UK groups go global

The anticipated growth in global brands has prompted a new spate of international alliances between design groups specialising in branding and packaging.

The renamed London consultancy PI Design International will celebrate its “hand-shake deal” with US consultancy Libby Perszyk Kathman next week. Meanwhile, Siebert Head is developing the International Design Alliance Global Branding Services (Ideal) with at least five international partners.

The PI/LPK deal follows the management buyout of the London packaging specialist earlier this year, spearheaded by managing director Chris Griffin (DW 19 May). PI already had an office in Brussels to service continental clients, but, says Griffin, “to tackle a global agenda, we felt we needed another location”. LPK has offices in New York and Cincinnati, and entered the deal with PI having withdrawn “amicably” from its previous UK interest Scott Libby Heming.

LPK founder and former SLH director Mort Libby sees “a good long-term relationship” between “strong partners” emerging from the PI deal.

LPK’s involvement in SLH failed because of the downturn in work in the UK, Libby says. Another partner in SLH, Rowland Heming of Brussels group Pineapple, had already left “because he couldn’t support the cash needs of (SLH managing director) Andy Scott”, says Libby. Heming is now close to forming a new partnership with another global group, while Scott remains sole director at SLH in London.

Ideal is different in that it is more formal, says Siebert Head managing director John Parsons. There is no equity ownership between the founder members – Siebert Head, Chicago group Source, Colonna Farrell in San Francisco, Magnagraphics of Cincinnati, Thomas Pigeon in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, and Image & Communication of Turin in Italy. But they are bound by an “alliance agreement”, he says.

“The idea is to make a network that is relevant in terms of global coverage,” says Parsons. To this end Ideal is also talking to associate groups in Japan, Singapore and South America.

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