Computer Arts - - Ok Studio Rankings 2017 -

The rest of this year’s top five have all been there be­fore, but the stu­dio voted at the very top of its game in 2017 has rock­eted up the list this year.

“Con­sis­tently clever”, said one of our panellists. “Beau­ti­ful work that leaves you with a smile,” said an­other, while a third added that this stu­dio “makes this stuff look ef­fort­less, el­e­gant and en­joy­able.”

Stu­dio Sutherl& may be tiny, but that doesn’t stop it cre­at­ing show-stop­ping work. It may be rel­a­tively new in its cur­rent form com­pared to some of the in­dus­try ti­tans on the list, but no one can doubt the in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence of its founder, who a fourth pan­el­list de­scribed as “the next Alan Fletcher”.

Climb­ing 11 places this year, the stu­dio took an early lead and kept ex­tend­ing it as more votes came in – the fact that this twop­er­son out­fit was also D&AD’s most-awarded de­sign stu­dio this year can’t have hurt ei­ther. To quote a fifth pan­el­list: “How does he keep on do­ing it?”

We spoke to founder Jim Sutherland – who de­signed this is­sue’s cover, as well as the D&AD An­nual fea­tured in our Show­case sec­tion – to find out...

Big­gest high­light of 2017?

Prob­a­bly the launch of the So­mos Brasil project in São Paulo, with Mar­cus Lyon [highly com­mended at 2017’s Brand Im­pact Awards]. It’s a project we’ve been work­ing on for two years, and see­ing it ap­pear in Brazil was a de­light. Sec­ond, run­ning a work (play) shop in Tokyo for D&AD – a sur­real and beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.

And the big­gest chal­lenge?

Con­trol­ling the flow of work. I get so ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of lovely projects that I find it hard to say no.

What ad­vice would you give to a fel­low UK stu­dio to thrive in the face of Brexit un­cer­tainty?

Two things: do good work, and ev­ery­thing else will flow from that; only work for peo­ple you like, and don’t do it for the money. That’s three things re­ally. I don’t think Brexit will af­fect my busi­ness di­rectly, but it’s an ex­tremely de­press­ing de­ci­sion.

What are your own big­gest am­bi­tions for 2018, and how do you plan to achieve them?

My am­bi­tion is sim­ply to keep do­ing some­thing that I love. I want to keep col­lab­o­rat­ing with fan­tas­tic peo­ple.

Fi­nally, how does it feel to be rated the top stu­dio in the coun­try by your peers?

It’s amaz­ing. The de­sign in­dus­try in this coun­try is full of so many in­cred­i­bly tal­ented peo­ple, so it’s an hon­our to be among them.

Jim Sutherland with the tro­phy for top UK stu­dio at the Brand Im­pact Awards event

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