Use the human voice

Hello, my name is Giles and I help organisations communicate more like humans do: briefly, clearly, creatively.

email: giles (at)
phone: 07939 127917

Testimonials, services, clients, contact.

Screenshot of Public Digital positions statement

👆️ Worked with the PD team to write and iterate a set of statements that they believe in

Screenshot of blog post at Content Design London

👆️ A 1-day open working training course, run in collaboration with Content Design London

Screenshot of I'm a Scientist home page

👆️ Helping the team at I'm A Scientist simplify and clarify their content

Photo of the first three copies of Signals, a periodical for Public Digital

👆️ Editor of Signals for Public Digital


“If you need words and/or someone to steer the creation of words, hire Giles soonest. He’s the best.” – Russell Davies

“I think Use the human voice was probably the best money Cydea spent last year.” – Robin Oldham

“The great thing about Giles is that he has lasting impact. I still see echoes of Giles in good @gdsteam behaviours years after he left, and the people he worked with have taken those lessons with them even after they moved on as well. A genuinely transformative person.” – Simon Everest

“Giles does words, ideas, teams, culture ++” – Rod McClaren

“Hiring Giles is a good investment, as both I and the I’m A Scientist team would attest.” – Shane McCracken

“Giles is a genius with words, making complicated stuff easy to understand.” – Tom Loosemore

“It’s difficult not to understate the contribution Giles has made at the Government Digital Service. He has an enviable capability to explain complex subject matter in a straightforward and engaging way. His writing and creative direction has played a big part in defining the style and tone of the organisation and uniquely captured our culture.” – Wendy Coello

“If you need someone who writes like a dream and who is both brilliant and a complete joy to work with: hire Giles immediately.” – Janet Hughes

“This is someone to hire and treasure. Giles writes best words and helps others to understand the how, what and why of words about services.” – Chris Thorpe

“Hire this gentleman fast as you can.” – Meri Williams

“Hire Giles, you won’t regret it. Storyteller, creative leader, gentleman and scholar. He was an essential person in making GDS so famous.” – Tom Dolan

“Giles is astounding with words and wonderful to work with.” – Sonia Turcotte

“Hire Giles. He’s one of the best.” – Alyson Fielding

“If I ever get a dog, I’m calling him Giles Turnbull.” – Maggie Mason

Screenshot from a video made for Public Digital

👆️ Creative direction for a Public Digital video series

Web content written for Juno

👆️ Creative copywriting for Juno

Photo of the Delivery Book, an idea I helped develop at DfE

👆️ Digital comms strategy and direction for DfE Digital


These are just a few ideas; we can work something else out if you prefer.

Clarity audit
(likely to take a few days – a week)

Looking through your existing content with a fresh pair of eyes, finding ways to make it shorter, simpler, sharper, more human. I might re-write some of it; I might write some guidance to help you and your team write that way by yourselves in future; perhaps we might organise a workshop where I talk people through it.

Interim editor-in-chief / clarity director
(likely to be a months-long engagement)

Like the clarity audit (above), but lasting longer and with more emphasis on day-to-day editorial advice. I can also work with your team to help them develop internet-era comms skills.

Strategy development
(likely to be weeks or months)

Working alongside your leaders to help them craft a narrative strategy, over time. Support and coaching for organisations that want to show thought leadership, without saying “We are thought leaders”. Developing the strategy as a response to real-world circumstances.

Kick-start open working
(about a week)

I’ll join your team for a few days of intensive work. We’ll try to tackle as many problems as we can, as creatively and as quickly as possible, using the advice I wrote in A guide to agile communication. The focus is flexible and depends on your needs. It might be about clarity of written content; it might be about coming up with new ideas for communication of specific topics. This first week is about rapid experimentation. It can be extended into a longer relationship if need be.

Making better video
(one day workshop)

How, when, and when not to commission video content. Understanding what video is good for and what it’s not. Understanding how to develop a team’s skills so that you can make good enough videos, in-house, rapidly and at low cost.

Doing presentations
(one – two days of workshops or 1:1 coaching)

Understanding the philosophy of simple slides – why they work, and how to create them. Also, presentation technique: noticing and controlling body language, nerves, the horrors of unpredictable technology. Coaching people to help them be better, more confident presenters.

Photo of the Guide to Agile Comms, written while I was at Defra

👆️ Author of A guide to agile communication

editing the Content Design book on a train

👆️ Editing the Content Design book

Selected clients

Public sector: Defra, London Borough of Hackney, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, HM Land Registry, Department of Work and Pensions, Department for Education

Private sector: Content Design London, Juno, Bulb, Public Digital, Cydea, Caution Your Blast, Difference Digital

Non-profit: Doteveryone, Comic Relief, I’m A Scientist

Influencing team culture at Defra

👆️ Telling stories and influencing culture at Defra Digital

The It's ok poster at GDS

👆️ It’s ok to say what’s ok


email: giles (at)
phone: 07939 127917

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Last updated: 24 July 2020