Founder and chief executive
John built up Soapbox from a freelance design practice to a thriving global communications agency. He divides his time between running the business, managing major accounts and working as creative director on key projects. John began his career in book publishing before joining the IPPR in 2003. He is an advisory board member for On Think Tanks. You can read some of his writing on the future of policy and research communications on our blog.
Chief operating officer
Polly joined Soapbox in 2012 and oversees agency operations, projects and people management, while managing some key projects herself. She has a background in non-profit communications, over ten years’ experience of managing creative teams and postgraduate diplomas in Financial Management, HR, and Management and Leadership. She studied English and Intellectual and Cultural History at Sussex.
Director of strategy
Cormac joined Soapbox in 2010 and has overall responsibility for our digital communications practice. He is also involved in business development and acts as a lead on many of our bigger web projects. Cormac spent the first 10 years of his working life in policy roles in various national organisations in the UK before becoming an editor and then specialising in digital content. He studied law and French at Queen’s University Belfast and has postgraduate qualifications in journalism and translation.
Autumn has been with Soapbox since its inception in 2008 and oversees a range of prestigious publications as head of our Bath studio. Passionate about design detail and making policy content shine, she worked on many high profile, award-winning publications before joining Soapbox. She holds a master’s in classics from University College London.
Director, Washington DC
Joe is director of our Washington, DC studio. He is a frequent writer on content strategy for policy communications and leads our practice in that area. He spent five years in academia before moving to a variety of leadership roles in digital and strategic communications at the US Congressional Budget Office, The Century Foundation and Eastern Research Group. He holds a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Virginia.
Creative director (maternity leave)
Rachel is Soapbox’s creative director, overseeing all our design outputs. In her own practice she is particularly adept in using typographic detailing to help guide readers through dense and complex texts. After graduating with a degree in design for communication at the University of Reading, Rachel stayed on to complete a masters in book design. She joined Soapbox in 2009 and worked her way up from junior design to her current role.
Esa joined Soapbox in 2019 as lead digital designer and is currently acting creative director. His previous roles have included senior product designer at CNN Digital, and various design positions within small studios and multinational corporations in both London and Helsinki. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins, to which he regularly returns as a visiting lecturer.
Senior designer, Berlin
Anja works on a range of projects including branding, exhibition and publication design, animation and information graphics – all with a focus on strong conceptual design solutions and clear messages. Prior to joining Soapbox Anja worked with major cultural institutions and architectural practices in Berlin and London. She holds an MA in visual communication from the University of Art and Design Halle.
Head of web development
Scott has been building websites since 2005, primarily for the non-profit sector. At Soapbox, he works to ensure we deliver quality work at good value and to industry best practices, while also seeking opportunities to innovate and excite users. Scott is adept at tackling complex problems and is keen to share and develop his own knowledge. He is actively involved in the WordPress and Drupal open source communities and regularly speaks at industry events.
Working across print, digital and data visualisation, Margherita specialises in translating complex concepts into clear graphic messages. Her previous experience includes leading the graphic and exhibition design efforts for an international architecture firm, and several years as a freelance graphic and set designer. Margherita holds a BA in design from the University of Florence and an MA in exhibition and set design from the University of Rome.
Head of business development
Ged has over ten years’ experience helping research, policy and campaigning organisations with their communications. After a few years as a print editor, he ‘went digital’ while working for the University of Oxford and has since worked in digital, publications and campaign management roles for Oxfam GB and ODI, as well as spending five years as senior project manager and account director with a non-profit focused agency.
Lead branding designer
Ellen is Soapbox’s lead branding designer. Her expertise lie in translating strategy into striking visual executions for our clients. Her work philosophy is based on a cross-disciplinary approach with previous experience in print and digital design. Before joining Soapbox she freelanced at various agencies in London working with cultural and commercial clients. She is a graduate of London College of Communication.
Dan is an award-winning designer, with over 18 years’ experience on national newspapers and magazines. Before joining Soapbox he was creative director at The Independent, leading the acclaimed redesign that won Design Week‘s ‘Editorial Design of the Year’. Dan’s specialism is crafting long-form copy into engaging and impactful designs. His work has been recognised in international competitions, and featured regularly in the UK design press.
As Soapbox’s production manager, Jenny oversees most of the design jobs coming through the studio, including print, infographics, and animation. Her role includes providing quotes and working with the designers to make sure they stay on brief, on time and on budget. She joined Soapbox after several years managing design and animation projects in the e-learning sector. She holds a degree in English Literature from the University of Sheffield.
Žiga started working for Soapbox as a publication designer, before shifting his focus to digital. He now works across disciplines, applying the same principles of user-centred design. Before joining Soapbox, Žiga completed an MA in information design at the University of Reading, building on his undergraduate degree in interactive communications at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Naomi joined Soapbox as a brand strategist in June 2019, as part of the agency’s commitment to improving and developing our practice in this area. She cut her teeth working in journalism and at the UK think tank Demos before moving to communications agency, Fishburn Hedges, where she spent five years advising and delivering campaigns for a range of clients. Prior to joining Soapbox she worked for several years as a freelance consultant.
Graham is a full stack senior developer building websites in WordPress, Drupal and Bolt CMS. He is happy to work on everything ranging from database admin to custom backend development, building bespoke frontends to preparing the server for launch. Graham previously worked as a designer and developer creating e-learning courses and graduated from Brunel University with a degree in multimedia technology and design.
Lead content designer
Amanda joined Soapbox as a lead content designer after spending four years as a consultant helping the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC improve their communications and outreach. In her role with Soapbox she takes a user-centered approach: identifying what users need and figuring out how best to communicate it. She holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.
Lead front-end developer
Stuart joined Soapbox in 2012 and is our lead front-end developer, working closely with both design and development teams to produce pixel perfect websites. Stuart is keen to make all of Soapbox’s web outputs as accessible and performant as possible by using the latest web principles and technologies – focusing on semantic HTML and scalable CSS architecture. He holds a degree in multimedia technology and design from Brunel University.
Johanna is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She currently splits her time between Soapbox and the Financial Times, where she works as a creative director. She has previously produced films for broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Her 2016 feature film debut, They Will Have To Kill Us First, received acclaim from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many more.
Ian is Soapbox’s lead editor, based in our Bath office. He enjoys working with text to create clear, engaging written content, whether that’s writing, editing or proofreading a report, copywriting for the web, infographic text, animation scripts, through to collaborating on new tone-of-voice guidance for our clients. His background in both academic and commercial publishing means he has a wealth of experience in both print and digital projects.
After studying history of art and an MA graphic design, Sandhya spent several years working on design projects in the advertising industry. She then pursued her love of typography and long-form publishing to study for an MA in book design at the University of Reading. At Soapbox, Sandhya focuses on print and digital publications, as well as complex data visualisations, aiming always to produce designs that are effective, aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Fathima is an experienced backend developer with a keen eye for clean, considered and creative code for providing solutions for complex problems. She has hands-on experience in versatile platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, Bolt, CakePHP, Phalcon, etc. Fathima joined Soapbox in 2012 and works on the development of our websites, online readers and the data visualisation tools. She holds a first class degree in IT and E-commerce from the university of East London.
Eléonore studied graphic design in her hometown of Paris before coming to the UK to study for a masters at the University of the Arts London. Having discovered a love of the city, she decided to stay and has been working in digital design ever since, joining Soapbox at the end of 2017 as one of our digital designers.
Private: Han Li
Han joined Soapbox in 2018 as one of our digital designers. She works with content specialists, other designers and developers to help clients and turn their requirements into simple, yet functional designs. She enjoys working with multidisciplinary teams and bringing a human-centric point of view to the table. She studied for a BFA in graphic design and a BA in media and communications and art history in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Shuvro is part of Soapbox’s project management team, holding a degree in technology and e-commerce from the University of East London. He joined Soapbox after switching careers from the music industry where he worked with bands including Megadeth, Dragonforce, Sepultura, Cradle of Filth and Ghost. He’s now enjoying the relative peace of the Soapbox office, spreading the calmness that only comes from well-managed projects.
Since gaining her degree in applied communication at Newcastle University, Florence worked in project management roles in medical education and financial services in New York and London. She joined Soapbox in 2018 as a project manager.
Editor and typesetter
Sarah’s background is in international wildlife conservation, genetics and computing. After graduating with an MRes from Imperial College London, she set aside travels with dangerous creatures for a career in academic journals, working on a variety of titles. Sarah joined Soapbox in 2017 and divides her time between a range of editing and typesetting duties – to which she brings a keen eye for detail and a passion for quality communications.
Davide works across Soapbox’s print, data visualisation, and digital projects. His particular passion lies in making typography and image work together to create great communications. His varied career has included design roles at Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press and Sky Limited, as well as with independent businesses in Rome, London and Doha. He holds an MA in book design from the University of Reading and a BA in industrial design from the University of Rome.
Sharon joined Soapbox as a designer in 2016, after years working as a policy and research lawyer. Her deep-seated love for language and illustration led to a career change and move to London, where she retrained as a graphic designer at the London College of Communication. Sharon now specialises in publication design and data visualisation, and also brings with her experience in bookbinding and publishing.
Mariana first joined Soapbox as an intern during a placement year as part of her digital arts degree from the University of Kent. After graduation she returned to work for us full time as a junior developer, bringing her passion for interactive attention-grabbing websites to our digital design and development teams.
After studying both publishing and design at degree level at Bath Spa University, Rich went on to work with international publishing houses, multidisciplinary design studios and as a freelance designer – focusing his attention on editorial design and branding. Rich joined Soapbox’s Bath studio in 2017 and when he’s not designing for clients, he’s usually tinkering away on his own side projects or collecting fonts which he’ll probably never use.
Maija first came to London as part of her degree in graphic design at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. In 2017 she returned to the city, joining Soapbox’s London studio. She has a passion for storytelling and enjoys the challenge of combining text, illustrations and other media to create messages that are more than the sum of their parts: ones that are interesting, impactful and beautiful.
Junior web developer
Rafa joined Soapbox as a junior web developer in 2020. With a Bachelor in Business Administration and Management and many years of international experience, he decided to make a move into web development where his logical mind and creative heart work in tandem to help him build websites to a high standard.
Jen is our studio manager in Soapbox’s Whitechapel studio. She has over 14 years’ experience in business administration, gained in a diverse range of sectors and a number of locations; Jen has lived and worked in London, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Wales. She has a BA in illustration from Kingston University and enjoys illustrating in her spare time, as well as volunteering for the SANE mental health charity helpline.
Private: Patryk Polanski
Patryk is a web development intern at Soapbox, having decided to pursue a career as a developer while studying a digital media course at Brunel University London. Under the close supervision of our supportive web team, he has quickly polished up his front-end skills, and is gaining confidence and knowledge in back-end development too, meaning he’s already making valuable contributions to a number of live projects.