Hello. I’m Jeff Fuge. I’m a specialist in creating and improving branding and communication for interesting people in small and medium-sized businesses. Officially I’ve been doing this since 1994, but the love of ideas, words and pictures that is the cornerstone of my work has been with me forever.
I’ve grown from drawing cartoons and writing stories as a kid, to a career in branding, and a passion for psychology and behavioural science.
When I was seven, I started writing and illustrating my own Mr Men stories. Aged 13, I was a runner-up in the Daily Mirror’s Young Cartoonist of the Year competition. Words and pictures had become my thing, and I never looked back.
I completed my Graphic Design degree in 1994, graduating on the Friday and starting in an ad agency on the Monday. (A rare occurrence in the job-sparse 90s.) Over the next nine years, I worked in a variety of advertising, design and branding agencies, for clients from the worlds of finance, bioscience, IT, FMCG, property, publishing, travel, transport… you name it. I couldn’t have wished for better and more diverse experience.
A highlight was reinvigorating the branding for Renishaw, one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies. Almost 20 years on, the branding I created is still in place.
By 2003, the time was right to do my own thing, and Objective Ingenuity was born. The name reflects my philosophy of using profound yet practical ideas to solve people’s problems.
I’ve since brought Objective Ingenuity to bear for some brilliant people in an array of inspiring businesses. I love being involved in every challenge from start to finish, and care deeply about getting each aspect of it right.
I’ve an unusually broad and diverse skill set. However, where necessary, I call upon trusted expert associates who take care of specialist requirements such as technical web functionality, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, proofreading, photography or illustration.
This ‘virtual team’ approach enables me to cover all the bases my clients need, but with greater flexibility and focus than might be found elsewhere.
Now, with Objective Ingenuity in its 19th year, I still have a sense of excitement when learning about a new business or taking on a fresh challenge for an old client… and I’m always hungry for the next project.
I’ve an unquenchable thirst for learning. I love to work with people who can broaden, deepen or benefit my thinking. And if I can’t work with them, I go to their seminars, or read their books and blogs.
In 2019 I completed the first stage of the only professional certification programme in brand taught by global expert Marty Neumeier, and run by his company Level C. (I read Marty’s book The Brand Gap the year I started my business and it’s been a constant influence. So the chance to learn from him has been incredible.)
I followed this up in 2020 with the next level of Marty’s programme, and became one of the first 40 people in the world to gain the credential of Certified Brand Strategist.
I’m also building on my long-term interest in psychology and am making increasing use of behavioural science in my work. If the likes of Daniel Kahneman, Richard Shotton or Rory Surtherland flick your switches, we’ll have to compare notes.
Ultimately, however, everything I do is still about solving problems through ideas, words and pictures (something my inner seven-year-old is very happy about).
Since starting Objective Ingenuity in 2003, three things have remained constant in my approach and are valued by the people I work with.
An associate used to work client-side for one of Britain’s biggest brands. He found that that when working with large design agencies, you often got the input of the best people at the start, but then projects would get passed down the chain to junior staff or freelancers.
With Objective Ingenuity, I create or direct every aspect of every project for every client. So you will always will be dealing directly with me, or know I’m on-hand and involved from start to finish.
During the space race, astronauts found their pens wouldn’t work in zero gravity. It’s said the Americans spent millions developing a pressurised ‘space pen’, while the lateral-thinking Soviets just used pencils.
Simple, highly effective solutions can appear obvious after the a fact (“Doh! Pencils! Of course!”). But these days, where complex, costly, fashionable or faddy notions are made out to be the way to go, simplicity is in short supply.
That’s why I promise you profound and powerful ideas that are also highly practical. So expect smart solutions akin to neatly sharpened pencils, not fancy-pants space pens.
The saying goes that ‘if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail’. And to some who make money out of hammering, every problem looks like a really big nail.
I believe that’s where true professional integrity comes in. If you’ve a nail in need of a light tap not hours of hammering, I’ll be sure to say so. And if what you need is not me and my hammer, saw or screwdriver but someone with a blowtorch or knitting needle, I’ll happily point you in their direction.