WPP has announced that Design Bridge and Superunion will merge to become Design Bridge and Partners next January.
The aim for the new merger is to “provide a simpler and future-facing client offer”, says a WPP spokesperson.
Another ambition is to bring together the studios’ expertise. The spokesperson adds: “Design Bridge’s existing expertise within consumer goods brands and Superunion’s enterprise-level branding and brand experience work will compliment each other to drive growth.”
Current Design Bridge CEO John Morris will continue his role in the new company, while Superunion CEO Jim Prior will take a position as chair. Details of the full management team are yet to be revealed but WPP has confirmed that it will comprise leaders from both Design Bridge and Superunion.
The merger will happen in all markets where the two consultancies currently operate. Design Bridge has studios in over 12 locations worldwide, such as London, New York and Shanghai, while Superunion has bases in 17 countries including the UK, South Africa and Spain.
Until the end of 2022 the two agencies will continue to operate as separate entities. After the merger, there will be over 900 people at Design Bridge and Partners as WPP is aiming to retain all of the current staff, according to the spokesperson.
Design Bridge and Partners’ roster will feature a culmination of the two studios’ existing clients, like NASA, BBC, Unilever, and Fortnum Mason.
The choice to keep Design Bridge in the new company name was made because it has operated as an established company in the industry since 1986, while Superunion is only four years old, explains the spokesperson.
Design Bridge was founded in London and bought by WPP in August 2017. Expansion was a driving force in Design Bridge’s decision to sell the company.
Superunion was the result of a merger in 2018, which brought together five WPP-owned design consultancies – Brand Union, Lambie-Nairn, The Partners, Addison, and Vbat.
It is hoped that the union will “create new growth opportunities” for both staff and clients, says WPP CEO Mark Read.
Prior adds that the aim of the new company is to provide “greater benefit for clients through shared expertise and many more opportunities for [designers] to grow.”