Hello. We are a multi-BAFTA winning, multi-EMMY awarded and OSCAR-nominated independent animation studio. We’re known internationally for our idiosyncratic and innovative work, expressed across an eclectic range of projects.
Our close-knit team includes directors, designers, animators, writers, technical artists, and producers who create and consult on projects with a strong emphasis on story, design, and character. We both originate projects and work to commission, from commercials and title sequences to short films, documentary and drama sequences, and our original tv series. With a focus on accomplished design & craft, compelling ideas, and uncompromising attention to quality & detail, the studio houses a group of directors/designers who are constantly looking for novel ways to tell stories.
The wide range of work we produce together is a testament to our ability to reinvent ourselves and our willingness to explore new things —from the apocalyptic title sequence for Ridley Scott’s HBO Max series RAISED BY WOLVES to our worldwide hit pre-school show HEY DUGGEE.
Our directors and designers are each skilled at developing innovative visual solutions bespoke to the requirements of our commissioned work. Whether working individually or in collaboration, the project leads the visual and narrative response.
Director Grant Orchard is celebrated for his distinct design and directional prowess. Beyond crafting a plethora of impactful commissions for BUPA, SKYPE and THE SCIENCE MUSEUM, Orchard is a two-time D&AD Award winner for Interaction Design. Meanwhile, his inaugural short film, “WELCOME TO GLARINGLY,” paved the way for the acclaimed “PARK FOOTBALL” series, amassing over a million YouTube hits. The 2011 masterpiece, “A MORNING STROLL,” secured 25 awards, including Sundance’s Animation Award, a BAFTA, and an Oscar nomination. Grant then ventured into developing STUDIO, AKA’s first original pre-school series, ‘HEY DUGGEE,’ for CBeebies & BBC STUDIOS. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since its debut in 2014, ‘Hey Duggee’ has garnered six BAFTAs and multiple international Emmys and remains a top-rated BBC iPlayer’s kids’ show. Now in its fourth season, with a 5th on the way, plus a spin-off series SQUIRREL CLUB in the works, the series boasts over 2 million social media followers and a YouTube channel with over a billion views – plus the Hey Duggee Live theatre show won a LAURENCE OLIVIER AWARD! Orchard’s creative journey continues to leave an indelible mark.
Designer and animator Ross Phillips is renowned for crafting characters in a simple yet striking graphic style. His creative imprint can be traced across a spectrum of platforms, from the animated realm of the Netflix series STORYBOTS to the prestigious front cover of the Financial Times Magazine. Ross’s distinctive characters even served as the captivating backdrop for the ‘HELLO UNIVERSE’ exhibition at the Science & Media Museum, underscoring his versatility and ability to transition across various mediums seamlessly.
A pivotal force behind the scenes, Ross has been the series designer for HEY DUGGEE since its inception. In this role, he has tirelessly contributed to the show’s success, creating an abundance of characters that have become integral to the charm of this beloved preschool series. While the exact count of characters he has created may elude him, Ross’s impact is undeniable, leaving an indelible mark on the imaginative world of HEY DUGGEE.
Director Kristian Andrews is known for his unconventional narratives and versatile use of diverse mediums, often incorporating observational drawing to convey personal anecdotes, as exemplified in his celebrated debut film ‘RABBIT PUNCH’. Kristian’s directorial prowess extends across various projects, showcasing his ability to approach challenges with a fresh and unique perspective. His film ‘LET’S PLAY NOMAD X,’ a three-minute parody of a YouTube documentary, and his game development work on the delightful ‘BARBARA-IAN’ underscore this unclassifiable approach. This keen eye for striking graphic styling is evident in impactful ads for JOULES, FEDRIGONI, TOYOTA, and the award-winning JOHNNIE WALKER. Additionally, Kristian’s flair for comedic timing shines through in his character work on PSA projects like EARLY BIRDS, CLIMATE HEALERS, and a specially commissioned segment for the Cartoon Network series ‘THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL.’
Meanwhile, he has maintained his dramatic sensibilities in his contributions to Netflix’s ALTERED CARBON, the BAFTA-nominated titles for Drama Republic’s BBC/Netflix drama ‘BLACK EARTH RISING,’ and animated sequences for Sister Picture’s BBC/Netflix drama ‘GIRI HAJI.’ Kristian recently helmed a series of informative short films for Hitachi and BBC Storyworks exploring the world of electricity. Currently, he is co-developing an upcoming series project, with more details expected to be shared soon.
Director Gergely Wootsch has carved a prominent niche in the industry and is recognized for his exceptional contributions across commercials, television, and feature animation. His impressive journey includes stints at high-profile studios, including AKA, where he has cultivated a formidable reputation for consistently delivering remarkable work. Gergely’s talents extend beyond assured directing and art directing. He possesses a rare versatility, effortlessly navigating between the technical intricacies of production and the realms of creative direction and production design. An underlying theme threading through his work is a profound fascination with dark, moody, and textural worlds. He thrives on the challenges of exploring and bringing these atmospheric landscapes to life, employing a diverse array of creative techniques that seamlessly merge into a cohesive universe. His ongoing commitment to pushing artistic boundaries and delivering immersive storytelling continues to leave a lasting impact in the industry.
Recent notable works at the studio include his ambitious sequence contributions to “LINCOLN’S DILEMMA,” a historical documentary series for Apple TV+, and the astounding leap of imagination displayed in a memorably thought-provoking sequence describing the end of time for the Netflix documentary feature “A TRIP TO INFINITY.” Next up will be his contribution to a feature documentary that the studio has been working on, to be announced shortly.
Director Steve Small is a true master craftsman and artist, showcasing his versatility across an impressive array of projects. His journey spans from contributing to Disney features to crafting and directing shorts, TV series, and commercials. Steve has left an indelible mark at AKA, where he directed and animated a remarkable slate of commercials for brands such as TELE2, NICKTOONS, ORANGE, TSB, ADMIRAL, and the enchanting SING UP. In recent years, Steve has ventured into animation for more mature themes, starting with a series of BAFTA-nominated animated sequences for the BBC Netflix drama BLACK EARTH RISING. The resulting nine minutes of animation, augmenting Hugo Blick’s mesmerizing drama, depict events around the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath, creatively interpreting violent and tragic events where, as one character puts it, “words would fail.” This exploration continued with an Emmy-nominated title sequence for Ridley Scott’s Sci-fi series RAISED BY WOLVES. Steve designed intricately hand-rendered shots depicting the destruction of our planet and all remaining life departing to find refuge elsewhere in the solar system. Subsequently, this creative exploration into the possibilities for line and brushwork to depict emotional moments and thought-provoking visuals has been further developed in the inserts for Jake Scott’s documentary KIPCHOGE, adding a layer of visual poetics to explanations of beneficial dynamics of track tilt and optimized airflow within running formations. Steve brought the same level of visual dexterity to a series of Emmy-nominated sequences created for “LINCOLN’S DILEMMA,” a historical documentary series for Apple TV+. He has recently wrapped up a sequence contribution to a feature documentary that the studio has been working on, to be announced in 2024.
Steve’s creative universe extends beyond the screen into the world of children’s picture books. The first book he illustrated, ‘I’M STICKING WITH YOU,’ written by Smriti Halls, received nominations for a Nibbie (UK’s largest book prize event) and was shortlisted for a book Oscar and the Klaus Flugge award, ultimately winning a Silver at the Junior Design Awards and an honorary mention at the Ezra Keats awards. Following this success, he continued illustrating and writing books, and was nominated for several awards, including being shortlisted twice in the following year’s book Oscar awards for his next two books. Steve has written and illustrates THE DUCK WHO DIDN’T LIKE WATER, WELLINGTON’S BIG DAY OUT, BRAVE LITTLE BEAR and continued illustrating Smriti Halls’ two sequels, LET’S STICK TOGETHER, and I’M STICKING WITH YOU TOO. Meanwhile, when Steve isn’t immersed in painting and drawing, you’ll likely find him feeding the crows on Blackheath Common or dancing with foxes.
Partner, Director, and CCO at Studio AKA, Philp’s portfolio reflects an impressive spectrum of animation projects, showcasing both his versatility and passion for pushing the boundaries of creative possibilities within the studio. His notable achievements include the double-EMMY-winning ‘HERE WE ARE: NOTES FOR LIVING ON PLANET EARTH,’ a captivating half-hour animated adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ best-selling book for Apple TV+. The star-studded cast features luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Chris O’Dowd, Jacob Tremblay, and Ruth Negga. Hunt’s earlier collaboration with Jeffers, the BAFTA-winning children’s film ‘LOST AND FOUND,’ narrated by Jim Broadbent and featuring a beautiful original score by Max Richter, earned an impressive tally of 61 international awards. Philip’s diverse range extends to the multi-award-winning short film ‘AH POOK IS HERE,’ an imaginative, experimental interpretation of William S. Burroughs’ recordings, not to mention myriad commissioned projects for renowned brands like BMW, Kradvat, Herman Miller, One.org, and (RED).org. A committed contributor to the animation industry, Philip holds roles as an advisory board member for the FMX and ITFF festivals and is a visiting tutor at the Filmakademie Animation Institute in Stuttgart.
Alongside this, he is currently the course reviewer for Animation at the NFTS, serves as a mentor at The London Screen Academy, and is a long-time faculty member of the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin, where he imparts his expertise in idea and story development. As Studio AKA’s Creative Director, Philip remains a sought-after guest speaker at numerous festivals and design conferences, including Pictoplasma, Styleframes NYC, Broad.cat, Playgrounds, Onedotzero, Offset, FMX, The Story London, Semi-permanent, and more. Philip Hunt’s enduring commitment to the field and dedication to nurturing talent has solidified his status as a respected figure in the animation industry. Meanwhile, Philip has recently been a contributing sequence director for a feature documentary that the studio has been working on, which will be announced shortly.
Director, Art Director, and Illustrator Manddy Wyckens boasts an impressive body of work in her portfolio, having lent her creative touch to a diverse array of projects spanning feature films, TV shows, and commercials. Her distinctive style shines through in bold compositions and striking contrasts, giving life to vibrant, atmospheric backgrounds. Wyckens’ characters are skilfully rendered with elegant lines or sharp edges, capturing attitude and personality in just a few powerful and graceful strokes. Central to her work are body language and cinematic lighting, infusing her images with a delicate sensitivity and moody allure. The amalgamation of drawing elegance and bold colours in her unique style results in poetic and evocative visuals.
Manddy has been skilfully blurring the lines between animation and illustration in recent years, and her collaboration with Studio AKA includes directing and designing the outstanding main title for the RTS Awards nominated QUEEN CHARLOTTE: A Bridgerton Story, directing spots for ON and the ComArts Awarded BELLFAIRE PSA, and contributing to the art direction and design of NATURNES & SAN PELLIGRINO. Her talent also extends to production design, earning her recognition with the EMMY-awarded HERE WE ARE: Notes for Living on Planet Earth. As an animation director and designer, Wyckens brings a bold perspective to the medium, infusing character animation with sensitivity and clarity. Simultaneously, her illustration persona delves into mellower conceptual territories, placing paper drawing and the human figure at the heart of her artistic practice. For a glimpse of her visual prowess, take a look at Manddy’s awesome Instagram account.
Art Director, Illustrator and Designer Dermot Flynn is a versatile artist with an impressive portfolio that includes collaborations with a distinguished array of international clients, such as Pentagram, Paramount, Apple, Disney, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Macmillan, Adidas, Vodafone, Vogue, HSBC, Christie’s, Harpers Bazaar, Winkreative, Canongate, Toyota Japan, Oxford University Press, UBS, The Irish Times, Studio AKA, Pernod-Ricard, and British Airways. Dermot’s work has garnered numerous accolades, including the esteemed Macmillan Prize for Children’s Book Illustration and a Silver Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival. Key highlights from Dermot’s illustrious career involve contributing illustrations for Mary Portas’ report on the state of the British High Street, showcasing his creativity on television by crafting portraits of celebrities using unconventional mediums such as chocolate, toast, and Marmite. He faced legal challenges for creating portraits of celebrities in toothpaste and played a significant role in the production designs for “GODMOTHERED,” a Disney film centred around a school for fairy godmothers. Additionally, Dermot had the honour of illustrating a Christmas poem titled “THE WREN BOYS” for Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and as a longstanding associate of Studio AKA, Dermot’s work is proudly displayed in our table portrait at the top of this page.
Beyond his creative pursuits, Dermot, an accomplished swimmer, can be found preparing to plunge into the freezing cold sea of Dublin or embracing the chill of an unheated outdoor swimming pool at Brockwell Lido in London.
Margherita Premuroso is an acclaimed art director, character designer, animator, and illustrator, with an impressive portfolio encompassing title sequences, commercials, film, video games, and print media. Her passion for drawing manifested early in life, motivating her to pursue formal education in animation and illustration at the esteemed European Institute of Design in Milan, where she achieved academic distinction upon graduation. While Margherita’s initial passion lay in traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture, her professional trajectory gradually shifted towards the realm of computer graphics. Notably, she assumed pivotal roles as an artistic director within renowned animation and video game studios across Europe and the US, gaining extensive experience across diverse animation mediums, including CG, stop-motion, 2D, rotoscope, and hand-drawn techniques.
Margherita’s career has transcended geographical boundaries, and her proficiency in crafting mesmerizing title sequences is evident in works such as Suburbicon (2017), The Putin Interviews (2017), Lodge 49 (2018), Tell Me A Story (2018), Velvet Buzzsaw (2019), and Semi-Permanent Sydney 2019. Her artistic achievements have also garnered widespread recognition, with numerous accolades and screenings at esteemed events such as Siggraph, Siggraph Asia, OneDotZero, Vimeo Film Festival, Tokyo Anime, and Future Film Festival. Particularly noteworthy was her nomination for the prestigious Outstanding Main Title Design Emmy Award in 2017, for her exceptional contribution to the title sequence of Feud: Bette and Joan (2017). Presently, Margherita is based in Milan, Italy, where her creative prowess continues to flourish, leaving an indelible mark on the world of animation and visual storytelling.
We are delighted to be representing Margherita worldwide for directing and Art direction – except in the USA, where she is represented by the fine folks at Elastic TV
Partner & ECD.
Director Marc Craste is a major creative force, contributing significantly to the studio’s success. Across an illustrious career, Marc has meticulously designed and directed a multitude of award-winning short films and commissioned projects, showcasing his exceptional talent and artistic vision. His impressive portfolio is a testament to his skill, featuring BAFTA-winning titles for prominent events such as the BBC WINTER OLYMPICS, the iconic GUINNESS idents for the RUGBY WORLD CUP, a visually stunning Christmas spot for OTTO, and the classic THE BIG WIN ad for the National Lottery. Notably, Marc played a pivotal role in the creation of 48 ads for the LLOYDS TSB campaign, and he further distinguished himself by crafting the subsequent launch film for the newly independent TSB campaign. Marc’s creativity extends beyond the realm of advertising, evident in his original micro-trilogy of short films titled PICA TOWERS. This trilogy served as the inspiration for his BAFTA and Cartoon D’Or-winning 12-minute short film JOJO IN THE STARS. Additionally, his captivating half-hour film VARMINTS, nominated for a BAFTA and shortlisted for an OSCAR, earned accolades with 27 Film Festival Awards.
During the challenges posed by the lockdown, Marc showcased his versatility. Not only did he create his first Graphic Novel, set to be published in 2025, but he also stepped in to direct a charming six-minute 2D animated sequence for the live-action Disney+ film GODMOTHERED. Currently, Marc is immersed in the production development of a highly anticipated animation project that continues his exploration of the beautifully troubled PICAS universe. Supported by an Epic Mega Grant, the seven-minute proof-of-concept film wowed audiences at Annecy and Playgrounds London, earning rave reviews. The project is now poised for its next stage of development, and further details will be shared as they become available. Marc Craste’s enduring commitment to pushing creative boundaries and delivering captivating narratives reinforces his position as a key figure in the animation industry.
Director Marcus Armitage is celebrated for his unique hand-drawn style, blending expressive motion to craft visually captivating narratives. Notable works include animated sequences in the Sundance-premiered “LIMBO” and the BAFTA-nominated “MY DAD,” a short film exploring inherited racism using oil pastels and newspaper clippings. In addition to his personal projects, Marcus has lent his creative vision to various commissioned works, including a collaboration with designer Izak Zenou for ESTÉE LAUDER, contributing to the Campaign for KEY, and crafting beautifully realized 2D sequences for the Emmy-winning “HERE WE ARE.”
Expanding his portfolio, Marcus’s recent film, “THAT YORKSHIRE SOUND,” seamlessly merges audio and visuals to vividly depict a day in Yorkshire. His diverse commissions include a psychedelic sequence for AMAZON BOOKS and the revival of original JAMES BOND concept art for MACALLAN Whiskey. He played a pivotal role in the Emmy-nominated Main Title sequence for “LINCOLN’S DILEMMA,” a historical documentary series for Apple TV+, and ventured into motion graphics with the main title sequence for the Netflix crime drama “BODIES.” Marcus’s unwavering commitment to pushing creative boundaries and delivering compelling narratives is evident in his extensive body of work, with anticipation building for both his upcoming contribution to a feature documentary that the studio has been working on, and an upcoming series project he is co-developing, with more details expected to be shared soon.