14 Top Design Agencies for Ambitious Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneurship consultant who assists small and medium-sized businesses, I often get asked – who are the best design agencies to fuel growth? Good design is essential, with 64% of marketing executives saying it lifts conversion rates. But with so many options, it‘s tough to choose the right firm for your needs.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll highlight 14 leading design agencies making an impact today. For each studio, I‘ll provide details on services offered, notable clients, awards won, and office locations so you can find the perfect fit.

1. Pentagram: Global Powerhouse for Branding and Beyond

Founded: 1972
Locations: New York, London, Austin, Berlin

With over 50 years of experience, Pentagram is one of the most prestigious design agencies worldwide. Their roster of partners offers deep expertise across multiple disciplines:

  • Brand Identity Design
  • Packaging
  • Digital Experiences
  • Environmental and Interior Graphics
  • Strategy and More

Pentagram has crafted campaigns for huge brands like American Express, Coca-Cola, the Museum of Modern Art, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Other clients include Citibank, Investcorp, Tiffany & Co., United Airlines and more. Pentagram has received too many awards to list, including 5 Presidential Design Awards.

2. IDEO: Innovation and Design Thinking Pioneers

Founded: 1991
Locations: Cambridge (US HQ), San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Munich, Amsterdam, Singapore

Known for human-centered design thinking, IDEO helps organizations innovate and evolve. They work with diverse industries, from automotive and consumer goods to healthcare and private equity. Some notable clients include:

  • Apple
  • The North Face
  • Ford
  • PepsiCo
  • Google

IDEO has pioneered innovations like the first mouse for Apple and the Stand Up Kidney for medical giant DaVita. They‘ve won 6 Design Futures Council Grand Prizes and 380+ IDEA/BusinessWeek Awards. IDEO has been named one of Fortune‘s Best Companies to Work For.

3. Frog: Global Design + Strategy Powerhouse

Founded: 1969
Locations: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia

Operating globally since 1969, Frog analyzes insights and trends to craft experiences. They offer:

  • Brand Strategy + Design
  • Product + Service Design
  • User Experience + Interfaces
  • IoT, AI + Emerging Tech Solutions

Frog has partnered with organizations like Disney, Intel, Google, BMC Software, Honeywell, and more. They‘ve won over 295 international design awards, including Best Places to Work awards in New York, Amsterdam, and Shanghai.

4. Siegel+Gale: Brand Simplification Specialists

Founded: 1969
Locations: New York (HQ), London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco

Siegel+Gale focuses purely on strategic branding and simplicity. Their minimalist design approach has created iconic brands, including:

  • Dell
  • The North Face
  • Consumer Reports
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • The Howard Hughes Corporation

Other clients range from Aetna to Yahoo! Siegel+Gale has won over 1000 creative awards, including 26 Cannes Lions Awards. They were named by Design Business Insights as the world‘s #1 brand consultancy.

5. Collins: Award-Winning Branding + Digital Design

Founded: 1990
Locations: San Francisco, New York, Chicago

Renowned for minimalist yet dynamic branding and digital work, Collins has won 485+ awards. Their client list includes:

  • Airbnb
  • Spotify
  • Target
  • Beats by Dre
  • Etsy
  • Facebook
  • Reddit

For Airbnb, they created an integrated rebranding that humanized the global brand. Collins also rebranded Target Canada, boosting sales by $100 million per year. Their work has been recognized by AIGA, Print, HOW, and many more.

6. Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv: Iconic Logo Design Masters

Founded: 1957
Location: New York

Crafting some of the world‘s most recognizable logos makes Chermayeff & Geismar a top choice for branding that stands the test of time. Their 60+ year legacy includes iconic designs for:

  • Chase
  • NBC
  • National Geographic
  • PanAm
  • PBS
  • MoMA
  • Xerox

Other clients include Barneys New York, Cornell University, HarperCollins, Merck, Rockefeller Center, and more. Chermayeff & Geismar‘s work is in the Museum of Modern Art‘s permanent collection.

7. Landor: Global Brand Consulting Powerhouse

Founded: 1941
Locations: 28 offices in 21 countries across 6 continents

Known for research-driven branding, Landor has crafted legendary work for multinational giants like:

  • Applebee‘s
  • Barclays
  • BNP Paribas
  • FedEx
  • P&G
  • Michelin

Landor offers branding and design across all customer touchpoints – from print to digital experiences. They‘ve won over 1,500 creative awards. Landor is trusted by 51 of the world‘s 100 most valuable brands.

8. Base: Branding + Design for the Digital Era

Founded: 2007
Locations: Brooklyn, Paris

Led by creative directors Fabien Barral and Richard The, Base brings together experts across branding, identity, packaging, digital media, and environments. Their clients include:

  • Harry‘s
  • Google
  • The New York Times
  • Lululemon
  • Whole Foods Market

Base has won over 125 international awards, including the ADC Black Cube for branding Harry‘s. Their work balances intelligence, simplicity, and beauty.

9. MetaDesign: Precision Meets Passion for Design

Founded: 1979
Locations: Berlin, Zurich, San Francisco

With 40+ years of excellence, MetaDesign leverages passion and precision in branding. Their 350+ clients include:

  • Verizon
  • Volkswagen
  • Harvard University
  • Lufthansa
  • Messe Berlin

MetaDesign has won over 300 design awards, including the Red Dot Lifetime Achievement Award. They are ranked by New York Times as one of the most influential design teams shaping the future.

10. Studio Dumbar: Pioneers in Visual Storytelling

Founded: 1977
Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Studio Dumbar brings strong conceptual thinking and aesthetics to projects for:

  • LVMH
  • Campari Group
  • Heineken
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Rotterdam Philharmonic

Their pioneering work in corporate and cultural branding has won 300+ awards, including European Design Awards, ADC Awards, and Cannes Lions.

11. Mother: Brave + Playful Creative Agency

Founded: 1996
Locations: London, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai

With a spirited independent vision, Mother has created cultural impacts for:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Stella Artois
  • Virgin Media
  • Dell
  • BBC

Mother injects creativity, humor, and breakthrough thinking into advertising, experiential marketing, production and design. Their work has won international accolades like Cannes Lions Grand Prix and D&AD Awards.

12. Jones Knowles Ritchie: Emotion-Driven Brand Design

Founded: 1981
Locations: New York, London

Jones Knowles Ritchie takes a holistic, emotionally-connected approach to branding. Their clients include:

  • Budweiser
  • Bacardi
  • Hershey‘s
  • Target
  • Unilever
  • PepsiCo

For over 30 years, they‘ve created positive change through design strategy and innovation. JKR has won over 300 international awards, including the coveted Red Dot Brand of the Year. Their human-centered branding builds powerful emotional connections.

13. Wolff Olins: Bold + Brilliant Branding

Founded: 1965
Locations: London, New York, San Francisco, Dubai

Guided by a "braver and brighter" motto, Wolff Olins helps organizations succeed through bold branding. Their world-impacting clients include:

  • Apple
  • eBay
  • Unilever
  • GE
  • (RED)
  • BlackBerry

Wolff Olins has defined some of the most influential brands in tech, culture, and business. They‘ve won over 150 awards, including an Emmy for the London 2012 Olympics branding. Wolff Olins pushes boundaries to drive growth.

14. Sagmeister & Walsh: Wildly Creative Design

Founded: 1993
Location: New York

With an experimental and unconventional spirit, Sagmeister & Walsh brings fresh perspectives on branding and experience design for:

  • eBay
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Levi‘s
  • Adidas
  • AIGA
  • The Jewish Museum

Their rule-breaking work has earned accolades like the prestigious AIGA Medal for lifetime achievement. Sagmeister & Walsh pushes creative limits to new frontiers.

With so many excellent agencies to consider, how do you select the right one? Here are key factors to weigh:

Industry Specialization: Look for an agency with proven success in your specific niche or vertical. Their insights can give you an edge.

Quality of Past Work: Review their portfolio and case studies to ensure top-caliber design.

Strategy: Branding is about more than just aesthetics. Seek strategic perspective.

Awards and Recognition: Accolades showcase skill and leadership in design.

Cultural Fit: Choose an agency whose energy and values align with yours for the best collaboration.

Global Capabilities: If you are expanding worldwide, choose a partner with international experience.

The design agencies featured here represent the top echelon pushing design forward today. Their unique strengths, philosophies, and specialties equip them to deliver phenomenal results for ambitious organizations. By choosing the right partner for your needs, you gain a wealth of expertise to create standout brands and experiences. Use this guide to find your design dream team.