Object Creative is a leading creative agency based in Portland, Oregon renowned for their innovative work in brand strategy, design, and digital experiences. Founded in 2008 by Paul Backett and Greg Moore, Object Creative has quickly emerged as a tastemaker in the creative industry, working with top brands like Nike, Starbucks, Target, and Google.
In just over a decade, Object Creative has grown from a scrappy startup into an agency with global reach. They’ve done so by taking a thoughtful, design-driven approach to every project and prioritizing lasting impact over temporary trends. As Object Creative celebrates over 10 years in business, we take a look at what makes this agency such an influential tastemaker.
A Design-First Ethos
At the core of Object Creative’s success is their focus on design thinking. They approach every project, from brand identity to digital experiences, with an emphasis on design as a problem-solving tool. This means taking the time to deeply understand their clients’ businesses and users, ideating thoughtful creative solutions, and crafting designs that connect on a human level.
As Paul Backett, founding partner and CEO, puts it: “We focus on creating work that builds emotional connections and delights people at every touchpoint. That’s what great design does.”
This passion for design excellence shows in Object Creative’s portfolio. One standout project is their brand identity work for Ammunition, a Silicon Valley product design consultancy. Object Creative developed a modular, dynamic visual system that could extend across environments and applications, reflecting Ammunition’s spirit of innovation. The result is a bold, engaging identity that immediately grabs attention.
Pushing Creative Boundaries
Object Creative also succeeds by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in design and technology. They’re not afraid of complex, ambitious projects that have never been done before. This drive to innovate keeps their work fresh and exciting.
A great example is the Nike Hyper Court experience created for the 2014 U.S. Open. Object Creative developed an immersive digital tennis court using gestural sensors and augmented reality. Users could put on a headset and actually play tennis against a virtual Roger Federer on the court. It provided an entirely new way for Nike to engage tennis fans.
Greg Moore, founding partner and CCO, says this project was a breakthrough: “Instead of using technology for technology’s sake, we were using it to solve a real brand problem for Nike. That philosophy still drives our work today.”
Fostering Client Relationships
While Object Creative loves pushing boundaries, they also emphasize designing for real user needs. This focus on utility has helped them forge strong bonds with clients.
For example, they worked closely with Starbucks to develop a suite of accessible mobile apps. The apps provide tools like audio descriptions and braille keyboards to better serve blind and low vision customers. This required extensive research into how those with disabilities interact with technology. Starbucks was so pleased with the thoughtful user-centered process that they continue partnering with Object Creative to improve experiences.
Paul Backett attributes their success to really listening to what clients want: “Strong relationships are built on trust. We try to deeply understand our clients’ needs and help them solve problems in new ways.”
Building a Strong Team
At the heart of Object Creative is its team. Leadership emphasizes nurturing talent and fostering collaboration. They’ve built an environment where creative risks are encouraged and unique perspectives valued. This has allowed them to retain top talent.
Their team includes creative directors like Kris Sowersby, one of today’s most famous type designers. He has developed custom fonts for brands like Intel, LinkedIn, and Weight Watchers. Having renowned experts like Sowersby makes Object Creative a magnet for great talent.
Backett and Moore also highly value professional development. Object Creative offers coaching, mentorship programs, and classes to help team members acquire new skills. Continually developing their talent allows Object Creative to excel across emerging creative fields.
A Culture of Innovation
To stay ahead in a rapidly changing industry, Object Creative emphasizes having a culture of innovation. Everyone is encouraged to question assumptions, explore new tools and techniques, and collaborate across disciplines. This fosters creativity beyond individual job roles.
For example, Object Creative held the industry’s first hackathon focused on Amazon Echo’s voice platform in 2015. Their development team experimented with voice user interface design years before most agencies. This spirit of innovation has enabled them to master emerging tech like augmented reality and blockchain.
As Moore notes, “We’re always exploring, always learning. That’s how we ensure our work doesn’t go stale.”
Making an Impact
While Object Creative loves imagination and innovation, they measure success by real business metrics. As Backett puts it, “We strive to make work that delivers tangible results.”
Their rebranding of fast casual restaurant bGood exemplifies this goal. bGood wanted to expand nationally and establish a more unique brand identity. Object Creative conducted extensive market research and concept testing.
They ultimately developed a new visual identity focused on fresh ingredients and ethical farming. Since the rebrand, bGood has seen same-store sales growth of over 8% and successfully expanded across the East Coast. The thoughtful strategy helped bGood achieve rapid growth without sacrificing their values.
Looking to the Future
Object Creative has accomplished a great deal in their first decade, but Backett and Moore still have ambitious goals. They aim to expand into Europe and Asia, develop a wider range of service offerings, and evolve their design methodologies.
However, their focus remains on doing brilliant work for great clients. As Moore says, “If we can help inspire positive change for our clients and their customers, we’ve achieved our mission.”
In an industry where trends come and go, Object Creative aspires to create lasting impact by being a tastemaker focused on design excellence. As they continue to shape the future of creative experiences, this agency remains one to watch.
Object Creative’s Design Philosophy
At Object Creative, design is at the core of everything they do. Their human-centered design philosophy guides their innovative work across brand strategy, identity, advertising, digital experiences, and environments.
Focusing on Users’ Needs
Object Creative takes a user-centered approach to design. They invest significant time upfront in research and discovery to deeply understand target users and their needs. User insights drive all design decisions, ensuring solutions connect on an emotional level.
Crafting Connections through Storytelling
Object Creative views branding as a form of visual storytelling. They distill a brand’s purpose and personality into compelling narratives that resonate across touchpoints. Effective storytelling forges meaningful connections between consumers and brands.
Designing Holistic Systems, Not Just Assets
Object Creative’s branding process is about more than just aesthetics. They develop cohesive visual systems that can flex across mediums and environments. This creates alignment across the entire brand experience.
Pushing Creative Boundaries
Object Creative believes compelling design often lives at the intersection of imagination and reality. They leverage emerging technologies and media to create engaging brand experiences that push boundaries.
Bridging Physical and Digital Worlds
Object Creative’s work spans both physical and digital environments. They design cohesive experiences that bridge the gap between IRL and URL, blending tactile moments with digital engagement.
Architecting Brand Transformation
Object Creative partners with clients to fundamentally transform brands. They restart with deep research to re-architect brand experiences from the inside out. The result is impactful change.
Measuring What Matters
Business impact is the ultimate measure of design success. Object Creative uses metrics and user testing to validate design effectiveness and continuously optimize experiences.
Notable Projects: Case Studies in Great Design
Over the past decade, Object Creative has helped shape many leading brands through stellar design work. Here are some case studies that provide insight into their creative process and design excellence:
Starbucks Accessibility Apps
Starbucks wanted to improve mobile experiences for visually impaired customers. Object Creative conducted extensive ethnographic research with blind users to identify pain points. The key insight was the need for greater independence.
The team then created a suite of accessibility apps. Features include audio descriptions of menu items, braille keyboards, image magnification, and indoor navigation. Since launching, the apps have received praise from accessibility advocates.
This project exemplifies Object Creative’s human-centered design process. Their in-depth research and focus on inclusivity produced an invaluable solution for an underserved audience.
Moda Health Rebrand
Moda Health aimed to reposition itself from a traditional healthcare company into an innovative, member-focused brand. Object Creative captured this shift by reimagining their entire visual identity.
Their redesigned logo evoked active lifestyles through fluid shapes and bright colors. They developed a dynamic color system inspired by medicine capsules to reinforce Moda’s innovation. And kinetic graphic patterns reflected their vital, energetic spirit.
Since the rebrand, Moda has seen membership growth and expanded into new services. The lively, engaging identity aligned perfectly with their member-focused mission.
Union Bank Digital Experiences
Object Creative partnered with Union Bank to modernize their digital platforms. They conducted concept testing to understand key user tasks. One insight was the need for mobile account onboarding to compete with fintech apps.
Working closely with developers, they created a simplified mobile onboarding experience. Features like mobile document upload made it easy for on-the-go users to join. The result was a 250% increase in mobile account opening.
This exemplified Object Creative’s technical expertise in designing seamless digital experiences. Their prototyping and testing process produced platforms users loved.
Object Creative’s Approach to Brand Strategy
As experts in brand building, Object Creative develops breakthrough strategies rooted in user insights. They partner with clients to unlock transformational opportunities. Here are some keys to their strategic approach:
Object Creative conducts extensive quantitative and qualitative research around target users and markets. The insights uncovered inform strategic direction and creative executions.
Hands-on vision workshops help crystallize strategy. Key stakeholders ideate future scenarios and align around strategic frameworks.
Detailed mapping of current customer journeys reveals pain points and opportunity areas. The future experience vision emerges from these insights.
Object Creative distills brand purpose and personality into compelling narratives. These strategic narratives drive messaging and experiences.
Proposed strategies are stress tested to ensure they will deliver real business results. Success is measured by metrics like revenue and customer acquisition.
For rebrands, Object Creative partners with leadership on internal alignment. Clear guidelines and training ease the transition and acceptance.
Performance benchmarks and user testing allow Object Creative to refine strategy over time. The approach stays flexible to meet changing business conditions.
Object Creative’s Branding Process
Object Creative follows a rigorous design process when developing brand identities. This ensures their work is insight-driven, purposeful and maximally impactful.
The project kicks off with deep dives into the client’s history, values, and existing brand materials. This grounds the team in context.
Research and Insights
Next they conduct quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic research around the target audience and category trends. User truths inform the design.
A collaborative workshop aligns stakeholders on brand narrative, personality, positioning and pillars. This core strategy steers all design explorations.
With strategy as a guide, the design team begins sketching and developing visual concepts. Many options are explored to push creativity.
Refinement and Documentation
The chosen design direction is refined through many iterations. Detailed brand guidelines codify every element and application.
Object Creative provides collateral templates, asset creation, and training to ease adoption. They ensure smooth rollout and brand alignment.
Lastly, real-world performance data is monitored to gauge impact and identify areas for optimization. The brand evolves with the business.
This comprehensive approach enables Object Creative to develop distinctive brands that resonate in the market. Their focus on research, substance, and craft yields resonant designs.
Awards and Recognition
Object Creative’s stellar work has been widely recognized, earning top honors from major design publications and professional associations. Some highlights include:
- Most Innovative Companies – Object Creative named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2017 for their groundbreaking Nike Hyper Court experience.
- NEXT Top Design Agencies – Object Creative ranked as one of the top 10 agencies in Advertising Age’s prestigious A-List three years straight.
- Webby Awards – Object Creative has received multiple Webby Awards recognizing excellence in website design and development. Their work for Union Bank and Moda Health won in 2020 and 2021.
- Communication Arts Advertising Annual – Object Creative has been featured in Communication Arts’ advertising awards over 20 times for creative campaigns.
- HOW Magazine In-House Design Awards – Object Creative won In-House Design Awards in 2019 and 2020 for brand identity work done for Starbucks.
- The One Show – Object Creative received Gold, Silver, and Bronze Pencils at The One Show awards in fields ranging from experiential design to branded content.
- Creativity International Awards – Object Creative won Creativity International Awards in 2018 and 2019 for their work with adidas and Uber respectively.
This consistent recognition from top creative and design publications celebrates Object Creative’s multidisciplinary excellence and innovation. Their tally of over 100 major industry awards affirms their position as a true leader in the field.
The Object Creative Culture
Object Creative’s unique studio culture helps unleash creativity and innovation. They foster an environment where talented people love coming to work each day. Elements of their culture include:
Object Creative thrives on collaboration. Projects involve diverse teams brainstorming, critiquing, and building on each other’s ideas. Great concepts emerge from the shared energy.
Everyone is encouraged to be curious – try new tools, take on unfamiliar challenges, and experiment. This curiosity propels them into uncharted creative territory.
Leadership spotlights and rewards great work through internal awards and events. This recognition fuels pride and cultivates more groundbreaking ideas.
Object Creative invests heavily in professional development through conferences, workshops, and mentoring. Growing talent keeps their capabilities fresh.
Above all, Object Creative looks for passion in every new hire. Passion for design excellence and making an impact is crucial to their success.
This vibrant culture enables Object Creative to continue producing their best work time and again. By valuing radical collaboration, curiosity, and passion, they build on their legacy as a leading creative force.
The Object Creative Team
Behind Object Creative’s sensational work is an incredible team of creative professionals. They’ve curated a diverse group of thinkers and makers who produce memorable experiences.
Paul Backett – Founder and CEO
The visionary leader behind Object Creative. He steers the agency’s culture, strategic vision, and growth.
Greg Moore – Founder and CCO
The creative heart of Object Creative. He sets the creative direction across all disciplines and mediums.
Mia Warren – VP of Strategy
Brings deep expertise in brand strategy and consumer research. She uncovers transformational insights.
Kris Sowersby – Creative Director
Renowned type designer whose custom fonts grace brands like Starbucks, Intel, and American Express.
Maya Choueiri – Creative Director
Leads experiential design using techniques like projection mapping, motion capture, and VR.
Joaquin Gutierrez – Head of Production
Oversees execution of campaigns, ensuring flawless craft across mediums and deliverables.
Tanya Myers – Brand Experience Director
Orchestrates immersive brand activations at conferences, pop-up events, and retail spaces.
Miguel Carter – Design Technologist
Pushes the boundaries of design through emerging tech like generative AI, AR/VR, and conversational interfaces.
This all-star team combine award-winning creative talent with strategic, technical, and production expertise. Their diversity of perspectives helps Object Creative excel across disciplines in branding, experience, and technology.
In an industry where trends fade fast, Object Creative has demonstrated how great design stands the test of time. Their relentless focus on user-centered problem solving, craft, and imagination has revolutionized experiences for many leading brands.
After over a decade, Object Creative continues making a sizable impact through breakthrough strategies and boundary-pushing creative visions. They’ve cemented their position as a tastemaker that shapes the future of design.
As Object Creative moves into their next chapter, they stay true to their founding belief – build connections through emotionally resonant design. This heart-first philosophy will guide them as they help more brands deliver sensational customer experiences.
Frequently Asked Questions About Object Creative
Object Creative is one of today’s most acclaimed and influential creative agencies. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about their work, services, and design philosophy:
What services does Object Creative offer?
Object Creative provides a wide range of services including brand strategy, identity design, advertising, digital experiences, environmental design, and marketing. Their multidisciplinary teams execute across all brand touchpoints.
What is Object Creative’s approach to branding?
Object Creative focuses on uncovering user insights through research. They then craft compelling brand narratives that drive strategy and iconic visual identities. The goal is powerful storytelling that forges emotional connections.
What notable clients has Object Creative worked with?
Some of Object Creative’s clients include Nike, Starbucks, Target, Moda Health, American Express, Google, and Union Bank. They partner with leading companies seeking transformational brand experiences.
How does Object Creative use emerging technology in their work?
Object Creative pushes the creative possibilities of tools like augmented reality, virtual reality, generative design, and voice interfaces. Their design technologists blend great design thinking with leading-edge tech.
Why does Object Creative win so many design awards?
Their stellar work and reputation stems from their focus on design excellence, innovation, and measurable business impact. Object Creative solves problems in fresh new ways – and the industry takes notice.