AKQA has acquired a majority stake in design and branding agency Made Thought for an undisclosed sum.
Made Thought was founded in 2000 by Ben Parker and Paul Austin, who still lead the 55-strong agency, as well as expanding it from London into New York in January this year.
Its clients have included Pinterest, Adidas and Samsung, and notably it helped craft brewer BrewDog to redefine its brand and move from punk upstart to “maverick with purpose”.
AKQA has also created a new design group to house Made Thought and two design agencies in which it acquired majority stakes in 2018—Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office. These two agencies were more focused on architecture, product and experience design than branding.
The new group has been branded as The New Standard and is intended to “give each studio creative independence as well as the space to collaborate providing original, joined-up, cross platform thinking”, according to AKQA.
Ajaz Ahmed, founder and chief executive of AKQA, said: “Universal, Map and Made Thought are pioneers and innovators with an unmatched track record for design excellence, influential and distinguished work. This partnership represents the next wave to set The New Standard. It is founded on the beliefs that form and substance are inseparable and creativity is both revealed and enhanced in an atmosphere of collaboration.”
Austin and Parker said: “Creativity is the most important currency for business in the 21st century and we believe collaboration is the key to bigger, bolder thinking. For us, the coming together with Universal, Map, alongside AKQA, is the best way to see in this new age of design.”
Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, added that the move would “raise the bar for design that speaks to people across different platforms”.