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Top Graphic Design Companies in the UK

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Gather ten different accountants; they all will have the same answer to two plus two. Put ten graphic designers in one room, and you’ll see ten different illustrations when you ask them to illustrate a flower.

And that’s what makes creative people so different. It is that quality gives an entrepreneurial edge to you. It’s like having a business with the possibility of having a product that your competitors will never be able to offer. That’s your edge. That is the key to your success.

But running a successful graphic designing business is not as easy as it looks. There are many areas that you need to focus on, learn, and keep in mind to run a successful business.

Here, we have listed down 5 tips that will help you grow your business:

  • Expand your network

As a creative person, you can’t just expect your portfolio to do all the talking. Don’t forget that you’re running a business. You have to go out there in the world and make connections. You need to know how to approach people, how to grab their attention, and what to say to have new clients lining up.

Knowing effective marketing and sales techniques is a must. Understanding how the business world operates will help you figure out how to sell yourself and convince potential clients that you’re worth every penny that they will be paying.

  • Know your worth

Accepting rates that don’t do justice to your artworks, will eventually take a toll on your confidence and demotivate you. And the last thing you want is to spend days and nights over projects that don’t give you the rewards you deserve. So, figure out how much price you want to ask from your clients and then get your creative juices flowing.

  • Have a fixed schedule

Creativity cannot be rushed. You might have a great idea, and then the next thing you know is that you are working day and night on it. But that doesn’t work well when you’re trying to run a business. The tendency to work more might have you accepting projects from all directions, leaving you with no space to breathe.

Which might just squeeze all the creativity from you, leaving you a dull creator. However, setting a work schedule will prioritize your time and energy equally so that you don’t quickly burn out.

  • Ask and learn

There is no doubt that you have a vast knowledge of your field. But that doesn’t mean you are aware of everything related to it. Don’t shy away from asking questions, no matter how silly they might sound. It’s better to ask a question than starting a project with doubts.

Asking questions will leave you with the knowledge you didn’t possess earlier, which makes you a better artist than you were before.

  • Down payment comes first

Having a “no down payment, no work” policy is the way to go. You have far too many examples of talented artists knowing what bankruptcy looks like because they trusted all the wrong people. You have to remember that you own a business, and there is no assurance that a deal is closed until they have paid you a percentage of the amount.

Always asking for a down payment makes sure that the client doesn’t leave you high and dry as well as prompts the client to take the project seriously as they have already invested a certain sum of money in it.

For any good graphic design company to become great, many factors have to be taken into consideration. Various companies around the world have aced these factors and made a name for themselves. Over the years, these companies have greatly influenced graphic design and have played a role in making it a respected profession.

Graphic design, as a profession, has evolved over the years. One of the places in the world that have been dominating the world of graphic design is the United Kingdom. The free-spirited designers from peak periods of evolution of graphic design in the UK, still tend to influence the designers of the modern age.

Evolution Of Graphic Designing In The UK

British graphic design, over the last 50 years, has established itself as one of the most influential forms of visual communication. From situationism, Dadaism to Bauhaus and Swiss Modernism, the body of graphic design work has been influenced by various movements around the world.

Alan Fletcher, Barnbrook, and Calvert to Barney Bubbles, Garrett, Broody, and many others, UK has produced some of the most influential designers of all time. The one thing that all these designers had in common was that none of them fit into the notion of British traditionalism.

Post World War II to Post Punk (1950-1979)

The Festival of Britain in 1951, showcased a modernist outlook that was reflected in everything from the exhibition’s commemorative stamps to posters that were created for the celebration of the event.

Alan Fletcher, who two years after the festival met up Theo Crosby, Ken Garland, Colin Forbes, and Derek Birdsall at the Royal College of Art. After his return from studying graphic designing under the legendary Paul Rand in the US, he formed Fletcher, Gill, and Forbes. Which later on merged together to form one of the most significant design agencies of all time, the Pentagram.

Fletcher was highly influenced by American design and was a catalyst of modern UK design. He used visual jokes and visual puns to shape most of his designs, which he designed for campaigns for the likes of Pirelli. While Alan Fletcher was busy designing campaign ideas, John Kinneir and Margaret Calvert were given the task of creating a uniform look for all the road and motorway signs. These signs were the absolute essence of graphic design, according to Calvert.

Kinneir and Calver’s signs quickly became as identifiably British as the black cabs and London busses, and they not only went down to shape infrastructure design across the world but still influence the navigation system online.

Germano Facetti, the Italian art director at Penguin, had started changing the face of its classic branding. He brought together the up-and-coming British illustrators and graphic designers, which included the famous Alan Aldridge. These designers were asked to work on experimental visuals into classic, rigid frameworks of the covers that were created by a Swiss designer. This experiment – where it not only elevated Penguin’s standing on the bookshelf but also kept the brand easily identifiable – created such an impact that this approach remains a reliable design convention till this day and is used by magazines like Time.

Thatcherism to the Web (1980 – 1995)

Neville Brody was the head designer of The Face magazine in 1980 and the one who has had a huge contribution to editorial design. As one of the most celebrated designers for his work for Arena, The Face and in recent years Guardians and The Time newspapers. He used various unconventional as well as typographically bold layouts along with intimate portrait photography and went on to shape the world of editorial design.

Peter Saville was Manchester’s creative director and responsible for the city’s signage as well as visual identity. His trope-driven minimalism that was popularized in 1980 can be seen mimicked in recent Nike and Reebok campaigns. Similar to Saville, Malcolm Garrett’s work is largely influential on contemporary designers such as Chrissie Abbott. His work for the band Duran Duran, till this day, acts as an iconic visual of 1980s graphic design culture.

Garrett, Saville, and Brody were influenced by radical European modernism, with its typographic theory, the formal use of grids, and controlled use of color and imagery; rather than being influenced by themes and styles of the counterculture.

The Digital Revolution (1995-Present)

The radicalization of British graphic design that started off with designers like Brody, Garrett, and Saville, reached its peak with companies like Tomato, Why Not Associates, Cartlidge Levene and Fuel. This radicalization of graphic design matched with what took place in Germany, the USA, Japan, Holland, and Switzerland – that already had a radical approach to graphic designing by this time.

From this new era of radical graphic designers, one graphic design company that stood out was The Designer’s Republic (tDR). The company’s diversity of the studio’s talent can be seen through their works for clients such as V&A Museum, Hasbro, Faberge, Marlboro, and many more. Ian Anderson, one of the founders of tDR, brought graphic design out of the professional domain and entered it into the world of music, fashion, and style.

Even though London is considered as the design and music capital of the world, it is the UK’s artistic outlook to design work that till date continues to be its most exportable commodity. It is their pre-consumerist graphic design ideas that are making a comeback, especially in the USA.

Top 10 Graphic Design Companies In The UK

With the evolution of graphic design in the UK, graphic designing became a desirable and respectful career choice. Many designers founded graphic design companies that have taken over the world and left an impact with their creativity and design ideas. These companies across the UK have managed to cut through the clutter and collect international prestige.

Their clientele, prominence locally and globally, and the diverse portfolio have made them some of the most sought after graphic design companies in the world. Here are 10 graphic design companies in the UK that have ruled with their talent and creativity:

1. Pentagram

It is the largest independently owned design studio in the world. Pentagram is owned and run by 25 partners, all of whom are leaders in the design industry. Their list of famous and well-known partners includes names like Paula Scher, Alan Fletcher, Michael Bierut, and Bob Gill.

Headquarters: London

Branch Locations: San Francisco, Austin, and New York

Clientele: United Airlines, Verizon, Rolls-Royce, The Guggenheim, Warner Brothers, Starbucks, Windows, Saks Fifth Avenue, Planned Parenthood, Walgreens.

Services: campaigns, book design, digital design, data visualization, brand identity, film and motion graphics, environmental graphics, exhibition design, sound design, packaging/industrial design, editorial design, interiors and architecture, naming.

2. Wolff Olins

Wolff Olins believes in making things different to make a difference. It’s their creativity that has helped them build a solid reputation for themselves and has lent itself to a notable clientele, that included the Summer Olympics of 2012 in London. It was rumored that the logo of the Olympics had a price tag of $625,000.

Headquarters: London

Branch Locations: San Francisco and New York

Clientele: Apple, Spotify, Linkedin, Wikimedia, Microsoft, Uber, Hyatt, Target, 3M, eBay

Brand Philosophy: Strategy, Design, and Change.

3. The Chase

It has gained attention from around the globe for its innovative print design and corporate branding. They have over 30 years of industry experience and have achieved over 350 national and international awards. The Chase are self-proclaimed creative consultants offer an interesting array of skills such as sports stadium branding, calendar design, and museum exhibits.

Headquarters: Manchester

Branch Locations: London and Preston

Clientele: Museum of London, Smirnoff, Disney, Alibaba, Shell, Fujitsu, Yellow Pages, Amnesty International, Hewlett Packard, BBC

Expertise In: Film, Digital, Advertising, Architecture

4. Pearlfisher

Pearlfisher has over two decades of experience with an ever-growing list of notable awards. They believe in “design for life“, and their focus is on creating “simpler, lighter, more desirable ideas for the future.” Pearlfisher’s talented group of designers, strategists, realizers, and futurists, have made a long-lasting impact on the way the world perceives graphic design.

Headquarters: London

Branch Locations: Copenhagen, New York, and San Francisco

Clientele: Yoplait, Cadbury, Access Entertainment, Wolfgang Puck, B&O Play, Starbucks, Jim Beam

Brand Philosophy: Mobility, Taste, Body, Nature, Leisure, Community

5. Charlie Smith Design

It was founded by the ex-Pentagram designer, Charlie Smith, in 2003. Her skilled team offers a variety of services, such as packaging and digital designing. They take the detail-oriented approach and give attention to every aspect of the design project, from materials used to paper choice for the project.

Headquarters: London

Clientele: University of Arts London, Dragonfly Tea, Royal Academy of Arts, Louis Vuitton, Yale, John Lewis, Terrence Woodgate, Phaidon, Tate

Services: Signage, Digital design, Brand positioning and strategy, Moving image design, Print design, Packaging

6. A Practice for Everyday Life

A Practice for Everyday Life majorly focuses on concepts to make sure that every design is unique and meaningful. Their clientele is built on like-mindedness and stable business relationships. They offer an array of services like digital design, signage, art direction, publications, packaging, identities, type design, and exhibitions.

Headquarters: London

Clientele: Manchester School of Art, APFEL, Korean Culture Centre UK, Performa, Art on the Underground, London College of Fashion, Tate, Australian Center for Contemporary Arts, Modern Art Oxford

Expertise In: Publications, Typography, Art direction, Packaging, Digital Design, Brand identity, Signage, Exhibitions

7. Spin

Spin prides itself on bringing fresh and elegant ideas to a wide range of sectors, including design, arts, entertainment, communications, electronics, and broadcast. They believe in their proactive responses to creative briefs. This includes an in-depth understanding and background research on their clients as well as holding workshops with target-demographics if required.

Headquarters: London

Clientele: Wired, Apple, Nike, BBC, Print Magazine, Collect, Google Jigsaw, Design Museum, Hewlett Packard, Channel 4, Samsung, Crafts Council, D&AD, Ministry of Sound, Proa, Meta, Simon Pengelly

Expertise In: Environmental, Print, and Digital design

8. SocioDesign

What makes SocioDesign different from the others is that their designs have the universal sense to it, which makes it appealing to many regions of the world. SocioDesign is famous for using a reductive and minimalistic style in their work that offers clients an opportunity to turn their brands into cross-cultural assets. It is their global approach towards graphic designing that has helped them achieve international recognition.

Headquarters: London

Clientele: Twice Fashion, Chaos Fashion, STOR, KAE, Capital Magazine, Nokia, Beau Cacao, Rambling Muse, Trace Magazine, MatchPint, Truth Consulting, Sonos

Expertise In: Packaging solutions, Brand identity, and Digital experiences

9. Only

Only are known for connecting brands to people using creative designs that effectively convey the company’s idea. They draw inspiration from the people their clients serve that further helps in strengthening the relationship between the clients and their customers. Only, a strategy and design company has won multiple awards at BIMA and Heist events.

Headquarters: Leeds

Clientele: Design for Europe, Sony Music, British Interactive Media Association, Printworks London, Helbers, University of Suffolk, Roundhouse, The British Academy, Onaway

Design Philosophy: “Simple is powerful”

10. Made by Alphabet

Made by Alphabet is a team of young designers that are playful and aren’t afraid to crack jokes. They fall on the more youthful side of the spectrum, and their energetic and fresh approach to work is targeted towards the millennials.

Headquarters: Manchester

Clientele: OnePlus, Adventure Films, The British Independent Film Festival, NBA, Extrajet, Tiqld Squares, Hippo&Crate, Mertin Skincare, Flyby, JD Sports

Area of Focus: Strategy and Positioning, Web and social, Art direction, Messaging and Tone of Voice, Branding and Identity, Print and Editorial

So, here you have it. These are the best of the best graphic design companies in the UK that have revolutionized graphic design. Their ever-evolving creativity and passion for innovation have earned them international recognition. They have influenced many young and becoming graphic designers and creative agencies to follow their dreams and be bold.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on and get your creative juices flowing!


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