Use the human voice

👋  Hello, I'm Giles

I help organisations communicate more like humans do: briefly, clearly, creatively.

I’m a writer, editor, coach, consultant and trainer.

email: giles (at)
phone: 07939 127917
twitter: @gilest
blog posts at:

Case studies


People saying nice things

“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

“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

“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

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

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, Essex County Council, Scottish Government, Government of California, Welsh Government Centre for Digital Public Services

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

Doteveryone, Comic Relief, I’m A Scientist, EdTech Hub, UNCDF Policy Accelerator, Citizens Advice, Catalyst

👇️ Selected projects...

Screenshot of a Catalyst training video
Content basics videos for Catalyst - watch
Screenshot of homepage
Practical tips for digital teams - read
Screenshot of CDPS digital standards for Wales
Digital standards with a Welsh context - read
Screenshot of UNCDF home page
Making policy easier to digest - more
Screenshot of Public Digital positions
Corporate vision that actually means something - more
Screeshot of EdTech Hub homepage
Clearer content for tech in education - more
Screenshot of I'm A Scientist home page
Coaching a team in content design - view
Screenshot of Content Design London training course sign-up page
Training through Content Design London - more
Photo of Signals copies
A print periodical for Public Digital - more
Screenshot from video for Public Digital
Video production and direction
Photo of Agile comms guide on a device
A guide to agile communication
Photo of the Content Design book in edit phase
Editing Content Design
Photo of posters at Defra
Influencing culture at Defra
Screenshot of
A website about doing presentations - visit
Screenshot of Defra blog post
Developing thought leadership - read
Screenshot of the GDS Story index page
Capturing institutional memory - view
Screenshot of HackIT manifesto by Hackney Council
Tech team principles - read
Photo of Its ok poster
It's ok to say what's ok

I like email

Honestly, I do. The best way to get in touch is with an email to giles (at)

Or feel free to call me any time on +44 (0)7939 127917.

You can find me on Twitter @gilest

Read blog posts at

EdTech Hub logo

Content basics for beginners

This was a fun, rapid-turnaround project. Alastair Lee from Panda asked me to contribute to a content training syllabus for the Catalyst Definition Programme, designed to help small charities and non-profits learn about digital ways of working.

After some back-and-forth, we settled on short videos as an ideal format. I rehearsed some lines, created some slides, and hit the record button on a series of one-take, partly-improvised short talks.

You can see the results on YouTube.

My films explored the basics of content design as a discipline, then looked at ways for small teams to write and edit together.

EdTech Hub logo

A hub for learning

EdTech Hub is an extraordinary, inspiring and heartwarming project and team.

I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with members of that team, finding ways to simplify important messages, grounded in academic research, without diluting the academic rigour behind them.

The team work extremely hard, and the whole organisation has changed its focus and remit in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Working alongside them is an honour and an education. I’ve learned about education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, deaf children in Pakistan, and rural communities in Uganda. Work that opens my eyes and makes me very conscious of my wealth and privilege.

Screenshot of I'm A Scientist home page

Coaching in content design thinking

I’m a Scientist is a terrific project, connecting school children to real scientists using simple online chat rooms. Children get to ask the scientists about anything - not just the science, but about what it’s like to be one, or become one. Children get to see that scientists aren’t stereotyped boring nerds, but real people with real lives and real senses of humour.

Project director Shane McCracken asked me to help the team re-think its website content, which was over long, repetitive, and quite hard for newcomers to digest.

I worked with the team to help them think about user needs, to dramatically shorten and simplify the content on most pages, and ways to use simple web UX techniques to channel different audiences towards the information they need.

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