Born in Essex, United Kingdom, Laurence Dunmore studied Graphic Design and Media at the London College of Printing. Dunmore worked for 12 years as a designer, predominantly for the recording industry, but occasionally designing promotional materials and logos for films.
Along the way, he gained directing experience on music videos and commercials, and decided to get into that full time, winning numerous awards for his advertising spots for companies such as BMW, AT&T, American Express and ING Bank, including a Silver Lion at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. In 2002, he won a Gold Lion at Cannes for his controversial AXE/Lynx ad, then directed a Eurostar commercial starring John Malkovich.
Malkovich enjoyed working with Dunmore so much that he sent him a script he was considering, called The Libertine. Dunmore agreed to helm the film, starring Malkovich, Johnny Depp and Samantha Morton, and received a Best Director nomination at the British Independent Film Awards.