Under the hood with … Raymond McKay, Chief Creative Officer at Run

11 months ago by

Design Assembly loves to profile the breadth and depth of design practice in Aotearoa. For July we’re celebrating Māori design, designers, and illustrators. 

In this article series we learn more about our Under the Hood event speakers.

Raymond McKay will be one of two featured speakers at the July 2023 Online Under The Hood – Māori design & designers

This event is taking place on 19 July and is open for all folks to attend. All registered attendees will receive a link to watch the webinar on demand if they can not make the the live event. Registration is required, DA friends get free tickets to this event.


Ko wai au?
He uri teenei a Pootatau Te Wherowhero, Porourangi, Rongomaiwahine hoki.
Noo Ngaati Mahuta, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Rongomawahine, Ngāti Porou ahau.
Ko Raymond Otene McKay tooku ingoa.

Can you describe the creative path you took to get where you’re at now?

In high school I was a creative. I loved drama, kapa haka, singing, sasa and fa’ataupati. I loved the social side of school, talking to people from all cliques and cultures. This put me in good stead for university, where I discovered advertising creativity as part of my communications degree at AUT. I went into the industry to work as an art director at many network agencies in Aotearoa.

What project will you be presenting at Under the Hood?

The Manaakitanga Pencil.

What was the most challenging part of the project and what lessons did you draw from it?

The most challenging part was piecing the story for this kaupapa together. I had to get the pencil made by a wood turner, organise a lot of groups, make sure the pencil was made to spec, carved by a toi Māori artist, while also making sure to document everything with film and photography, all while dealing with live work, international travel and running a business. Lessons I learnt in this process was to follow your gut, sometimes things work out the way they do due to that feeling. Also don’t listen to anyone else if you believe in something, this has always done me proud in my career.

Was there an ‘Aha!’ moment in the project when things clicked and fell into place?

The aha! moment was when I had cracked the idea to counter the negative comments about my appointment as D&AD Judge, and the Manaakitanga Pencil was born.

Now that the project has finished, what are you working on? 

Our important day-to-day working with our amazing clients on their projects. We are also working on building our brand. Run has grown and our capability has grown, and it’s still growing.

What insights to your methodological approach or philosophy can you give us?  

Change and chaos is my approach, or else you become known for the same-looking work. Make sure to do something outside, watch something stupid and never follow the script. If you do the same thing you always get the same results.

Outside of work hours what creative projects and/or hobbies are you involved with?

Karaoke, kids’ side hustle ideas. Right now it’s an energy drink my eldest wants to create.

And finally, where to next for you? What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?

Working on being a better creative director. We have grown from two to 10 kaimahi in two years, so the learning curves has been challenging. I’d like to work on being a better public speaker. I am speaking at some pretty big events here and in Australia next year so I’d like to be someone people in these industries want to come and see.

Find out more about the Under The Hood – Māori design & designers event here.

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