Top 50 design Agencies in UK – The Desight List

All of Us

AllofUs is a relatively new multi-disciplinary interactive design consultancy formed in 2003. They aim to improve the way clients and audiences connect by realising the potential of intelligent user-experience design, across multiple integrated media channels. It is this new kind of integrated, interactive thinking and user-centred approach to interface that makes them different.

Their award-winning portfolio demonstrates how interactive design can add powerful new dimensions to exhibition, retail, product and brand identity design. Of course, their roots are in high-profile work for web, mobile interface design and interactive TV. Such as their work for Nokia Phones, Sky Player and various Design museum projects. Awards include Design Week Best of show for SONY/AIWA Website and the BIMAS 2007.

Whether you are a graphic designer looking for some eye candy or a marketer looking for their next potential design agency – you are sure to find one here.


Hey, we all know Attik right? Or else you’ve had your head buried under lots of sand, just take one look at their client roster, it’s amazing: Coca Cola, Adidas, Adobe, HSBC, Lexus, Man United, Microsoft, MTV, Nike, Samsung, Toyota and Virgin, come on, that list says it all. On a note, I particularly like the work they have done for ICON Aircraft. Oh and they have one more awards than you can shake a shitty stick at!!!

Blue Marlin

With offices in the UK, USA, Thailand and Australia, Blue Marlin says that they are like a big family rather than a big impersonal agency, there separate agencies results speak for themselves, with DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, plenty of Pentawards and Gramia Awards. Packaging clients include Tango, Vaseline, Shell Oil and Schweppes amongst others.

Bostock and Pollitt

The new Bostock and Pollitt website is begining to indicate its award winning heritage, believe me it has won far more of them than the website indicates, mostly for it’s literature work over the years. Projects to look for include Arjo Wiggins (paper people), Fidessa, WWF FSC Campaign (aka not the wrestling) and the Legal & General Central St Giles Brochure.

Cartlidge Levene
Cartlidge Levene

As well as being an excellent multi-disciplined agency, Cartlidge Levene excel in way-finding and signage design, they are the undoubted world leaders. The signage systems that CL design are sublime and it shows in the awards that they have won for them, from a Premier Award from Creative Review, to an ISTD for way-finding & environmental graphics for The Guardian Building, a D&AD for Signage & Information Graphics, some SDS Awards, multiple award wins for Selfridges signs and Design Week Awards!

I am impressed with the intelligent way they go about interpreting the three dimensional space around them, to simplify the wayfaring systems down to their sole purpose, to get people where they want to go with the minimum amount of confusion. But don’t forget, they are not just about signs, they have still won other awards for their multi-discipline design skills too, such as: another D&AD for graphic design, ‘Best in Book’ for visual communication design by the Creative Review Annual. If you need to find your way, take a look at them.

Chase, The

The amount of awards this agency has achieved is probably enough to fill an entire design studio, where do they fit in time to do the work between picking up their awards I wonder?? The Chase is ranked the 2nd most creative agency in the UK and is now one of an elite band of companies to have had work accepted by D&AD in each of its 18 years of existence, how is that for special?

They have won awards from:
• The Grand Award for Creativity at The New York Festival of Advertising & Print.
• DBA Design Effectiveness Award
• Various D&ADs
• National Graphics Awards
• Direction
• Heist Education Awards
• National Graphic Design & Print Awards
• Zanders Annual Reports Awards
• 6X World’s Best Website
• Gold from the New York Art Directors Club
• Gold Clios
• Design Week Awards
• Gold Donside Awards and many, many more…

Look out for some of their best projects which include the Smile online bank logo and the literature section is particularly interesting too.

Checkland Kindsleysides

This agency is more famous for it’s retail interiors and in-store marketing above anything else, work wise I would look out for the National Lottery POP, the Levis flagship store, PS3 retail furniture, the Clarks shoes interior re-brand that uplifted the company and funily enough a brand identity for Bentley cars? Where did that one come from… The long list of their retail wards comes in from the Global Fashion Awards, Uk and European POPAI Awards, Retail Design Institute Awards, Retail Week Awards, Retail Interiors Awards, Cream, BCSC and VMSD Awards.

Coley Porter Bell

These guys actually hold their own awards, how does that work, so content in the fact that they have won so many awards (DBA Design Effectiveness, International Mobius Advertising Awards, Benchmark Awards, IPA Effectiveness Awards & D&AD but to name a few…) that they encourage further creativity by dishing out their Shine Award to encourage students. Keep an eye out for the work for Innocent, Nescafé, Inishturkbeg, Tetrapak, and the Museum of London. Just a shame their website is awful and could do with a redesign 🙂 Hehe, sorry.

Design Bridge

First of all, I love their branding, but that’s not really a surprise as they are a branding and packaging agency, and one of the best, or should I say the best, they one Agency of the year 2010 at the Pentawards! Look out for their branding successes such as Tiger Beer, The UEFA Champions League Branding, Nescafé re brand, and my particular favourite (because it was also a good deodorant) the Physio Sport aerosols.


Where do I start with this one, their new website is fantastic and fully demonstrates their ability in the realm of branding, not surprisingly when they have won more DBA International Design Effectiveness Awards than any other agency in history! 29 and counting, so why are they so good? Well besides increasing product sales without any advertising, why not take a look at their work and you may find out why… Clients include: ASDA, Durex, Welcome to Yorkshire, Act on CO2, BBC Talent and Comic Relief, but be careful though, their website is beautiful and you may get submersed into it :-).


Engage help you engage with your employees and customers, ok so not the most creative of strap-lines, but they definitely do what they say on the tin. Over the years they certainly have won many awards for bringing organisations and people together with their creative, effective communication. You only have to look at the screen grab of their clients to see that the all the big blue chips agree. Not much in the way of ‘eye candy’ design shown on their site, but as it’s been recently redesigned, I expect this to expand soon.

Freestyle Interactive

Freestyle are number 36 in the RAR top 100 and 75 in the NMA top agencies in 2010 but their main accolade is that they won ‘Best in Digital’ at the RAR awards 2009 against 300 other top RAR agencies. Beat that 🙂 And if you think in the ever changing world of digital, that makes them out of date, well they are up and nominated again for ‘Best in Digital’, ‘Best in Creativity/Innovation’, ‘Best in Professionalism’ and ‘Best in Strategic Thinking’ in this years 2011 awards, so as Bart Simpson says, eat my shorts! Well theirs, not mine! Love some of the digital work for Virgin Active, The G5 Challenge, Drambuie and Lombard.


From a studio of only 12 (at the time of writing), GBH have won so many awards, it’s amazing, at least 37 and counting, GBH has consistently been ranked within the ten most creative UK Design agencies since the company’s foundation in 1999 and includes award winning work for Puma, they we even asked to design the 40th Annual for the D&AD, they are that good. GBH’s clients include The Royal Mail, Puma, Virgin Galactic, Philip Stark, Eurostar, Football Italia and even Ferrai. On their website, you can roll over their work and you can see which awards each project won from either D&AD or Design Week. I don’t think there is any room for my usual writing gaffs on this one :-).

Hat Trick Design

Well, what can I say here, time for a bad gag again me thinks, these guys really pull the rabbit out of the hat each time they design something (sorry), they kind of deserved a pun on their name as that’s probably the intended idea behind their name… Yes I know back to the point at hand, award winning design agencies.

Number 1, Numero Uno in the Design Week Creative survey 2010. Yep, that’s it, full stop. Oh, ok, their website has an interesting navigation for potential clients to look at, it has presentations for any given period of time that the viewer has to spare, a neat idea pulled from the hat again :-). Awards include D&AD, Design Week, Benchmarks Best in Show.


An old hat here, Imagination has been around since 1978 and is still an exceptional design agency, recent accolades include: Brand Experience award for the Samsung sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics, 3Ex awards for oneworld, Ford and TOT, Creative Event Agency of the year – BBC Sports Personality of the Year Event and the Launch of the Ford Fiesta in Barcelona, 2 ICVA awards (including the Global Achievement award). Even their digital side has picked up a BIMA… Look out for their branding work on Mazda, BA’s oneworld and Sony integrated campaigns, they are all ‘gert lush’ as we say down here near brizzol (Bristol)!

Impact IM

Ive put these guys in here for their amazing print work, we would all love to be able to do design work for clients with a decent print budget to reflect their brand, well, Impact seems to be the guys that have the creativity to encourage their clients to part with the right amount of money to make their brochures really sing! They have some fantastic property brochures in their award winning portfolio, including international hotel groups and lots of brochure design for the most prestigious properties in central London. Not surprisingly this agency is ranked number 9 in the UK for print and literature alone. Bring it on, increased print budgets for all of us, and then maybe we can win some awards 🙂


Another oldie here, Interbrand started in branding when the world still thought of brands as just another word for logo 🙂 And yes, I know they are massive (40+ offices) but they are not interested in just being the world’s biggest brand consultancy, they want to be the most valued, after all, they were the ones that changed the world’s view of branding and brand management by creating brands and managing them into valuable business assets.

Sales spiel over, now lets get down to the nitty gritty, what have the won or done? Well, you know McDonalds, that’s them, HSBC? them too, Bing, Samsung, 3M, Barclays, HP, Mercedez, AT&T? also them, see what I mean, you know the brands and you know that Interbrand have certainly done their job.

Awards include: loads of REBRAND Awards, Super Design Awards, Communication Arts Awards, AGDA Awards, Creativity International Awards, Transform Awards, Inova Awards, Agency of the Year by Marketing Magazine, RETA Award, Red Dot Award, ARC, LACP, Topcom, Cropak, Gute Gestaltung (whatever that is?), RGD, DDI and Benchmark Awards… Tell you what, my fingers are getting tired, hope you got the gist of how good they are 🙂

Oh, and check out the client list, it’s longer than all of our arms (and maybe legs).

Johnson Banks

Cool website this one, but a pain in the derriere to navigate quickly, take note Mr Banks, even with your 8 D&AD Pencil awards, Gongs from the Art Directors Club of New York and Benchmarked Awards from Design Week 🙂 Only joking, I love this site but it is a pain for researching an article like this or if your a client short of time. Look out for his great work on Save the Children, More Th>n, Think London, Shelter and the British Film Institute (if you can find them that is 🙂 ).

Jones Knowles Ritchie

More of a crossover between branding and packaging here, the packaging fans out there will enthuse about this one! With three DBA Effectiveness Awards for their packaging and a D&AD, this design agency consistently tops the top 10 in DW’s top 100 overall and number 1 in packaging!

I personally love their work on the Birdseye range, Heinz, Guinness Ambrosia and Youngs, so go on, check them out as they make brands project the things that make them different, rather than reflect the comfortable conventions of their FMCG categories.

Lewis Moberly

These days, when every one is ranting on about not using flash for a website due to the lack of it’s ability to be found and cached properly by search engines is thrown totally out of the window here, from the 54th floor! But then who needs SEO when you are as good as these guys, people will know their name!

Lewis Moberly believe creativeness and commercial viability go hand in hand, this shows as its the only company to hold both the top awards for Design Excellence and the top award for Design Effectiveness, it also has a D&AD Gold and 3 Silvers, the D&AD Presidents award, Design Week Best of Show, DBA Design Effectiveness Grand Prix Award and over 400 international awards. Lovely flash website that shows some of their great brand work for: Waitrose, Moet, Boots, Duchy of Cornwall, The Body Shop, Selfridges, Lindt & Dior.

LFH Brand Identity

Not the biggest award winning agency in this list, as far as I’m aware it does have a D&AD Award for it’s Dalmore 62 year old whiskey design (which was also shortlisted for a Marketing Design Award) and a couple of DBA Effectiveness Awards for Grant’s Whiskey. The main reason it’s in here is their innovative production process ‘Chapter1™’ which allows FMCG companies to save millions, worth any award in my book. Chapter1™ reduces the amount of ink colours it takes to print packaging, reducing it down to six or less without any visible difference in quality, saving up to £7,000 per SKU, so when you consider the huge amount of products that some companies own, it can save them anything up to £130 million. Amazing! So amazing that the ‘Chapter1™’ process has now won a DBA Design Effectiveness Award for colour harmonisation across the Unilever brand range.

Lloyd Northover

Lloyd Northover has won many awards for design effectiveness, including the Grand Prix in the International Design Effectiveness Awards and an International Gold Award from the New York Art Directors Club, it been around for a long time but still wins, recently it got a DBA Design Effectiveness awards for on NS&I for it’s digital work, not bad for an agency that specialises in brand communications. Of particular interest (well, too many anyway 🙂 ) is the case studies and brand archive on their website, the good stuff includes: re-branding Belfast, BUPA, The FSA, John Lewis, Design Council, Ordanance Survey and of course Manchester Uni.

Love Creative

I’m glad these guys have finally redesigned their site, as their last one was awful and didn’t show themselves off to the true extent of their ability, this one is better! Their accolades include awards from: D&AD, Design Week, The Marketeer, New York Festival, Design Preis, Fresh, Creative Circle, Epica, Cannes Lion, Mobius, Big Chip, Robert Horne, Pentak and the Cream Awards. No need to show off 🙂 There is a nice cross selection of design disciplines shown and the staff rollovers are funny.

Navyblue Design

This is one is for all you Scots out there, save anyone saying this is not a true UK list, Navy Blue was named Design Agency of the Decade at the Scottish Design Consultancy of the Year Awards, they do also win awards outside of their Scotland too, with a gold medal win at the prestigious International Spirits Challenge in the Design and Packaging category, plus a silver medal at the Starpack Awards and an award from the UK Packaging Awards 2010. Latest shortlists include Design Week and the Drum. And of course they were involved with the proposals for the London 2012 Olympics bid.


Nucleus is a bit of a funny one here, not only are they a brand consultancy for international clients (large banks, holiday companies and posh hotels), but have also launched their own ventures using their knowledge of branding, technology and IP.

As an example, Nucleus initially they looked after the Oyster Card, and have since launched a technologically similar cashless card for the mass consumer market, the sQuid, a contactless eMoney smartcard. Design award wise, they were a DBA Design Effectiveness Winner and are in the Sunday Times Tech League. Nucleus have also won some top end travel industry awards for it posh hotel websites of Claridges, The Connaught and The Berkeley.

Notable work includes: repositioning Superdrug to compete with Boots, Launching First Direct, consulting with HSBC’s on it’s website, introducing a web portal for the Orient Express and web technology for Rothschild.

Partners, The

Another agency which really doesn’t need an introduction, The Partners is Marketing Magazine’s Branding Agency of the Year 2010 and No 1 in Design Week’s Creative Survey 2010 (based on global awards for creativity). A quick click on their awards page will take you to one of the longest web pages you’ve ever seen, even longer than this one 🙂

Art Directors Club
Clio Gold
Cannes Design Lions
WPPed Cream Awards
More D&AD’s than you can shake a shitty stick at!
Creative Review Annual
New York Festivals
Graphis Design Annual – Gold
Campaign Big Awards
London International Awards
Chip Shop
Consort Royal
Food & Beverage Awards
Donside Graphic Design and Print
DBA Design Effectiveness Grand Prix Winner

Funnily enough, The Partners is the UK’s most consistently awarded agency over the last 25 years, I personally like the work they have done for Deloitte, Vodafone and Liverpool Victoria.


They say they like winning awards for their creativity, well, they have over 200 international design awards so far! Pearlfisher have been awarded Golds in nearly all the major international design awards. But more important to them is winning the heart (or pockets) of their clients for how successful their designs have been in the market, this shows as they are top of the DBA design effectiveness league table for the number of Design Effectiveness Awards won by any agency. Period. I love the work on Innocent Smoothies, Waitrose, Nude Skincare and This Water.

Pemberton & Whiteford

Very cute flash website from an agency that has won over 30 international design awards including: DBA Effectiveness Award, a Gramia, An Icograda Pentaward, FAB, Chip Shop Awards and a European Design Award. Of course these guys are predominantly packaging based (are they the only agency type that enter awards 🙂 ) and their best work is for Tesco, Starbucks and Ferrero.


The mother of all design agencies! Pentagram is the world’s largest independent design consultancy, run by 16 partners, all leaders in their creative design disciplines. Wonder how many awards they have on their shelves, or should I say collapsed shelves, nope, library!

This site is wonderful, it’s like an almanac of all the design projects you could wish to view, I could spend hours listing their projects and awards, instead, your better off looking for yourself, you could (will) spend hours on this site, so grab a drink of choice and enjoy! Oh, and if you think that moving the project scroller right, you reach the end, you don’t, this goes on and on… I never reached the end, or was it the beginning? It probably is with these guys!

Pod 1

This one goes out to all you e-commerce fans out there, why? Because we are talking a BIMA Award in 2010, DOPE Awards, numerous e-commerce Awards, a Webby Awards winner, AOP Shortlist, a DBA Effectiveness Award for Pepsi Max, it’s in the Top 100 Design Groups and in the top 100 on the NMA list, FWA winner, D&AD Black Pencil, 3X awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts – W3. Not bad for an agency that has only been going since 2001, this has led Pod1 to be named the UK’s fastest growing agency over several years, and it’s why they work on some of the world’s best brands. I love the Harvey Nichols, LK Bennet, Denon, Conran, Kenneth Cole, Jigsaw and Mulberry online work they have done (and for obvious reasons, the Myla one :-).


Poke, isn’t that a Facebook thing? Well it seems these guys give the web a poke in the eye every time they design something, an example is their campaign for Orange, a flash based balloon race called balloonacy, it certainly deflated the competition (sorry) and wiped the board with almost all the web awards that year. They’ve also done some nice award winning work for Lonely Planet (owned by the BBC), Manchester City FC and even have a Guinness World Record to their name for the ‘Most people tagged in an online photo’ 2010. But the site they have done that I like the most of is ‘The Global Rich List’, a website that shows how rich we are in the western world in relation to the other 6 billion people in the planet and encourages us to donate to good causes. Find it by typing RICH into your search engine of choice, or of course:

Radley Yeldar

Radley Yeldar’s award list is another biggy, they even had to put it on a pdf link to save blocking up the web with excess internet traffic 🙂 A very decent marketing communications agency, or as they’d like to put it, story tellers that use whatever skill and discipline needed to convey a clients story to an audience. The what we think section has some good download-able articles for both the design strategist and marketeer alike. Work wise, look out for M&S corporate reporting, the NHS Smokefree campaign, NSPCC and the Pearson (cool flash site) / Sir Robert McAlpine websites.

Reading Room

Does it feel like a trip to the library reading this article, well things are about to get interesting if your interested or are looking for the best full service digital and web design agency in the UK, it’s this one (as far as my list goes anyway), and if your not convinced, then their awards list reads like a book 🙂

Sitecore Site of the Year awards
Charity Awards
Loads of Stevies at the International Business Awards
Top digital consultancy in the Sunday Times
Gold at the European Seal of e-Excellence Awards
Voted top digital agency in The Drum’s New Year’s Honours list
‘Best in Class’ Award Interactive Media Awards (IMAs)
Multiple International Interactive Media Awards
2009 Revolution Innovation Awards
CIPR Excellence award
New Statesman Media Awards
Shortlisted for the prestigious Visionary Design Award
Best Use of Technology Award at SDL Tridion World

It was also named the top UK digital agency in an independent agency reputation survey conducted by YouGov for design services, coming second overall with product designers Seymourpowell taking the top spot. G4S, Taste the Glenlivet and Skoda UK are ones of their nicer sites to look for in the portfolio.

Red Bee Media

The digital act above would be hard to follow, but follow we must, Red Bee Media also has a huge list of accolades but in TV Media, I think you deserve a rest from reading, so I won’t list them, instead just type in the word ‘Award’ into their news section on their website and you’ll see they have at least 38 articles on their design wins, mostly multiple victories, you do the maths! I would want these guys on my side when playing in the media game!

Delve into their portfolio of work and you will see they do a lot of specialist digital media work for television and the tech heavy back-end content handling and streaming. Look out for the fantastic re-brand case study of the ‘Dave’ channel

Rufus Leonard

Is Rufus a cool name or more of a Dufus name? What do you think? Certainly in terms of design they are cool, they played a part in rebranding BT for starters and with 2 RAR Gongs for the Best in Creativity / Innovation & Best in Digital, an IPA Effectiveness Award, 6th in Marketing Magazine’s ‘Review of the Year’, No 2 in Design Week’s Top 20 Integrated Consultancies & 9th overall in their DW top 100, 3rd in both ‘corporate branding’ and ‘digital design’, we shall say Rufus is cool then! Look out for their work on the FCO Services, LondON, O2, the OGC and Monster.

What’s that? This agency is definitely a monster coming over the hill, but far from past it. (Sorry for that one again, but gotta keep you interested, this is one long list).

Salter Baxter

Another specialist here, a multiple award winner for it work on annual reports, it has one the IR Society best FTSE 250 report and is an IVCA Clarion Awards Winner. It’s multiple award winning annual report design shine it’s ethos on corporate reporting and corporate responsibility and sustainability, for which the agency is a sector leader. It also has an arm for producing digital reporting online. Also, SalterBaxter do some very decent work with brand communications.

Download one of it’s ‘Directions’ Reports on sustainability for a decent ‘bed-time’ read 🙂


I ho, I ho, it’s back to the brand and packaging specialists we go… I think I mentioned earlier that there seem to be quite a lot of multiple award winning packaging/brand agencies around, it gives me food for thought, maybe another investigation is needed to find out the balance of the Awards competitions, see where the emphasis lies, I wonder, Hmmm. Well, Sprigetts is another Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Award Winner, with multiple strings to it bow, branding and packaging, for those that are interested in sport, they have done a lot of sports branding, including the Corporate iD for Manchester United, the Barclays premiership and the Rugby Football Union (or RFU). Packaging wise, they help clients create and grow their brands through strategic thinking and engaging design solutions, notable examples are: Weetabix, Evian, Youngs and Twinings. Even the the man from Del Monte, he said yes to them, so they must be good 🙂


Another one for the Scotts, I’ll try and fine a Welsh one I promise… If you are looking for a good all round agency up in Scotland, then this is a god one for you, Stand have won numerous Scottish Consultancy of the Year Awards, Multiple Scottish Design Awards and many UK Roses Awards, so you’d be in good hands if you choose them. They have a simple easily navigable portfolio that includes work for some of Scotland’s larger brands, namely Tennent’s and Barr with a host of Scottish Institutions thrown in. Oh, and they do the book for the RAR (Recommended Agency Register) here in the UK.

Start Judge Gill

Don’t we all just love the Virgin brand? Well I do anyway, I even had a chance to work on some of the collateral for Virgin Drinks as well. Start JG have done a load of amazing work for Virgin and have picked up numerous awards for them and their other clients along the way (Barclays, adidas, Bentley and Comic Relief). They are No. 7 in the Design Week Top 100 Consultancy Survey 2010, gained a DADI Award and an IVCA Award to name but a few. But one of the main things I like about these guys, is that through their relationship with the Virgin Group of Companies (Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic Airways), they have thrown their creative weight behind The Elders, an independent group of public figures who campaign to solve global problems. The Elders include Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, KofiAnnan and Aung San Suu Kyi, and are funded by ‘Founders’ such as Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel. All a good initiative to familiarise and humanise the world’s problems. Top Marks from all of us in the design field!

Stocks Taylor Benson

We all like a good honest company don’t we, well this is as an honest a Joe as they come, I like their simple no-nonsense and no-bull approach, 21 out of it’s 30 staff are designers (10 of which are Chartered Designers), makes STB one of the largest ‘graphic design’ studios in the UK. So honest are they in-fact, that Managing Director Joe Bakowski has been selected as one of eleven Design Business Association ‘bright sparks’ in 2010. In terms of awards, they are mostly print, (which should give them a accumulative disadvantage in this award winning game as they can only win less awards, but it doesn’t), they have one some Cream Awards, NBCAs and highly commended in the Marketing Design Awards. The publication of Marketing magazine Design Leagues sees them retain their position in the top flight of UK design agencies (28) and within the top 10 UK design consultancies specialising in design for print in the Design Week Top 100 Consultancy Survey. Not your average potato printing design going on here!

Taxi Studio

Nice flash website and I love the Clarks Superlight Shoe POS concept, ace! Taxi have over 100 national and international awards to date including the coveted New York International Grand Award (which apparently is just a shiny silver fruit bowl, come on NY, put your hand in your pocket a little more), a D&AD and a Silver Lion at Cannes. Not bad, but I bet you couldn’t put a fruit pastel in your mouth without chewing it? (No, Rowntree’s is not one of their clients – no idea why I said that).

The Team

The Team

I wonder if there is any ‘i’ in this team, well I doubt it with a 130 strong workforce, this definitely is a Team and a large one at that, no wonder they are one of the very top integrated design agencies in the UK. Shame there is no design candy for us too look at on the website, but then design is not just visual its about results and ROI, so if you are into reading take a look at the case studies which talk about the conversions and results on their projects rather than the visual aspects (includes lots of information about internal communications within large businesses). Award wins of note include a mass of 18 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards (so much so that their award cabinet must look like an armoury), 2 Marketing Week Awards and 4 CiB Awards.


For those of you in the know, you just know. For the others of you that don’t know, you don’t deserve to know. 🙂

True North

I’m almost close to Wales here 🙂 These guys are award winners from Manchester with a Roses Grand Prix Winner, Gold and Silver Fresh Awards, a New York Festivals Gold, Design Week Awards, D&AD Awards and Benchmarked Awards Commendations under there belt. The projects I like the most on their website, are actually the smallest, but show creativity at it’s best, the designs for Expecting Baby, The Mutts Nuts and APG Visual Colour are simply sublime creative. For the more corporate eye candy, please look out for the Tate and various Royal Mail projects.

Turner Duckworth

Turner Duckworth design consumer brand identities and packaging that generate commercial results and creative awards. They are ranked No.1 in Packaging Design, No.4 in Corporate Branding and No.6 across all disciplines for 2010 by a Design Week survey, the survey used data from the top international design awards to rank agencies’ creative performance.

With awards, like the chicken and the egg conundrum, which comes first? Decent clients or awards, where do you start? Well it’s rare for a massive brand like Coca Cola to win an award, but that they managed to win a Cannes Festival Grand Prix – a big achievement to do this kind of iconic design for such mainstream brand. Other awards include: multiple Mobius Awards, a Grammy, a D&AD yellow, an Epica, Best of Show at the International FAB (Food and Beverage) design awards and a lot of Dieline Awards.

It’s no wonder that Turner Duckworth has been awarded the inaugural “Agency of the Year” award in recognition of the most Pentawards won by one agency since the competition started in 2006.

Client work to look out for on their site is: Coca Cola, Amazon brand development, Waitrose packaging, Brains (Welsh Beer, get in!), Virgin Atlantic and Motorola.

Venture Three

We have another specialist here, in branding and motion graphics no less, they have done some amazing work for Sky, BAA, Fox, KLM, Credit Suisse, The Times, Manchester United TV, HMV (of which their launch of pure hmv is lush), besides their specialisms, they do work across all mediums as show in their Waterstones re-brand.

Believe it or not, this agency has not been going that long and is more than just a spin off from Wolf Ollins, they deal with the totality of what you see and feel about a brand and always start from a very early point in the whole process, this sets them apart. There is something of the intellectual about Venture Three, something calm and considered. In their short life so far, they have already picked up a D&AD, Marketing Design Awards, a Marketing Week Award and counting… and counting… The saga will continue…

Williams Murray Hamm

Well, we are almost down at the bottom of the list, but by no means at the bottom of the pile (the list is alphabetical in case you haven’t noticed :-).

Their amazing website has now been updated to reflect the work they have been doing over the past 5 years, focusing more on brand identities and integrated design. The majority of their awards these days therefore isn’t just for packaging design. This latest entry is almost a list in itself, well actually it is:

No 1 for Branding in 2004/05/06/07/08 and Top 5 Design Agency in the UK (Design Week)
No.1 for Design Effectiveness 2003/04/06 by the DBA
Twice Agency of the year
Mobius Awards
D&AD Awards
DBA Grand Prix Winner in 2004 for Clipper Tea and Coffee
Design Week Awards
Best product identity at the 2010 Design Week Benchmark Awards
Clio Awards
FAB Award & FABulous Award for Jamie Oliver’s Recipease
New York Festivals Awards

All for work with clients like Clipper Teas, Cobra and Sainsbury’s So Organic, all fantastic, so much so that Garrick Hamm was appointed as D&AD President in 2008/9 and WMH also featuring in the Guardian’s ‘Top 50 Hottest Names in Design’. Beat that, nah, can’t touch this, Da Da Da Da!

Why Not Associates
Why Not Associates

This is one for all you designers who trained during the 90’s, and yes, they are still going, and still going strong by the looks of their awards: the were named studio of the year by Creative Review, won a Tokyo Type Directors Club Grand Prix, have some RTS Awards, 2 Promax Awards, 3 Shark Awards and a Eurovision Silver Award (and no, not for singing during their lunch breaks). Amazing, simply stunning and beautiful work (I could insert a very long list of complimentary phrases)! Give us a job WNA? So, as your here, why not take (a look at these) associates…. sorry 😦 again!

Wolff Olins

Wolff Olins is a brand business and are one of the world’s biggies, they help clients achieve new ambitions through brand-led strategy. They have a great website, I love the navigation, simple and effective with good case studies on international brands to download on each of their clients, why not visit them to look out for clients such as: Unilever, GE, London 2012 Olympics design, Mercedes Benz and NYC (how the hell do you start branding a city like that????). 10 out of 10!

1HQ (formerly Vibrandt, Vibrandt Form and the Distillery)

There is enough companies that have joined forces here to certainly gain some awards, and with clients like Coca Cola, Nestlé, HTC, M&S and Durex, there is no surprise they have some bounce in their stride. 1HQ is an amazing 15th place in the coveted Design Week awards, with top five finishes in packaging and product design. As it’s staff come from all over the place (including 3 ex senior staff from the team at PDD), then it’s pretty tricky to track down all the collective awards they have won, but their accolades include: an IF, a Red Dot, a DBA Design Effectiveness Award, a Starpack, a Millennium Product Award and they were runner up in the DBA Inclusive Design Challenge 2010. Portfolio pieces to look out for are the Rowntree’s Jellies packaging that was shortlisted for 2009 Marketing Design Awards and the really nice poppets redesign which got a PMAG Bronze.

2 Replies to “Top 50 design Agencies in UK – The Desight List”

  1. Reblogged this on my adventure as a… and commented:
    just glancing at these websites and their layouts i bet they are really easy to navigate. probably the worst thing to come across on the internet is a website that is near impossible to get through. usually those are the super ugly ones.

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