UK top 50 studios 2017

31. Nomad Studio

Founded: 2016
Location: London
Number of staff: 6

“Last year it was really all about survival,” contemplates Stuart Watson, partner and creative director of Nomad Studio. “This year it’s going to be all about the work: launching Sky Sports in partnership with Sky Creative. It was a pretty tough ask for a small studio, but we’ve made it work and we’re really proud of the team.”

32. Zak Group

Founded: 2005
Location: London
Number of staff: 8

“2017 has all been about us expanding our work in the digital field,” says Zak Group director, Zak Kyes. “Right now, we’re in the process of developing a flagship digital platform for M+, the museum of visual culture in Hong Kong, as well as the website for the renowned German art school, Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.”

33. NB Studio

Founded: 1997
Location: London
Number of staff: 10

Nick Finney, co-founder and creative director of NB Studio, sees the last 12 months as a mixed bag: “Battles were won, lost and drawn,” he says. “Talented people left and talented people joined. Clients were wowed and records were beaten.” And the biggest highlight? “Virtual reality landed in the studio and it’s an exciting project,” he enthuses.

34. Studio Makgill 

Founded: 2007
Location: Brighton
Number of staff: 5

“During 2017, it’s felt like we’ve had to hold on really tight at times, but as long as you enjoy the moments of calm, all is okay,” says Hamish Makgill, creative director and founder of this Brighton-based agency. “The biggest highlight of the year was two massive projects landing in the studio on the same day.”

35. Design Bridge

Founded: 1986
Location: London (plus Amsterdam, Singapore, New York) 
Number of staff: 400

“Our new global brand identity for Hellmann’s launched in March this year, and we’re now seeing it applied to all brand communications and touchpoints,” says Design Bridge’s group brand guardian Birgitte Woehlk. Also this year, CCO Graham Shearsby has been appointed as a D&AD trustee, and the agency has been acquired by WPP.

36. B&B Studio 

Founded: 2009
Location: London
Number of staff: 24

“2017 has felt like a year when we’ve been attracting the right sort of clients,” reflects B&B creative partner Shaun Bowen. “Brands that aren’t afraid to be challenging, like BrewDog. Brands that are willing to be challenged like Higgidy and Firefly. Brands that are defined by their ethical purpose, like Snact and Kit & Kin.”

37. Commission Studio

Founded: 2013
Location: London
Number of staff: 6

“In 2017 we’ve worked with fashion brands like & Other Stories and Léon Bara, speciality coffee brands Volcano and Old Spike, luxury goods companies LVMH, Rimowa, and Moët Hennessy,” says co-founder and creative director Christopher Moorby. “Working across lots of industries keeps things interesting and we also often get to cross-pollinate.”

38. Rose Design 

Founded: 1999
Location: London
Number of staff: 8

“Despite the political climate, we’ve had an exciting, challenging, yet ultimately rewarding year,” says Simon Elliott, owner and creative partner at Rose Design. Highlights have included launching its long-awaited new website, and publication design work for the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

39. Moth 

Founded: 2015
Location: London
Number of staff: 7

“This year has been a landmark for Moth, says producer Ifor Ashton. “We recently made a big shift from being a collective to a full-time production studio, and that really came to fruition in 2017. We were also lucky to spend a lot of time in New York earlier and work directly with Facebook on a big rebrand.”

40. Here Design

Founded: 2006
Location: London
Number of staff: 31

“The projects that stand out in 2017 are those unexpected enquiries,” says creative partner at Here Design, Caz Hildebrand. “A kombucha brewery in Suffolk, barista training for young offenders, a book on the joys of punctuation. Going into 2018, we’re planning to redesign our own company structure, to better reflect all the diverse things we work on.”

Next page: Top UK studios 2017 numbers 41-50

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Nick Carson

Nick is a content strategist and copywriter. He has worked with world-class agencies including Superunion, Wolff Olins and Vault49 on brand storytelling, tone of voice and verbal strategy for global brands such as Virgin, Pepsi and TikTok. Nick launched the Brand Impact Awards in 2013 while editor of Computer Arts, and remains chair of judges. He's written for Creative Bloq on design and branding matters since the site's launch.