Design Bridge helps brands wage war on mediocrity
For the last 3 decades the award-winning agency Design Bridge helps global brands tell their stories to the world. I amsterdam sat down with the firm's Managing Director Frank Nas to find out more about how they are anything but ordinary.
Design Bridge is anything but ordinary
“Whenever we talk to our clients, we talk to them about how we challenge mediocrity. Essentially, we're waging war on mediocrity.” Design Bridge’s Dutch Managing Director Frank Nas explains the firm’s call to arms - a battle cry aimed at ordinariness - from the firm's Amsterdam city centre office.
It's a quiet Thursday afternoon and Nas is passionately describing how over the last 30 years, Design Bridge has grown to become one of the world’s most respected branding firms. An award-winning, multinational company that has offices in London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai.
“We’re focused on brands in any way shape or form, and we’re applying and helping them with creativity to become more successful.” Evidence of the firm’s excellence is hardly in short supply: in Design Bridge’s office everyday trophies paying tribute to its global impact line the walls and shelves – from jars of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Champion’s League footballs to bottles of Smirnoff that glint in the mid-afternoon sunshine.
Using branding to make the complex seem simple
They might do a lot of things, but according to Nas Design Bridge’s core ethos is all about being true brand creatives.
“We are a team of passionate creative entrepreneurs that makes the complex simple. Defining a brand and creating an idea that fuels everything that a brand does: that’s something we’re good at. It’s always amazing to help visualise the ambition of major brands and help make them more successful. But most of all help to capture the stories that they want to tell.”
A brand might come to Design Bridge because it has lost sight of what it stands for or because it has become generic. It might be that the brand has merged with or being acquired by another company. “We’re here to tell the truth of a brand. We’re best placed to work for brands that have a story to tell and where we can tell that story in a visually compelling way. Design for design’s sake is not what we believe in.”
Design Bridge’s work doesn’t just include packaging for the world’s major brands. As design creatives, its team have worked on a huge range of eye-catching projects, including everything from creating a dynamic visual identity for a landmark development in Singapore to re-branding the world-leading fleet management and mobility company LeasePlan.
Why Design Bridge and Amsterdam are a perfect pair
Design Bridge set up sop in Amsterdam over 25 years ago. When asked why the city suited them, Nas said: “We’re very international and have an international mindset, and Amsterdam is a multicultural melting pot – that’s why I think it is such a great place. We have close to 90 people here from more than 20 different nationalities, and everyone brings their own cultural differences, which is great. That diversity has its own beauty, and if you understand it you can use it to everyone’s benefit.”
Nas also thinks Amsterdam has a special mindset which is perfectly suited to the creative sector. “Amsterdam combines the entrepreneurial Dutch spirit as a small country with a creative mindset. The directness that we have in business helps us find opportunities and is honest, which people like as it helps create clarity. The Dutch are also good at adapting themselves to other markets and open to collaborating. There’s also a strong workforce of independent employees that you can easily tap into, as well as support from the Government and City of Amsterdam to stimulate business.”
How Design Bridge integrates in Amsterdam’s ecosystem
Design Bridge might be an international company, but its Dutch branch plays an active part in Amsterdam’s creative industry. Aside from Nas's position as a chairman on the Association of Dutch Designers’ Nextpack initiative, the firm also launched a new brand to help to boost local trade on the Overtoom, the street its office is on. “That’s nothing to do with commercial work, but it’s that we feel it’s important to contribute to Amsterdam. That’s how to become truly integrated.”
Walking around Design Bridge’s office it’s easy to see signs of the team’s bond, especially as we pass in a meeting where contributions are celebrated with applause and cheers. Nas explains, “There’s a lot of team building that goes on here, and as a creative business that’s important. It creates inspiration and to relieve some stress. We’re also very relaxed about how people work here. We ask a lot from people as we’re so passionate about what we do, but we give a lot back, too.”