The motley crew

Writers. Designers. Art Directors. Project managers. Tech lovers. Green tea drinkers. Hipster brew masters. We’re a motley crew in perfect combination. But here’s what we’ve got in common: we love what we do; and we believe brilliant work starts with ideas, not just aesthetics or cute headlines.

We’re senior specialists – because you can’t throw juniors or generalists at this kind of work.

We’re always up for a challenge. That’s why we tackle the complicated stuff – and make it beautiful.

We’re a crack team of good eggs.
A motley crew in perfect combination.
A champion team made of absolute champions.
And whatever we do, we do it together.

Meet the directors

We’ve been working together for over 20 years. And we still love it.

Kimberley Gaskin

Director, Strategy and Editorial

Kimberley is happiest with a pen in one hand and a green tea in the other. She’s an award-winning financial journalist, editor and communications specialist with over 20 years’ experience in Australian and international publishing, advertising and communications.

She’s a master wordsmith, a conceptual thinker and absolutely focused on getting the foundations right for clients – from charting customer journeys, to developing propositions, to creative that makes you think and act.

Kimberley has been awarded four Citigroup Excellence in Business Journalism Awards for Economics and Financial Markets writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) and an MPhil in History (awarded with High Distinction) from the University of Sydney, and is a committee member of Homes of Hope International.

Prior to Six Black Pens, she worked as Managing Editor at Insto (2002-2006), Executive Editor at InAssociation (2007-09), Australian Editor at FinanceAsia (2009) and Contributing Editor at KangaNews (2006-2011), Australia’s leading finance and capital markets publication.

Oli Vickery

Creative Director

With 20 years of design experience in both Sydney and London, Oli’s responsible for driving and maintaining the overall creative vision of the agency.

With a magazine background, Oli has a passion for crafted type, rich photography and clever illustration. His bowing shelves hold a huge collection of magazines, with pride of place given to his back catalogue of The Face; and issues of Black + White from his time as Art Director at Studio Magazines. From there he moved into the world of finance, launching titles and directing publications at The AFR. All of which focused on the power of smart creative ideas to deliver a punch.

Ten years ago, Oli sketched out a logo for a new company called Six Black Pens, wanting to build an agency that was about pure ideas and making complex things more accessible. The name came from his unwavering belief that ideas should start on paper – scamped with a black fine liner.

With a focus now on integrated creative and customer engagement, Oli has a track record for developing creative and high-impact ideas that are both viable and effective. His passion lies in bringing his experience, and that of his team, to the corporate market – creating integrated solutions that really work.

Chris Tappenden

Creative Director

Most days you’ll find Chris lugging his enormous British Bulldog Bentley around in a futile effort to exercise him. But he loves him.

Chris has been helping clients engage with their customers through strategic creative solutions for over 19 years. He’s worked in a range of agencies in the UK and Australia and is a true believer in the digital revolution. Chris’ focus is on making sure our customers are always evolving and using the very best digital tools to communicate in a constantly changing world.

He loves human-centred digital design and UX and meticulously plotting customer journeys – so your strategies to reach them actually work.

From our clients

Six Black Pens were able to get inside the mindset of our audience, and the pain traders associate with changing brokers. With a relatively small budget this helped us create cut-through and drove twice the number of accounts forecast.

Arianne MillerHead of Customer Strategy and Engagement, nabtrade

SBP created a unique and memorable creative concept that brought tangibility to the Premium Ads product and clearly articulated the reach and visibility benefits of the product.

Serena NanceSenior Marketing Associate, Partners & Projects, SEEK

Another hugely successful launch of a beautifully produced calendar that our customers want to display and keep.

Neil FindlayAgribusiness Customer Executive, NAB

With a mix of talented writers, designers and creative genius, SBP delivered to us in time and on budget – new company and product logos, a messaging matrix for all marketing material, a branded stand for conference, new corporate and product brochures, a promotional video for launch, and they filled us with confidence that the brand and message was unique to us and different from our competitors.

The feedback received at the conference in particular about the visual appeal of the stand, followed by the product, was in harmony with our vision and beyond our expectations of providing a professional image that evoked conversation – from the product name through to the brand and messaging.

Rebecca HallChief Executive Officer, B Online Learning

By all means plan, budget, brainstorm, design and write. But make sure the chemistry’s there.