The UK design business is still very much in the doldrums, with the sector characterised by tight budgets, nervous clients and a reluctance to push boundaries. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel - albeit a long way off.
That's the resounding message from Marketing's 2003 Design Agency League Tables. Of the 83 companies entered, more than a third saw their fee income fall in 2002. And of those that managed to grow their business in 2002, only ten increased their fee income by more than 30% and 15 enjoyed only single-digit percentage growth.
Perhaps the most revealing statistic in this year's league table is that of the top ten companies, seven suffered a fee income fall in 2002, and of the remaining three, Syzygy's 8% growth was the biggest rise.
Some sectors fared better than others. Packaging, traditionally robust, held up better than corporate identity and branding. And while UK retail business has been relatively quiet, many retail specialists have compensated for the lack of UK activity with overseas contracts.
Tailored events are also becoming important for many clients, at the expense of traditional exhibitions. And more clients are recognising the value of internal communications to win the hearts and minds of staff.
The league tables have been hit this year by the absence of 17 companies affected by the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act (see box, page 32), including eight of last year's top ten. In their absence, The Imagination Group tops this year's table by some distance. Though its fee income of £35.8m is 13% down on last year, it is more than three times that of second-placed Design Bridge on £9.15m and third-placed Corporate Edge with £8.9m.
After two years of hard times, few in the design industry are trying to gloss over the problems. Even those that managed to grow fee income in 2002 admit doing so was difficult. Others concede that one big contract win made all the difference.
Riding tough times
Trends that emerge from this year's league tables are: the value that many agencies place on long-term client relationships; the growing importance of international contracts; and, on an optimistic note, the fact that some agencies believe client confidence is slowly returning and that 2003 is looking better than 2002.
"The second half of 2002 and early 2003 have been the toughest in terms of client commitment to budgets and new business opportunities," says Haygarth Design joint managing director Robert Goldsmith. "But the second half of 2003 looks more buoyant. Clients are not increasing spend, but there is more certainty that they will spend what they say they will."
After the past couple of years, many in the business hope Goldsmith is right. "Marketing and design spend has reduced to the point where all design firms have suffered," says Tony Walford, commercial and financial director at third-placed Corporate Edge, which benefited last year from strategy and branding work on the Nectar launch for client Loyalty Management UK. "Many companies are down by 50% on revenue and staff from two years ago. Some of the cutbacks have been vicious."
To a certain extent, says Adrian Day, joint managing director of Ziggurat, the industry only has itself to blame. "When you look at the promises that were made to build a brand in a day, the huge corporate projects and huge fees, you sensed the bubble was about to burst," he says.
Peter Matthews, managing director of Nucleus, goes further, arguing that as they have cancelled and deferred projects, smarter clients have realised that a lot of the service providers they used in the past are not as critical to their own business as they had thought. So now supply of all marketing services, including design, will greatly exceed demand.
There's another problem, too, says Matthews. Customers now understand enough to see through much of the marketing business. "They know when a piece of advertising flatters to deceive, when a pack design dresses up the same old product, when a web site promises convenience and just aggravates," he says.
The challenge this presents for designers and brand custodians, says Matthews, is to create brand experiences that accurately deliver brand promises. "Our position has been to help clients ensure the brand experience is aligned with the brand promise, because that's where business value is created, captured or destroyed," he says. "Fortunately, we have enough clients that agree this is the right approach."
Nucleus is not alone in seeing an opportunity in this depressed environment.
While no one enjoys laying people off, several agencies we spoke to talked of a necessary readjustment caused by the harsh conditions, which has seen them emerge stronger for it.
"We are getting back on our feet. It has made us look very hard at the way we operate, sell and deliver to clients and we have come out of it a tougher and tighter group," says Stephen Izatt, managing director of 4i, which grew its fee income by 10% in 2002.
One consequence of the current climate, says Izatt, is that: "We only pick fights we know we can win. We are always going to lose small projects on price, so while we will take on small projects, we will only do so for clients that see the value of working with us."
Another inevitable consequence is that clients want to know what they are getting for their money, and that it's working for them. Design has never been more accountable.
"Clients are looking for agencies that can deliver and show tangible results," says Sean Lewis, head of brand strategy at Finisterre, which works with companies such as Lloyds TSB and Royal & SunAlliance. "If you're small, independent and agile, clients can see where their money is being spent. They know we don't carry the overheads of larger agencies."
For first-placed Imagination, meanwhile, the harsh conditions in 2002 did at least serve to get clients thinking again about the fundamentals of design.
"A lot of our clients want solutions, not media or style or reputation," says Imagination marketing and strategic planning director Ralph Ardill.
"They want to buy ideas that deliver solutions to the problems they have. This demand for more objectivity, more idea-centric thinking, is music to our ears, because it's the principle we were founded on 25 years ago."
Key business wins for Imagination in 2002 included Royal Bank of Scotland, Warner Bros and the BBC. And while Ardill sees no immediate end to the gloom, he refuses to be downbeat. "It is tough out there, but you have to understand that at times like this, innovators get ahead," he says.
Second-placed Design Bridge managed a modest rise in fee income from £8.8m to £9.1m, but according to chairman Sir Bill Goodenough, the UK market was responsible for little of this. "Seventy per cent of our work is outside the UK, so we are not reliant on one economy," he points out.
Design Bridge is not alone in seeking solace outside the UK. Several agencies report that more than half their 2002 fee income was earned from international contracts. Many of these are in the retail sector, where Dalziel & Pow earns 53% of its fee income abroad and Michael Allen International, which specialises in the banking sector, 95%.
According to Dalziel & Pow creative director David Dalziel, it's not just the work that appeals to the company, but the attitude of international clients, too. "There's less emphasis on fees in the international market than in the UK," he says. "People come to the UK for the big idea."
Back home, those agencies serving predominantly UK clients tell a different story, one characterised by reduced budgets, deferred projects and a great deal of nervousness on clients' behalf.
"Winning new business is a lottery right now," says Richard Bissland, chairman of 999 Design Group. "I've never seen so much strategically sound creative work end up in the wastebasket. Some clients are nervous about new communication strategies they perceive take them 'too far' and others want to re-invent themselves, mostly for the wrong reasons. Pre-judging what clients want to achieve is the secret. Most success right now comes from designing in the comfort zone."
In such an environment, several consultancies highlight the value of long-term client relationships. Even loyal clients, they say, want more for less, but an established relationship does at least allow the agency to concentrate on doing the work, rather than finding it in the first instance.
Charlie Wrench, managing director of Landor Associates, which, as part of WPP was unable to take part in this year's survey (see box, page 32), claims it has tripled its income per client since three years ago. At that time it set out to build "stronger and deeper relationships" with clients, while maintaining its traditional margins.
"There is a lot of price pressure, but most of it is felt with new business" says Wrench. "Existing clients are more selective, but our reputation for delivering quality work is such that people have stopped asking us if we can do it for less."
Despite the austere atmosphere, there were some success stories in 2002.
No company managed triple-digit growth, but there were some impressive performances. Bite grew its fee income by 73% to £532,000, while The Church Agency managed an 86% increase to £1.3m.
Among the larger agencies, Dutton Merrifield put on 60% to £2m. Managing director David Merrifield concedes that one large client, third-generation mobile phone brand 3, was largely responsible for the rise, but says that being integrated and independent also helped.
"Integrated agencies do well when the economy shrinks and people need more for their money. And because we are independent, we don't have the same pressure on earnings growth as our peers who are part of listed groups," he says. "We have remained profitable, and we have not cut our headcount too much, so we have not diminished our ability to deliver."
At Creative Leap, which grew fee income by 31% to £1.5m, managing director Trevor Bradford tells a similar story. "We certainly attribute our continued growth to our ability to deliver strategic insight and creative excellence from a single source," he says. "It makes perfect sense for the people who are creating brands to offer this service. And it is no coincidence that advertising planners and client-side people have migrated into branding and design, or created start-ups with design people made redundant from some of the larger agencies.
"As a result we have seen the ad agencies fighting to retain their influence on brand and communication strategy where once they reigned supreme. This is in part due to the fact that strategic consultancy can be bought from a variety of sources, not least of which are the brand consultants," says Bradford.
Another big riser is Blue Marlin, whose fee income rose by 52% in 2002.
In this case, the rise was not accounted for by one large project win, but by a strategy of targeting "bigger brand owners looking for global solutions", according to managing director Andrew Eyles.
"These companies are looking to harmonise their brand propositions and get efficiencies of scale across several continents," says Eyles. "We have five or six studios around the world and they work together so our clients know that we have local people, adapted to the local culture, who know their needs for that region in terms of colours, languages, style and typography."
Such is the company's commitment to developing a global client base that Eyles predicts that within a few years, the UK will be responsible for less than 20% of Blue Marlin's business.
Beyond these standout success stories, there seems little real prospect of a return to rapid growth for the majority of design businesses in 2003.
For every agency boss who believes that a corner is about to be turned, ten concede they are uncertain when the current depression will end. So the industry looks set for another year of belt-tightening, with more companies chasing fewer pieces of business, and the smaller agencies facing new competition from the larger players who are having to set their sights lower than in the past to keep their staff gainfully employed.
It's not a particularly encouraging scenario, but it's one that UK design businesses are learning to live with.
TOP DESIGN AGENCIES 1-82
Rnk Agency Fee income Fee income % chng
2002 (pounds) 2001(pounds)
1 The Imagination Group 35,800,000 41,000,000 -13
2 Design Bridge 9,153,400 8,811,000 4
3 Corporate Edge 8,890,000 9,389,689 -5
4 Jones Knowles Ritchie 7,805,000 8,450,000 -8
5 Coutts Retail Comms 7,541,000 7,600,000 -1
6 Checkland Kindleysides 6,023,000 6,900,000 -13
7 Radley Yeldar 5,900,000 6,400,000 -8
8 Rufus Leonard 5,825,000 6,400,000 -9
9 Syzygy UK 4,815,159 4,475,151 8
10 The Sandom Group 4,780,000 4,500,000 6
11 20/20 4,665,000 4,358,000 7
12 E-fact 4,516,221 3,896,247 16
13 Blue Marlin 4,420,000 2,900,000 52
14 DJPA Partnership 3,778,000 5,892,000 -36
15 The Design Group 3,439,000 2,726,000 26
16 4i 3,419,334 3,820,408 -10
17 C eye 3,400,000 3,000,000 13
18 Elmwood Design 3,285,000 2,706,000 21
19 Tynan D'Arcy 3,200,000 3,000,000 7
20 Seymour Powell 3,100,000 2,950,000 5
21 Springetts 3,099,063 3,304,000 -6
22 DCA Design International 2,946,000 2,505,000 18
23 Poulter Partners 2,735,693 2,442,000 12
24 Interesource 2,700,000 2,300,000 17
25 Tayburn Design Group 2,659,000 3,375,000 -21
26 Lloyd Ferguson Hawkins 2,600,000 2,600,000 -
27 Brandhouse WTS 2,575,000 2,400,000 7
28 Oakwood Design Consultants 2,569,000 2,480,000 4
29 The Open Agency 2,463,622 2,416,500 2
30 Ziggurat 2,400,000 2,400,000 -
31 DNA Consulting 2,357,000 2,368,000 0
32 Allen International 2,350,000 2,770,000 -15
33 Marketplace Design 2,320,000 2,425,000 -4
34 999 Design Group 2,300,000 2,200,000 5
35 Redhouse Lane Comms 2,295,753 1,793,429 28
36 Brewer Riddiford 2,240,000 2,105,000 6
37 DVA 2,148,437 2,176,239 -1
38 Emperor Design Consultants 2,107,000 1,701,000 24
39 Siebert Head 2,100,000 2,420,000 -13
40 Precedent 2,041,300 2,470,370 -17
41 Dutton Merrifield 2,000,000 1,250,000 60
42 Lateral Net 1,850,000 1,400,000 32
43 Dalziel and Pow 1,699,900 1,735,000 -2
44 Bostock & Pollitt 1,679,387 1,833,502 -8
45 OTM 1,673,000 1,312,000 28
46= Pearlfisher 1,650,000 1,350,000 22
46= The Chase 1,650,000 1,270,000 30
48 Small Back Room 1,633,120 1,467,495 11
49 Parker Williams Design 1,621,000 1,378,000 18
50 Nucleus 1,607,836 2,023,961 -21
51 Din Associates 1,601,924 1,571,513 2
52 Turnbull Ripley Design 1,600,000 1,940,000 -18
53 Creative Leap 1,542,040 1,176,211 31
54 The Church Agency 1,300,000 700,000 86
55 Corsie Naysmith 1,250,000 1,250,000 -
56 Stocks Taylor Benson 1,197,000 1,583,000 -24
57 Four IV 1,146,000 1,972,000 -42
58 Ware Anthony Rust 1,131,000 1,346,000 -16
59 Cimex Media 1,116,867 1,706,660 -35
60 Finisterre 1,096,758 951,317 15
61 Sedley Place 1,070,059 1,363,655 -22
62 Pemberton and Whitefoord 1,000,000 900,000 11
63 Carter Wong Tomlin 975,000 807,000 21
64 Natural Associates 950,000 750,000 27
65 Dew Gibbons 894,000 623,000 43
66= TGV Design & Marketing 730,000 689,000 6
66= Wren and Rowe 730,000 609,000 20
68= AD Creative Consultants 700,000 650,000 8
68= Vitamin V 700,000 500,000 40
70 Pierrot Print & Design 665,500 715,000 -7
71 Shelton Fleming Group 647,029 465,153 39
72 Crescent Lodge Design 624,208 552,017 13
73 Bite 532,000 308,000 73
74 Eventer Design Group 509,089 419,900 21
75= Felton Communication 500,000 500,000 -
75= Point Blank Design 500,000 550,000 -9
77 The Formation Creative Cons 434,278 376,033 15
78 Avvio Design 350,000 250,000 40
79 Minima Design 318,905 299,965 6
80 The Haygarth Group 204,224 478,493 -57
81 Carter Design Group 200,000 250,000 -20
82 Delaney Design Consultants 116,600 131,230 -11
Rnk Agency Turnover Turnover Staff
2002 (pounds) 2001(pounds)
1 The Imagination Group 94,500,000 122,200,000 423
2 Design Bridge 12,161,300 11,380,700 145
3 Corporate Edge 11,809,305 12,456,122 119
4 Jones Knowles Ritchie 8,017,000 8,680,000 85
5 Coutts Retail Comms 37,705,000 38,000,000 500
6 Checkland Kindleysides 11,043,000 12,300,000 95
7 Radley Yeldar 9,500,000 11,400,000 65
8 Rufus Leonard 6,747,000 8,204,000 70
9 Syzygy UK 4,815,159 4,475,151 54
10 The Sandom Group 6,054,000 5,871,000 56
11 20/20 5,195,000 4,836,000 50
12 E-fact 4,847,482 5,007,178 39
13 Blue Marlin 4,520,000 3,500,000 50
14 DJPA Partnership 4,198,000 6,547,000 60
15 The Design Group 5,893,000 4,951,000 58
16 4i 3,684,124 4,564,941 38
17 C eye 3,950,000 3,400,000 32
18 Elmwood Design 4,412,000 3,197,000 47
19 Tynan D'Arcy 4,600,000 4,200,000 40
20 Seymour Powell 4,000,000 3,500,000 42
21 Springetts 3,504,472 3,809,000 43
22 DCA Design International 3,353,095 2,782,522 41
23 Poulter Partners 3,361,079 3,266,000 26
24 Interesource 5,200,000 4,700,000 90
25 Tayburn Design Group 4,800,000 6,373,000 60
26 Lloyd Ferguson Hawkins 2,700,000 2,800,000 36
27 Brandhouse WTS 3,300,000 3,000,000 36
28 Oakwood Design Consultants 2,676,153 2,480,000 33
29 The Open Agency 3,618,000 3,325,000 21
30 Ziggurat 3,130,000 3,160,000 16
31 DNA Consulting 2,357,000 2,368,000 45
32 Allen International 2,540,000 3,384,168 20
33 Marketplace Design 2,657,000 3,082,784 29
34 999 Design Group 3,200,000 3,800,000 40
35 Redhouse Lane Comms 3,426,445 2,732,925 45
36 Brewer Riddiford 2,391,000 2,350,700 29
37 DVA 2,971,955 2,656,865 33
38 Emperor Design Consultants 3,556,000 2,755,000 39
39 Siebert Head 2,800,000 4,200,000 31
40 Precedent 2,148,737 2,600,931 30
41 Dutton Merrifield 3,045,000 2,389,000 42
42 Lateral Net 1,850,000 1,400,000 30
43 Dalziel and Pow 2,076,536 2,003,570 30
44 Bostock & Pollitt 3,468,458 3,532,906 22
45 OTM 3,059,000 3,693,000 30
46= Pearlfisher 2,400,000 1,700,000 25
46= The Chase 5,480,000 4,230,000 36
48 Small Back Room 3,445,828 2,996,105 25
49 Parker Williams Design 1,871,000 1,508,000 24
50 Nucleus 1,698,889 2,229,786 20
51 Din Associates 1,751,575 1,661,258 22
52 Turnbull Ripley Design 2,426,000 6,980,000 17
53 Creative Leap 1,855,772 1,513,878 18
54 The Church Agency 2,900,000 2,300,000 30
55 Corsie Naysmith 1,250,000 1,250,000 39
56 Stocks Taylor Benson 2,214,007 2,617,095 22
57 Four IV 1,615,000 2,600,000 34
58 Ware Anthony Rust 2,028,000 2,469,000 36
59 Cimex Media 1,116,867 1,706,660 22
60 Finisterre 1,391,974 1,131,281 13
61 Sedley Place 1,350,113 1,657,296 22
62 Pemberton and Whitefoord 1,400,000 1,300,000 10
63 Carter Wong Tomlin 2,100,000 1,800,000 19
64 Natural Associates 1,406,292 1,178,427 15
65 Dew Gibbons 1,258,000 909,000 13
66= TGV Design & Marketing 1,340,000 1,434,000 12
66= Wren and Rowe 780,000 690,000 12
68= AD Creative Consultants 1,200,000 1,000,000 15
68= Vitamin V 1,200,000 980,000 10
70 Pierrot Print & Design 1,210,000 1,430,000 9
71 Shelton Fleming Group 2,484,546 2,304,783 15
72 Crescent Lodge Design 1,265,707 1,167,613 12
73 Bite 580,000 534,000 10
74 Eventer Design Group 1,411,000 1,235,000 12
75= Felton Communication 1,300,000 1,300,000 15
75= Point Blank Design 665,000 695,000 12
77 The Formation Creative Cons 789,974 621,876 8
78 Avvio Design 3,400,000 3,000,000 29
79 Minima Design 394,799 329,545 10
80 The Haygarth Group 3,841,468 4,206,468 45
81 Carter Design Group 3,100,000 2,400,000 50
82 Delaney Design Consultants 189,996 208,139 4
1 The Imagination Group
Founded 1978. Privately owned. MD Gary Withers. Clients include
Ford Motor Company, Royal Bank of Scotland, Warner Brothers. Web
2 Design Bridge
Founded 1986. Privately owned. Chairman Sir William Goodenough bt.
Specialism: packaging (85%). Clients include Unilever Best Foods,
Sara Lee, ICI Paints. Web site: www.designbridge.com
3 Corporate Edge
Founded 1972. Privately owned (sole subsidiary of Lorica). MD Chris
Wood. Specialisms: corporate literature (27%), corporate identity
(26%). Clients include LMUK (Nectar), BG, Shell. Web site:
4 Jones Knowles Ritchie
Founded 1990. Privately owned. MD Nir Wegrzyn. Specialism:
packaging (100%). Clients include Mars, Heinz, Bacardi-Martini. Web
5 Coutts Retail Comms
Founded 1978. Subsidiary of CA Coutts Holdings. Chairman Robert
Essex. Specialism: retail/interior design (84%). Clients include
BVHE (Disney), Hutchison (3), L'Oreal. Web site: www.crc-uk.com
6 Checkland Kindleysides
Founded 1979. Privately owned. MDs David Checkland, Jeff
Kindleysides. Specialism: retail/interior design (75%). No client
names submitted. Web site: www.checkind.com
7 Radley Yeldar
Founded 1986. Privately owned. MD Andrew Gibbs. Specialism:
corporate literature (85%). Clients include Egg, Aviva, Diageo. Web
8 Rufus Leonard
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Will Rowe. Specialisms:
internet/web design (60%), corporate identity (35%), corporate
literature (5%). Clients include BT, Shell, Lloyds TSB. Web site:
9 Syzygy UK
Founded 1994. Privately owned subsidiary of Syzygy De. MD Stephen
Priestnall. Specialism: internet/web design (100%). Clients include
Air Miles, Mercedes-Benz, Disney. Web site: www.syzygy.net
10 The Sandom Group
Founded 1993. Privately owned. Group chief executive John Wringe.
Specialism: packaging (100%). Clients include Unilever, Kraft,
Quaker. Web site: www.sandom.com
Founded 1988. Privately owned. MD Rune Gustafson. Specialism:
retail/interior design (80%). Clients include Sainsbury's, Liberty,
Early Learning Centre. Web site: www.20.20.co.uk
Founded 1996. Subsidiary of Springer & Jacoby Group. MD Daniel
Blattler. Specialism: corporate literature (84%). Clients include
DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes-Benz), Morgan Stanley, Penhaligon's. Web
13 Blue Marlin
Founded 1993. Privately owned subsidiary of Barracuda Holdings. MD
Andrew Eyles. Specialism: packaging (88%). Clients include
GlaxoSmithKline, Cadbury Schweppes, Reckitt Benckiser. Web site:
14 DJPA Partnership
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Chairman Marc Ten Bruggen Cate.
Specialism: packaging (60%). Web site: www.djpa.com
15 The Design Group
Founded 1953. Privately owned. MD N Henry. Specialisms: packaging
(45%), retail/interior design (25%). Clients include Procter &
Gamble, Bosch, Burtons Foods. Web site: www.the-design-group.co.uk
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Stephen Izatt. Specialism:
corporate identity (50%). Clients include Sony Pro Media, Rolling
Stones, Virgin Radio. Web site: www.4i.co.uk
17 C eye
Founded 1985. Privately owned. MD Gary Riley. Specialisms:
corporate identity (68%), corporate literature (32%). Clients
include Royal Mail Group, Hitachi Credit, Prudential. Web site:
18 Elmwood Design
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Jayne Barrett. Specialisms:
packaging (34%), corporate literature (30%), corporate identity
(26%). Clients include Asda, 3i, The Football Association. Web
19 Tynan D'Arcy
Founded 1991. Privately owned. MD Alistair Eglinton. Specialism:
packaging (60%). Clients include Roche Consumer Health, Lever
Faberge, General Mills. Web site: www.tynan-darcy.com
20 Seymour Powell
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MDs Richard Seymour, Dick Powell.
Specialism: corporate literature (90%). Clients include
Tefal/Calor, Bombardier Transportation, Nokia. Web site:
Founded 1976. Privately owned. MD Andy Black. Specialism: packaging
(100%). Clients include Johnson & Johnson, Dairy Crest, Young's
Bluecrest. Web site: www.springetts.co.uk
22 DCA Design International
Founded 1960. Privately owned. MD Robert Woolston. Specialism:
product design (100%).Clients include Eurostar, Tissuemed, Bosch.
Web site: www.dca-design.com
23 Poulter Partners
Founded 1971. Privately owned. MD Mark Saxby. Specialisms:
internet/web design (50%), packaging (30%). Clients include
Hewlett-Packard, Midland Mainline, United Utilities. Web site:
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD Fiona Miller-Smith. Specialism:
internet/web design (100%). Clients include London Stock Exchange,
Lloyds of London, Edexcel Foundation. Web site:
25 Tayburn Design Group
Founded 1979. Privately owned. MD Erick Davidson. Specialism:
corporate literature (40%). Clients include Diageo, Scottish &
Newcastle, The Royal Bank. Web site: www.tayburn.co.uk
26 Lloyd Ferguson Hawkins
Founded 1993. Privately owned. MD Alistair Ferguson. Specialism:
packaging (100%). Clients include Lever Faberge, Unilever
Bestfoods, Orkla Group. Web site under construction
27 Brandhouse WTS
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MDs Mark Wickens, Paul Richards.
Specialism: packaging (40%). Clients include Centura Foods,
Unilever. Web site: www.brandhousewts.com
28 Oakwood Design Consultants
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD Tony Marwick. Specialism:
corporate literature (78%). Clients include Land Rover, Mattel,
Castrol. Web site: www.oakwood-dc.com
29 The Open Agency
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Mike Horseman. Specialisms: corp
lit (40%), internet/web design (25%), corp ID (20%). Clients
include BA London Eye, Cunard, South West Trains. Web site:
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MDs Adrian Colling, Adrian Day.
Specialisms: packaging (51%), corporate identity (49%). Clients
include Swiss RE, Campbells, Electrolux. Web site:
31 DNA Consulting
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MDs Neil Miller, Chris Perry.
Specialism: internet/web design (100%). Clients include Standard
Life, World Vision, Shell. Web site: www.dna.co.uk
32 Allen International
Founded 1992. Privately owned. MD Michael Allen. Specialism:
retail/interior design (80%). Clients include General Optica,
Carlsberg, Spar Supermarkets (Worldwide). Web site:
33 Marketplace Design
Founded 1995. Privately owned subsid of Marketplace Holdings. MD
Bryan Brown. Specialisms: retail/interior design (40%), corp ID
(30%), corp lit (30%). Clients inc. Post Office, Porsche.
34 999 Design Group
Founded 1982. Privately owned. MD Keith Forbes. Specialism:
corporate literature (73%). Clients include Thus, MK Electrical,
Warburtons. Web site: www.999design.co.uk
35 Redhouse Lane Comms
Founded 1988. Privately owned. MD Jeremy Redhouse. Specialism:
corporate literature (70%). Clients include Department of Trade &
Industry, BAA, Exxon Mobil Corporation. Web site:
36 Brewer Riddiford
Founded 1922. Privately owned. MD George Riddiford. Specialism:
packaging (95%). Clients include Coca-Cola UK, Sainsbury's,
Accantia Health & Beauty. Web site: www.brewer-riddiford.co.uk
Founded 1987. Privately owned. MD David Stewart. Specialism:
internet/web design (70%). Clients include Department of Education
& Science, Salomon/Taylormade, BT. Web site: www.dva.co.uk
38 Emperor Design Consultants
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD Stephen Kemp. Specialism:
corporate literature (70%). Clients include Stena Line, UBS,
Kimberly-Clark. Web site: www.emperordesign.co.uk
39 Siebert Head
Founded 1972. Privately owned. MD John Parsons. Specialism:
packaging (100%). Clients include Kraft Foods, Carlsberg, BAT. Web
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Paul Hoskins. Specialisms:
internet/web design (50%), corp ID (45%). Clients include Essex
County Council, Middlesex University, Royal Bank of Scotland. Web
41 Dutton Merrifield
Founded 1988. Privately owned. MD David Merrifield. Specialism:
corporate literature (45%). Clients include Lloyds TSB, 3
(Hutchison 3G UK), Blackfriar. Web site:
42 Lateral Net
Founded 1997. Privately owned. MD Paul Fradgley. Specialism:
internet/web design (100%). Clients include Levi's (US and Europe),
RSPCA, Five. Web site: www.lateral.net
43 Dalziel and Pow
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Creative director David Dalziel.
Specialism: retail/interior design (95%). Clients include Hugo
Boss, Nokia, River Island. Web site: www.dalziel-pow.co.uk.
44 Bostock & Pollitt
Founded 1987. Privately owned. MD David Chapple. Specialisms: corp
identity (30%), corp lit (30%), internet/web design (30%). Clients
include BT, Chrysalis Group, Princess Yachts. Web site:
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD David Childs. Specialism:
corporate literature (74%). Clients include Man Investments,
Transport for London, Rexam. Web site: www.otmbrand.com
Founded 1992. Privately owned. Managing partner Mike Branson.
Specialism: packaging (70%). Clients include The Absolut Company,
Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company. Web site: www.pearlfisher.com
46= The Chase
Founded 1986. Privately owned. Creative director Ben Casey.
Specialisms: corporate lit (60%), corporate identity (25%). Clients
include The Co-operative Bank, Yorkshire Water, Royal Mail. Web
48 Small Back Room
Founded 1977. Privately owned. MDs John Rushton, Ian Tasney.
Specialisms: corp identity/lit (54% in total), internet/web design
(28%). Clients include The Crown Estate, BT, BP Solar. Web site:
49 Parker Williams Design
Founded 1990. Privately owned. MD Tony Parker. Specialism:
packaging (98%). Clients include Sainsbury's, Cirio Del Monte, Toys
'R' Us. Web site: www.parkerwilliamsdesign.co.uk
Founded 1979. Privately owned. MD Peter Matthews. Specialisms:
internet/web design (60%), packaging (40%). Clients include
Orient-Express, Centerparcs, Cable & Wireless. Web site:
51 Din Associates
Founded 1986. Privately owned. MD Rasshied Ali Din. Specialism:
retail/interior design (95%). Clients include French Connection UK,
Fenwick, British Airport Authority. Web site: www.din.co.uk
52 Turnbull Ripley Design
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Mark Turnbull. Specialism:
corporate literature (90%). Clients include AXA Investment
Managers, Norwich Union Healthcare, Delta Air Lines. Web site:
53 Creative Leap
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD Trevor Bradford. Specialisms:
packaging (45%), corp lit (20%), corp identity (20%). Clients
include Freeserve, Friends Provident, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.
Web site: www.creativeleap.com
54 The Church Agency
Founded 1987. Privately owned. MD Martin McInnes. Specialism:
retail/interior design (30%). Clients include Barclays, Cereal
Partners UK, Beverage Brands. Web site: www.thechurchagency.com
55 Corsie Naysmith
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD Ken Corsie. Specialism:
retail/interior design (100%). Clients include O'Neill (Worldwide),
Harrods (UK), Gruppo Coin (Italy). Web site:
56 Stocks Taylor Benson
Founded 1988. Privately owned. MD GW Taylor. Specialisms:
retail/interior design (38%), packaging (37%). Clients include
Blacks Leisure Outdoor Division, Alliance & Leicester, Next. Web
57 Four IV
Founded 1990. Privately owned. MD Chris Dewar-Dixon. Specialism:
retail/interior design (60%). Clients include Harvey Nichols,
Mulberry, DFS. Web site: www.fouriv.com
58 Ware Anthony Rust
Founded 1985. Privately owned. Chairman and CEO Robert Ware.
Specialisms: corp lit (30%), retail/interior design, corp ID,
internet/web design (each 20%). Clients include Multiyork, Esso,
Trader. Web site: www.war.uk.com
59 Cimex Media
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Steve Puxley. Specialism:
internet/web design (100%). Clients include BBC, Department of
Education & Skills, Channel 4. Web site: www.cimex.com
Founded 1998. Privately owned. MD Sally Horrox. Specialism:
corporate literature (60%). Clients include Lloyds TSB, Cancer
Research UK, Royal & SunAlliance. Web site: www.finisterre.co.uk
61 Sedley Place
Founded 1978. Privately owned. MD Michael Nash. Specialisms:
retail/interior design (60%), packaging (28%). Clients include
Coca-Cola, D'Arcy, Diageo. Web site: www.sedley-place.co.uk
62 Pemberton and Whitefoord
Founded 1987. Privately owned. Creative directors Simon Pemberton,
Adrian Whitefoord. Specialism: packaging (70%). Clients include
Tesco Stores, Focus DIY, Colgate-Palmolive. Web site:
63 Carter Wong Tomlin
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Philip Wong. Specialisms:
packaging (39%), corporate literature (35%). Clients include
Unilever, WASA, Royal Mail. Web site: www.carterwongtomlin.com
64 Natural Associates
Founded 2002. Privately owned. MD Nick Boyce. Specialism: corporate
literature (70%). Clients include KPMG, BBC, Diageo. Web site:
65 Dew Gibbons
Founded 1997. Privately owned. MD Steve Gibbons. Specialism:
packaging (60%). Clients include Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Sara
Lee Courtaulds. Web site: www.dewgibbons.com
66= TGV Design & Marketing
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Colin Beckenham. Specialisms:
corp lit (49%), internet/web design (18%). Clients include Octagon
Developments, Lafarge Roofing, The Unicorn Group. Web site:
66= Wren and Rowe
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MD Paul Foulkes-Arellano.
Specialism: packaging (100%). Clients include Baxters Food Group,
Nestle, Direct Wines. Web site: www.wrenrowe.co.uk
68= AD Creative Consultants
Founded 1973. Privately owned. MD John Graham. Specialism:
retail/interior design (60%). Clients include Marks & Spencer,
Dixons, L&L (France). Web site: www.adcreative.co.uk
68= Vitamin V
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Creative dir Dennis Adelman.
Specialisms: corp lit (40%), packaging, corp ID (each 20%). Clients
include Interbrew UK, Pernod UK, National Deaf Children's Society.
Web site: www.vitaminv.tv
70 Pierrot Print & Design
Founded 1992. Privately owned. MD Andrew Campbell. Specialism: corp
lit (75%). Clients include Compass Group UK and Ireland, Hypercom
Corporation, Arjo Wiggins Casting Papers. Web site:
71 Shelton Fleming Group
Founded 1985. Privately owned. MD Maurice Fleming. Specialism:
exhibitions and events (71%). Clients include British
Telecommunications, Sony, Central Office of Information. Web site:
72 Crescent Lodge Design
Founded 1986. Privately owned. MD Lynda Brockbank. Specialisms:
corp lit (50%), corp identity (30%). Clients include Royal Opera
House, Stephenson Harwood, The London Institute. Web site:
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MDs Keith Crook, Jude Arnup.
Specialism: corporate identity (70%). Clients include Volvo,
Interoute, Granada Sky Broadcasting. Web site:
74 Eventer Design Group
Founded 1991. Privately owned. MD David Streeter. Specialism:
corporate literature (60%). Clients include Autotrader Digital,
Jetsave, Komfort Office Environments. Web site:
75= Felton Communication
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Roger Felton. Specialisms:
corporate literature (67%), corporate identity (30%). Clients
include Terrence Higgins Trust, Lambeth Council, ArvinMeritor. Web
75= Point Blank Design
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Creative director Steve Wallington.
Specialism: corporate literature (50%). Clients include MTV, BBC,
BBH. Web site: www.pointblankdesign.co.uk
77 The Formation Creative Cons
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MD Adrian Kilby. Specialisms:
corporate literature (35%), corporate identity (30%). Clients
include Stanfords, Nigel Burgess, Pret A Manger. Web site:
78 Avvio Design
Founded 1993. Privately owned. MD Duncan Gardner. Specialism:
internet/web design (40%). Clients include Vodafone, Cisco, Adobe.
Web site: www.avvio.co.uk
79 Minima Design
Founded 1990. Privately owned. Chairman Tony Stockman. Specialism:
product design (95%). Clients include Miniflex, David Smith
Worldwide Dispensers, Acaris. Web site: www.minima.co.uk
80 The Haygarth Group
Founded 1984. Subsid of High Co (France). MDs Sophie Daranyi,
Robert Goldsmith. Specialisms: net/web design (40%),
retail/interior design (25%). Clients include Nokia, Signet, The
Carbon Trust. Web: www.haygarth.co.uk
81 Carter Design Group
Founded 1968. Privately owned. MD Alan Stuart. Specialism:
retail/interior design (95%). Clients include Boots, Clarks,
Safeway. Web site: www.carterdesign.co.uk
82 Delaney Design Consultants
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Brian Delaney. Specialism:
corporate literature (60%). Clients include Royal Mail, Faraday
Underwriting, Association of Optometrists. Web site:
THE SARBANES-OXLEY EFFECT
Financial scandals in the US have hit this year's league tables hard. To comply with legislation empowering the Securities and Exchange Commission in the wake of Enron and other scandals, the major US-quoted communications groups are no longer able to release financial figures for subsidiary companies, arguing that senior executives could face fines or even prison terms if they were to supply unaudited figures.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act forbids them from making financial disclosures that do not conform to an accounting standard known as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
It is not clear whether the groups - WPP and Cordiant, Omnicom, Havas, Interpublic, Publicis Groupe and Grey - are correct in their assessment of the legislation, but they claim to have been given legal advice. WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, for example, says that providing financial data to league tables could put the group "in violation of the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the law".
Not everyone agrees with this assessment. Some critics even suggest the groups are concerned that honest reporting would draw attention to upward inflation of trading figures by country subsidiary managers in the past.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, the legislation has robbed this year's design league tables of 17 agencies that appeared last year, including eight of last year's top ten. They are: Enterprise IG (1), Fitch:Worldwide (2), Futurebrand (4), Wolff Olins (5), Interbrand (6), Landor Associates (7), Brown KSDP (8), Jack Morton Worldwide (9), Pauffley (12), Coley Porter Bell (16), Burrows (17), The Partners (19), Lambie Nairn (22), Conran Design Group (27), CGI Brandsense (30), Good Technology (56), and Rodneyfitch (60).
Company name Year end Gross income Turnover
1 Wolff Olins* 31/3/2001 18,235,200 24,084,000
2 Interbrand Newell
and Sorrell 31/12/2001 13,866,804 18,037,041
3 Jack Morton Worldwide 31/12/2001 8,053,000 29,974,000
4 FBC (Futurebrand) 31/12/2000 7,783,000 10,392,000
5 Enterprise IG 31/12/2001 7,482,134 15,000,479
6 Alan Burrows 31/12/2001 7,013,741 11,307,894
7 Lambie-Nairn & Company 31/12/2001 5,155,152 7,101,561
8 Brown KSDP 31/12/2000 5,087,321 6,817,836
9 Conran Design Group 31/12/2001 4,419,000 5,680,000
10 Coley Porter Bell 31/12/2001 4,371,378 5,712,024
11 CGI Brandsense 31/12/2001 3,987,938 5,470,735
12 The Partners (Design
Consultants) 31/12/2002 2,902,268 6,628,184
13 Pauffley 31/12/2001 2,806,500 2,806,500
14 Good Technology 31/12/2001 n/a 2,504,916
Company name Staff costs Employees
1 Wolff Olins* 11,839,200 204
2 Interbrand Newell and Sorrell 9,685,545 203
3 Jack Morton Worldwide 5,254,000 94
4 FBC (Futurebrand) 3,875,000 81
5 Enterprise IG 5,603,070 97
6 Alan Burrows 3,844,108 115
7 Lambie-Nairn & Company 2,574,886 46
8 Brown KSDP 2,547,530 69
9 Conran Design Group 2,499,000 66
10 Coley Porter Bell 2,108,582 49
11 CGI Brandsense 2,072,452 46
12 The Partners (Design Consultants) 2,805,224 57
13 Pauffley 1,118,111 16
14 Good Technology 1,878,479 53
AGENCIES WITH NO FIGURES AT COMPANIES HOUSE
Fitch Worldwide Abbreviated accounts only
Innocence Started trading 1/5/02
Landor Design Abbreviated accounts only
Rodneyfitch Abbreviated accounts only
Source: Willott Kingston Smith All figures are from latest accounts
filed at Companies House. Staff costs are staff costs per accounts,
including pension and social security costs. * Figures obtained from
Companies House for this company were for a ten-month period and have
been pro-rated for 12 months