- Founded: 2004
- Number of staff: 10
The challenges of an uncertain industry is seen as a positive by founding partner Tim Beard. “The landscape is unpredictable, but that can be a positive thing as it pushes you out of your comfort zone,” he says. Highlights of the year include Identities for David Collins Studio and Searcys of London.
- Founded: 2013
- Number of staff: 9
For co-founder Christopher Moorby, 2018 has been a continuation of working across a range of creative outlets. “We’ve worked with companies across fashion, luggage, furniture, alcohol, coffee, haircare, fragrance,” he says. “We’re beginning to work with a paper mill too, which is exciting.”
- Founded: 2005
- Number of staff: 40
Head of 4Creative Alice Tonge has recently revealed the full Channel 4 network rebrand – a huge project. “E4 has had a full makeover,” she says, “We wanted to create a new brand identity that feels less structured. There are 19 idents in total created by makers all over the UK, from Newcastle, London, Northern Ireland, Wales.”
And how does it feel to be voted one of the top 30 design studios in the UK? “We pretend not to care about awards and rankings,” says Tonge, who celebrates her first full year as head of 4Creative, “but we are secretly chuffed to bits to be ranked one of the top 30 design studios.”
17. Wolff Olins
- Founded: 1965
- Number of staff: 120
“The way we work and the work we make has radically changed in the last 12 months,” says chief design officer Chris Moody. “In design specifically, the projects we are running across all our studios are doing things we have never done before – AR, VR, haptic, sonic and voice.
“Only a moron would deny that the political climate has brought big challenges. Luckily, we see flux as a good thing for the creative industry. We have to think faster and smarter about how we answer briefs and come up with radically different solutions, but we think we have the people and the attitude to do that at scale.”
16. Made Thought
- Founded: 2000
- Number of staff: 40
Made Thought’s story this year is one of growth. “We have broadened our art direction team allowing us to work more deeply and effectively for clients like Frédéric Malle, Sunspel and Adidas by Stella McCartney,” says creative director Ben Parker, “we have created nine different photographic campaigns for the fragrance brand Frédéric Malle in the last six months alone!”
The business has also grown in the US and Asia, all from its London office. “Notable US clients include Frédéric Malle (Estee Lauder), The Museum of Modern Art and The Nue Co, and in Asia we have done work for Hyundai Card.”
15. Here Design
- Founded: 2006
- Number of staff: 37
Another studio that has shot up the rankings, Here Design’s latest projects include rebranding Grant’s whisky, and an identity for Deliciously Ella.
Here Design’s Mark Paton describes the studio as “a company of thinkers, writer, designers and makers working together to make useful and beautiful things,” and the studio puts a particular emphasis on diversity: “In our ideas, our work, our staff and our clients – everything really.”
And 2019 looks good for Here Design, as its “Here Makes division will be formally launched very soon,” reveals Paton.
- Founded: 2007
- Number of staff: 35
This studio has been regularly voted high in the Rankings and 2018 was full of highlights, including: “Apple name-dropping us for once, rather than the other way around,” says Mike Alderson, “working with Ronaldo, Neymar, Mbappe and Asensio on the epic Nike Born Mercurial campaign; building more of our old-school craft skills into our latest output; watching our new LA office go from strength to strength and begin to establish itself as a creative force in its own right.”
With work covering branding, motion design and live action all lined up, 2019 is looking pretty great for MvsM too.
- Founded: 2004
- Number of staff: Varies
Reflecting on how the studio has changed since its beginnings in 2004, Universal Everything’s Matt Pyke says, “our team has evolved with every project, from two to 32 people. This flexibility allows us to shrink and grow accordingly... we have remained very selective to the projects we accept.”
It’s clearly working, as the studio is up 15 places since last year in our rankings. Next year the studio will release its monograph, published by Unit Editions, and increase time spent on internal studio projects – researching new moving image forms, exploring multi-sensory experiences and creating physical video products.
12. Taxi Studio
- Founded: 2002
- Number of staff: 53
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Bristol’s Taxi Studio is the highest ranking studio in our list outside of London. When asked for 2018’s highlights, marketing executive Joshua Matthews cites a long list that includes everything from becoming a studio that is 60 per cent female, to winning 16 awards, becoming more eco-friendly and completing a major Carlsberg brand overhaul.
How does the studio stand out from the crowd? “Real relationships and a design process which delivers true commercial success,” says Matthews. And what’s in the pipeline? “We’ll continue to rejuvenate and create brands...”
- Founded: 2015
- Number of staff: 10
A new entry on our list last year, The Beautiful Meme launched in 2015 “with a manifesto dedicated to Tricksterism,” and is up three places in 2018. Tom Sharp lists this year’s highlights as “dream clients phoning us up out of the blue, some sweet international travel, a decision for each creative director to put aside one day a week to focus on non-commercial creative projects,” and cites the major challenges since 2015 as it being “very, very cold in the studio during winter. Also there was that time we nearly went bust.”
Sharp’s reaction to being in the top 30 studios? “It feels amazing, like a drug. Got any more?”
Next page: Computer Arts 2018 Studio Rankings 10-4