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Learning what successful design agencies are up to will help broaden your education as a designer. What does it take to run successful small, medium, or large design companies? How do they start, grow, and operate? How do they land big clients and consistently produce awesome work?
These are just some of the questions to consider when looking at these great graphic design agencies. I'm sure you'll come up with a myriad of others to consider when viewing an impressive sample of their work. Follow through to each agencies site to learn more about them.
1. Go Media
Go Media has a style all their own. If you think their vector packs are impressive, check out their portfolio.
"Go Media was started in a bedroom of one of the founder’s parent’s homes. For the first several years the founders had little more than a drawing table and two computers. Despite their lack of clients and money they didn’t start the company by offering a list of expensive services or looking for large companies. Instead, they went on a search to find the type of design work that they truly loved: illustrative posters for the entertainment industry. This often required them to work for little or no money. It took over 7 years of hard work before Go Media was finally able to hire a staff of other talented designers."
I have always been a fan Forty Seven Media. They have a style that is very much their own and this is reflected in everything they do.
"It was then, early 2004 to be more precise, that we started FortySeven Media. It was a slow start. We worked nights and weekends for quite some time, hoping our mad scientist like obsession for design would pay off. And it did. The business began to grow as God blessed us in this crazy dream of ours."
I am always inspired by the Studio 7 Designs website. It is nothing short of an impressive business portfolio website.
"Studio 7 Designs Inc is located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. We’re a forward thinking design company specializing in creating strong branding for social and environmentally-conscious companies. We love working with companies that want high quality web and logo identity, from the look and feel of your site, to the colour palette that will be used across all mediums including, web, print, identity, and advertising."
A small company that does a nice job of mixing art with design.
"Good things come in small packages. So don't be fooled by our size, we do big things for big brands. Our roster includes household names like Royal Mail, Dell Computers and The Economist, to name but a few. It didn't happen over night either. We've been building up since 1989, offering loads of creative services like corporate communications, promotions and branding, new media, exhibitions and events, advertising, direct mail and editorial design."
Another smaller firm who manages to create simple designs that have a bold impact.
"We started in 2002 so we are new kids on the block. On the other hand, we have been designing for major clients for over 20 years, so nobody could accuse us of lack of experience. We're independent which means no one tells us what to do, or how much profit we need to make. And we're very very good at graphic design - or did we mention that already?"
This company is legendary for a reason, they have created some of the most well known brands in the world.
"Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar initially formed their partnership in the late 1950s with the idea of working collaboratively and in a wide range of disciplines. Over the ensuing years, their work has remained consistent not in style but in its approach to design. Accepting the Modernist ideal that design is a problem-solving discipline, they have sought to humanize that ideal through humor, artistic invention, and an entrepreneurial spirit."
Another huge firm that has work with major clients in just about every industry under the sun.
"It's a big future out there and we help build it. In a world in which experimentation and risk are part of the global economical reality, we help companies not only navigate challenging terrain, but to se ahead, creating the products and services that will shape our future world."
Giant is one of those firms where you have probably seen a lot of their work and never even known it. Lots of popular designs come from these guys.
"One day, a couple of us got together at the local caffeine filling station and decided to try something different. We are former corporate slaves and freelancers that have united to form a multifaceted company with the strength to take on your challenges and craft killer websites."
These guys have a big name client list that goes on and on and on...
"Interbrand started in 1974 when the world still thought of brands as just another word for logo. We have changed the world’s view of branding and brand management by creating and managing brands as valuable business assets. We now have nearly 40 offices and are the world’s largest brand consultancy. We bring together a diverse range of insightful thinkers making our business both rigorously analytical and highly creative. Interbrand has the broadest geographical presence – offering more people, more disciplines, and more knowledge tailored to our clients. Our work goes deeper and further."
This is the company that created famous brands such as the well praised FedEx logo.
"We know branding. We understand the ways that trends, market forces, and consumer desires affect brands. We provide intelligent opinions about how new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, or the latest taste sensation might impact a brand and the marketplace"
A neat studio that has a very diverse style with a wide range of clients.
"Independent, privately-owned, established, multi-disciplinary, international, creatively-driven, multi-lingual, efficient... There is a lot to say about the way we run our company - and all of it means better results for our clients. Thats because everything we do is focused on producing outstanding design and service - nothing but that."
With locations all over the world, it is only natural that Pentagram has huge list of clients, styles, and an impressive portfolio.
"Pentagram is organized around its principles. They operate as equal partners and are all practicing designers. They work independently or collaboratively depending on the project, with a single lead partner always in control. They have their own teams who our supported by central administrative resources. Clients work directly with partners and designers with no intervening account management."
13. Siegel + Gale
This large design agency also has offices around the world. They have worked with companies such as: Post It, 3M, American Express, and many more.
"Our culture is knit together by a passion for doing great work. Without bold, brilliant solutions and delighted clients, we just can’t sleep at night. Our founder and CEO, Alan Siegel, and co-presidents, Howard Belk and David Srere, insist on attracting people who are smart, nice, and unstoppable. These qualities combined fuel our 40-year commitment to client satisfaction"
14. Brand Engine
Recently this firm handled a lot of the campaign management for a number of HP Products and packaging.
"Every firm touts the value of their proprietary process and approach. At Brand Engine, process comes into play, but our greater focus is on the journey. We step into the world of our clients and their brands to uncover the unique connection between their business strategy and the needs of their audience."
Previously in this section we had accidentally listed websites created by HUGE as DBB work. Here is a statement from a representative at HUGE:
Each website listed as DDB work (#15) was actually done by HUGE, an interactive agency based in Brooklyn, New York. Scholastic, Readers Digest and Scientific American are just some of our many clients. These in particular have won numerous awards.
We apologize for this error and urge you to check out the great work done by HUGE!
A larger advertising firm with a very impressive portfolio of packaging design.
"Established in the year 2000, we’ve spent the past nine years filling our office with nothing but incredibly smart and talented people. They’re all over the place around here. And we’re doing the same thing at our new Atlanta office. Why? Because our job is to solve problems and it’s difficult to imagine anyone better qualified to solve problems than a collective of people that are brilliant and creative. Every Object 9’er can solve a “diabolical” level Sudoku puzzle while reciting the Declaration of Independence backwards in less than 60 seconds. Seriously."
17. Electric Pulp
This web design agency has been around for a long time. Since many of us were in high school I'm sure!
"We're an agile web development team with 12 years of history building awesome websites and applications. We use the Internet for good, helping you improve communications, find new customers, and increase revenue. It's quite fun, actually. WE DON'T MANUFACTURE DEPENDENCIES.
You can relax knowing that we work with your needs. Many of our clients have in-house resources and capabilities, while some have working relationships with related vendors. At Electric Pulp, we're flexible - we plug in where we can add value."
If you like bright, colorful, and creative packaging; these guys have plenty of it in their portfolio.
"Subplot Design Inc. is a leading brand design firm with international experience in creating breakthrough, category-defining corporate and consumer brands. Our senior partners found that clients have become frustrated with the complex agency model, and the lack of experienced senior talent in boutique firms. Clients have been asking for a change: international brand talent without all the layers. So we did it."
Creative and modern, these guys are updating they way we look at packaging designs.
"Karacter design group is a multi-disciplinary design studio with locations in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto, Canada. We specialize in creative branding solutions across a variety of media including brand identity systems, packaging as well as marketing, and communications programs."
20. Jar Design
Tons of big name clients in this portfolio. I'm sure you have seen some of their work before.
"Designing and concepting comes second nature to us here at Jar Design. That's obvious. But what you may not realize is this: our minds don't stop. Whether we are at the office, driving down the street, falling asleep, or watching tv, your company is always top of mind. We can't promise our creative juices will flow only from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday...we can only promise on keeping our mind open at all times, to all things, to inspire us for you."
21. Stray Dog
If you want to know what good brand identity looks like from start to finish, take a look at these guy's portfolio. From logo to package, they do it all.
"With a thorough understanding of who you are and how your brand reflects your organizations culture, Straydog builds corporate and brand confidence. When presenting your new brand, we strive to excite and engage your organization and all its people."
22. Visual Asylum
One of the larger firms in this section, Visual Asylum shows us that big firms can still be personal.
"We believe in creating memorable brand visual identities by developing a unique visual language which defines and establishes the appropriate personality for an organization, a product or service and manages the ways in which its personification is communicated."