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Trendsetting is not an easy task in marketing. These Top 5 Design Agencies lead the market with extremely strong portfolios of past work, as well as proving inspiration for what’s to come. It’s humbling to see how these organizations began their ventures while they are now globally effecting and bending corporate culture.

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5. Teehan + Lax

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Geoff Teehan began his career in digital media in 1995, working as a designer for an Internet start-up. In 1999 he joined Modem Media, the company where he’d begin working with his future business partner, Jon Lax.In 2002 Geoff co-founded Teehan+Lax with Jon. The company and its values allowed Geoff to explore experiences that transcended the computer monitor and touched customers across a broad range of devices from mobile phones to televisions. Geoff has received international acclaim for his work, including Cannes Lions, ADDY awards, CMA awards, WebAwards and Marketing Magazine. His work has been featured in publications such as Applied Arts, Communication Arts, Marketing Magazine and Strategy. He has received the honor of representing Canada as a jury member for Cannes Lions, One Show and Clio.

Jon has been working in digital media since 1994. He started at Shift Magazine in 1994 where he helped develop the first ad supported site in Canada. In 1995 he received a National Magazine Award Nomination for his writing in the magazine. Jon went on to Grey Interactive in 1996 and was made Creative Director of Modem Media Canada in 1998. In 2002 Jon was named one of “30 to Watch: Marketing’s Next Generation” by Marketing Magazine.

Some work from their portfolio:

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- teehanlax.com

4. Wolf Ollins

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Wolff Olins is a brand consultancy, based in London, New York City and Dubai. Founded in 1965, in Camden Town, London, in 1965 by designer Michael Wolff and advertising executive Wally Olins. Wolff left the business in 1983, and Olins in 2001, though both are still active in the field of branding. Over the years, Wolff Olins has opened offices in Hamburg, Paris, San Francisco, Madrid and Lisbon, all of which subsequently closed. In 1998, the company opened an office in New York, and ten years later in Dubai.

They now employ over 150 designers, strategists and account managers, and have been part of the Omnicom Group since 2001. The company specializes in developing brand experiences, creatively-led business strategies, and visual identity systems and has worked in sectors including Technology, Culture, Retail, Energy & Utilities, Media, and Non-profit. In 2012, the firm was recognized by Ad Age as one of the Best Places to Work in media and marketing.

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Some work from their portfolio:

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3. Landor Associates

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Landor Associates is one of the world’s leading strategic brand consulting and design firms. Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Partnering with clients, Landor drives business transformation and performance by creating brands that are more innovative, progressive, and dynamic than their competitors.

Landor’s holistic approach to branding is a balance of rigorous, business-driven thinking and exceptional creativity. His work spans the full breadth of branding services, including brand research and valuation, brand positioning and architecture, naming and writing, corporate identity and consumer packaging design, branded experience, brand equity management, brand engagement, and digital branding.

With 23 offices in 17 countries, Landor’s current and past clients include some of the world’s most powerful brands, including BlackBerry, Citi, the Council on Foreign Relations, Diageo, Hilton Hotels, HP, Jet Airways, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Panasonic, PGA of America, Procter & Gamble, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and Verizon.

Landor is a member of the Young & Rubicam Brands network within WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communications firm.

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Some work from their portfolio:

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2. Pentagram

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Pentagram was founded on the premise of collaborative interdisciplinary designers working together in an independently owned firm of equals. Theo Crosby claimed the structure was suggested to him by his experience of working on the seminal late-1950s exhibition This is Tomorrow: “it was my first experience at a loose, horizontal organization of equals. We have brought it … to a kind of practical and efficient reality at Pentagram”. The firm currently comprises 16 partner-designers in 4 cities, each managing a team of designers and sharing in common overhead and staff resources.

The partners in each office share incomes equally and all the partners own an equal portion of the total firm. This equality, along with the tradition of periodically inviting new members to join, renews the firm while giving even the newest members an equal footing with the partners of long standing. This ‘flat’ organization (there are no executive officers, CEO, CFO or board, other than the entire group) along with the self-capitalized finances of the business, allows equal participation and control of the group’s destiny by the members. Fast Company named them one of the top 10 most innovative companies in Design in 2011.

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Some work from their portfolio:

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1. Siegel + Gale

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Siegel+Gale was founded in 1969 by Alan Siegel, an advertising, public relations and design-trained executive, and Robert Gale, a designer. The company was first operated out of Siegel’s apartment in New York City. Gale sold his share of the firm in 1974. In 1988, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi, the global brand advertising and marketing firm. After 10 years, Siegel+Gale organized an employee buy-back of the firm in association with a venture capital firm and Fleet Bank (now owned by Bank of America, Inc.). In 2003, the firm was acquired by the large marketing and communications company, Omnicom Group Inc.

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In recent news Alan Siegel has left the company to devote his time to personal nonprofit marketing efforts, research and writing. He leaves behind a proud design organization that four of the top 10 Fortune companies now rely on.

Some work from their portfolio:

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