Meet The Tenants: Gion-Men Kruegel-Hanna, Chief Creative Officer, HEAD

Published1 December 2023
Frankie Mason,Marketing and Events Executive
CategoryMeet the Tenants

Renowned global sport brand HEAD has found a home at Design District. We spoke to Chief Creative Officer Gion-Men Kruegel-Hanna about HEAD’s growth, why he loves the creative industry, and the rise of padel and pickleball.

Renowned global sport brand HEAD has found a home at Design District. We spoke to Chief Creative Officer Gion-Men Kruegel-Hanna about HEAD’s growth, why he loves the creative industry, and the rise of padel and pickleball.

Design District (DD): Tell us about HEAD and your journey with the brand.

Gion-Men (GM): I joined HEAD as Global Creative Director ten years ago. Growing up in the Swiss Alps, I knew HEAD well from skiing and playing tennis. It was a no-brainer to dive into our CEO’s brief to grow the brand and transform it from a manufacturing-led organisation to a more consumer-orientated brand. 

I am now HEAD’s Chief Creative Officer and MD of the global Creative Marketing & Innovations Studio here in London.

DD: What’s been your biggest achievement with HEAD?

GM: Our main goal over the past 10 years has been to transform HEAD into one of the most prominent digital sports brands in our industries. 

We’ve built an enticing brand that caters to a diverse audience. Combined with some of the best sports equipment and manufacturing know-how, plus the best athletes in our industry, we have an incredible opportunity to shape this brand for the future. 

I’m extremely proud of the people we attract and the creative talents working in our London studio, as well as in our Austrian design and marketing offices and affiliated markets in North America and Spain. Our goal is to compete with the best and brightest creative agencies in London. To do this, we’ve built a strong team across multiple creative disciplines, capable of doing almost anything for HEAD’s consumer experience.

DD: What about your biggest hurdle? How have you overcome it? 

GM: The sporting industry can be volatile. It was great to see so many people pick up tennis throughout the pandemic, for example. But this growth isn’t sustainable and we’re seeing amateurs and casual players drop out as multi-sports and stadium sports return to the fore. Every sport is accessible again and competing for recognition. 

The rapid rise of padel and pickleball presents a great opportunity for HEAD to cater to a diverse and growing new audience of ball sport enthusiasts. These sports are easy, accessible, cheap, fun, and social, which means they’re hugely appealing for new players. HEAD is a major player in the padel industry, fostering a pro athlete pool for more than 20 years. Now the task is to make the HEAD padel brand - and our amazing padel athletes - known all over the world.

DD: Where do you get your inspiration from?

GM: I marvel at what it takes to be a top professional athlete; the sacrifice, endurance, and tenacity it takes to make it to the top and stay there for as long as possible. Of course you need talent, but charisma, personality, and the drive to learn from every experience is what most often makes the difference. This translates very easily into our creative industry and my profession.

DD: Tell us about working in a highly competitive creative industry

GM: Working in the creative industries is a blessing and a curse. We’re blessed because there’s no age limit to being creative and having ideas that shake the world, solve a problem, and make someone’s life better. You can be five years old, 30 or 90 - the ‘creative juices’ can flow at any time and place. The back side of the medal is that anyone can call themselves a creative. As a former VJ, I draw inspiration from music. Accessibility and cheap tools allow lots of people to try to become a music producer, but not everyone survives or is in it for the long haul. Producing music, as with any other creative discipline, is not a job that delivers instant gratification.

Creativity, honing your skills, and drawing inspiration from all aspects of life is hard work. Your Pinterest board or Google won’t give you that unique and engaging solution everyone is looking for. All it does is generate the same old stuff we’ve seen - and heard - a million times.

DD: What advice would you give to other creatives starting out in your field?


1. Broaden your skills and experiences. The best creatives can analyse, combine, and subtract networks of information that go way beyond a common brief. These people aren’t necessarily driven by what they personally like but by what they understand will resonate, evoke emotions, and ‘move the needle’.

2. Don’t do the same thing twice. Just because you were successful once with a solution, doesn’t mean you should use it over and over again. 

3. Do something people care about. The worst feedback you can get is: ‘it’s ok’. I’d rather create something that polarises than something audiences are indifferent to.

4.  Be unique and differentiating. Have the courage to try new things and make mistakes. Learn from that and use it to fuel your next steps.

DD: Tell us about your move to Design District 

GM: Design District is a special place and its tenants make this a great work environment. Our staff love the creative-minded set-up and have formed collaborative relationships in a short period of time. Design District is easily accessible via public transport or a bike ride along the Thames, making it the perfect destination for creative people.

DD: What does the future look like for HEAD?

GM: We’re blessed to have some of the best athletes on both our Racquet Sports and Winter Sports roster. More than 50% of the top 10 tennis players in the world are on Team HEAD. In winter sports we outperform our competitors regularly in medals, podiums, and end of season championships.

This presents an unbelievable opportunity and platform to shape the HEAD brand for the future. Our solutions are about translating these achievements and utilising our athletes to create memorable stories and brand attachment, resonating with an audience who strive to be fit, healthy, and entertained.

Follow HEAD’s journey on their social media channels. If you’re considering moving your business to Design District, view our available spaces here.