DesignStudio puts down U.S. roots with New York office launch

(Photo credit: DesignStudio)
(Photo credit: DesignStudio)

EXCLUSIVE: Global design agency — which previously had a base in San Francisco — taps diverse New York talent for its U.S. return.

DesignStudio has returned to the U.S. with a new office in New York.

After redesigning a space within an old Plaxall thermoplastics factory in Hunters Point, Queens, the global design agency responsible for shaping the brand identity and strategy for companies like Riot Games, Airbnb and Panasonic, will now have access to New York’s plethora of young and diverse creative talent. 

“They’re still attracted to New York and everything it has to offer, and want that in-person base,” Richard Swain, DesignStudio’s principal of the Americas, told Campaign US. “It made sense for us to open a studio, but still allow flexibility for hybrid work.”

Swain estimated that the new office will be fully operational by January 1.

DesignStudio had a San Francisco office years back that serviced Airbnb and a few other Silicon Valley startups, but struggled to retain talent at the time. Most of its work came from its London office. With an eight-hour time difference that was difficult to manage, DesignStudio closed that office while continuing to work in the U.S. without a physical presence. Given a smaller time gap, the New York and London teams should have an easier time coordinating, Swain said.

The leadership team is comprised of Swain, Eric Ng, executive creative director, Alexis Sellal, creative director and Shane Pedersen, client services director. They lead a team of 19 people representing 12 different nationalities.

That kind of diversity is attractive to existing and potential clients, Swain said.

“All of the commitments we’re making are really focused on Queens as a borough, in terms of education opportunities, training and giving back to the community,” he added. “The neighborhood itself is full of creatives.”

DesignStudio New York is currently working on a Fifa World Cup project, launching in November, that involves putting a football manager on the blockchain and features famous football players.

Those that are now on the New York team have worked on brand designs and strategies for AT&T, Riot Games and HelloFresh.

Having a physical hub in New York also makes it easier for DesignStudio to carry out its “immersion phase,” a period when the agency physically travels to clients to understand their businesses better, Swain said.

He also maintained the need to offer employees a flexible, hybrid work schedule.

“To get out of your small apartment and go to a studio space that’s set up for hybrid work, that’s attractive to a lot of talent,” he said. “We believe with in-person time, you can build relationships. You don’t have to be working all the time, and actually, a lot of our workshops with clients are done remotely, but we will try to get these upfront moments to bond.”

DesignStudio now has offices in New York, London, Sydney and Shanghai.


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