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