The UK's top design studios: 24-20 revealed

Earlier this year, Computer Arts polled almost 70 top designers, creative directors and studio founders across the UK to discover which industry peers they most revere, respect and in some cases envy, to produce the second annual UK Studio Rankings.

The results are detailed in Computer Arts issue 246 – on sale now – alongside a wealth of insight and advice from each of the top 30 studios, plus a host of statistics that will be helpful whether you're a freelancer for hire, designer looking for a salaried job or student seeking an internship.

We previously revealed 30-25 on the list: here we reveal numbers 24-20. Has your studio been honoured?

24. Alphabetical

Climate change creative

  • Founded: 2010
  • Location: Hackney, East London

"Our biggest strength is our desire to get better," says Tommy Taylor, creative partner at Alphabetical . "We soak up new tricks and ways of thinking from everywhere, from clients to interns."

That philosophy has been at the core of attracting some top new clients in 2015 including the LSE, Goldsmiths, Peabody and the British Council. Alphabetical has also been working with the British Heart Foundation on a number of landmark resources for poorly children in 2015.

"Receiving such positive response on how we've helped them has been an extremely rewarding highlight," says Taylor. Another has been adding another member to their team, "who's carved a role as a third pillar and perfectly bridges the gap between creative and business".

The agency's ambitions in 2016 include working with clients outside of the UK for the first time. "We are also considering a new website and are looking forward to the challenges and navel gazing that will undoubtedly bring."

23. DJA

Prada creative

  • Founded: 2010
  • Location: Hackney, East London

Unlike other lists you might encounter on the web, we wanted our Top 30 to feature only the best studios – not just the most loudly self-publicising. And DJA could never be accused of the latter.

Doing high-quality work largely under the radar, they work together with partner company, Alias, to provide creative direction, filmmaking, design, packaging, branding and digital development for clients including Anya Hindmarch, Dior and Prada Women (pictured).

Operations director John McCauley sees the studio's biggest strength as "creativity, clarity and craft" and says they've had a great year "working with new and exciting clients on a great diversity of projects". Their ambitions for 2016 are simply "continuing to deliver the best possible work for our clients".

22. Field

Monotype creative

  • Founded: 2009
  • Location: Dalston, East London

Field started six years ago with a focus on generative design and interactive art, and has broadened its spectrum with every year. In 2015 the studio showed its artwork from the last three years in context, at its first solo exhibition: Violescence.

They've also been working on a large-scale installation for a new energy research centre in Saudi Arabia, not to mention collaborations with Monotype (pictured) and Nike, with which they're involved on a strategic and long-term level.

They're also keen to recruit, according to co-founder and MD Vera-Maria. "We offer shorter contracts for juniors whenever we meet someone interesting, and often keep them on beyond an internship. We prefer to just try working with someone, rather than know exactly how they'll fit in advance."

21. DesignStudio

Logitech creative

  • Founded: 2009
  • Location: Shoreditch, London; plus San Francisco

It's been a transformational year for DesignStudio, with some big projects including rebrands for Airbnb and Logitech (pictured).

"We've seen recognition from some huge global brands," says CEO Paul Stafford. "We're on pitch lists with very established agencies. And we've won at Cannes Lions and awards from all over the world."

At the same time, they've avoided "selling out", he adds. "It's very hard to turn down a good budget but when clients don't have the same mindset, it's ultimately the right thing to do."

Looking to the future, Stafford wants DesignStudio to be the agency where a new generation of designers want to work. "So we'll continue to build our relationships with the schools and universities. If you're brilliant, if you bring something new, we want you to be here."

20. Turner Duckworth

  • Founded: 1992
  • Location: Chiswick, West London; plus San Francisco

"The competition from designers all over the world is really hotting up," says Bruce Duckworth, co-founder of Turner Duckworth. "The UK design industry can stay ahead, but we must open our eyes to the talent out there because complacency is a dangerous trait."

We'd say he's got a right to relax a little, though, after another year of top work by the studio, including new packaging for Miller Lite (pictured), a Burger King rebrand and a new identity for Coors Light.

And the studio is constantly being refreshed by new talent. "We offer internships to degree course students in their second year and also to new graduates," says Duckworth. "Typically they last two or three weeks so that we can work with as many new designers as possible. We love junior designers."

Buy the issue!

For the full report on the 2015 Studio Rankings – and much, much more – get your copy of Computer Arts issue 246. The print version sports a special heat-reactive cover, which is not to be missed!

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