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#MeetTheGhost - Paul Boal

Get to know the Creative Director and founder of Clever Ghost Paul as we kick off the 1st part of our #MeetTheGhost series.

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Hi, I’m Paul the Creative Director at Clever Ghost, a brand & design studio based in Belfast.


How did you end up in design?

My journey into graphic design was one of discovery. It was probably around 3rd year in school that the head of media studies covered our art class, a simple chat about branding opened me up into a new world of advertising, and for the first time the term graphic designer. Our chat brought up the FedEx logo, not only introducing me to the agency Landor Associates and the genius of the hidden arrow embedded in the logo by Lindon Leader but the unseen world of design. We go about our daily lives influenced by the work of designers, advertising, product packaging, and brands deemed by most to just simply appear, yet they’ve have been meticulously designed and led through the creative process, it had me hooked.

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”
Joe Sparano - Oxide Design Co.

It began as a curiosity that developed into an obsession, to this day seeing behind the scenes fascinates me whether that’s the design process, a film set, the initial concept sketches of a finished piece, no matter the subject I love looking into them. The home studio is dotted with various ‘The Art of…’ style books. The most recent addition Bond By Design: The Art of the James Bond Films was given to me as a secret Santa gift, check it out on amazon if you're interested.


What has been your favourite project to work on to date?

All projects tend to have an element that is the most enjoyable. I find researching new markets or industries enjoyable as I get to discover new things, the icing on the cake is when a new discovery sparks a creative idea that makes it through to the final deliverables. 

As for a project in its entirety, working on the CoNNOR brand was a lot of fun. Our client Connor Grant, knew the power of branding, fully committing to the process from start to finish. Our process as a design studio matched up with so many qualities that the salon has, we encourage collaboration and allow creativity to take centre stage when producing our work, it has led to a fun and creative relationship that has proved a successful combination in the relaunch of his salon.


How do you stay creative/inspired?

Simply by enjoying what I do. I enjoy reading about and listening to all things design, sketching, dreaming up ideas, fleshing out concepts and surrounding myself with all sorts of creative work in my daily life whether that be in work or in my spare time, so I find it easy to keep myself creatively inspired. How do I stay creative? By simply immersing myself in design and loving every second of it.


Who is your creative hero?

Lance Wyman, the man behind the 1968 Mexico Olympics logo. Ever since discovering his work and learning more about him, I’ve been inspired by his work ethic and industrial design background, not to mention I find his work incredible. The level of detail that he worked to, and by hand, is simply awe-inspiring. We take for granted the ability to make minute changes with just a couple of clicks. These guys achieved those details too, the difference being it was by hand and often the only undo button was to simply start again.


What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own creative business?

Get networking! The contacts that I’ve made along the way have been pivotal in helping me get Clever Ghost off the ground, from accountants to IT support I would’ve found it an even larger mountain to climb trying to source this help once I had stepped out. In addition to creating that network of contacts that you can call upon when you need them, you will get to meet clients, your contacts will refer you on and the circle keeps on turning. So yeah, get out there, get networking and get designing.


What do you geek out too?

Star Wars*

*in the interest of the websites loading speed, the short answer has been provided.


Lastly, any pets? 

We’ve a little dog called Chewie (follow him on Instagram @a_lil_chewie) He’s a Shih Tzu & German Sheppard cross with a little Collie thrown in for good measure. How did that happen I hear you ask? Well let’s just say he had a very ambitious Shih Tzu as a father.

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