Katie is a design thinker and creative director with a broad skillset; an unusual hybrid of product designer, stylist and entrepreneur. She is a qualified Industrial Designer who is fascinated by real people, and how they interact with products and brands. Katie owns and runs several businesses and this understanding helps to keep commercial viability central to her thinking.
Her Process – The Rummage – Tend your Spark
Katie uses empathic sensitivity to get to the heart of a project. She understands the power of human connections and recognises that our wobbly bits, imperfections as well as our artistry are the very things that help us to connect.
Design engineering principles have taught Katie to cut straight to the heart of a problem and question the meanings behind the issues. She will rummage through chaotic thoughts and feelings, poke and prod to find the sparks of vibrancy and bring that brilliance to life. How could anyone care about brands that mean nothing? Businesses that have a truth to them matter more to their customers.
Finding a hidden spirit - a tiny spark - and exposing it’s electric light to the world is a way to reveal the heart and soul of a product, person or service. Finding, explaining and communicating other people’s kryptonite is Katie’s kryptonite. This method of pulling out those elements of personality and hanging a brand from those hooks is what makes Supafrank tick.
Katie is really interested in connecting more deeply with the people around us. How can we genuinely engage our customers? What makes us interesting? How can we use the answers positively to create truly fulfilling brands?
Brought up by entrepreneurial parents to do whatever she wanted, but do it well, Katie is dedicated to quality and excellence in her many spheres of influence. Her adventurous nature encourages her to be involved in many different projects simultaneously and her experience of ‘making life happen’ since her earliest childhood means that she is not intimidated by making off-the-wall ideas work.
Her life has been full of curious contradictions, a condition she finds comfortable. A vegetarian who grew up on a farm. An engineer who brings products to life using story and character. A believer in beauty and non-conformity who understands the place and value of commercial viability.
Katie’s early career included working as a engineer at Jaguar Landrover, a designer at Richard Burbidge, and even a subsea engineer in Australia. Though great experience, she was left with a creative itch that became the design agency Supafrank. Ten years on they have a name for telling compelling human stories through products, packaging, photography and websites.
“Great branding is about being brave, being different, and not playing the same game as everyone else.” Katie Steel, 2018
See our work here
Published: Designalicious, WGSN, Stylus, Viction:ary, Elle Decoration, The Huffington Post, We Heart, Design Week, Walking in the Rain & Four Legged Therapy.
Experience: Department Store for the Mind, Octopus Publishing, RNLI, Jaguar Landrover, Disney Pixar, Love Brownies, London Flower School, Philosophy at Work, Urban Curiosity, Grobag and Lupus Films
Exhibitions & Spaces: London Design Festival, Clerkenwell Design Week, Top Draw, Dept’s Old Street pop-up, Love Brownies retail spaces