Graphic design is a great way for those adept in the art of visual communication to reap the rewards of their creativity. From magazines and advertising to packaging and signage, the world of design is filled with commercial possibilities. What’s more, for up-and-coming talent, there’s the lure of prestigious honors such as the D&AD Awards and the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, or perhaps even a rip-roaring Cannes Gold Lion.
Ambitious design graduates may start out working their way up the agency ladder before throwing their creative hats into the ring and launching their own studios. If they’re fortunate, during the course of their careers they’ll spend time at one of the companies listed here – as we take a look at 10 of the world’s top graphic design firms.Lets Look at the Top 10 Best Graphic Design Firms in the World.
Top 10 Best Graphic Design Firms in the World:
10. Studio Dumbar
Internationally acclaimed award-winning Dutch agency Studio Dumbar was founded by designer Gert Dumbar in The Hague in 1977, although it relocated to Rotterdam in 2003. Today it also has offices in Shanghai and Seoul and is cited as having a major influence on the international design community. The agency describes its work simply as “visual branding” and “online branding,” and it has worked with clients such as Shell, Apple and Nike. Its visual identity collaboration with Alzheimer Nederland also saw it win the Best in Show honor at the 2013 European Design Awards. “It is in our nature to look for the pure essence… It’s a mentality that helps us to build a great team and achieve extraordinary results, no matter how complex or demanding a project might be,” writes the studio.
9. Checkland Kindleysides
Award-winning English agency Checkland Kindleysides was founded by Jeff Kindleysides and David Checkland in 1979. Retail design and brand communications count as two of its well-developed core strengths. In 1984 Checkland Kindleysides designed what it describes as “the first true flagship sports store on Oxford Street” for Olympus Sport, a major franchise at the time. In 1987 it designed the first Levi’s store in the U.K., and then in 1996 it worked on the first Ray-Ban sunglasses store. Checkland Kindleysides has also rebranded Bentley and Rolls-Royce and collaborated with legendary U.K. soccer team Manchester United. Other clients have included Audi, Converse, Beats by Dr. Dre, Lexus, Sony, Pizza Hut, Nike, Timberland and Virgin, while D&AD and Cannes Gold Lion honors number among the awards it has received. Today, the agency is run by sole owner Kindleysides and has offices in London and Leicester, England.
8. Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv
Yale alumni Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar founded Chermayeff & Geismar in New York in 1957. Israeli-born designer Sagi Haviv – who has been described as a “logo prodigy” by The New Yorker – joined the company in 2003 and became a partner four years later. The company was officially renamedChermayeff & Geismar & Haviv in 2013. This acclaimed agency is behind some of the most iconic and instantly recognizable logos in the world – from NBC to Mobil and National Geographic – and it describes itself as a “graphic design firm specializing in the development of trademarks, print, web and motion graphics, exhibitions and art in architecture.” The firm also scooped the 2012 Graphis Gold Award for Haviv’s poster design for CENTRO, a Mexican design and media university.
7. The Chase
Award-winning Manchester-based U.K. brand specialist The Chase was set up in 1986 by directors Ben Casey and Lionel Hatch, and the agency now has additional offices in London and Preston. “We look hard to discover what it is you want to say, stay focused on a core message and then use creativity to ensure the results get noticed,” says The Chase’s mission statement, explaining its approach to branding and brand strategy. This highly regarded company has worked with clients like the BBC, Transport for London, and U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. The Chase has garnered more than 250 awards for its work in the nearly three decades since its founding. Today, it is Britain’s top-ranked creative agency in the corporate branding and print sectors.
6. Vignelli Associates
Celebrated Italian designer Massimo Vignelli and his wife Lella launched New York-based Vignelli Associates in 1971. “I like [design] to be visually powerful, intellectually elegant and, above all, timeless,” explains Mr. Vignelli on the firm’s website. He is known in the industry for embracing a range of areas, such as architectural and industrial design, identity, advertising and packaging, and for his uncomplicated and clean aesthetic. In 1972 the firm famously – and controversially – fashioned a new map for the New York City subway system that it has now updated. However, the original map has since won acclaim. “Vignelli’s clean modern lines and bold colors changed the branding of the subway… and elevated the map to the level of modern art,” wrote New York radio station WNYC.
5. McFaulstudio/McFaul + Day
Designer John McFaul founded boutique agency McFaulstudio in Portsmouth, England in 2002. Since then the studio has worked with companies like Lucasfilm, Audi, Pepsi, Nike, Virgin Atlantic, the BBC, IBM, Sony, Samsung, Levi’s, Kidrobot and Carhartt-Europe. McFaulstudio specializes in creating brands with an imaginative and cutting-edge approach. In 2014 McFaul joined forces with London designer Justin Day to form global agency McFaul + Day, and collectively the new team has more than two decades’ worth of worldwide experience working with “some of the largest and leading agencies and brands, spanning all creative platforms.” “McFaul + Day passionately create observed and rigorously executed solutions, de-layering a proposition to its simple truth,” explains the new company’s official website.
4. Sagmeister & Walsh
Avant-garde New York City-based creative shop Sagmeister & Walsh describes itself as a design firm that “creates identities, commercials, websites, apps, films, books and objects for clients, audiences and ourselves.” Double Grammy Award-winning, Austrian-born designer Stefan Sagmeister – who has fashioned iconic album covers for artists like Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith – founded the company in 1993 as Sagmeister Inc. It was renamed in 2012 when award-winning 25-year-old designer Jessica Walsh was made a partner. Recently, Sagmeister & Walsh created a stylish collection of New York skyline-inspired trophies for the 2014 New York Festivals World’s Best Advertising award show.
AKQA describes itself as a “new kind of agency,” capable of navigating the “changing media and technology landscape.” After its establishment in London in 1995 by Ajaz Ahmed, Dan Norris-Jones, James Hilton and Matthew Treagus, AKQA grew to become the largest private digital agency on the planet and now boasts a staff of over 1,500, spread out over Europe, Asia and the U.S. The agency prides itself on its innovative approach, with its specialties including social media, app development and data science. AKQA regularly works with high-profile clients like Nike, Audi, Ferrari, Google and Heineken, and recent awards received include Adweek’s Digital Agency of the Year, Campaign Big Awards’ Interactive Agency of the Year and New Media Age’s Most Respected Agency. In 2012 advertising giant WPP plc acquired a majority stake in AKQA in a deal worth around $574 million.
2. Landor Associates
Branding pioneer Walter Landor established award-winning consulting firm Landor Associates in a tiny San Francisco apartment in 1941. In 1964 he famously moved the company’s headquarters to the Klamath ferryboat, which he renovated, in San Francisco Bay. Today, Landor has 26 offices spread out across the globe – from Bangkok to Tokyo. “Walter Landor invented branding. We’ve been reinventing it ever since,” states the company’s official website. Landor – which offers a “full range of integrated brand consulting, creative and design services” – prides itself on breathing new life into brands. A notable example of this is Landor’s work with Federal Express, for in 1999 it advised the delivery company to reinvent itself as FedEx and created the now-iconic invisible arrow FedEx logo with an original typeface. Other past or present clients of the agency include Procter & Gamble, BP, Cathay Pacific Airways, Citroën and Volkswagen.
Pentagram was established in London in 1972 by graphic designers Colin Forbes, Mervyn Kurlansky and Alan Fletcher, architect and sculptor Theo Crosby, and acclaimed industrial designer Kenneth Grange. The idea was to create a multidisciplinary collective based on equality and independence. Today, it’s the biggest independent design firm in the world and is operated by 19 partners who each run their own teams in London, Berlin, San Francisco, New York and Austin. Pentagram’s design scope is wide – ranging from architecture to books – and clients include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Saturday Night Live, 21st Century Fox, Wired, the Sundance Film Festival and Activision. “Great design cannot happen without passion, intelligence and personal commitment, which is demonstrated by a portfolio of work that spans five decades,” proudly claims the company’s mission statement.
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