Chief Design Officer & Partner

Dave Dunlop

Meet Dave

Chief Design Officer & Partner

Dave is Chief Design Officer and Partner at ELSE and responsible for the design output of the consultancy as well as helping to run the business. He leads multi-skilled teams to deliver a range of work within product and service innovation to Design Ops. Key client leadership includes O2, Nivea, UBS, Ibis, Loterie Romande and T. Rowe Price.


Dave has 20+ years of experience in design. He loves helping businesses find new ways to connect with their customers by creating new product and services that are meaningful and useful. He enjoys leading clients through change and for that change to have a lasting positive effect on the people that use their products.

Dave’s experience in the design industry has been wide and varied, often working in roles that incorporate brand strategy, product design and multi-channel experience design. His career has seen him work across the public sector, digital, brand, employee engagement and customer experience. He’s driven by ideas and working with teams to cultivate the right culture and environment for creativity to thrive.

We’ve recently launched our R&D programme at ELSE, helping to inspire curiosity in the design teams to find solutions to difficult and challenging areas of society. As such, Dave has worked on a service called Sway, helping people to engage in small incremental changes to lessen their impact on the world. It’s an area he’s become deeply motivated on.

As a DBA mentor, Dave has been part of the 20/20 mentoring programme for the last 2 years, helping individuals in design businesses benefit from his experience. At ELSE, he runs the internship scheme with Imperial College and has lectured at Brunel and Cambridge Judge Business School. He is also head judge on Design Week Awards digital categories.

Prior to joining ELSE, he was the Head of Digital and Creative Director at The Team where he built and managed a multi-disciplinary team of User Experience Architects, Product Designers, Brand Designers, Motion Designers, Technologists and Project Managers. Winning and leading client engagements for English Heritage, BBC, Channel 4, Avanade, Sony Pictures and NS&I.

During Dave’s career, he’s been fortunate to work with clients going through defining moments of change — including, Orange FT, London 2012, NS&I, NHS Choices, English Heritage, Channel 4, The Fat Duck, and John Lewis. He’s led the successful delivery of products and services that have helped shape their digital proposition, both externally and internally.

Kind words by clients & colleagues

“Prescient, patient, pertinent and smart. That’s Dave”

Rob Lawrence, CXO at Wunderman

“Dave really is a star and titles like Digital Creative Director or Experience Design Guru do him no justice.

He brings a rare combination of design, tech and commercial awareness to the table and was a joy to work with on pitches, many of which we won. We weren’t called the dream team for nothing, complementing each other well.

A real pro, across the board.”

Nick Corston, TheTeam

“Dave is a brilliant creative director. He can see the simple idea that needs to be communicated in any complex tangle of messages, and then he’ll develop a creative route that not only brings that message to life, it also gives you all the flexibility you’ll need to apply it to any eventuality you are after. A great thinker, calm under any pressure and creative leader whose advice I’d always happily follow. That’s Dave”

Cliff Ettridge, Partner at TheTeam

“Dave is rare beast. He combines strategic smarts and a keen eye with modest professionalism and a sly sense of humour. He and his team were an absolute pleasure to work with and the site they created for us blew our minds.”

Kevin McCullagh, Founder at Plan

“I’ve worked with Dave for over 5 years on many projects, all of which have delivered outstanding results – culminating in a DBA Design Effectiveness Gold award, for the behaviour change initiative for Gas Safe Register. As well as fresh thinking, creative inspiration and digital know-how, Dave is an absolute peasure to work with too.”

Nick Terry, Comms Director at Capita

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