Design is a skill which many companies can acquire, but only the truly gifted graphic design companies will take it to the next level. In an industry as seriously competitive as graphic design, it can be difficult to establish a name brand.
Even so, there are several graphic design companies and design agencies around the world that have managed to cut through the clutter and garner international prestige. Their A-list clients, diverse portfolios and prominence both locally and globally have made them some of the most sought-after, most famous graphic design companies on the planet.
Here are the 40 most famous graphic design companies in the industry to date, listed in no particular order:
“The world’s largest independently owned design studio,” Pentagram is owned and run equally by 25 partners—all of whom are leaders in the design industry. Their star-studded list of past and present partners includes names like Alan Fletcher, Bob Gill, Paula Scher and Michael Bierut.
Locations: Austin, Berlin, New York and San Francisco
Notable clients: Planned Parenthood, Rolls-Royce, Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, The Guggenheim, United Airlines, Verizon, Walgreens, Warner Brothers, Windows
Services offered: brand identity, book design, campaigns, data visualization, digital design, editorial design, environmental graphics, exhibition design, film and motion graphics, industrial/product design, interiors and architecture, naming, packaging, sound design
In their own words, Landor is “the world’s preeminent brand consulting firm.” Headquartered in San Francisco and operating offices in 25 world-class cities, this design giant has one of the most enviable client lists on the planet.
Headquarters: San Francisco
Locations: Bangkok, Beijing, Cape Town, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dubai, Geneva, Guangzhou, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo
Notable clients: Apple, Australian Open, BMW, British Airways, FedEx, Kellogg’s, Kraft, P&G, PepsiCo, Volkswagen
Services offered: adaptation and implementation, brand architecture, brand engagement, brand identity, brand innovation, experiences and environments, interactive and new media, insights and analytics, naming and verbal identity, packaging, strategy and positioning,
“We make things different to make a difference,” says brand consultancy agency, Wolff Olins. Their solid reputation has lent itself to an all-star list of clients, including the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, whose logo was rumored to have a $625,000 price tag.
Locations: New York and San Francisco
Notable clients: 3M, Apple, eBay, Hyatt, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Spotify, Target, Uber, Wikimedia
Brand philosophy: strategy, design and change
One of the leading design firms in the world, Meta Design has crafted compelling brand experiences for more than 20 years. From reinventing Apple’s Mac OS design system to collaborating on Adobe’s packaging and identity, their caliber of work resonates on a global level that’s tough to match.
Headquarters: San Francisco
Locations: New York, Zurich, Beijing, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Geneva and Lausanne
Notable clients: Adidas, Apple, AT&T, Coca-Cola, DHL, Lacoste, New York Philharmonic, Porsche, Volkswagen, Yves Saint Laurent
Services offered: brand activation, brand creation, brand experience, brand strategy
This New York-based firm was founded by web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman and has won more web design awards than just about anybody. Known for their engaging web environments, Happy Cog keeps their high-profile clients happy with their impressive web design, development, and user experience consultancy.
In their own words, Happy Cog is the graphic design studio which will “help you craft your message, target the right audiences, compel them to act and measure the results.
Headquarters: New York
Notable clients: Airbnb, AMC Theatres, Ben & Jerry’s, Google, MTV, Nintendo, Papa John’s, Stanford University, Zagat, Zappos
Services offered: content strategy, design and branding, development, digital marketing, project definition, research
With over 30 years of industry prominence and clocking more than 350 national and international awards, The Chase has garnered attention for their innovative corporate branding and print design. These self-proclaimed “creative consultants” offer an interesting sampling of skills including calendar design, museum exhibits and sports stadium branding.
Locations: Preston and London
Notable clients: Alibaba, Amnesty International, BBC, Disney, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Museum of London, Shell, Smirnoff, Yellow Pages
Areas of expertise: advertising, architecture, digital, film
Pearlfisher is all about “designing for life,” operating with a mindset which focuses on creating “simpler, lighter, more desirable ideas for the future.” With more than two decades of experience and a growing list of prestigious awards, Pearlfisher’s “visionary group of futurists, strategists, designers and realizers” have made a lasting impact on the global graphic design landscape.
Locations: New York, San Francisco and Copenhagen
Notable clients: Access Entertainment, B&O Play, Cadbury, Jim Beam, Starbucks, Wolfgang Puck, Yoplait
Brand philosophy: body, community, leisure, luxury, mobility, nature, taste
Charlie Smith Design was founded in 2003 by ex-Pentagram designer, Charlie Smith. Coming from such a world-renowned graphic design company, it’s no surprise her new project was a success. Her team offers a full range of services including packaging and digital, and they take a detail oriented approach, giving attention to every aspect of each design project, from paper choice to materials used.
Notable clients: Dragonfly Tea, John Lewis, Louis Vuitton, Phaidon, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate, Terence Woodgate, Unicef, University of the Arts London, Yale
Services offered: brand positioning and strategy, digital design, moving image design, packaging, print design, signage
Mucho carries an awareness that designs travel beyond the computer screen: designs appear in the world around us, and designers should take care to make the world look aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, they are dedicated to shaping how their clients are perceived on an international level. Their success in this regard is proven through their astonishingly large client list.
Locations: New York, Paris and San Francisco
Notable clients: Apple, BMW, Gap Inc., Google, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Phaidon, San Francisco Art Exchange, University of California, Venmo
Areas of expertise: brand management, brand narrative, brand strategy
Designers Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar are like two lesser-known Paul Rands. They started in 1958 and have worked for the biggest clients in the world. Their work is iconic and has stood the test of time. With the addition of Sagi Haviv in 2006, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv is still going strong and continuing to shape some of the biggest brands in the world.
Headquarters: New York
Notable clients: Chase Bank, HarperCollins, Harvard University Press, Hearst, NBC, National Geographic, Showtime, State Farm, US Open, WordPress
Specialties: brand identity and logo design
Based in Madrid, Saffron Brand Consultants‘ approach is to help “transform brands and businesses with the clarity of rigorous thinking and the courage of bold ideas.” Started back in 2001, the firm has climbed its way to the top by embracing globalization and the potential of emerging markets.
Locations: Istanbul, London, Mumbai and Vienna
Notable clients: Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Coca-Cola, Fujitsu, Goldman Sachs, Proximus, The Institute of Cancer Research, Rostelecom, V Festival, YouTube
Brand philosophy: create, grow, adapt, transform
A self-proclaimed “brand intelligence group,” Anagrama is an international branding, architecture and software firm with a stellar track record (and a successful, wide-ranging clientele to match). The company is driven by togetherness, creativity and a deadline-oriented workflow process. Essentially, it’s a winning blend of free-spirited art and rational thinking.
Headquarters: Monterrey, Mexico
Locations: Mexico City and Tokyo
Notable clients: Conarte Library, Infamuse, Redberry, Sally Beauty, Tequila Delaluz, Winter Milk
Services offered: architecture, brand strategy, interior design, print and digital design, software services, web design and development
Since 1977, Studio Dumbar has created meaningful brands “from strategy to reality.” What makes this firm unique is that it’s part of a larger organization, Dept, which is home to 750 experts in digital media. Talk about connections, eh?
Notable clients: BigMile, Chelsea Nike Megastore, Cities In Motion, DEMO Festival, Dutch National Police, European Design Festival, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Transavia, Van Gogh Museum, VBMS
Specialties: brand strategy and visual identity
A Practice for Everyday Life has built their reputation on solid business relationships with like-minded clients. They focus on concepts, making sure every design in unique and meaningful. Their scope of work includes art direction, identities, publications, exhibitions, type design, signage, packaging, and digital.
Notable clients: APFEL, Art on the Underground, Australian Center for Contemporary Arts, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London College of Fashion, Manchester School of Art, Modern Art Oxford, Performa, Tate
Areas of expertise: art direction, brand identity, digital design, exhibitions, packaging, publications, signage, typography
Warsaw-based Fireart Studio prides itself on its diverse clientele, which ranges from startups to the world’s leading brands. In addition to important clients, they have a big fan following to back it up (their Dribble page sees over 12K daily visitors).
Notable clients: 2Park, Atlassian, Codio, Google, MyTaxi, Radial Hub, Swipex, Swisscom, WinRAR
Services offered: brand identity, development, motion design, outstaffing, product design
Spin is all about bringing elegant and clean ideas to a wide range of sectors, including arts, communication, broadcast, design, electronics and entertainment. They also pride themselves on their proactive responses to creative briefs—which include in-depth background research on their clients and even workshops with target-demographics if necessary.
Notable clients: Apple, BBC, Channel 4, Collect, Crafts Council, D&AD, Design Museum, Deutsche Bank, Google Jigsaw, Hewlett-Packard, Meta, Ministry of Sound, Nike, Print Magazine, Proa, Samsung, Simon Pengelly, Wired
Areas of expertise: digital, print and environmental design
One of the most famous typography companies in the world is surprisingly based in Delaware. Named “the masters of typography” by Fast Company Magazine, House Industries has created a plethora of gorgeous custom fonts which have been seen by millions of fashionistas, TV viewers and concert audiences.
Headquarters: Yorklyn, Delaware
Notable clients: Agent Provocateur, Design Within Reach, Herman Miller, Hermes, Jimmy Kimmel Live, MTV, Target, The Cher Show, The New Yorker, UNIQLO
Areas of expertise: drawing, font creation, lettering, painting
SocioDesign is famed for their minimal and reductive style which allows clients to turn their brands into cross-cultural assets. In other words, their designs have a universal feel to them which appeals to many regions of the globe. This global approach has allowed SocioDesign to reach further than most graphic design studios, and it’s what has helped develop their international fame.
Notable clients: Beau Cacao, Capital Magazine, Chaos Fashion, KAE, MatchPint, Nokia, Rambling Muse, Sonos, STOR, Trace Magazine, Truth Consulting, Twice Fashion
Areas of expertise: brand identity, digital experiences, packaging solutions
Triboro is the Brooklyn-based design duo of David Heasty of Texas and Stefanie Weigler of Germany. Just because you have a small team doesn’t mean you can’t make a big splash. Their work is colorful, creative and hip—it shepherds their clients to new and exciting territory. It’s also known for its high integrity and quality (as shown by their numerous industry awards).
Notable clients: AIGA, BLK DNM, GQ Style Guide, MoMa, New York Magazine, Stella Artois, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, William Rast, Wired
Areas of focus: publishing, art, fashion, music, lifestyle, cultural
Only is a strategy and design consultancy that has won awards at Heist and BIMA events. They are focused on connecting brands to people by creating designs which accurately articulate each company’s ideas. They also find inspiration from the people who their clients serve, which further strengthens the client/customer connection.
Notable clients: British Interactive Media Association, Design for Europe, Helbers, Onaway, Printworks London, Roundhouse, Sony Music, The British Academy, University of Suffolk
Design philosophy: “Simple is powerful”
Since 1969, Frog has been the graphic design company that “advances the human experience through design.” They achieve this bold goal through a human-centric design philosophy and a strong focus on the emotional aspect of creativity. Looking to the future, Frog keeps a pulse on evolving technology through its work with intelligent systems, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and adaptive environments.
Headquarters: San Francisco
Locations: Austin, Bangalore, Barcelona, Boston, Grenoble, Gurgaon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Malmo, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Tel Aviv
Notable clients: Alto, BNY Mellon, British Telecom, Heatworks, Lumen, Porsche, SF MoMa, Supersonic, Tuesday Capital, Unem, Xiaomi
Services offered: architectural design, customer experience design, growth strategy, org activation, product and service design, venture design
Made by Alphabet falls on the more youthful side of the spectrum. They are a team of young designers, their personality is playful and they aren’t afraid to crack jokes. Their work is geared towards the millennials to which they offer a fresh and energetic approach.
Notable clients: Adventure Films, Extrajet, Flyby, Hippo&Crate, JD Sports, Metrin Skincare, NBA, OnePlus, The British Independent Film Festival, Tiqld Spices
Areas of focus: art direction, branding and identity, messaging and tone of voice, print and editorial, strategy and positioning, web and social
DIA is all about dissolving egos to focus on business goals. They strive to put aside personal interests and look at the big picture. They also specialize in flexible designs: those that can change shape and color, and that have a lasting and positive impact on any given business.
Headquarters: New York
Notable clients: Adidas, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, FX, Maison Kitsuné, Mitsubishi, NBC, Nike, Nissan, Squarespace
Specialty: kinetic identity systems
Radish lab is a graphic design firm which has made a name for itself through work with a diverse array of social change projects. By combining a desire to do good with a drive to “tell compelling visual stories,” Radish Lab continues to make a bold impact on the global landscape of design, as well as an impact on local and international communities.
Notable clients: American Cancer Society, BMW Foundation, Columbia University, Eventbrite, Promundo, Rainforest Alliance, (RED), The Linux Foundation, The Guggenheim, Unicef
Services offered: branding and design, strategy and communications, website and interactive
Hey focuses on geometry, color and direct typography through brand identity design, editorial design and illustration. They take pride in attentive one-on-one relationships in which every step is given care.
Notable clients: Apple, CBS, Fortune Magazine, General Electric, Mr. Porter, Penguin Random House, The Wall Street Journal, Turkish Airlines, UNIQLO, Vodafone
Specialties: art direction, branding, campaigns, illustration, licensing, packaging, publishing, typography
Franklyn claims to be the “creative studio you’ve been searching for all your life.” Their approach comes from a boutique mindset, or in other words, a mindset that is simultaneously fashionable yet not out-of-reach to smaller customers. Coming from Brooklyn, they also aren’t afraid to show their hip personality through the use of slang like “trill” (true and real).
Notable clients: Airbnb, Converse, God’s Love We Deliver, Kimski, MetLife, Parlor Coffee, Shapeways, Trade Coffee, tokyobike, Zagat
Services offered: app design, branding, brand strategy, web design and development
For more than 30 years, this Western Australian boutique studio has proven that size doesn’t always matter. Recipients of numerous Creativity International awards (along with quite a few more), Dessein is regularly recognized for their work in branding, print and packaging design.
Notable clients: Albany Entertainment Centre, Black Swan STC, Cafe Corporate, il gelato, Mondo Nougat, Hunsa, Rubra, Whiteman Park, Zwena
Services offered: branding, displays and exhibitions, logo design, packaging design, photography, print materials, signage, style guides, vehicle graphics, website design
A Branding and graphic design agency based in India, Litmus Branding‘s motto is to “make your brand strategy simple”—not that simplicity doesn’t mean hard work. Beyond brand strategy, web design and print work, they’ve managed to knock out more than 400 logos in three years (that’s two per week!). They have a sizable portfolio of Indian clients as well as companies from all over the world.
Notable clients: America Solar Clean Energy, C|Max, Columbia Business School, Indus Travels, Green Products, Lotus Dairy, Luxor, Malaysia Kargo
Services offered: app development and design, brand strategy and development, copywriting and content strategy, digital marketing, packaging design, web design and development
Casa Rex is a São Paulo-based design firm that’s received accolades from all the heavy-hitters—Communication Arts, Core77, Good, HOW and many more. Headed by Gustavo Piqueira (who’s won 500+ international design awards himself), the firm has mastered everything from typefaces and homeware to environmental projects and cutting-edge branding.
Headquarters: São Paulo
Notable clients: Axe, Burger King, Campari, Dove, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Skyy Vodka, Suave, Tresemme, Unilever
Specialties: contemporary visual narratives, visual culture research, language limits, graphic workshops
Headquartered in Bucharest, Brandient design firm delivers branding solutions for a variety of big Romanian companies as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups. They pride themselves in a mastery of “complex rebranding processes” with a multidisciplinary approach that bridges marketing and business with creative thinking.
Notable clients: Bitdefender, CEC Bank, Dedeman, Domo, Nextebank, Silva, Tinmar, Transavia, Vodafone
Specialties: brand innovation, communication design, complex rebranding exercises, consultancy, corporate identity design, digital design, naming services, packaging design, public speaking
Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, the ID&B design firm boasts an impressive portfolio of branding work and communications design. Started back in 2005, ID&B’s work ranges from small niche projects to brand strategy for some of the world’s biggest companies.
Headquarters: Cape Town
Notable clients: Coca-Cola, Dr Hauschka Skincare, IntelX, Kinektek, Old Mutual, PNI Media, Shoprite, The Presidency Republic of South Africa, USave, Virgin
Services offered: strategy, UX/UI, visual identity
A Tokyo-based design firm, Eat Creative specializes in branding, web design, print and content creation. With more than 18 years of experience in the Japanese marketplace, they’re no stranger to the importance of adapting to different cultural points of view.
Locations: Hong Kong
Notable clients: ASICS, Deutsche Bank, Diptyque, Gap China, InterContinental, Kiehl’s, Meroware, TEDxTokyo, The Peninsula Hotels, Volkswagen Japan
Services offered: branding, communication strategy, content creation, digital design, events, print design, project management, web design
Re-public has been creating cross-platform design solutions since 1999. Their work connects many dots on the map, including Mexico, Copenhagen and China, and their trophy shelf is full of awards from Red Dot Design, the Creative Circle Awards, the German Design Awards, Kolla! and Årets Bedste Bogarbejde.
Notable clients: 1602, Bilbasen, ByWho, DBA, Gold-Smidt Assembly, Hatt, Leckerbaer, Nord Centro, QVARTZ, SOS International
Specialties: branding, visual identity, digital design, graphic design, naming
Essen is another detail-oriented graphic design company that takes full responsibility for each project, from start to finish. They’ve been around since 1980 and their nearly 40 years of experience show strong. Their design projects are meticulous, deeply thought out, colorful and conceptually intelligent.
Locations: San Francisco
Notable clients: Björn Borg, Filippa K, Friskis & Svettis, Indy Beauty, SAAB, Skanska, Swedbank, The City of Stockholm, Swisscom, Vattenfall
Areas of specialty: strategy, design, content, technology
Bedow began out of desperation. Designer Perniclaw Bedow was out of work and decided his only choice was to start his own graphic design company. He wanted to start something different from the norm. Since 2005, Bedow has paved their own way. No longer desperate, they now have their pick of highly-regarded clients to work for. Additionally they stay true to a unique aesthetic that brings playfulness, clever ideas and bright color palettes to the table. Their list of awards is lengthy and includes the European, German and Swedish Design Awards. Each one is well earned!
Notable clients: Essem Design, Momento Film, Oddwood, Polyester, Qapital, Record Mania, Unicef
Specialties: packaging, product design, publications, visual identity
What separates Bond is their careful staff curation. They’ve made a point to bring in designers from many different fields in order to build a multi-disciplinary studio. Bond specializes in identity, digital, retail & spatial, and packaging & product design for a range of businesses between start-ups and global brands.
Locations: Dubai, London and Talinn
Notable clients: ArtRabbit, Dubai Design Week, Flamingo Skies, Good Sport, Grano, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Mieli, Rainmaker, Sushi & Co.
Services offered: animation and motion graphics, brand architecture, brand identity, brand strategy, digital content creation, interior design, naming and verbal identity, packaging, print design, UI/UX design
In their own words, Studio Fnt “collects fragmented and straying thoughts, and then organises and transforms them into relevant forms.” In other words, Studio Fnt is a funnel, concentrating ideas from clients, target demographics and their surrounding world into concepts and subsequently visual forms. Studio Fnt works with prints, identities, and interactive/digital media.
Notable clients: Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Field Trip, Hyundai, Materia, Milk Lab, Megabox, Ulju Mountain Film Festival
Specialties: cultural arts events, corporate branding, exhibition designs
Fable specializes in concept-driven ideas through brand identity, art direction, wayfinding, editorial, packaging, publishing and digital design. It’s no surprise they have recently won the prestigious British Design & Art Direction Award, especially given how mesmerizing their colorful, geometric and pattern based designs are!
Notable clients: Alpha Drive, Brain Magazine Japan, Hello 2016, Hidden, JUJU, Pangdemonium, Play, The Balance Company, The Meeting Room, Think Teach Academy, Wealth Destined
Specialties: brand strategy, visual identities, creative campaigns, print and digital communications, spatial experiences
Much of Winkreative’s portfolio is oozing with A-list clients in the travel and hospitality industry, and the company’s distinguished, jetsetting sense style is evident in every creation. They focus on the big picture, beginning with strategic need, which they say is “the essential foundation for every client and project.”
Notable clients: Air Canada, Deutsche Telecom, Lexus, Loews Hotels, Louis Vuitton, Porter Airlines, St. Moritz, The Avior, The Knightsbridge Estate, Wimbledon
Services offered: strategy, visual identity, print, digital, film, packaging, environment, advertising
Bravo is another graphic design company with a sense of humor. Their profile page is a loose form of a Mad-Lib puzzle, comparing their design work to Chuck Norris and The Game of Thrones. They serve clients on opposite ends of the globe and their highly-refined work still lets their fun personality show through.
Notable clients: Cocoa Colony, Full of Luck Club, Marriott, Mexout, Nike, Podi, Rhinoshield, Reebok, Sephora, Yahoo!
Specialties: branding, community management, concept development, content and strategy, copywriting, identity design, motion and animation, packaging, photography and videography, UI/UX design
Graphic design agency quality with a freelancer spirit
And there you have it, the biggest design company names in the industry. Whether you’re looking for a graphic design agency, a graphic design studio, or a freelance graphic designer, a professional talent pool of designers is the key to getting great results. Are you reinventing your brand or building something new? Start with an excellent design for your logo and branding, courtesy of our global community of designers.
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This article was originally written by workerbee and published in 2016. It’s been updated with more information and examples.