What is an Alembic?

An alembic is a distilling flask or still-head, often depicted as spherical and with a long angled spout. It was one of the tools of the early alchemists who sought to convert base metals into gold but became better known for dubious claims than actual achievements. We distil raw information and crystallise ‘essence of brand’ to create valuable visual communications for our clients—but we make no claims for the transformation of matter! The Alembic is a metaphor for our design process, not our business practises!

FAQs top


What does Alembic charge for its services?

Contrary to popular belief, costing a design project has nothing in common with determining the length of a piece of string! Our estimates are based on careful assessment of time required to achieve a required outcome and a simple set of rates for project personnel.

No two design projects are quite alike, so the question “what do you charge to develop a brand (or to design an annual report)?” is unanswerable in any meaningful way without access to some key information (for example: audiences, aims, timescales for a project).

Media, formats, quantities, timings and broader background information will all have a bearing on the nature of the solution and to some extent its cost—particularly for brand development and strategic projects.

We are happy to discuss outline project information and provide project cost estimates without obligation.

FAQs top


Who does Alembic work for?

Our UK clients range from large public companies to small not-for-profit organisations and come from most industry sectors. We have also also managed projects for clients in Bahrain, China, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the USA.

Alembic work is informed by 25 years’ experience of major projects for large and small organisations in diverse industry sectors: brewing, distribution, education, energy, engineering, foods, financial services, healthcare, legal, leisure, market research, manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, property, retail, telecoms and transport.

Alembic clients: Aberdeen Asset Management, Altro Group, Asset Value Investors (AVI), CARMA International, Ceema Technology, The College of Social Work, CS Healthcare, Daniel Thwaites PLC, Datamonitor, Eurosport, The Film Editors, First Islamic Investment Bank (Arcapita), Forrester, Fletcher Priest Architects, Granada Media, Luton & Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust, Merrill Lynch, NHS Haringey Community Health Services, Petrogal S.A., PPCS (Psychiatric and Psychological Consultant Services), Prime Health, Regents Business School, Sport England, University of Hertfordshire and Villeroy & Boch.

FAQs top

What do clients think about our work?

Some of our clients are kind enough to say nice things about us:

“It is a pleasure dealing with ethical professionals” Florian David, CARMA International.

“Alembic hits the spot every time. An acutely-tuned design awareness and creative solutions that delight the client. Rigorous in the approach to briefs, combining sound understanding of commercial principles with superb design flair. Jonathan Miller has a wise, calming presence—essential in high-pressured, tight-deadline environments where big egos and different points of view clash.” Alan Riley, The Bright Field Ltd

“The Alembic design team spend time to understand the values of their clients and the tone of individual campaigns.  At The Luton and Dunstable Hospital our corporate image has benefited from the added-value that Alembic gives to our visual branding and many of our communications.” Barry Mayes, Head of Communications, L&D Hospital.

“Alembic’s creativity combined with excellent project management resulted in an award-winning report for the Bank that was highly regarded throughout the region.” Gaye Bentham, Associate, Corporate Communications, Arcapita.

“…amongst other things, Alembic designed our literature, advertising and website, advised us on managing our visual identity and created a brand identity for a new product. The subsequent increase in our sales endorses the value of their work. As an extra bonus, Alembic are a nice bunch of people to work with!” Russell Stephens, Sales & Marketing Manager, CS Healthcare.

“Alembic not only met an unexpectedly tight deadline, but did so without relaxing their usual high creative and service standards.” John Walton, Managing Director, Asset Value Investors.

“Alembic combines a highly creative approach with a clear sense of business requirements. Their work for us—from brand development to marketing communications and naming issues – has made a significant contribution to our success.” Belinda Edwards, Head of Marketing, Granada Channels.

“In the 25 years since we opened, The Film Editors has become a respected name so changing our corporate identity was not a task we undertook lightly. Alembic used their creative skills to show us different approaches, adapted well to our changing needs and successfully guided us through what can be a painful process.” Pamela Power, Managing Director, The Film Editors.

“Hamilton’s success depends on our markets understanding the exceptional quality of our products and Alembic have always clearly communicated that for us. Over many years, they have provided us with high quality design and production for all our communications: corporate identity, brochures, website and other marketing materials. In that time, our company has grown dramatically and internationally.” Hugh Hamilton, Managing Director, Hamilton Billiards.

FAQs top


Who/what is Alembic?

Established for over 13 years, Alembic originally developed out of the consultancy work of Jonathan Miller, formerly Creative Director, Corporate Graphics (London) Inc.; prior to that Designer / Director at The Design Business Association; Design House Consultants; Sedley Place (London & Berlin) and Wolff Olins.

Alembic’s structure maintains flexibility around a small fixed core. We make no apologies for this—it is not only a realistic business model for design business—it is how we maintain flexibility of scale and expertise. We are able to provide a ‘big picture’ approach yet manage projects with close attention to detail.

Partners Jonathan Miller and Jane Prior (Business Development) are supported by design contributors and assistants contracted according to project demands. Production specialists such as Alan Dillimore (typesetting) and Anthony Duke (artwork) are supported by larger / specialist resources as required (i.e. print & digital production). We also work with regular design collaborators where our projects take us beyond two dimensions (i.e. interior, transport and product design) and we collaborate successfully with other communications agencies where appropriate.

FAQs top