Manifesto: Why Function & Form


Even as a child, I was pretty creative, often consuming myself for hours with some form of paper craft or drawing. As the son of late furniture designer and sculptor, Steuart Padwick; and renowned writer and senior movement lecturer at Central School of Speech and Drama, Vanessa Ewan; I guess I was born into it.

Todd Padwick – Creative Director at Function & Form
Decoration is a tool used to conceal function. Design, on the other hand, champions beauty in function.

Todd PadwickCreative Director

While I developed an aptitude for fine art, I found its lack of purpose unappealing. Fine art, to me, was decoration. And I've often felt that decoration is a lazy tool used to conceal function; design, on the other hand, champions beauty in function. In the natural world, nothing is decorated, since everything has a significant purpose through evolution. This realisation motivated me to pursue a career in Graphic Design.

After completing a Foundation course in Graphic Design at the London College of Communication, followed by a BA (Hons) at the Arts Institute Bournemouth, I commenced my career in print and advertising. I assumed a graphic design role at the London-based agency, Clinic, where I honed my skills working with notable clients such as CBS Outdoor, Barclays, Network Rail, Madame Tussauds, Arsenal FC, Premier League, Sky, and Sega.

As my ambition grew, I began to explore principles from roles outside of my own, encompassing architecture's balance of proportion and space to the ergonomics of product design. I found that although functional design is commonly confused with minimalism, it is simply the practice of underpinning everything with purpose. Good design should be both purposeful and beautiful.

Dieter Rams, German Product Designer

Dieter Rams, German Industrial Designer, renowned for his beautiful, functional product design for Braun

My transition to digital

Although I found joy in the craft of print and advertising, my fascination with the web emerged in the early 2010s. The advent of new technologies offered unprecedented levels of interactivity, and I eagerly desired to be a part of it. Devoting my free time to learning coding, I embarked on a journey as a freelance Web designer/developer. In 2013, I officially transitioned into the realm of interaction design, securing a desirable role at McCann.

Anticipating the ability to leverage my coding and design skills on a larger scale, I was swiftly met with disappointment. During that period, the synergy of these skills was uncommon, and didn't align with the established agency workflow. Web designers were creating static visuals in Photoshop, only to pass them on to a detached team of web developers for coding. Feeling disheartened, I firmly believed there had to be a more effective approach; one where code was regarded as a creative tool, as it is today.

Determined to discover an environment that embraced my combination of skills, I left McCann to travel the world; freelancing with various agencies in search of the perfect match. Although I received numerous offers for permanent roles as either a web developer or web designer, none accommodated both aspects. Consequently, in 2015, I took the initiative to launch an agency of my own...

Launching the business

In the golden era of startups, Function & Form began as the classic agency: the cool, hipster office in Shoreditch London, a growing team of ambitious full-time creatives bouncing ideas around before hitting the local bars for after-work drinks. It was exciting and worked well at the time. Despite our humble size, we were regularly ranked as one of the top web design agencies in London by various creative publishers and the future was full of promise.

(A lot has changed, and not just the lack of hair on my head)

Between 2015 and 2019, the world experienced a tech startup boom. And just like WeWork's free beer on-tap culture, it really was booming. VCs were investing in everyone and anything. But I always suspected this bubble would never last. And low and behold, just as WeWork collapsed, the startup world collapsed along with it.

Our approach to our clients protected us; we opted to nurture long-term partnerships with them, becoming an extension of their team, rather than constantly seeking a chain of new projects.

But although we were unaffected by the burst of the startup bubble, change was still fast approaching, in the form of Covid 19...

Embracing change

In 2020, the world took a turn. Rather than pushing back, we embraced change.

I decided to ditch the ‘agency’ construct, replacing the in-house team, with an agile network of specialists. And instead of the fixed office, Function & Form operates in flexible Co-working spaces. This has been a wonderful progression, empowering me with the freedom to travel and work remotely, while still surrounding myself with like-minded people – working from home hinders creativity and is something I remain strongly against. We’re still based in London; I just escape the concrete Jungle for a tropical one from time-to-time.

This shift I’ve taken the business, means I can be more selective with the projects we take on. Fewer projects, enables me, to reclaim a pivotal role in each of them. You may still find yourself interacting with other members of my network from time to time, but I will be your primary contact and line of support throughout.

A better work-life balance has also resulted in me being more refreshed and primed for creativity.

Function & Form Manifesto

Function & Form is a creative consultancy specialising in branding and growth online. Our manifesto serves as a commitment to our present and future, guiding every decision to align with our declaration of intent.


We empower startups and SMEs with a lasting online presence, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and outstanding creative expertise to achieve their goals.


  1. Design with purpose. We strip away the clutter, leaving only what matters.
  2. The extra mile. We never miss an opportunity to offer expert advice and improve our output.
  3. People and passion. Whether it's our partners or clients, we only work with those who are mutually dedicated.
  4. Active listening. We know that no one understands your business better than you.
  5. Professional hobbyism. We branch out and learn skills outside of our roles, broadening our perspectives and creative freedom.
  6. Proactive support. We continually look ahead and identify potential opportunities for growth and risk mitigation.

Why we are unique

Partnerships over projects

Launching a new website is a significant milestone, but sustained success hinges on the care and dedication that follows. Working with clients on a retained basis allows us to provide proactive support for all tasks, big and small, ensuring your brand, vision, and voice remain consistent in every detail year after year.

Creative Direction as a service

I serve as your in-house team's Creative Director, ensuring brand consistency and vision across all of your customer-facing channels and supporting the training of your own creative teams.

Autonomy is encouraged

Our creative direction service and flexible content management systems aim to maximize your in-house autonomy while maintaining the highest quality application of your brand. The day our role shifts from Creative Production to Creative Oversight signifies a successful collaboration has been obtained.

Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.

Neville BrodyGraphic Designer