A Brief Look at One of The Largest Graphic Design Companies in the US

We’ll delve into each large graphic design and consulting company here to learn a little more. Read on.

Two of the top companies in the Global Graphic Design Market are Landor Associates and Pentagram. Although they share the same type of work, the two companies operate very differently and have grown in different ways since their initial creation. We’ll delve into each company here to learn a little more about them including their histories, the scope of their work, and some of the clients they serve.

Brand consulting and design company – Landor Associates

Landor Associates (Landor) is one of the world’s largest and most influential brand consulting firms. They were founded in 1941 and have 26 offices in 20 different countries. In 1989 they were acquired by WPP, which is a British multinational advertising and public relations company. Landor’s immediate parent is Young & Rubicam, itself one of the largest global marketing communications companies in the world.

What they do: “We design for the future—in ways that make sense right now. We’re strategic experts and creative explorers committed to solving complex challenges. With smart tools and global resources, we examine the implications of every brand choice, create new experiences, and open doors to opportunity.[1]

More specifically, here are the services that Landor provide as laid out on their website

  • Insights & analytics
  • Strategy & positioning
  • Innovation
  • Brand architecture
  • Naming & verbal identity
  • Brand engagement
  • Identity
  • Packaging
  • Adaptation & implementation
  • Experiences & environments
  • Interactive & new media
  • And things yet to be discovered

The company was founded by a man named Walter Landor who was a German immigrant to the US. Some of their first designs were for beer company logos and he won numerous awards for these. Walter always focused on a client-driven approach and his firm was one of the first to incorporate consumer research into their work.

As Landor’s reputation grew, they spread to more and more industries and types of companies. In addition, their breadth of services increased from a focus on packaging design to a huge number of offerings to their clients such as brand positioning, copywriting, corporate naming and many others.

In 1964, Landor moved their corporate headquarters from a regular office to a renovated ferryboat named Klamath which was moored in San Francisco Bay. This change in office location was intended to engender increased creativity amongst the employees and be a symbol to potential clients that their firm represented fresh thinking. While the company grew too large for this office, the spirit of creativity remained and Landor’s position as a leader in graphic design was set to last for decades to come.

Landor has clients across every industry. Here are some examples of some of the more recognised brands that they have worked with.

 

  • Etihad Airways
  • BMW
  • Lamborghini
  • Constellation Brands (Corona)
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • BP
  • Barclays
  • Kraft-Heinz
  • Marriott International
  • General Electric
  • NFL
  • Microsoft

Due to Landor’s ownership place in a large, complex multinational corporation, trying to get an insight into their financials is extremely challenging. One recent estimate of Landor’s annual revenue is $40M

Independent design company – Pentagram

Pentagram is an independently owned, global design studio which was founded in London in 1972. They are proud of their independence and claim to be the world’s largest independent design studio. They have offices in London, Berlin and several cities in the US. When the firm was created, the idea was to have a horizontal, rather than a vertical organisational structure. The goal in doing this was to make the company incredibly collaborative and to bring together minds from many different disciplines that could add different perspectives and ultimately make the designs better as a result.

Today, the firm has 23 partner-designers spread across the different offices globally, and they each have a team of designers under them. Still with that collaborative spirit in mind, the partners all share the income of the firm equally and own an equal portion of the company as well. This structure is certainly unique and is also something that the company is proud of as all the partners are hands-on and participate in the work for each and every client.

The scope of Pentagram’s work is graphic design, brand identity, architecture, interiors and products, exhibits and installations, websites and digital experiences, advertising and communications.

Some of Pentagram’s recent clients include Slack, Van Leeuwen ice creams, Citibank, United Airlines, The Co-operative and The Big Ten.

As Pentagram is independently owned, they have no requirement to issue publicly available financial statements. One source estimates that Pentagram’s annual revenue is around $11M.