John Cassidy

John Cassidy

Managing Director

People ignore design that ignores people – Massimo Vignelli

You’d be hard pushed to find anyone with more experience in design research than John.

His career began in 1984 with The Research Business (now Synovate), after which he helped to establish the fledgling research division of The Added Value Company, one of the original pioneering marketing agencies.

He co-founded The Big Picture in 1993, and the rest of the history. While he remains hands-on in the day-to-day of research, John is, appropriately enough, a ‘Big Picture’ thinker.

His vision for the company has been fundamental in the development of our clear philosophy, bespoke approach to design insight and – we like to think – charm.

Stuart Costley

Stuart Costley

Managing Director, New York

You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people; design is made for people – Dieter Rams

Stuart joined The Big Picture in 2004, and swiftly rose through the ranks to Board Director in 2009, specialising in global projects for the likes of Unilever, GSK and Bacardi.

Keen for the company to make the most of its international pedigree, in 2013 Stuart moved to New York to set up a new office – the latest in a long line of Irishmen to move to Manhattan, though probably the first to specialise in design research.

Under his leadership the New York office has flourished, working with American icons such as Sam Adams and PepsiCo, and in the process establishing a truly global presence for the agency.
Suranee Abeysuriya 


Design is thinking made visual – Saul Bass

Suranee Abeysuriya 


Strategy & Communication Director, London

Design is thinking made visual – Saul Bass

Su’s love of design and global culture led her to The Big Picture back in 2007.

She’s now a Board Director, and her role as Strategy & Communication Director encompasses a breadth of business functions. While she sets the company strategy and helps implement it with our Futures team, her main focus is building relationships with partners to create better ways of generating insight through innovation.

A real people person, Su loves working with new clients and agencies and so is often the first port of call for new enquiries. She also heads up our Client Relationships function, which makes sure we’re delivering an outstanding service to our existing clients.

Su also represents the company on the international stage, and has presented pieces ranging from The Relationship between Consumers and Cosmetics, and The Future of Digital.

Teresa Anderson

Teresa Anderson

Director, London

Teresa joined The Big Picture as a Director in 2012, bringing a wealth of experience in brand development, advertising and planning along with her.

Having conducted her first design research back in the 80s, Teresa’s long relationship with design makes her a natural fit. She brings a plethora of skills to the table, including innovation, brand strategy, brand naming – and Italian (she’s fluent).

Teresa’s natural curiosity around brands, markets and people make her one of the most revered researchers in the agency; she’s known as the master of the creative workshop, and go-to mentor for research trainees.

Alison Starr

Alison Starr

Director, London

Starr by name and nature, Alison joined The Big Picture in 2013 with a truly stellar background including a coveted Marketing Magazine’s Research Effectiveness Award.

After working for 14 years in advertising and NPD/brand development, Alison set up her own company, Frontline, in 1998. There, Alison managed projects for a wide range of clients including the likes of Cadbury, GSK, Diageo and BBC Worldwide, on both domestic and global projects.

At The Big Picture, Alison’s headed up our Retail offer, and pioneered development of our quantitative offer including The Big Fixture.

Cecilia Sylvan Martin

To create, one must first question everything – Eileen Gray

Cecilia Sylvan Martin

Director, London

To create, one must first question everything – Eileen Gray

With over 15 years of qualitative research under her belt, Cecilia has experience that spans the entire brand journey.

From innovation and brand development, through to the challenges of efficient design planning and development, Cecilia has applied her energetic and passionate approach to all aspects of design research including packaging, NPD, retail, positioning and semiotics.

Kahlia Pyle

Kahlia Pyle

Director, New York

It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good. – Paula Scher

Kahlia is a ‘people person’ in the purest sense.

After graduating from her BA in Social Sciences in her home country of New Zealand, Kahlia set up three businesses in Melbourne ahead of turning to research in 2007. Since then, she’s used her connection with consumers and passion for design to deliver clients strategic insights on brand design.

Kahlia is continually questioning ‘what’s new?’ in the world of design and consumer research – which is why she has an active role in our internal Innovation team, and has spearheaded thinking on everything from UX, to design online and Generation Y (aka: Millennials).

Chris Aukett

Recognising the need is the primary condition for design – Charles Eames

Chris Aukett

Director, London

Recognising the need is the primary condition for design – Charles Eames

Chris’ love of design was sparked at an early age by another of his passions: motorsport.

An infatuation that began with sketching Ayrton Senna’s McLaren led him to train in product design at the University of Sussex, and a fascination with how people interact with design led him to The Big Picture.

In his work, he’s helped some of the world’s most iconic brands develop effective design strategies, including the Olympics, Pepsi and Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Liza Murphy

Liza Murphy

Associate Director, New York

A designer should listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize, and glean insights that enable him or her to make the invisible visible – Hillman Curtis

Liza has ten years of research experience triangulating traditional qualitative methods with semiotics and archetypal analysis to get at the heart and soul of strategic brand design.

Liza has a degree in Communication Design from Parsons and a degree in Philosophy from The New School.

An avid ocean lover and yogi, Liza founded her high school’s championship-holding sailing team and is certified to teach yoga.

Lisa Chautard

Lisa Chautard

Associate Director, New York

Lisa has a rich background in qual research, with over 10 years’ experience in insight roles in New York, London and Paris.

Her passion for understanding what makes consumers tick led to a specialism in purchase & experience journeys. She’s worked for a breadth of clients, with a particular focus on the beauty and luxury markets, having worked for a number of notable clients including LVMH, L’Oreal and Vertu.

She joined The Big Picture in 2017 to pursue her fascination with the semiotics of design. And despite American born, her French heritage still burns bright – she’s your go-to if you want to find the best croissant in New York City.

Rhys Fowler

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent – Joe Sparano

Rhys Fowler

Innovation Manager

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent – Joe Sparano

Rhys is The Big Picture’s Innovation Manager, keeping us at the forefront of design research.

Culture vulture Rhys joined The Big Picture in 2013 from a background in arts marketing.

After three years as a design researcher, Rhys moved into a role where he uses his creative talents to keep the company at the forefront of the research world. His role looks outwards; identifying cultural, social and technological shifts in the way that consumers relate to brands; being aware of advances in consumer psychology and research technology; and the needs of our clients. And from there, innovating ways to make our insight more useful and meaningful to clients.

Aoife Chew

Aoife Chew

Research Manager, London

Aoife’s journey into market research spans a few different countries and vocations.

Spending some time travelling and teaching English abroad, Aoife developed a keen interest in people and learning what made them tick. Since joining the world of qual research, Aoife’s worked at a couple of research agencies, big and small, before her love of design and semiotics led her to join The Big Picture in 2016.

Outside of work, when she’s not running off to travel the world, she’s running the streets of London – just one of our club of runners at The Big Picture,  Aoife’s just completed her first marathon. Go Aoife!

Dominic Michaelides

Dominic Michaelides

Research Manager, London

Dom spent his first couple of years in the industry partnering with some of UK’s biggest brands, including BBC, British Gas and Lloyds Bank, getting under the skin of the public by focusing on ethnography and consumer journeys.

However, his itch for design landed him on our doorstep in early 2016. Since then, he’s channeled his love of food through various NPD, innovation, and rebrand projects exploring anything from hot sauce, to sports nutrition. He’s also used his prior quant experience to evaluate major brand overhauls.

He’s the closest we’ve got to a celebrity at The Big Picture, having made a winning appearance on the TV gameshow Pointless, walking away with a cash prize and the pride of correctly identifying a Theremin (we had to Google it too).

Tess Kenning

Tess Kenning

Research Manager, London

After graduating from her degree in Product Design, Tess worked with a bespoke lighting designer for a year, creating installations for hotels and exhibiting at events like 100% Design.

Her interest in trends and consumer behaviour, which she developed while writing her dissertation, led her to joining our in-house training programme at The Big Picture in 2014.

Outside of work, outdoorsy Devonshire lass Tess up-cycles old chairs, or cycles-up hills for fresh air (depending on the weather).

Adin Heller

Adin Heller

Senior Research Executive, New York

After living in Massachusetts, Texas, and England, Adin has called New York home for over ten years.

As a design researcher, she is able to combine her expertise in interior design, innovation, branding, brand strategy and sonic identity — as well as draw on her Master’s in Design Management. At The Big Picture, Adin is one of our resident experts on Millennials and Gen Z, snacking, and (craft) spirits.

Outside of work she’s a self-confessed pop culture junkie, who is active in the New York theatre community, and loves the art of Vermeer and Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.

Kate Ortbal

Kate Ortbal

Senior Research Executive, New York

Sam Connor

Sam Connor

Research Executive, London

Sam joined The Big Picture following two great internships working with our internal craft beer and spirits team, and since pursued his passion on a number of beer projects and beyond.

Beyond food and drink, he’s also a big fan of furniture design – 1950s in particular – and reading; 20th Century American lit has him lit at the moment.

Francesca Swaine

Francesca Swaine

Research Executive, New York

Globe-trotting Brit Frankie loves to immerse herself in culture.

 

She lived on both sides of the Atlantic, and one side of the Pacific, before she majored in Anthropology at The University of Minnesota. It was here she pursued her interest in the relationship between design and anthropological research methods.

Frankie joined us in 2017 as a trainee, and quickly got promoted to a fully-fledged research role after impressing with her work in developing methodologies to understand consumer tribes.

When she’s not in the office or popping back to Europe for a quick family visit, you’ll find this self-professed ‘art dork’ browsing one of NYC’s many galleries.

Lauren Johnston

Lauren Johnston

Trainee Research Executive, London

Lauren joined us in 2018 from a design and sociology background.

In her Sociology degree, Lauren focussed her studies on the emotional relationship consumers have with brands, and how this affects buying behaviour. From here, she went on to work in a product development role at furniture design retailer, Made.

Following her interest in the capacity of design to transcend language and social barriers, she joined the team as a trainee and is already getting stuck into a mix of projects. Off duty, you’ll find her at the V&A – or maybe just the Brixton Academy doo wopping her thing to Lauryn Hill.

Hannah Loftus

Hannah Loftus

Trainee Research Executive, London

Caroline Herbert

Caroline Herbert

People Development Director

Caroline joined The Big Picture in 2010 with a wealth of research experience behind her from previous roles, including strategic brand consultancy The Big Green Door.

After three years at The Big Picture, Caroline shifted her focus from research to a new role as The Big Picture’s People Development Director. Our staff are our greatest asset and Caroline’s research background means she’s perfectly positioned to put herself in our staff’s figurative shoes to ensure their welfare and make sure they’re getting great development opportunities and training.

When she’s not taking on that mantle, Caroline urns her keep with her part-time hobby in pottery, and even has her own wheel. Fancy.

Emma Howlin

Emma Howlin

People Development Director

Emma joined The Big Picture in 2007 and rose through the ranks to Director, gaining a wide range of experience on a whole host of major global brands for firms including GSK, AkzoNobel and Unilever along the way.

She’s now applying that decade of design research experience to training and developing our research team, as well as maintaining the all-important culture that we believe makes The Big Picture a special place to work.

Fiona Lathan

Fiona Lathan

Office Manager, London

Fiona has been with The Big Picture since the very early days of the company’s 25 years in the business and has seen the firm grow from humble beginnings to its role today as a leading authority on design.

She does invaluable work behind the scenes to oil the cogs of The Big Picture’s insight machine, ensuring we run smoothly and efficiently.

Kelly Gacon

Kelly Gacon

Finance Manager

With a professional qualification with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and close to 20 years of finance experience spanning retail, financial services and charities, Kelly is a mighty safe hand on the financial tiller at The Big Picture.

The only thing she likes more than invoices being paid on time is horse riding and family cycle rides in the country. She also says she has a fascination with all things Tutankamen, which is pharaoh-nough.

Olivia Patten

Olivia Patten

Office Administrator, London

Olivia is the star behind the scenes of the London office.

With a firm hand on everything from travel to telecoms, Olivia just makes sure everything is running smoothly, so our research team can focus on insight, not IT.

Well-travelled Olivia grew up in Bermuda and Dublin, before settling in London to study law. Perhaps that would explain why she’s so good at keeping us all in order.

Katherine Pearce

Katherine Pearce

Project Assistant, London

Kat’s the everyday hero that keeps the London office moving.

Whether it’s creating the audiovisual icing on the debrief cake (she’s a trained graphic designer), or just making sure the fridge is stocked for Friday Night Drinks, she’s an invaluable support to the team.

Outside of work she’s a foody, comedy enthusiast and eager Redditor.

Prisha Dass

Prisha Dass

Office Manager, New York

Before making the cut at our New York office, Prisha was working in NYC’s diamond district.

Her keen interest in fashion styling and photography makes her a natural fit with The Big Picture, and Prisha’s effortless adaptability shaped by growing up in Saudi Arabia and London means she keeps the office running smoothly (no matter where in the world fellow colleagues may be).

Outside of the office, Prisha enjoys working out, having lively discussions about international politics, and pampering her two adorable dogs – Jogi and Zeik.