The Obsessive and Ongoing List of Design Studios Every Design Student Should Know

From one designer to another, this is a good place to start and get your toes wet.

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Part of any new or young designer’s path should include developing a sense of style and interests for the type of work they would like to produce. Today in the design industry there are so many studios and agencies creating amazing work. So much so that it is hard to keep up with all of them. 

To make it easier I put together this list of design studios and agencies that I think every new and young designer should know. As I said before there are so many, so it was really hard to narrow this list down. I included some of my favorites from when I was a design student as well as studios that have come to fruition more recently.

Seasoned Veterans

Heavy hitters that have seen a thing or two.

Gretel

Gretel is a full-service design and strategy agency located in New York. They have worked with some of the biggest brands to create full brand identities as well as advertising and marketing campaigns. 

Clients include: Netflix, Nike, IFC, New York Times, WeWork, National Geographic, Knoll, Vice and more.

Red Antler

Red Antler is a design agency established in 2007 to help build brands that shift categories and add value to people's lives. They are popularly known for helping launch companies such as Casper and Allbirds through great design and strategy.

Clients include: Casper, Allbirds, Hinge, Keeps, Brandless, Prose, Burrow, Clear, Otherland and more.

Pentagram

Pentagram is one of the world's largest independently-owned design studios. It is operated by some of the industry's most prolific designers including Michael Bierut, Natasha Jen, Sascha Lobe, Giorgia Lupi, Abbott Miller, Emily Oberman, Eddie Opara, Harry Pearce, Paula Scher, Astrid Stavro, Matt Wiley, Marina Willer and many more.

Clients include: Warner Bros., Fisher-Price, Yahoo, Uniqlo, Red Hat, The Knot, Kaiyo, Slack, Saturday Night Live and many more.

Anagrama

Anagrama is a multidisciplinary studio that creates work focused around architecture, branding and interactive. Their main office is located in Mexico City but also have offices in Monterey, Tokyo and a virtual office in the United States.

Clients include: Infamuse, Cocofloss, Le Rose Bleu, Nebula Link, Momiji, Cerveza Moritas and more.

Grand Army

A New York based creative agency specializing in creative direction, advertising, branding and strategy. They work with a network of clients they admire to build great brands and further positive initiatives. 

Clients include: Adidas, Nike, Gimlet Media, A24, Beats By Dre, Justin Timberlake, Sweetgreen, KITH and more.

The Original Champions of Design

OCD or The Original Champions of Design are a branding and design agency founded by Jennifer Kinon and Bobby C. Martin. They are a small team focused on creating identity systems for big brands grounded in research, effective strategy and bold creativity.

Clients include: Dartmouth, AdAge, MTV, New York Times, Girl Scouts and more.

2x4

Founded in 1990 2x4 is global design consultancy headquartered in New York City. Their work focuses on brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients who value the power of design. 

Clients include: Apple, Target, Prada, Nike, Cooper-Hewitt, The New York Times, Sotheby’s, Samsung and more.

Wolf Olins

Wolf Olins is a brand consultancy based in London, New York and San Francisco. They help create transformative brands that move businesses, people and the world forward.

Clients include: Uber, Tesco, Google, McKinsey & Company, Grubhub and more

Buck

Buck is a talent-driven global creative company. They believe in finding creative opportunities in every challenge and producing extraordinary things for the world. Their work ranges from advertising, animation, 3D and more.

Clients include: Google, Amazon, Facebook, BBC, Apple, IBM, Coke, Sonos, Tinder and more.

Christopher Doyle & Co

Located in Sydney Australia, CD&Co is an independent and collaborative creative company specializing in brand identity, creative direction and digital design. Led by Christopher Doyle himself along with two other members, they collaborate with writers, strategists, photographers and developers to work with a diverse range of clients.

Clients include: Spotify, Shillington, Deluca Coffee, The Jezabels, Made For., Australian Design Radio, Sedona and more.

New-ish

Not so much in age or existence but more so in approach and output.

Center

Center is a branding and design agency located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They help startups become icons and help icons behave more like startups. Lead by Alex Center, the studio looks to redefine what it means to be a creative partner within the industry.

Clients include: Macy's, International Champions League, New Balance, Conbody, Kin and more.

Founder and Creative Director, Alex Center joins me as a guest on the podcast. You can listen to the full episode here:

Gander

Gander is a design shop in Brooklyn New York that creates thoughtful experiences for humans and propels brands with soul and substance. Through research and detective work, they climb high enough to see the past, present and future. Then they climb down, and get to work. 

Client include: Gotham Greens, Lupii, Magic Spoon, Minna, Lavva, Codecademy, Banza and more.

Pattern Brands

Pattern is a family of brands designed to help you enjoy daily life. Previously recognized as Gin Lane, Pattern is building everyday brands around a core set of values Including responsibility, equity, acceptance, curiosity and hospitality. 

Current brands include: Equal Parts and Open Spaces.

Character

Character is a branding and design agency with studios in New York and San Francisco. The company is interested in working together with clients to bring ideas with intention and meaning to life for today, tomorrow and beyond. 

Clients include: Mutha, Nutribullet, Hush Puppies, Doordash, Level, Netflix, Spin and more.

Senior designer of Character, Gabby Lord joins me on the podcast as a guest. Listen here

Wedge Studio

Based in Montreal, Wedge is an independent design-driven creative Studio that believe strong work sings to book head and heart. The studio primarily focuses on four main disciplines including identity, packaging, product & objects and campaigns.  

Clients include: Drav, SSENSE, EQ3, The World of Letters and more.

&Walsh

Formed by Jessica Walsh who was previously apartner at Sagmeister & Walsh along with Stefan Sagmeister. &Walsh is a creative agency specializing in branding and advertising. They work with clients starting from the initial brand strategy phase to the design, art direction and final production of a project. They believe in creating beautiful, emotion-driven work that functions for clients and resonates with their audiences. 

Clients include: Pet Plate, Parle Agro, Thief & Heist, Zooba, Wix, Baboon and more.

Little Troop

Founded in 2019 by creative directors Noemi Le Coz and Jeremy Elliott, Little Troop is a new creative studio that loves working with good people on smart projects. Their approach to design and their aesthetic often involves a distinct sense of play, aiming to put the fun in functional. 

Clients include: Billie, Girlgaze, Hilma, Offcourt and more.

The founders of Little Troop, Noemi Le Coz and Jeremy Elliott both join me as guests on the podcast. Listen here.

Digital

You know, that thing called the internet.

Ustwo

Ustwo is a leading design, technology, game and venture company. They design and create DeVille experiences for clients. They are also the creators of the award-winning premium mobile game Monument Valley. Ustwo is also B-Corp certified.

Clients include: Barclays, Google, NBC, Samsung, Nike, Foursquare, Sony, Android, Ford and more.

Work&Co

Working code designs and develops digital products for the world's most respected brands. They ask their clients to identify key performance goals and collaborate directly in a process of iterative design, rapid prototyping, ongoing testing and optimization. 

Clients include: Apple, Virgin America, Chase, IKEA, Planned Parenthood, Aesop, Google, Nike and more.

Doberman

With studios in Stockholm, New York and Berlin Doberman is a design firm that partners with bold organizations to deliver products and services that break through the noise.  Doberman helps clients rethink their businesses through a customer experience mindset. 

Clients include: Google, Bonnier, IBM, MoMa, Oscar, NYC, Volvo and more.

Metalab

A product design agency located in New York that prides itself in taking an idea from napkin sketch to a real shipped product. 

Clients include: Uber, Slack, VICE, Google, Finery, Coinbase, Amazon and more.


Basic Agency

Basic is a branding and experience design agency builds digital products for companies.

Clients include: Google, Apple, Beats by Dre, Nixon, Keen, REI, Nike, Incase, WeWork and more.


Ueno

Ueno uses brain power and fancy machines to create digital products that are functional and the beautiful. They have offices in San Francisco New York Los Angeles and Reykjavík. They also pledged to donate at least $1 million to charity with the next 10 years through their organization Bueno.

Clients: Apple New York Times Red Bull Visa ESPN Uber Facebook Google Reuters Slack Verizon and more.


Hello Monday

Hello Mondays create a CD with a specialized digital products and experiences. They have offices in New York Copenhagen Aarhus

Clients: Lyft Youtube ESPN National Geographic NASA And more.

Conclusion

Use this list as a starting point to better understand the type of work and quality that you would like to achieve as you grow in your design career. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful make sure you subscribe for mailing list here. Each week we send you new episodes of the podcast as well as our best content. You can also connect with us on Instagram and Twitter where we answer your questions.

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@jonsorre
Creator of Wellfed. Curious designer and lover of all things type. Always hungry.

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