Natural Selection Design

 In LAB Blog

What On Earth Do You Do All Day?

Another week, another resident, another blog post- and this week it’s a new member. There’s nothing we love more than a new face in our lovely space, and it’s always great to find out about the interesting things that people do. This week, we sat down with the wonderful Natural Selection Design to chat about becoming a huge voice in the world of design, how great chefs are to work with, and the beauty of being a rapidly expanding company!

Name: Dan Burns

Organisation Name: Natural Selection Design

Organisation Age: Coming up to 6 years

LAB: As someone who hasn’t got a clue what you guys do, beyond that it’s design related, tell me a little about Natural Selection:

Dan: We’re a creative agency, specifically for the food and drink industry. We do design, branding, film, photography, but all to do with food and drink- we love it! Six years ago I worked for a food and drink magazine, and then left to work in a corporate agency working for Shell Oil, at the same time I was keeping freelance work going with a handful of chefs. Then my wife became pregnant, and I thought I have to leave and start the agency I was always dreaming of, or I’ll end up stuck here for more years to come; so I had 9 months to make the business successful. 

It has been great though, we’re producing some really exciting work; we have been doing a documentary with Channel Four and we’ve just launched a snowboarding video with a handful of Michelin Star chefs, which we filmed in France early this year. I think that kind of thing sets us above others, we’re very no bullshit, what you see is what you get.  

LAB: What inspires you to do what you do, because food and drink is pretty niche:

When you go in to a restaurant, I’ve always loved to see the peaceful front of house, then, you walk into the back and see the chaos in the kitchen; I want people to see that. We buzz off presenting projects with a ‘behind the scenes peak’ and an element of truth.

We work closely with chef, Gary Usher, who owns Wreckfish in Liverpool and Kala in Manchester (just launching this week!); we have produced the crowdfunding campaigns for five restaurants in his portfolio; Gary is weeks from launching restaurant number six.  

Crowdfunding makes businesses happen and creates jobs. To date, we are chuffed to have a 100% crowdfunding record, all the projects we have been part of have succeeded. It’s an honor for us to be working and creating alongside these businesses and chefs.  This is what I imagined when I envisaged this business 7 years ago. 

So, what is it that you actually do of a day:

There is never enough hours in the day, we could work all day and night on the creative; but a work life balance is really important for the team and I.  We are a strong team of six, with two currently on maternity leave, so we are pretty busy.   Day to day we are working on creative projects; branding, videography, photography, editing.  We go out on location to shoots.  We meet with clients to discuss initial projects or pitch our ideas – no day is the same – and that’s how we want to keep it!

I’m the Director, but during the day my head is very much in strategy and working on creative with the team.  Our team all have individual strengths, which makes Natural Selection a dynamic and multiskilled agency.   Since launching six years ago we have never advertised, all our enquiries and work comes from word of mouth recommendations.   

How did you end up here, and how has being at LAB worked for you so far?

You guys have been super welcoming.  I will be really honest too…we’re here temporarily, because an office that should have been refurbished for us didn’t happen, the company halted the work on the space.  We outgrew the outhouse in my garden, so that was no longer suitable. We needed a space where we could come together as a team; and that was LAB. It’s been a great stepping stone for us before we take on our own offices, and there’s free fruit and coffee, I love that.

What are your goals as a company- where do you see yourself going?

I want a nice office in the city centre and increase brand awareness. We already have a great reputation in the food and drink industry, but I want Natural Selection to go to new places and enable the team to work on even more exciting projects. I want to grow – but still stay small!

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Natural Selection Design. Whilst they won’t be with us forever, we’re so excited to have them in the space and we love the work that they’re producing! You can find them at or check them out at @NSD_Creatives 

Want to get a piece of the creative action going on at LAB? Give us an email at or check out our free trial day here!

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