoming multi-sensory, interactive and are now inviting the audience to explore and discover content through play."

What has been the most unusual place that you have delivered an event?

"Not sure it’s unusual, but definitely exciting, we once transformed London’s House of Fraser flagship store café into a fashion show. I remember we delivered a really nice event campaign for that one across digital, print and install. You can see it here Brand Launch - Philips - Creating a disruptive retail experience ("


What type of clients are your favourite?

"My favourite clients are probably the ones that trust you enough to try new things and really give you permission to play. It’s also a bonus for me when the brand makes a real difference to people’s lives. We work with PTC Therapeutics and it’s very rewarding to see the incredible work they do in the rare disease space and to help them tell their brand stories."

Who inspires you or has been helpful to you along the way?

"I guess like everyone, there are so many people that inspire me or have (knowingly or unknowingly) influenced my work. I am blessed to work with a super creative team who are always pushing themselves to learn new and exciting skills. Every time someone comes in with a new book, article or they’re learning new software, it instantly motivates me to go out and adsorb something shiny and new. Every day’s a school day!"

Thanks, Matt. This was an insightful and enjoyable read. One of my favourite things about Matt is his signature hat, which, while it's his style, is helpful to help find him in a busy events delivery!

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