When you are a 40-year-old firm, you’ve got history. When you are a 40-year-old firm whose culture has shaped your history, you’ve got a story:
Chapter 1 (1971-1982):
Once upon a time there was a very tall woman who started Design and Image. It was November of 1971. She and her team created the graphics for Denver’s bid for the 1976 Olympics. We all know what happened to that project. Then, in 1978 she added Deborah Williams to the team. The firm became successful and in 1982 ranked #171 on the INC Private 500 list. Clients spent a lot of money and the tall woman also became a rich woman!
Culture: No typeface allowed except Helvetica. Staff had t-shirts made, “this sure beats the hell out of having a good time” that we would wear when we worked on Saturdays. No music allowed.
Chapter 2 (1983-1985):
Uprising! Revolt! The employees forced out the tall, rich woman and Deborah Williams became president in 1985. We moved to Independence Plaza and bought our first MacIntosh computer in 1986. We were certain that we would never be able to produce “a print quality annual report” on it but we could play with it nevertheless.
Culture: Took two goldfish (Mr. and Mrs. Pauls) to Fins restaurant to celebrate their 1 year birthday. Someone had the audacity to buy them tartar sauce as a birthday present! Pez collection begins.
Chapter 3 (1986-2003):
Denver took a little slump from the oil and gas industry exit and business was hard to come by. We moved to LoDo and discovered we were really creative and could have fun too! Ben Gust joined the firm in 2000. Great clients, great work, and in 2003 we were selected to design the city of Denver’s first ever logo as part of an all-out effort to brand the city.
Culture: Built the “Friday Photo Booth” out of a refrigerator box to celebrate Stephanie Friday’s birthday with snapshots of everyone coming in the office, including bike messengers and delivery guys. Fabulous holiday parties every year until our trade with the catering company ran out.
Chapter 4 (2004-2009):
Eli Gerson came on board in 2005 to give us a lift to the internet highway. In 2007 we moved to the eclectic and free parking neighborhood of the Art District on Santa Fe and settled into our own digs. Our online work exceeds our print design work for the first time.
Culture: Ping pong in the conference room during lunch. Collections of PEZ and snowdomes continue to grow. “Go with the Flow” is printed on our bathroom door. Margaritas begin most First Fridays in the Arts District. Darts in the back room.
Chapter 5 (2010-present)
The realization that it has been 40 years of the most exciting time in not just our history but all out business history. From large corporations with production lines to working virtually from any Starbucks, anywhere in the world. In 2007 Eli Gerson and Ben Gust became partners.