An interview with Harry Ward: Creative Director at Sky News

I met Harry back in 2008. He had started at Sky News a year earlier than me and over the 7 years of working together I knew he would easily be one of the most talented designers I would work with and that he was destined for great things. Since I moved on from Sky, Harry has been promoted multiple times, transitioning from Senior Designer to Creative Director of Sky News. He’s now leading the evolution of information design in broadcast and digital journalism. Directing an award winning creative team during the most disruptive time in modern history.

Harry thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.

What does a normal day at work involve for you?

It always starts with a quick 9am meeting with the senior editorial team where we go through the stories of the day and how we’re covering them. I find it quite grounding - a daily reminder of why we do what we do. After that, most of my day is spent catching up with the team on projects and nudging them forward. It’s a blast! Although I find it’s far too easy to fill a day and forget to come up for air, so I try my best to find a slice of time to focus on the bigger picture and plan for the future of the team and the brand.

During COVID most creative studios have faced challenging times as they’ve learned how to function with designers and creatives working remotely. I can imagine those challenges were magnified for newsroom studios like Sky News because you also play a hugely important role in actually explaining the government’s rules and the scientific complexity of an evolving virus in real-time. As the Creative Director what have been the biggest challenges and the most surprising benefits as you’ve adapted to this new way of working?

When a big story breaks, newsrooms are a thrilling place to be. The energy of the room ramps up with people buzzing around the place in the pursuit of telling that story as it unfolds. In many ways the early days of Covid was no different, but as we went into lockdown we had to somehow continue that culture through laptops in people's bedrooms and kitchens. Technology was a big challenge too; before lockdown, remote working for broadcast wasn’t possible, but we found a way. Everything just got more complicated at the same time as the pressure to tell the story ramped up! For me the biggest challenge by far was to balance all that with looking after the team, keeping them close and trying to offer some clarity through it all. From a creative perspective, we worked hard to build a full design toolkit for all platforms that gave the team a head start on every commission whilst also creating a branded thread through all our output.