Suburbia Group History
1999 Co-founded by Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding
1969 Born Manchester
1988 – 1991 Studied graphics at St. Martins School of Art
1992 – 1999 Art Director, The Face Magazine, London
1998 Creative Director, Suburbia, London
1969 Born Hawick, Scotland
1987 Foundation Level Art& Design, Manchester Polytechnic
1988 – 1991 Graphic Design, Newcastle Upon Tyne Polytechnic
1992 – 1999 Art Editor, The Face Magazine, London
1998 Creative Director, Suburbia, London
Art Director, Art Editor of The Face Magazine 1992-1999
Contributing Editors and Art Directors to Big Magazine, USA
1999 became consultant to Waddell Publishing, publisher of Dazed and Confused and Another Magazine
In 2000 formed own graphic design and advertising agency, Suburbia
In 2001 created and launched Pop Magazine for Emap Publishing, of which they remain Creative Directors
Blumarine, Gucci, Comme des Garcons, Jigsaw UK, Katherine Hamnett UK, Levi’s Europe, Missoni, Lancome, Giles Deacon, Christian Dior Beauty, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Venetta, Gucci Group Beauty, Luella, Emap, Virgin Records, BMG Music Group, Universal Music Group, Mercury Records, Nike Europe
Awards and Exhibitions
Comme Des Garcons exhibition, New York, Tokyo, Paris 1994
Adjudicator for Festival International de la Photo de Mode, France 1995
Adjudicator for Dutch Magazine Design, Holland 1996
Member of Selection Committee for Contemporary Photographic Practice 1997
Adjudicator for photography section for British Design and Art Direction association 1997
Adjudicator for The Society of Publication Designers, NYC 1998
Visiting tutor at St Martin’s School of Art 1999
Adjudicator at Hyeres Photo Festival, France 1999
Winner of Society of Publication Designers (USA) award for best photo illustration, 1999
Adjudicator and advisor to British Association of Photography Assistants 2000
Winner of Magazine Cover award, Society of Publication Designers (USA), 2000
Speakers on behalf of British Design Council in Stuttgart 2001
Winner of award given by the Art Directors Club of America, 2001
Winner of ECM Magazine Cover of the Year, UK 2002
Invited to discussion panel of contemporary magazine design at the Institute of Contemporary Arts 2003
Winner of Creative Review Annual award 2003
Invited to guest lecture at Parsons School of Art, NYC 2005/6
In 1992 at the age of 23 Lee and Stuart were made art director and art editor of The Face magazine, only one year after leaving art school. They remained the youngest professional magazine art team in Britain for six years, a fact which featured in a number of magazine and newspaper articles. The magazine prospered and the circulation and advertising revenue nearly doubled in the time they were there. They won a number of awards and were invited to speak and judge at various events, including those organised by the Society of Publication Designers in New York, British Design and Art Direction in London and the Institution of Contemporary Arts in London. Around this time they were asked to guest edit and art direct Big, a New York based magazine. The two issues they worked on, including an issue dedicated to Gisele Bundchen, became the magazines biggest seller to date.
They left The Face in 1999 to consult for Waddell publishing, publishers of Dazed and Confused. At this point they formed their own agency, Suburbia and went on to work with a number of fashion, music and corporate clients.
In 2000 they went on to co-launch another successful magazine, Pop which they remain the creative directors of today. They have also continued to lecture, appear on adjudicating panels and win further awards. In addition, Lee and Stuart have lectured at their old art schools, and have been invited to lecture at Parson’s School of Art in New York.
Suburbia’s work has been featured in numerous books and international periodicals, including Taschen’s ‘Graphic Design for the 21st Century’ and Lawrence Kings survey on magazine design and art direction, ‘MagCulture’.
They have been featured in articles in the New York Times, and The Guardian Newspaper. In 2003 Graphics International called Suburbia the ‘best art directors of the last ten years’.
In 2003 their work was featured prominently in ‘Live Forever’ a feature film about pop culture in 1990’s Britain.
In 2004 Lee was featured as one of fifty most creative people in London in Self Service magazine.
The celebrities they have worked with on their various projects include Cameron Diaz, Gisele Bundcen, Kevin Spacey, Samuel L Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liv Tyler, Jude Law, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Ewen McGregor, Pamela Anderson, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Hurley, Beyonce Knowles, Cindy Crawford and Drew Barrymore.
Photographers they work with include Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, David Sims, Mikael Jansson, Mario Testino, Ellen von Unwerth, Solve Sundsbo, Juergen Teller amongst many others.
In 2005, Lee was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society as ‘someone who is involved in his field at a most senior level’.
Since 2008, Suburbia have been working with Love Magazine.