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This is the reason why the MBC Group of creativeagencies has produced a white paper, in association with Onyx Media and Communications. The publication has allowed us to discuss ways of ensuring the sector has consistent and consistently high standards, in order that UK design maintains itsreputation and credibility both here in the UK andabroad. We believe a professional quality mark fortheUK design industry is the answer.
Such a quality mark would allow people who havedone all the hard work training in design to havesomething to show to potential clients. The clients would have confidence in knowing that as well as your work being creative and eye-catching, it also helps them achieve their goals.
So if you are designing a website for a business that trades online, for example, the mark indicates that it is easy to navigate, the sales cart works and it doesnt take forever to load because you used the same template for another client who just wanted a showroom rather than a shop. Of course, you may well wonder who is qualified tobe judge and jury on design if it is so subjective.
Well, none of us can stop clients who want something that we dont like, but that isnt the point of the quality mark. You cant tell a client how to spend their money, but you can certainly protect them against poor work. A quality mark will show that you understand what works and what doesnt. With so many channels, from online and mobile toprint, potential clients need to know where to go togetthe professional help they need.
Some people have voiced concerns that a professional quality mark willprice the little guys out of the market.
I dont agree. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. Standards are established to ensure fairness. They exist to enable you to compete in the industry, whatever your size. Establishing standards will also encourage agencies toinvest in and educate young designers in order forthem to meet the expectations of the industry. We dont know yet who will decide on the professional quality mark, but no-one is suggesting that we should set up another body to do that.
Ive also been asked about the cost ofqualifying for the quality mark. Again, this is something to be discussed. Eachof its covers are designed by Device, setting the high standard for trouser creases, pocket squares and facial hair grooming within. Hughes thoughts are never far from comics however, as the prized Harley Quinn statue on his desk proves 5.
Its a prototype, given to me by DCComics, he beams. The design is based on Bruce Timms animation style.
The elegance of his work reminds me of Eisenbergs clean linesand direct storytelling. Rian Hughes is a graphic designer, illustrator, comic artist, author, and typographer. His studio has produced logos for Batman andSpider-Man. Allow creative director Greig Anderson to show you round some of the gastro pleasures and design-savvy delights that Scotlands largest city has to offer.
Merchant City www. Its also home to some of the best bars and restaurants around the historic Merchant City, including Bar 91, Blackfriars and Babbity Bowsters.
It has the largest selection of international craft beers available youre bound to find something that tickles your tastebuds. They have some staple brews of their own, such as Outaspace Apple Ale. The building houses over commercial creative businesses and a variety of artists. Our own studio, Freytag Anderson is based here amongst a variety of architects, writers, digital agencies, printers and artists.
Its reputation is built on gourmet sandwiches named after European cities and excellent Sunday brunches. This page: Delegates arrive; Simon Manchipp on flexible ideas; Ivan Chermayeff extols the merits of simple design. Julia Sagar discovers a world of disruptive innovation at Indias biggest design and creativity conference, Kyoorius Designyatra. Or Jonathan Ford, founder of prolific branding and packaging firm Pearlfisher, donning disco-ball earrings to present trophies to Indias most outstanding designers.
Or year-old branding legend Ivan Chermayeff being mobbed for selfies by endless waves of enthusiastic young creatives. This years lively Kyoorius Design Awards was a high-spirited cacophony of glitter and glamour celebrating the very best of Indian design.
The evening marked the close of the countrys biggest creative conference, Designyatra, where a diverse panel of industry-leading speakers and delegates from 18 countries debated the possibilities of breaking convention. What if ice cubes in your drink could warn you when you were over the limit? What if the worlds poorest one billion. What if every brand could be a super-brand? How do you create change? These were just some of the questions posed during the three-day event.
The answer, invariably, was to start small and start with people. As Hyper Islands Maria Eriksson pointed out: Change isnt complicated, its just really hard. If youre entrusted with a brand with the future of something valuable then understanding people, what makes us tick, and understanding what the world around us looks like and how it will change are the. We take a big problem, make it smaller and then we go wide Todd rovak, fahrenheit The more were attuned to the human condition, the better we can serve our clients.
According to Fahrenheit managing partner Todd Rovak, the first step of any creative challenge is to narrow the problem. Rovak believes innovation is a discipline that can be practiced and improved: Most people love to go into ideation and start creating tons of ideas.
Later they figure out if its good business, he explained, adding that success only happens when two sets of needs consumer and business are satisfied. Going small is the key to innovation. We take a really big problem, make it smaller and then we go wide, knowing our ideas are already on the money.
Nick Carson was there He talked about the six characteristics of limitless leadership under which creativity flourishes at the global agency, highlighting the power of simplification: The big doesnt necessarily displace the small, he reflected, but the simple always replaces the complex.
The pair balanced an obsession for skateboarding dogs with sage advice during an insightful talk on the second day of Designyatra. As Manchipp explained, the strong London-based agency aims to inject a sense of play into the brands it collaborates with: Brands need to play more.
Theres something interesting in everything, and its our job as designers to find that interesting thing and elevate it. We like working with clients that operate at the edges of their sectors, he added. Its important to be able to learn by continuously operating outside your perceived boundaries, continued Law. If you can learn to think at the threshold, the result will be more interesting, more entertaining and compelling.
You have to break it down to build it up. Ahmed agreed: Progress only really occurs when an organisation gets out of its comfort zone, he concluded. To grow a muscle you have to break a muscle. The highlights of the weekend came from three designers who are undisputed leaders in their fields: With the tongue-in-cheek aspiration to cover 50 years in 50 minutes, Kitching walked through a range of letterpressed projects that demonstrate his signature style precise use of type and colour in a random way as well as proving the one enduring piece of advice that hes kept in mind since studying at the RCA: Never cut paper when you can tear it.
Kitchings joy in the tactile appeal of hiscraft was echoed by Irma Boom, who has used materials as diverse as Bible paper, suede wallpaper and even coffee filter paper to produce her books, not to mention an entirely white book with embossed text for Chanel, and an enormous 2,page book for Dutch trading company SHV. Her favourite project, Sheila Hicks: Weaving As Metaphor, featured a woven, almost word-free cover.
It was five years inthe making, and Boom was fired after four: I laughed, and said: You say so, but Iwillcontinue it, she said mischievously. Ineed dialogue and confrontation with commissioners. If I hadnt been fired, the book would have been very different.
In conversation with Adrian Shaughnessy, she covered everything from legacy youhave no control over what becomes iconic to the cape-wearing designer, her term for an archetypal charismatic creative, which stemmed from a chance encounter with Salvador Dali in New York. Having turned 65 last year, Scher also considered how the industry has evolved since she was the Pentagrams lone female representative, and she used a staircase metaphor to express how her perspective has changed: When youre young, the risers are high and the steps are narrow, she explained.
As you get older, the risers are low and the steps are wide. The risk, of course, is that you get complacent, plateau and stop innovating. Sometimes you have to put yourself inuncomfortable positions in order to grow,is Schers concluding advice.
This year was no different, with Leslies alma mater, LCC, playing host to an even moreaction-packed schedule. One of the distinguishing factors of TheModern Magazine is the diversity of its line-up from figureheads such as New York editor-in-chief Adam Moss and Wired Italia creative director David Moretti, to the people behind individual labours of love, like Elana Schlenker of Gratuitous Type.
Allunited by their passion for the medium of magazines, and what they do best. A prime example of this is Delayed Gratification, launched to champion the unique appeal of print as a shrug to mainstream news media outlets that vainly try to compete with the immediacy of social media. The news media wants to keep up with Twitter but cant, observed publisher Rob Orchard. Theres too much space to fill, and its a herd mentality.
Being first is more important than being right. Orchard swears by the total opposite: Were out every three months, and we swim against the tide and revisit stories when the herd has left, he continued. Infographics provide a sideways glance at everything from soap deaths to Oscar winners, from 50 Shades of Grey sex scenes to the life of Alan Partridge.
The appeal of the tactile, physical medium transcends disciplines, as web designer Kai Brach, founder of Offscreen magazine, attests: Theres a feeling of thinness when you work digitally, he declared. A folder containing one item.
I wanted to create something that exists off screen, and feels tangible. Inspired by an Al Gore talk, Weapons ofReason will explore eight pertinent topics in an engaging way, kicking off with the thorny issue of global warming and going on to address everything from the nature of government to war and conflict.
In a panel discussion, Miller, Simons, Brach and Orchard joined Ripostes Danielle Pender to debate the future of indie mags, and the pros and cons of their publishing models. While optimistic about apparent growth against a backdrop of mainstream decline, all were honest about practical challenges such as managing distribution begging the question of whether theres an as-yet untapped sweet spot between hungry start-up and mass media behemoth on the horizon.
Now, for the first time, Marc Thieles popular design, technology andinspiration event is running asecond version in Berlin. With live art courtesy of Helen Musselwhite included in the days proceedings, this is definitely not to be missed. Get yourself onto Twitter and follow fedrigoniuk forticketdetails.
Hell explain how the company parlayed impulsive business decisions and unexpected collaborations into successful and sometimes not so successful retail products. Promising insight into the inherent challenges and rewards of inhouse design, it aims to bring out the best in you and your team, whether you are a seasoned inhouse art director, a jackofalltrades project manager or a newly minteddesignprofessional.
Aimed at the design and creative community, Glug explores the challenges faced by todays design studios and independent practitioners, with a healthy dash of inspiration thrown in. Featuring some of the boldest experiments in the contemporary typography scene, the show premieres in Boston before travelling to different venuesacross the States.
This year the fair features an exhibition by Martin Rogers and Les Coleman. Best of all, entry to this showcase of resourcefulness and creativity is free for students, as well as children under Asias largest computer graphics and interactive conference and exhibition is a showcase for all the latest innovations across a range of digital fields, including the gamut of hardware and software, film andgame production.
Theres alsoa strong theme of education within the four-day event this year, with courses and handy practical masterclasses on offer forattendees. He worked in advertising and design agencies in and around London before starting his own agency in , which merged with Zone in Two of mine aregood design and good designers.
Back inthe day before computers were the norm yes, that time did exist I graduated with a degree in graphic design. It wasnt easy breaking into the freelance game, and for those of you about to set outon that path, I salute you!
The problem is that whether you continue as a freelance designer or go on to run your own business as I did, it is a competitive and, many will tell you, a subjective industry. In what respect is it subjective?
Well, how do clients distinguish between a good designer who understands how to use his or her creative skills to enhance and increase their business, and one who has all the gear and no idea? This is the reason why the MBC Group of creativeagencies has produced a white paper, in association with Onyx Media and Communications. The publication has allowed us to discuss ways of ensuring the sector has consistent and consistently high standards, in order that UK design maintains itsreputation and credibility both here in the UK andabroad.
We believe a professional quality mark fortheUK design industry is the answer. Such a quality mark would allow people who havedone all the hard work training in design to havesomething to show to potential clients.
The clients would have confidence in knowing that as well as your work being creative and eye-catching, it also helps them achieve their goals. So if you are designing a website for a business that trades online, for example, the mark indicates that it is easy to navigate, the sales cart works and it doesnt take forever to load because you used the same template for another client who just wanted a showroom rather than a shop.
Of course, you may well wonder who is qualified tobe judge and jury on design if it is so subjective. Well, none of us can stop clients who want something that we dont like, but that isnt the point of the quality mark. You cant tell a client how to spend their money, but you can certainly protect them against poor work.
A quality mark will show that you understand what works and what doesnt. With so many channels, from online and mobile toprint, potential clients need to know where to go togetthe professional help they need. Some people have voiced concerns that a professional quality mark willprice the little guys out of the market. I dont agree. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. Standards are established to ensure fairness.
They exist to enable you to compete in the industry, whatever your size. Establishing standards will also encourage agencies toinvest in and educate young designers in order forthem to meet the expectations of the industry.
We dont know yet who will decide on the professional quality mark, but no-one is suggesting that we should set up another body to do that. Ive also been asked about the cost ofqualifying for the quality mark.
Again, this is something to be discussed. As a small business ourselves, we would be in favour of a sliding scale toensure that no-one is priced out. With software so cheap and easy to download, thousands of templates available for everything from animation to graphics, and the possibility that anyone with a good computer can claim to be a designer, weneed to be able to ensure that our industry retains its good name.
I mentioned the importance of brand before and I mean it. Our brand as designers is key. You may not realise it, but the design industry currently delivers 2. Itsa growing employer and we want to make sure ourBritish creativity, which is so welcomed abroad, isof the highest quality so that we can maintain our high standards.
When potential clients go looking for a designer, we want to make sure the ones they choose uphold these standards, otherwise it could have an impact on us all. Both Japan and India already have quality marks, proving that such a concept is not so out of the ordinary. Why not do the same here in theUK for our own designers? So please, do let us have your thoughts on the matter. The White Paper is available to download atwww. Get involved in the debate trending on Twitter with the hashtag designdebate.
Would you sign up for a trusted quality mark, or is professional accreditation anelitist creativity killer? Tweet ComputerArts and join the designdebate now. Six creatives share their thoughts. Thelandscape we work within changes so fastthat new challenges such as designing fordigital experiences or environmental sustainability have to be learnt on the fly by designers, and as a result may lead to poor understanding and low standards.
It feels problematic to getobjective about design professionalism, since wed inevitably have to come up with a system for measuring creative merit. Accreditation seems like it would focus the conversation on what isnt good design. Greatdesign can be formulaic andsometimes enigmatic, butits the very fact that it resists simple definition thatkeeps meexcited. Anrick Bregman Unit 9 www. Theres a lot of respect out there for the right institutions, and I dont want to trivialise it but I build my own teams for all of my projects and since I dont come from that background myself Ive never brought someone on my team with that in mind.
And Id never turn someone down for being self-trained. I always purely look at the work, and that triggers the first phone call or in-person meeting. And thats what decides it. If we click, or not, means everything. Does a quality mark help to maintain standards? But aprofessional organisation helps to grow and understand arelatively new discipline.
Willaquality mark keep pace with the changes within our industry? Only with help from its members. A professional organisation needs passionate and engaged members to drive and adapt to the changing landscape. Does belonging offer anything to our clients? I dont think so. But together, our community can steward a new generation, helping them with the issues that are never taught in design school.
Community trumps certification, hands down. But certification can jump-start a community. The quality of the portfolio, aesthetically and conceptually, should have the final say. Designers now have the tools and abilities to side-step an antiquated jobs market and old-fashioned processes the traditional CV is dead. Too many pretenders out there. Just Griff via Facebook Until we stop all the bedroom designers who typeset in their illegal copies of Photoshop, there would be little point.
Kate Pittman via Facebook Professional certifications are a joke in most fields. If you just pay for it, itsmeaningless. About the writer Since graduating from her illustration course in , graphic designer and illustrator Sabrina Smelko has amassed a client list that includes Cadbury and TheNew York Times, and received accolades from theSociety of Illustrators and the Adobe Design Achievement Awards.
Tailor your folio to clients,notcreatives Stop trying to impress your peers and consider what commissionersreally want, says Sabrina Smelko.
Confused, I asked why the illustrator was being passed on like a bad meatloaf. The answer I got caught me off-guard. What this illustrator had failed to do was list the details most art directors look for on a designers website: The art director was left guessing if they had any professional experience, whether they could execute on a tight deadline, where they were based they take time differences into account and when each piece was done.
Worse yet, this illustrator had a Gmail account which included a number. Having worked professionally as a designer and art director for a few years, the simple premise of what information your website conveys wasnt something Iever seriously considered but it is something Ive since heard other clients mention as a reason they hire or dont hire someone.
Art directors want to know you can be counted on; they need you to RSVP and show up on time for the party, no matter how well you dress. As a fellow creative, while I may swoon over a well-designed website complete with clever copy and top-tier work, it doesnt mean Mr CEO will.
Many creatives cater their online presence and website to other creatives, rather than to the people who pay them. With money. Sure, a gorgeous site that pleases. Im not suggesting you strip your site of all personality and type out the copy in full-width, 25pt Times New Roman. Im merely urging you to ensure that you offer everything that someone trying to hire you needs.
What are the must-haves? And for goodness sake, list exactly what you did. It sounds like a given, but ifyoushow a magazine spread complete with a hand-lettered title, illustration and editorial design, then clearly outline the aspects you executed.
If youdid it all, credit yourself and dont forget to list theart director. Including a few interesting details about the project never hurt anyone either. Overall, your clients have better things to do than make guesses about you, so be specific and honest.
Ensure that your site is easy to navigate and perhaps look into mobile optimisation. Dont use Gmail if youre serious about being a professional, and do a spellcheck.
And remember: How do you tailor your folio to attract clients? Tweet ComputerArts using DesignMatters. About the writer James Young is a founding partner at D8, a creative agencybased in Glasgow, where hes worked for the past15years. James lives in thecountryside with his wife and two children, and believes the vast majority of the worlds problems could be solved if we shrunk the planets population.
Stop stroking your ego Awards are more about fluffing up designers already over-inflated sense of their own importance than recognising great work, argues James Young so he refuses to partake.
Meanwhile, our client list has flourished and weve become less well-known in theindustry than ever. We dont have a business development person, we dont employ an HR person and we dont own a company dog.
We decided some time ago that the only way to create long-term relationships with great clients was to continually produce outstanding work for them at a fair price, so thats what we do. We once picked up a new client because the incumbent agency had just received a design award for a project that was in fact the worst performing the client had ever had.
For them, the award was the last straw. This didnt surprise us. All design prizes are awarded on the basis of a number of lies and are part of a repeating cycle that is creating an ever-worsening vacuum of truth.
This mistrust-breeding vacuum becomes one that clients struggle to see through. If an agency claims, for example, to be design consultancy of the year because an awards ceremony tells them they are, then many people congratulate them and they get to feel great about themselves.
However, any intelligent person or client knows this belief is incorrect for a number of reasons the most obvious one perhaps being that people really shouldnt be getting rewarded for something they arepaid to do.
Many more reasons can be found at. So, why do agencies do it? The only feasible explanation is that theyre fascinated with their own reputation within the industry and their own egos are more important than the needs of their clients.
Its ridiculous, totally unnecessary and betrays a false belief that design is somehow special or different from other industries. Its not.
If I want a pie to eat I go to a pie shop; if I want some design work done I go to a design company. You get good pies and bad pies, but the principle is the same.
We exist as an organised group of people to work in our chosen field, which happens to be design. Many of the designers here have spent most of their careers to date at D8 because together we can approach and work for large organisations companies that are out of bounds for small agencies. We also act as a support network of design enthusiasts who talk about and believe in great design, and the positive effects it can have for our clients.
What we havent heard, from any designer at any point, is the desire to have an award to their name. They understand that its an unhealthy and pointless obsession that damages the whole industry.
So forget about shortlists and nominations. Take a moment to step outside the distracting awards bubble and Ill wager you wont want to go back in. Do you desire design awards or deride them?
Share your thoughts with ComputerArts using DesignMatters. Computer Arts selects the hottest newdesign, illustration and motion work from the global design scene. The Bristol Aero Collection Trust enlisted the help of brand design consultancy Elmwood to create an identity to support the fundraising stage and project development of a 14m Aerospace Centre, pitched as a world-class museum with learning at its heart.
Opening this year, the centre is set to showcase Filtons aerospace heritage since and will house a Bristol-built Concorde, so Elmwood aimed to create an identity that celebrated the start of every planes journey. The first airplane started as a sketch, the first engine was a pencil drawing, Concorde was once a scribble on a page, reflects Elmwood creative director David Jenkinson. So the paper plane in the logo highlights thepotential of an idea and the simplicity ofthought behind every feat of engineering.
The intention of the identity was to appear modern while retaining a sense of history, and the iconic posters of Abram Games proved a key reference. The red, white and blue colourways used across the branding are anodto the transatlantic nature of the Bristol Aerospace Centre, connecting the UK, France and America.
The iconic posters of the great Abram Games were a key reference forthe posters, which strike a balance between serious and playful. The paper plane in the logo highlights the possibilities of an idea and thesimplicity of thought behind every feat of engineering.
Elmwood toyed with the idea of using a Concorde for the logo, but felt thepaper plane was a better shorthand to represent any plane type. The client agreed to the simplicity of the idea where imagination takes flight, which was ultimately translated into an impactful identity. I like this. Its a logo. A colour choice. A typeface. All are central partsofa traditional branding output. And as alogo, a colour choice and a typeface, all are perfectly agreeable. Thing is then what? Its tough out there.
Marketing directors typically last two years directing the marketing of a product, organisation or service before they want to shoot their brains out from the monotony of applying a logo, a typeface and a colour to a broad spectrum of channels and primary branded surfaces. Surely we should be providing more power to those on the front line of simplifying, entertaining and storytelling on behalf of brands?
Dont get me wrong, I like the work, Im just really hoping theres more to it. If not for this fantastic organisation, then for the sake of the marketing director. I like the playfully appropriate marque. And the posters although alittle too Concorde-centric present an engaging and recognisable visual language. I do find the use of the colour palette a tad over-powering on the stationery. But on the whole, it feels single-minded and confident.
Ihope it flies for them. Cornwall burger joint Hubbox began life as a pop-up restaurant housed in a foot shipping container. The rugged environs went down as well as the gourmet hotdogs, so when Hubbox acquired a19th century chapel house in Truro, it recalled creative design agency Meor Studio to riff anew on an established style. The result is something akin to an industrial Sistine Chapel amixof raw steel, recycled wood and hanging light boxes, all of whichprovide the backdrop for a range of punchy signage and a centrepiece mural with an up-cycled palette that almost reaches theceiling.
The massive mural was such an important feature, explains Nik Read of Meor. Its the first thing you see as you enter thebuilding, so it had to have that x-factor. Murphy produced original tracks for the project based on real-time data gathered from each tournament match and Karan Singh was one of several artists commissioned by Ogilvy New York to create the artwork for the singles.
Only a few of the illustrations had to be tennis themed, explains Singh, who used Ogilvys fixed colour palette to produce abstract patterns so as not to detract from the match data. I explored large, bold patterns that looked good from a distance, as well as more detailed pieces for a different kind of impact. Singh credits the tight deadlines with pushing his style into uncharted territory and forcing him to experiment. My aesthetic fluctuated during the project due to the massive quota I had to fill, he says, but it challenged my style and became a playground to explore newtreatments and methods.
Occasionally the sensibilities of designers and clients align so well that the influences of the two parties on the final product are impossible to tell apart. The cover art apes a download receipt detailing real production and promotion costs, while track titles on the reverse reference pieces of equipment used in each recording, along with their respective BPM values.
The concept? Undesign, disinformation, and how knowing doesnt always imply understanding. Anicons is a uniquely customisable icon library created by Sebas and Clim, a motion graphics directorial duo based in Barcelona. Aimed at motion designers, video editors and anyone else involved in the moving image industry, the icon set is compatible with After Effects CS5.
Icon colours can be changed, while details, shadows and animated parameters can be added, modified or removed to suit. This rational approach is evident throughout the playful set, right down toindividual animation frames. All the Anicons follow the same methodology, explain Sebas and Clim. All the layers have been hidden and only the ones that can be tweaked are shown so that they can be customised easily. Hailing from Kln in Germany, Christoph Groe Hovest is a designer and director of motion graphics whose output has consistently attracted clients since he began working independently in Cool, crisp vectors and starkly decadent lighting run throughout his body of work, which has more than made its mark on the car industry, with return clients including Audi, Volkswagen and Daimler.
Between the Tron-like visuals runs a vein of wispy organics, shrapnel-like particle effects and throbbing cellulose lifeforms. Our premium print edition experiments with innovative cover finishes, and is packed withcreative insight and inspiration from theglobal design community.
Tailored for tablet, CAs award-winning interactive iPad edition comes complete with exclusive videos, bonus image galleries and more plus a PDF replica for iPhone. Prices and savings quoted are compared to downloading full priced UK print and digital issues. You will receive 13 issues in a year. If you are dissatisfied in any way you can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription at any time and we will refund you for all un-mailed issues.
Prices correct at point of print and subject to change. For full terms and conditions please visit: Offer ends 15th February Great Reasons to Subscribe: Your bundle subscription will continue at The Method A panel of 60 creative directors each nominated up to five of their peers for inclusion.
Their first choice received 5 points, their second choice4points, their third choice 3 points, and so on. Studios were ranked based on total points awarded. In the event of a tie, the studio with more nominations was ranked higher; if they were still tied, the studio with the most first-choice nominations took precedence. Crucially, this is all about peer reputation regardless of size, budget or awards. In short, the 30 world-class studios on this list are there because their fellow designers think they should be.
Each of the panel members was asked to pick the five UK agencies that they most respect, in order, using the following criteria: These were only a guide panelists were free to choose on their own criteria too. The results are fascinating. In the top 10 alone, studios with just a handful of staff rub shoulders with global agencies that are over strong, while fiercely independent operations sit alongside vast networks such asWPP, Omnicom and Leo Burnett.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the number-one agency, a man operation that sees no value in design awards a policy upheld by several others on the list and instead focuses on creating beautiful, considered, client-focused work thats the envy of the industry.
Huge thanks to all the 60 panel members for their input, and of course congratulations to the final Dont agree with our final rankings?
Be sure to tweet yourthoughts to ComputerArts. Pushing one of the worlds most famous design agencies into second place is a small studiothat has quietly been creating stylish, considered work for almost a quarter of a century. Its rarely in thepublic eye, but GTF was name-checked time and time again by our panel.
Clockwise from above: Fashion Galore! How does it feel to be voted by your peersasthe UKs number one studio? Its much nicer to hear that, than to hearwevewon an award. Do you ever enter design awards? Theyve never really been on our radar. Wetend not to enter, but its not a big deal. Were not rabidly anti them. What defines a GTF project? We hope our output might generally feel like a GTF project, rather than look like one. We have an underlying approach, but not a style.
How do you aproach the creative process? We care greatly about our work, but that shouldnt be unique. We have good taste, butdont necessarily worry about needing tomake work in good taste. Has GTF ever had a mission statement? We hope not. Why do people enjoy working at GTF? We have nice clients and colleagues too. Any advice to fellow studios?
Pick the right clients. Clockwise from left: Clockwise from top left: Its unique collegiate structure incorporates 19 partners across five studios worldwide. A partner at Pentagram London since , Angus Hyland has a wealth of experience in publishing andbookdesign. Here, he shares his take on the unique agencys long-running success How does it feel to be selected by a panel of creative directors as one of the UKs best?
Its very flattering of course. Mind you, we have been here for 40 odd years so I guess weve turned up on a lot of peoples radar. Does the agency have a manifesto? Pentagram is a broad church, and each partner runs our own projects according toour particular methods. That said, we areall committed to producing work of thehighest quality. Is there a recognisable Pentagram style? We arent trend-driven or corporate cash cows; our focus is on conceptual, ideas-driven design that has a strong emphasis on craft.
Whats unique about your approach? We are independently owned and led by thecreatives, who are the partners. Each partner leads their own team, and we have aflat corporate structure.
At the scale of Pentagram internationally, this is unique inour industry. How would you describe the agency culture? Pentagram offers a collegiate structure for all employees. Its a large open-plan space, so each person gets a lot of square footage. We all sit and eat our lunch together on bench tables. Everyone has contact with the Partners and there are no closed doors apart from the accounts department.
Whats the secret of Pentagrams success? Our unique structure, which for some bizarre reason seems to be unreplicable. Jason Gregory, Mark Bonner and Peter Hale have come a long way since they studied together intheearly90s. Here, the founding partners share what makes their agency tick Are you happy to make the list? Its put big grins on our faces. Over the last 20years, our efforts have been for one thing to make beautiful, memorable work.
Its goodto be recognised by people we respect! We dont think in terms of disciplines, and are in our element when we begin a project with a big view of whats possible, and what were allowed to bring to it. We find that clients enjoy this approach too. What makes a GBH project special?
Big, bold ideas and stories, told simply and beautifully to make them memorable. The agencies on our list are split on whether design awards matter. Whats GBHs take?
Design awards are a focus for the hardworking designers that put in the hours and like to see their efforts rewarded. But were selective about which ones we enter. Describe your studio culture Were a large family with all the love and dysfunctionality that can bring. We care about each other, and the work.
Everybody has a voice and potential to do great things. Is there a secret to your success? Our commitment, passion and attention to detail borders on the obsessive, which has undoubtedly led to incredible opportunities. Plus, so many of our clients have become friends that have stuck with us for years. The Partners has been developing creative solutions to complex business issuesforover30years, and has a well-stocked awards cabinet to boot. Being picked by a panel of his peers gives The Partners executive creative director Greg Quinton a warm feeling on theinside, like the first cuppa in the morning.
The WPP-owned agency has a legacy quote that keeps the team focused: We ask, Are we the most creative agency in the world, or a bunch offucking wankers? Its unachievable, but thats the point, if it were easy it wouldnt be a challenge, smiles Quinton. With an enviable pedigree in the cultural, NGO and education sectors, this small South London studio consistently punches above its weight, with a strong belief that design can have a genuine impact Founded:.
According to founder Michael Johnson, johnson banks began with a simple goal to find unique answers to the most interesting problems but went on to develop a fascination with the social impact of design, counting many charity and cultural institutions among its clients. Theres acommon thread of thinking and strategic insight in our work, but the way that manifests itself visually is constantly changing, continues Johnson, who describes his studio culture as abunch of people sitting at desks listening tothe same music, spending slightly too much timediscussing whats for lunch.
Flexible working hours and minimal stress are the order of the day: Evenings and weekends are for lives outside work, thinking and recharging, he adds. This passionate and hungry studio finds the perfect sweet spot between form and function,and believes great design must draw on the heart as much as the head Founded:. Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and youll suck forever.
Four key principles lie at the heart of everything the Fitzrovia-based studio does: Butwe also need to be accountable, and justify themarks that we make, he continues. Finally, have fun and enjoy the process. Sceptical of how any piece of design work can be assessed outside ofits intended context, Made Thought eschews design awards on principle, and Parker believes its continued success is down to one thing: Remaining passionate and hungry about producing great work for great clients.
The inimitable Michael Wolff and the late, great Wally Olins invented the concept of modern branding, and almost 50 years later the same pioneering, risk-tasking spirit still runs through the agencys veins. Founded in London seven years before Pentagram exact date unknown, it was the 60s! Its good toget the recognition of friends, but most of all its a great way to attract new talent, asserts creative director Chris Moody.
Perhaps the reason we still feel relevant is because we keep bringing in new people with new ideas. At its heart is a collaborative spirit and commitment to human-centred design: The work only works if it works for real people, adds Moody.
Anything and everything is possible forthis Sheffield-based studio, which operatesasaremote network of like-minded creatives. In the last decade Universal Everything has maintained an unorthodox approach, to how the studio works a remote network of collaborators , where we are based Sheffield and what we do something between design, art and film , says founder Matt Pyke.
Based near the Peak District, Pyke and his core team of five look for creative inspiration outside the design world, in disruptive technology, anthropology, even campanology. Founded by two, this dynamic digital studio has swelled to over staff around the world andproudly blurs the boundaries between work and play in an post-apocalyptical art college environment. But the studios ambition is anything but small.
Our aim is to be the defining digital product studio by launching valuable products, services and companies that make a measurable difference to the world, says global design director Joe Macleod. With a culture of quality and failing fast, co-founders John Sinx Sinclair and Matt Mills Miller have created a sizable studio that feels like apost apocalyptic art college, encouraging people to do the unexpected, the challenging and the surprising.
Independent with massive global clients, Moving Brands is all about creativity for the moving world, and no dickheads. Were nice, and a bit nerdy, says MovingBrands executive creative directorMatt Heinl.
Moving Brands nerds are a varied bunch to boot: Our staffare from different backgrounds in terms of education, experience and geography, adds Heinl, and that brings areal sense of open-mindedness. Theteam of 12 tries to be as democratic as possible: Wehave regular crits through the week with the partners, reveals Finney. By Friday were ready for drinks, quizzes, games, table-tennis and storytelling. Haggerston, London Far left: Nike Mercurial promo; left: When you have Microsoft asking you to work on their Xbox brand refresh and Nike falling at your feet, its safe to say youre doing something right.
ManvsMachines success is not due to being everybodys friend though: Ourintention is to be creatively fulfilled doing purely commercial work for mainstream clients, says co-founder Mike Alderson. This often means pushing clients for more time on development, but so far so good.
Looking into the past to create fresh contemporary solutions is one approach thats helped this studio win multiple awards.
For Here Design, inquisitiveness is essential. We learn about the world through our work, says creative director Caz Hildebrand. The more weunderstand, the better our design work can be. Its an approach the studio uses to great effect on global clients such as Bacardi, when exploring its heritage and authenticity for a recent rebrand but the Here also saves time for passion projects such as The Geometry of Pasta, the studios very own brand of pasta and sauces.
A passion for craft and storytelling have helped secure this South Coast studios place on the list. Detail, craft and a strong sense of narrative are the threads that bind ilovedusts diverse folio together. Its a two-way process, says creative director Mark Graham of the design approach at the laid-back studio he describes as like a working mans social club.
The team are passionate about their craft, but not driven by ego: We dont have tantrums when we arent allowed to run a font at 6pt or use a fourth spot-colour on a print job, he chuckles. We went balls to the wall on the graphic approach and animation techniques, adds Graham. Its an insanely cool video one that can make your nose bleed. Clean, considered design often serves as an educational tool forthis hard-working Shoreditch studio. Shoreditch, London Sennep creative director Matt Rice describes the studios inclusion on the list as a lovely pat on the back for his diligent team, who keep their heads down creating clean, crisp design in an environment that he describes as friendly, relaxed but focused.
Never happy to settle for98 per cent, Rice is not afraid to start again if necessary in order to craft the perfect solution. We like to think theres something about the feel of a Sennep piece of work that is recognisable be it a playful touch, an executional detail or a level of digital craftsmanship, he adds. Fostering a collaborative culture over 5, miles isTurner Duckworths secret weapon.
As well as mixing up projects with large and small clients, TurnerDuckworth finds success in mixing and moving their creative talents too. Wemove our designers around to stop them getting in a rut, says creative director Bruce Duckworth, who co-founded the agency 22 years ago with partner David Turner. Its a chance to experience a different culture and to freshen up their thinking. Tearing up projects and starting again isnt unknown forthisstudio of committed perfectionists.
Focusing all its energy on identity, spatial, digital, and editorial, Bibliotheque hasnt found the time to enter many design awards in its year history. The design consultancy is its own harshest critic; its even sceptical of identifying itsidentity. To say you are unique is a pretty self-centred attitude, believes co-founder Tim Beard. There are elements that we might do slightly differently to others, but broadly speaking, the design process is the same the world over.
Its the outcomes that are different. If there is one thing that defines Bibliotheque, however, its perfectionism: Were constantly pushing to make things better, concludes Beard.
Never be satisfied with acceptable. This eight-strong team specialises in brand consultancy andeverything that flows from it A relative youngster in this list, Magpie has recently worked on projectsasdiverse as the real ale festival Londons Brewing, and thebrandcreationof Zizu, a company launching a product to help safeguardchildrensposture.
Morag Myerscough believes the UK needs more colour and shes on a mission to make it happen. Splitting her time between her prolific studio and Supergroup, a creative A-Team of artists and designers, Myerscough works to the motto: After victory, tighten your helmet cord.
We know what were talking about and we cutstraight to the chase, says founder Kevin Shaw. We always try to give each client something distinctive, he continues. The designers get a relentless stream of killer briefs for clients who wantamazing quality and they want it tomorrow. Wedont generally work as teams and everyone hastheir own projects, so the pressure is intense but theres no better place to test your skills and strength of character.
Passionate, laid-back and willing to go the extra mile, HumanAfterAll never makes a promise it cant keep. Shoreditch, London Number of staff: Underpinning the studios work is the manifesto: We care a great deal about what we do, andwere willing to go the extra mile to make thingswork. Its the hard stuff that defines the studiojust as much as any one moment of creative excellence from any of our team.
Plus booze and nibbles on a Friday, of course. Kennington, London Number of staff: Type Plus book; farleft: Type Plus poster. We see every project as an opportunity to make something apposite, unique and special, says Spin senior designer Sam Stevenson.
Over the past 20 years, Tony Brook and Patricia Finegans multidisciplined design studio has developed a stunning portfolio of work across branding, publishing, motion, digital and more. I wouldnt say its the place to work if you want an easy ride, he laughs. But if youre obsessive, like pushing yourself and dont mind hard work, its fun.
The biggest agency on our list by some distance, AKQA is driven by the future and the ideas that willhelp shape it. Its one of a plethora of industry plaudits picked up by the influential WPP-owned agency this year, which has 13 offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America.
Our goal is to remove the friction from life by creating work with worth and purpose, says chief creative officer James Hilton. Our aesthetic is simply the imaginative application of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products and services. To be included among the top UK ideas and design companies is a humbling achievement. Creative director Gareth Howat credits the multidisciplinary designstudios success to plenty of hard work: Were driven by ideas-led design.
Wehave lots of projects on, and we all geton well as a group, he explains. Werenot believers in spouting lots of words we let the work do the talking. From rebranding Londons most famous 5-star hotel to rejuvenating the Tube, its been a stellar year for Rotherhithe-based Rose.
Rose specialises in creating, developing and maintaining world-class brands. We have an ethos that emanates throughout the business of striving to exceed expectation oursas much as our clients, explains partner Simon Elliott, whoco-founded the studio with Garry Blackburn in Thegreat Michael Wolff once described our work as quintessentially British, but with a beautiful, modern twist, which we like to think nicely sums up what makes us special.
Disruptive product innovation lies at the heart of this seven-year-old digital agency. Made By Many helps big companies act like small ones. A commitment to learning and adapting has propelled the digital agency high in the innovation department and earned the multitalented team an impressive client list, including TED, Microsoft and Skype.
Weve always believed this quote from Ash Maurya sums up our company very well: Life is too short to make things no-one wants, explains co-founder Isaac Pinnock. Collaborative by nature, this talented studio celebrates creativitywithpassion, perspective and drive.
Our work reflects a thought process rather than apreconceived style. Co-founded by designers Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas, A Practice For Everyday Life has carved a name for itself in the British design scene excelling particularly in the cultural sector. We have a lovely studio space, which is light and quiet to work in, she continues.
Projects benefit from enthusiasm, interest and perspective. Theresan open and collaborative culture: Design with substance is the motto at Marylebonebased design studio Purpose. The strong team ofstrategists, designers and account handlers craft award-winning branding, digital and live experience work for clients ranging from super brands to start-ups.
We foster a can-do spirit. Our people their passion, commitment and belief are core to our success, says co-founder and creative director Stuart Youngs. For over 25 years, the small but perfectly formed studio founded by Ian Cartlidge and Adam Levene has been creating clean, elegant and modernist environmental graphics for a wide range of clients, most recently includingthe RCA, Tate Modern and London Aquatics Centre. We have little time for self-promotion our work isour self-promotion, asserts Cartlidge.
The quality andintelligence of our work is paramount, and its very rewarding that this is being recognised. He describes the vibe at Cartlidge Levene as informal, relaxed and creative, but with a hard-working ethic and impeccable standards that the five-man team refuses to compromise on.
Design, innovation and strategy are the pillars of this diverse creative agency Left: Cadbury icon design; far left: The Guild branding. We pride ourselves on being bold, lucid and original, and keep these qualities front ofmind, explains co-founder Jonathan Ford. Our approach is dynamic, attimes unexpected, but always tailored to the project at hand.
Tim Beard Creative director, Bibliotheque, London www. Bob Young Creative director Alphabetical, London www. Yukai Du www. It doesnt matter whether you work for an agency oryourself; chances are you have encountered a crappy client situation at some point in your career.
The Clients From Hell blog has over five years of stories to prove it. We could probably fill entire books on the perils and pitfalls of dealing with these people in fact, weve done just that. This time, however, instead of cruelly indulging inour usual schadenfreude, we decided to help our beleaguered fellow creatives with the useful hindsight thatcomes from looking back at mistakes weve made.