Moves and changes: design industry news

All the latest moves and changes across the design industry.


Royal College of Art’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Paul Thompson

The Royal College of Art’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Paul Thompson will be stepping down in the summer of 2024, after 15 years in the role. During his tenure, Thompson worked alongside three chancellors: Sir Terence Conran, Sir James Dyson, and Sir Jony Ive. The RCA Council are currently on an international search for a new Vice-Chancellor to take over from next year.

Branding consultancy Saffron and Japanese content and consulting company Original Inc. have announced they will begin an exclusive partnership from March 2023 to offer brand consultancy services in the greater Japanese region. The companies also plan to position themselves as “as a hub of knowledge and solutions on branding” providing virtual and physical seminars and workshops to institutions and companies.

Elmwood has two new hires joining the team as the company looks to build on its success in FMCG and healthcare. Christine Lewington, who joins Elmwood as strategy director, started her career at The Brand Union (now Superunion), later moving to Design Bridge, where she worked in brand strategy for over five years. Gabrielle Sutherland joins the UK studio as client partner, with almost 20 years of experience in consumer and retail healthcare.

Pearlfisher’s Elizabeth Eidshaug has been promoted to executive director of brand and business growth, following significant contributions to the New York studio’s development since joining in 2018. In her new role, Eidshaug will be responsible for devising and implementing the studio’s growth strategy.

Ad agency Periscope has made two new creative leadership appointments in a move to highlight the company’s renewed focus on design. Annette Fonte has been named senior vice president of business and brand leadership, while Veronica Padilla joins as vice president and head of design.

Ignition’s new hires

Bristol-based exhibition, events and experience design studio Ignition has made four new hires: Katy Evans as client partnership director; Saskia Horne as office manager; Sam Morris as head of operations; and Hannah Preston as account director.


DesignStudio Group has launched a new independent brand agency, 1.1, which is dedicated to partnering with early-stage businesses and will operate separately from the core business. Principal Paul Irwin, and design director Georgia Martin will lead the new studio in designing brand identities, engaging websites, and creating investor and pitch decks for clients.

Deloitte has partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, US, to form The Deloitte Foundry. The news comes off the back of a multi-year collaboration between Deloitte and SCADpro – the university’s in-house research and design studio – and the facility says it will focus on advancing creative solutions to complex technological challenges facing government agencies and businesses.

The Deloitte Foundry will launch several new initiatives this year, such as the Deloitte Rapid Implementation Studio, where it says multidisciplinary teams of SCAD students and faculty will respond to real-world business challenges through actionable solutions rooted in human-centered design. Another initiative will be the Digital Frontier Studio, which will focus on research, design, and implementation strategies around digital topics such as immersive reality, the metaverse, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

London-based FutureDeluxe will join forces with Canada-based design, animation and tech specialists Tendril to co-invest in a new organisation called Forever. The venture seeks to combine design talent from both studios, across offices in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil and Australia. While the two consultancies will continue to work independently under their respective banners, they say they will also work in curated teams when needed as new opportunities arise.

Women-owned experience design studio Luci Creative has opened a third studio in Seattle in a bid to balance out its Midwest and East Coast presence. The firm’s original headquarters are in the Chicago area, with its second studio in Boston.

Geely Group has opened the Geely Innovation Design Centre Italy with the view of becoming a key partner for Geely Auto Design HQ in Shanghai, as well as other international design centres. The Milan-based studio will work on the research and development of concept cars and production vehicles and act as an industry think tank for ambitious projects and innovation.

Global digital innovation studio Multivitamin has acquired digital marketing agency BMAS Social, with Marcus Edgworth being brought over to run its social offer. With it, BMAS Social brings clients such as Ettinger, Moco Museum and David Yarrow.

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