Tom Uglow: The Art of Post Digital

Tom Uglow was introduced to the TYPO London audience as ‘Creative director for Google, Youtube … and … pretty much, the universe.’

Photo: Gerhard Kassner


In contrast to his (grandiose and perhaps unofficial) status as creative director for all that exists, Tom’s opening statements set a slightly self deprecatory tone. His confession of knowing ‘only a tiny bit about lots of skillets’, immediately brought to mind the classic figure of speech – jack of all trades, master of none.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows Tom’s background, this image was quickly dispelled, as he talked the audience through a series of ‘ideas from the last couple of years’. These ‘ideas’ were in actual fact major international campaigns which ranged from  ‘Symphony’ – using Youtube to audition a full classical orchestra, to the now infamous HTML5 ‘browser experience’ for The Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown.

Recurring themes across these and all of the other projects Tom presented were DATA, STORIES and EMOTIONS.

Tom Uglow

Tom Uglow

Tom Uglow leads Google's Creative Lab in Europe, working on new ideas and global brand projects for Google and YouTube such as Life in a Day, Chrome, Art Project, Play, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, Search On, StreetView, Android, and more. He tweets as @tomux, writes two blogs, has appeared on the BBC's Culture Show, is a member of the European Internet Week Council, and has judged, presented, and enthused globally. He is a Sunday-coder, a traditional creative, a strategist and a book-artist.
Tom presented his view that as a species, we are currently on ‘humanity version 1.0’. And are as a result, still learning how to use the cognitive tools that we have been endowed with. We seem to be good at collecting and organising information; what we haven’t quite got the hang of yet is how to represent this information and release its potential. Releasing the potential of an idea is something that, contrary to his own description of himself, Tom seems to be extremely good at. In case you didn’t manage to catch his presentation, full details of all the projects and topics he covered can be found here.

Text: Daniel McGhee