curriculum vitae

A brief history in time and 40 years of evolution

Kevin Savage

Savage Consulting - Co-founder
the Image Refinery - Managing Director

I have worked in the graphic communications industry for over 40 years on both sides of the negotiating divide as a buyer and salesman. Following five years formal training in graphic design and print technology, my career has encompassed just about every creative, sales and commercial function - at senior management level for the 10 years prior to founding Savage Consulting in 1997 with my wife Julie.

My first "under the bonnet" encounter with digital technology came when the 1970’s rolled into the 80's. Photo-typesetting was in its infancy, waxing had nothing to do with hair removal and WYSIWYG page make-up programmes had yet to be invented. The high entry cost into digital artwork made it prohibitive for most average sized print companies. So the thought of transferring this new technology into an administrative environment - where it couldn’t be offered as a saleable service - made the concept of a computerised print management system a complete non-starter.

Then along comes IBM with this Personal Computer and thanks to an enlightened employer the next three years of my career followed an unanticipated path. Working with software programmer Richard Lee, I learnt the skills of critical path analysis and writing computer code. The project was successfully completed, integrating: estimating, works instructions, time sheets logging, cost centre loading, production planning, accounts and a range of management reports onto a suite of five 8” floppy disks. The software licence was sold on and remains the foundation of many commercial print management applications to this day.

When you have written software on a PC with only 64kB of memory and half of that is used by the operating system you appreciate the elegance of code and the importance of accuracy and economy. These qualities I apply to every task I undertake whether creative or commercial.

In search of a new challenge, the mid 80’s afforded me the opportunity to become owner and publisher of a monthly travel trade magazine “Lift Off”. Unfortunately it didn’t! After three years and some significant lessons from the school of hard knocks the magazine closed.  But, the business relationships that were created then have continued to the present day.

I spent the next 10 years in graphic design and print sales, developing the contacts made during my heady days as a publisher. During this period I built an eclectic mix of clients - ranging from inspirational leaders from the travel and travel marketing industry to a few driven but single-minded individuals whose enterprises sadly crashed and burned. After a decade acting as the intermediary between designers who wouldn't be told and clients who wouldn't listen, the idea germinated of forming a company. It would combine my design background with the marketing experience gained during this period and thus Savage Consulting (later the Image Refinery) was born.

In a consultancy capacity I have a wealth of experience in both the successes and pitfalls of building a small business. My holistic approach allows me to relate to a business, identify the cost/benefits of a marketing strategy and provide constructive solutions that can assist in achieving goals within budget.

As a design practitioner I am fundamentally opposed to self-indulgent design for design’s sake. Work that could win awards and critical acclaim from within the graphics community, but overlooks the principal purpose of engaging its target audience to, “get me, book me, buy me”. In this digital world of boundless possibilities and a mind boggling array of tools at a designer's disposal, I am a strong advocate of, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”.

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