Branding group Elmwood demonstrated last year how good things can come out of adversity. Like many of its peers it suffered the rigours of recession, but a blend of resilience and creative management thinking looks set to arm it for a bigger role on the international stage, with its sights set on offices in North and South America, and Asia.

It appears in the Hot 50 on the strength of its position at the top of the Design Business Association Design Effectiveness Awards winners’ chart. It is no mean feat to prove commercial effectiveness, but even harder to do that and also win creative awards – as the Leeds-based consultancy has done with aplomb over time.

It is, however, looking to create new consultancy models through its international expansion plans. Last year, chairman Jonathan Sands (pictured) brought in USbased Eliot Schreiber as global president to handle acquisitions there and in Asia. He, meanwhile, supported a move by three key players from the Edinburgh office to go solo, and set up a new environmental group to develop a brand sustainability offer.

The appointment of former Ideo London head Colin Burns to play a global role as nonexecutive director is the icing on the cake.

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