James Hilton – Keynote Speaker

Among the world's most widely respected creative directors. Founder of AtelierStrange & Death Machines of London®. Co-Founder, AKQA.

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Specialist Subjects

  • Commercial: Transforming marketing to make customers lives better / This is Advertising.
  • Creative industries: Performing the career equivalent of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. What would you do if you weren't afraid? / What could possibly go wrong?
  • Education: How comfort and conformity kills creativity
  • and how polymathic thinking will save you. / The next creative.


  • English


Since co-founding AKQA in 1995, James Hilton has been at the forefront of an industry which has seen the company grow to become the world’s most respected creative agency. Working with global clients such as Nike, Audi, Warner Brothers, Fiat, Heineken and Google, AKQA has grown into 14 offices around the world and employs over 2,500 practitioners dedicated to producing the finest work in the industry. As the agency’s Chief Creative Officer, Hilton’s responsibility was to inspire the agency’s clients and teams, and to relentlessly pursue the hunt for the next generation.

As a world leader in design and creativity, Hilton has collected a multitude of global awards including Grand Prix and Gold Cannes Lions, and has also served as a judge for Cannes Lions, Webby Awards, D&AD, and as Jury Chairman for the Clio Awards and EuroBest. He was also appointed into the Creativity 50, a list of the world’s 50 most influential and inspiring creative personalities alongside Apple’s Jonathan Ive.

Hilton was named as the UK’s number one digital Creative Director for two years successively, and AKQA ‘Agency of the Year’ by Campaign magazine in the UK, and AdWeek in the US. AKQA have now been awarded this title more times, on both sides of the Atlantic, than any other agency in history.

Supporting and inspiring the next generation of thinkers and creators, and providing them with opportunities to flourish has been a core passion of his and AKQA’s since it was founded. Recognising the need for an awards platform specifically for full-time students, AKQA instigated the Future Lions Awards at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Receiving thousands of entries every year from over 40 countries, it is now seen as the most innovative and exciting seminar of the festival and has a 100% success rate in its winners being hired by the worlds best agencies.

In June 2013, WPP bought a majority stake in AKQA valuing the company at approximately $350m USD. In November 2014, after completing the award-winning interior redesign of AKQA’s London office, Hilton made the decision to combine his love of product design, interiors, technology and motorcycles into a new company called AtelierStrange.

Hilton continues to speak at international events, write for creative publications and maintains his connections with universities across the world to assist in the inspiration of the industries future creative leaders.

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