What Matters to Richard Brandon Taylor

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Richard Taylor is the founder of Brandon, a creative consultancy focused on helping clients scale and grow.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Playing Padel tennis is where I could spend most of my days without a care in the world. In my early childhood I played tennis every day and often night whilst living in Kuwait, Saudi and the United Arab Emirates. When I came back to the UK, I carried on playing regularly and coached kids in my late teens.

I’ve just reached my first half century in life and am now hooked on Padel tennis, which is getting increasingly popular over in the UK. When on the court I can just be in the moment and not have to think (worry) about anything else outside of those four glass walls. The court and the cinema are the two places where I live in the now.
What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I fell in love with the creative world when I picked up a ‘Carrera’ typographic badge that fell off the back of a Porsche 911. It is a beautifully scripted font that hasn’t changed much over the years.

I remember sticking that black Carrera badge on my bedroom wall as a kid, alongside a Lamborghini Countach and Porsche 959 poster. I’m a sucker for typography and the beauty and artistry that surrounds sports cars. That combination has stuck with me and led me to explore the beauty and power of design in business, the form and function that surrounds our every being.

What is your biggest regret?

I don’t tend to regret that many things as I am a great believer in serendipity and a dose of hard graft to take you places. But, if I could look back, my biggest regret was not setting up Brandon with my wife Abi sooner. 

I realized quite early on from previous jobs that I didn’t want to play the corporate game. My skills are much more suited to being my own leader and working with amazing people that are more akin to the entrepreneurial spirit that imbues everything I do. It is fair to say that I think people need to find their own way in life and that is often zigging whilst others zag.
How have you gotten over heartbreak?

I’m from a working-class family in Yorkshire, albeit one that spent most of its life in and around the Middle East – with my father being seconded out to the region as a Civil & Structural Engineer.

With that I’ve had a pretty thick skin, and most things just bounce off me and I move onto the next. I’ve recently been diagnosed as having ADHD and have always felt a little bit like I live on outskirts of the world. So, I’ve never really felt that much heartbreak, I’ve always focused on the next thing and just worked hard to get there.

Too often I see people dwell in their own self-pity. We live one life, it’s important to crack on and grasp each and every opportunity that comes your way.  
What makes you cry?

I’ve just asked my wife this one and she laughed, the short answer back was “nothing”. Who said love is dead?

The last time I cried was 16 years ago when we were living in Dubai and I heard that my grandfather had passed away back in England. I was close to my grandfather, who was a real working gentleman in life, he taught me about laughter, humility, manners and just taking each day as it comes. That loss hit hard, and was made even harder by the distance.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Now herein lies the problem and in part why my ADHD prognosis makes so much sense. I celebrate wins of any kind for a nanosecond and then move onto the next thing.

My team at Brandon say it’s in part what makes me what I’ve become which, reflecting back on the ADHD diagnosis, makes me that little bit different to the mainstay of people I come across. 

My working life has mainly been focused on winning business, but once the bell has been rung and whilst the champagne is being popped, I’m stood in the room thinking ‘what’s next’ whilst everyone else is in the moment relishing the win. I wish I could! That relentless pursuit and the thrill of the chase are what get me out of bed in the morning and I guess are a big part of my DNA.
Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I have enough problem believing in life without having to think about the afterlife. As an atheist, I have little belief in the afterlife and little time to exert my energy in even thinking about it.

I’d dearly love there to be some form of happy ending beyond this world, but it is what it is. Not much I can do to change the day after I take my last breath on this planet. Live every day like it’s your last, one day it will be!
What do you hate most about yourself?

My short attention span can cause me to have a short fuse when people don’t bring clarity and speed to my table. I just don’t have time to waste talking around subjects.

I’m very straight forward to the point and can’t be doing with dilly-dallying. My team often ask me how I can just ‘tell it like it is’ to client partners – straightforward and without the fluff. I had to force myself to put on an act in past roles, but never again. 

Tell it like it is with radical candor and respect. People pay me for my expertise and views, they can then either take it or leave it – but it is who I am, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. 
What do you love most about yourself?

I tried to always be kind in my life, which is why I no doubt beat myself up about the ‘short fuse’ from the last question. I recall my grandfather always used to say “How-do!?” in his strong Sheffield accent to anyone he walked past on the street, it was his small gesture of love and it’s always with me in every daily encounter.

The late actor and comedic icon Robin Williams’ quote “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always” has always stuck with me. Just be kind to the human in front of you as everyone is battling something in life.

No truer words have been spoken and it led to ‘humankind’ being a value we have embedded into Brandon and how we deal with everyone that crosses the threshold.
What is your absolute favorite meal?

There is a restaurant in London’s Soho called Bone Daddies that does some of the best Ramen in the UK, I can often be found there in my own thoughts chomping into Korean Fried Wings, Pig Bones and a Tokyo Cock Cock. 

My favorite dessert was from a visit my family had to Miami too many years ago to remember (but probably pre-Miami Vice) it was a coconut fried ice cream. That reminds me, I must go back and dig that place out!