23 Design Firms from Toronto You Should Know About

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 | 6 Comments

The late Steve Jobs once said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”.

There are a select few Toronto-based design firms that have an unparalleled understanding of design aesthetics as well as creating innovative solutions. Whether they’re designing logos and packaging or websites and mobile apps, these 20 design firms are producing creative design solutions and unique user experiences and that engage and entice consumers.

aftermodern.lab

Strategy and communication design studio, aftermodern.lab, works in both cultural and commercial contexts in all mediums, domestically and internationally.  Based in Toronto, with another office in São Paulo, Brazil, their range of creative and strategic services from distinctive artist publications to inspired corporate identities enable clients to meet their objectives and look pretty snazzy while doing so.

AmoebaCorp

AmoebaCorp is a multidisciplinary design consultancy established in 1996 by partners Mikey Richardson and Mike Kelar. Over the years we’ve built a solid reputation for producing intelligent creative solutions for clientele who have recognized just how powerful great design can and should be.

Amoeba originates from ancient Greek meaning “to change”. They are tireless agents of change, working hard to identify and implement better ways of doing things through design and embracing new ideas, new challenges, new technologies and new experiences. AmoebaCorp’s creative services include brand & identity programs, interactive, brand consultation, packaging & product, print & editorial, experience, illustration and film.

Apparatus Inc

Apparatus‘ purpose is to create powerful brand experiences through creativity. By converging design disciplines their impact becomes stronger. Communication through print, product and interactive, resonate harmoniously with the end user.Apparatus connects the dots between design, culture, and business.

As a lean, skilled and multi-disciplinary group they approach projects with personal zest that can only be cultivated by designers that love what they do. Collaborating with a large network of technical and creative specialists allows them to keep overhead low and design caliber high. Services include product design, branding, print design, environmental design and interactive design.

Arc & Co.

Toronto based design agency Arc & Co. combines a passion for creative communication with  branding, product and packaging design. With every project their goal is to create great work for clients who appreciate that design is an essential part of business success and growth.

These solution driven professionals and designers with endless imaginations use marketing intelligence to produce the most creative and effective communications possible. Arc & Co.’s  wide range of creative services include consumer goods trend analysis, consumer goods product development, product & industrial design, packaging design, direct marketing programs and retail space design.

AtoM Design Collective

Atom Design Collective is made up of a small unique blend of talented creative minds. They specialize in the creation and production of print and web design.  Their work ranges from brand identity, book design, and flash development to web layouts, interactive design and web development. Atom Design Collective clients have included AVEDA, Global Adventure and Toshiba Canada.

Bruce Mau Design

Bruce Mau Design works in a global context with organizations that are thought leaders in culture, commerce, media, and education. BMD believes in the power of design to affect change & works with our clients to transform how they think, talk about themselves and appear in the world. This firm is organized to balance innovative creative output with client relationship management.

BMD works in five main business areas: visioning, communications, environments & experience design; web & digital media and IP, product & content development. Many of their engagements combine several forms of media and experiences simultaneously.

Climax Media

For over a decade, Climax Media has been designing and developing inventive, scalable web solutions for local businesses and fortune 500 brands across Canada. Rarely satisfied with the “norm”, Climax continues to propel thenselves above and beyond the traditional expectations of a modern web agency.

Doug & Serge

At Doug & Serge they believe that great creative builds brands faster. They offer creative solutions that leverage key consumer, cultural, category, and brand insights to develop ideas that engage consumers. With these fundamentals, Doug & Serge are able to forge meaningful relationships without the barriers and bureaucracy of a traditional agency.

Fiber Design

Fiber is part of Pulp & Fiber, a full service, Toronto-based advertising and design boutique, and home to a handful of industry experts. They pride themselves on their ability to gain new perspectives while implementing creative substance in all brand strategies, everything from name development and logo creation, to print production and execution.

Bridging the gap between imagination and visualization through artistic deign, Fiber Design is a collective of artists with a progressive approach to insight and innovation. For over ten years they have been connecting brands to consumers through engaging communications. By turning brand messaging into a visual language, their design studio brings visions to life.

Filament Lab

Full-service digital creative agency, Filament Lab, loves telling stories, spreading ideas and creating amazing, more human online experiences. They do this for tiny start-ups, global, multi-national brands and everything in between. This firm is fueled by strategists, marketers, detectives, odd-balls, thinkers, doers, and creators. Filled with brilliant ideas with equally brilliant execution, Filament Lab helps clients reach their audience.

Grip Limited

Grip Limitied consists of a group of smart, seasoned individuals from every discipline who compile their brilliant ideas to create brilliant design and advertising solutions. They’re dynamic, game-changing, unorthodox visionaries. At Grip, they have no reconceived idea about the form their ideas should take, where they should be placed or how big or small a budget should be. Anything goes.

Jar Creative

Jar Creative is a digital experience agency made up of  designers, strategists and technology experts who are passionate about building great websites, mobile applications and online products.  At Jar Creative they design beautiful, functional user interfaces, which are tested rigorously at every stage of development. Their clients include well-known international brands and small entrepreneurial businesses.

Their 80-point usability checklist ensures that no dimension of a system’s user experience is overlooked. As a small, specialized agency, they offer a level of responsiveness that big firms can’t match. Jar Creative has grown their business exclusively on the basis of referrals and have numerous long-term clients.

Jet Cooper

User experience design agency, Jet Cooper creates beautiful, smart, and capable digital applications. They’re devoted to humanizing websites, applications, and social networks with the right mix of technology, social platforms and open thinking. When TEDx came to Toronto, the experience was captured online by the creative team at Jet Cooper.

OneMethod

Over the past 10 years, OneMethod has gathered some of the smartest and most talented creatives, account people and strategic thinkers to create a new type of digital + design agency.  For them, it all starts with a strategic, insightful idea, one that is crafted with passion and devotion.

Whether it’s online, in store, in print or on mobile, the idea is brought to life through engaging interactive, impactful design, unforgettable branding and smart social integration, to make brands and their clients truly shine. OneMethod’s creative services include interactive, social, mobile, motion, advertising, print, and branding.

Oxygen

To say they are crazy about design at Oxygen would be an understatement. They live and breathe design.  This collective of idea generators and visual communicators is relentlessly conjuring up to ways to inspire through pictures, words and interaction. At Oxygen, everyone is encouraged to be culture vultures, new technology adopters, innovation pursuers, travellers, info junkies, risk takers, participants, as well as creative people.

Parachute Design

There’s a saying among skydivers that you should always pack your own Parachute. Well the same goes for marketing your business or product. Coordinating a web, mobile or print campaign can sometimes seem like you are in freefall, and that’s where Parachute Design comes in.

At Parachute they don’t just give their clients the answers, they work with them through every stage of the project and apply their expertise to with the brand vision  to deliver highly creative and successful results. Their creative services range from art direction and graphic to design to mobile websites and apps.

Sali Tabacchi

Branding and design boutique Sali Tabacchi’s work is simple and modern, with a playful, creative approach. They believe that design can do more then convey a simple idea or product – it can tell a story. The studio name is inspired by Sali e Tabacchi corner shops in Italy that once sold previously government controlled ‘salt and tobacco’.

Melissa Agostino and Henry Tyminski founded Sali Tabacchi in 2007 after working for several years in Amsterdam at one of the city’s most creative studios, Artmiks. At Artmiks, they developed a range of projects including the inaugural branding for the Picnic Festival, a redesign of the historic children’s magazine Taptoe, and several international campaigns for Elsevier Publishing. Sali Tabacchi’s creative services include advertising, book design, branding & logos, concepts, graphic design, magazine design, naming and web design.

Swerve Design

Swerve Design is big where it counts – ideas, expertise and results. The Swerve team consists of dedicated, creative-minded, results-driven entrepreneurs who know that coming up with great design is half their business. The other half is building strategies and brands on time, on budget – and most importantly, on target.

Teehan and Lax

Grounded in the principles and practices of user experience design, Teehan and Lax has been delivering great creative solutions in the digital channel for the past eight years. Geoff Teehan, Jon Lax and their multi-disciplinary team comes from unique mix of creative backgrounds, from planners and designers to researchers and builders, each working towards meeting the needs of the client.

Trapeze

This is by no means any high flying Ringling Brothers act, however their juggling skills are pretty good. Trapeze identifies and prioritizes the right mix of digital tactics to help clients reach their business goals and maximize their marketing investment. Creative conceptualizes and implements user experiences and makes them compelling for audiences that matter. Their focus on strategy, design and technology provides business and their target audience with the most impactful opportunities.

Twenty Nothings

Creative, innovative and inquisitive, this young, yet professional team is dedicated to the success of their clients. Using a daily dose of creativity, Twenty Nothings is able provide creative solutions, design and development to entrepreneurs, small businesses and ad agencies. Their projects are spread over a wide spectrum of media ranging from graphic to product design.

Uomo

Pronounced “womo”, uomo is the Italian word for man. The team at Uomo Studio is amazed by the broad reach of mankind and what he (or she) can accomplish on a daily basis. They aim to affect the world and amaze others.

Whether a project needs a little updating or a huge multimedia overhaul, Uomo wants to help their client accomplish their goals. By building a team around the needs of their client, Uomo is able to create something that makes consumer’s eyes pop and brings the audience closer to the client’s brand and vision.

Zink

ZINK is a design and animation studio that specializes in brand identity, experimental design, music videos, commercial production, motion graphics, and interactive content creation. They love collaborating with clients to bring brands to life in compelling ways by integrating strategic and creative disciplines with irresistible visuals.

Zink produced a series of television commercials for the new Boom 99.7 television campaign. The retro look of the Commercials needed to reflect the music of the era and incorporates cut outs of ordinary people behind their favorite album covers of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. The rolodex style of animation is reminiscent of the flipping of vinyls at a record store.

6 comments

  1. tk
    August 23, 2012

    a tough list to trust without this on it:

    http://www.blokdesign.com/

    Reply
  2. Joe
    August 24, 2012

    Of course should not leave out;
    http://www.underlinestudio.com/
    and
    http://www.matter.to

    Reply
  3. Ben Weeks
    August 28, 2012

    Blok Design, Concrete, Hambly & Woolley, Soapbox and Underline Studio, The office of Gilbert Li, Viva&Co I consider stronger than many of these places. Sapient Nitro is a very strong digital shop. Some of these choices I’d never heard of-others are very good. Grip I see as more of an ad agency and there are quite a few other strong agencies in the city: Taxi, Sid Lee, Red Urban, Juniper Park, Cossette, ZuluAlphaKilo, and you could say Leo Burnett, BBDO, McLaren McCann as well. There are interior design and architecture places in the city too which aren’t on here and could be considered design. Of this 23, Bruce Mau and Teeehan+Lax have the highest international profile. I’ll have a look into the ones I’m less familiar with, thanks for the list!

    Reply
    • Mica Le J
      September 10, 2012

      Great suggestions to add to our list Ben! If we do a v2.0 or an update we’ll definitely consider putting in some of your suggestions :)

      Reply
  4. vancouver seo
    October 10, 2012

    This is one awesome blog article. Much obliged.

    Reply

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