Design is a business


As I find myself at the last stop, W2O San Francisco I can say that time really does fly. It has been a long journey since it all started at Koto, Berlin. The goal that I had set on the very first day was to learn about creative business, I knew I was would be working in different places and getting to see how each of them runs and operates. I asked, listened, and observed in every stop- everyone has their own way - but one thing that they agree on is "Design is a business".

Starting with Koto, a young branding studio that is rapidly growing. I wondered what their strategy was behind their growth and I conducted an investigation. There are 2 main key elements: One - a good relationships with the big brands and start-ups. Prior to Koto the founders have been working in different studios and made good relationships with big clients who later on helped finance the early days of the studio. Two - their design approach - which is sImple, joyful, with an added human touch that they always manage to embed into the brands they design. This approach makes the brand design (especially tech-start-up brands) look and feel different. It makes them stand out in this competitive branding business.

Listen is a good example as it is a venture capital firm - you see it as a business from the beginning. What really was interesting is how they intergrate design into their venture capital business. They see design as an investment, as they invest in early stage consumer brands. They use design to grow the brand faster and stronger. The teams advertising background helped them not only elevate the look and feel of products, but also design seamless user interface for brands they are investing in.

W2O is the biggest agency in this journey and the largest company that I have worked for. Centered in the health care world W2O leverages PR, marketing, data analysis, and creative to set the clients apart from their competitors. It is so different from the others in term of size and specific market, because of this their hierarchy inside the agency is quite relevant and important. The company started as a PR firm and as they continued to meet the needs of their clients they found that they needed to add additional services. They eventually acquired a creative agency and other companies - then later established a holding company, which is now W2O as we see it.

Writing this blog made me realized how much I have learned about business of design in this journey. The business side is something that I had never learned in school, but it is the most important thing to know to survive in this competitive industry. It is great!

By Naspock

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