About me

Self-indulgent waffle

Rory Macrae

I made my first website whilst at university in 2006. It was a hacked-together version of this very site, built to house a jarring selection of university work and woeful DJ mixes.

I’ll never forget the first time I uploaded an index.html file to a server and realised that anyone in the world could now see what I’d made. Not that they did. But that’s not the point — they could, and that’s why I still love working in the tech industry.

At the Forge

I cut my teeth at a full-service digital agency called Forge, based in London. I started in 2012 as a designer and front-end developer before eventually becoming Creative Director. During my eight years with the company, I worked with a vast number of different clients, ranging from small local businesses in the early days to global brand names as we grew.

I have always strived to gain knowledge of as many aspects of digital marketing and product development as I can. Whilst I was most often referred to as a designer at Forge, I did a lot of other work too; from developing content marketing strategies to leading the delivery of digital products and websites. Perhaps the most important learnings I took from my role as Creative Director were the soft skills I gained from interfacing with numerous stakeholders on different projects.


I had a fantastic time working at Forge. It was exciting to be part of something that grew so much in the time that I was there. But after eight years I decided that it was time for a new challenge. At the end of February 2020 I finished up at Forge, stepping into the unknown.

I’m currently available for freelance projects. I’m also open to certain full-time opportunities.

My design ethos

1. Problem-solving generalist

I believe the best solutions occur when they’re informed by a number of disciplines. I’ve purposely developed a broad skill set over the past decade that encompasses design, marketing, copywriting and development.

2. Form follows function

Digital products have to ‘work’ first, on many levels; functionally, commercially and practically. I’m not interested in design that’s purely aesthetic.

3. Communicator

Hiding behind Sketch and Gmail is easy. But design is about people. Understanding a brief, working with a team and ‘selling’ the right solution is what good designers do.

4. Commercially minded

‘Delighting the user’ is lovely and all, but that alone doesn’t make a business grow. I embrace the role that design should play in supporting an organisation’s commercial goals.

5. Pragmatic

‘Dreaming big’ is overrated. I prefer practical solutions that are incrementally improved, over wild concepts that never get off the ground.

6. Developer friendly

I guess I’m kinda old-school, but when I began my career, digital designers could code; I started out learning CSS, HTML and JavaScript. I don’t call myself a developer anymore but I know how to work with them and I can still knock out a solid Wordpress theme.

7. A holistic approach

I like to know ‘why?’. I don’t work in isolation and need to understand the bigger picture before I can do my bit effectively.

8. Detail driven

I’m a firm believer in the mantra “ideas are cheap, execution is everything”. Execution equals detail, in my book.

9. Anti-precious

I distance myself from the old clichés of the ‘prickly’ designer. I know design’s place (hint: it’s not always as important as some like to think). I take a rational approach to my work and encourage feedback.