02 January 2024

2023 ‘unwrapped’ – another year of creativity and change

With 2024 finally upon us, it comes a time to look back and reflect on another fantastic year we have had at Equator. While not everyone may be up to speed with the endeavours of our collaborative creatives over the last twelve months, fear not – now is your chance to catch up! In this blog post, we’ll be sharing some of the milestones and achievements that made 2023 another year to remember.

A new Global MD

In January, we welcomed Rachel Johnson to oversee our network of studios worldwide. With an 18-year track record under her belt, including more than a decade at SGK creative agency, Anthem Worldwide, Rachel’s arrival has helped us build on our portfolio of national brand work, while continuing to play to our strengths in own brand strategy and pack design.

New digs for in-house photography in Manchester

In spring, we completed an ambitious renovation project to update the Ragged School photography studio, doubling the space, expanding the meeting areas and adding multiple kitchens, food preparation stations and shooting areas. We also invested in brand-new kit, all to help us build out our food photography offering, taking it beyond packaging to encompass a wide range of media, from POS and editorials to video. So our collaborative crew of food photographers, stylists and home economists have the optimum environment in which to deliver creative excellence to our clients.

A new location in Toronto, Canada

We found it hard to keep this one under wraps, teasing our followers across social media with some tantalizing food photography focused on Canadian delicacies. Our newest studio, located near Toronto, was previously an independent studio part of our parent company SGK, Matthews International. It is home to a talented creative team working predominantly with national brands and household names. As our Global Creative Director Michael Duffy said at the time: “We are delighted to welcome the Toronto creative team to Equator Design.”

More awards than you can shake a stick at

2023 truly was a fantastic year for awards, which are important for a number of reasons, primarily because they very powerfully validate, congratulate and delight our team for their hard work and ingenuity. We know we are blessed with a talented bunch and value any opportunity to remind them of this. But awards also give us an outsider perspective on which of our creative projects are ticking the most boxes and we can use that information to illuminate our process moving forward. So, which projects gained us gongs last year? The World Brand Design Society Awards awarded us two silvers – for our work with PZ Cussons on their Sanctuary Spa Christmas range and with Molson Coors Beverage Company on the packaging for a limited-edition range of Coors Banquet ‘heritage cans’. We were also delighted to discover that our redesign of ASR Group’s West Coast sugar brand, C&H Sugar, had picked up a prestigious GDUSA Magazine award, while we achieved a whopping ten accolades at The Vertex Awards, including winning Large Agency of the Year for a fourth consecutive year.

Meanwhile our Canadian colleagues had plenty of cause for celebration, as their work on Kellogg’s Town House crackers wont them an ‘Award of Distinction’ at the PAC Global Awards for a revitalised brand in the food category, while their efforts on Kellogg’s limited-edition ‘Year of the Tiger’ Frosted Flakes packaging were rewarded with a ‘Best in Class’. As if that weren’t enough, the Toronto team also scooped an American Graphic Design Award from GDUSA Magazine for the Masterbrand redesign of Kellogg Company’s kids’ cereal range.

Design for good

In addition to our client work, the team took on several projects designed to do good and give back. Nick Wilson, Associate Creative Director at our Manchester studio, collaborated with Leeds Powerchair FC, one of the leading powerchair football clubs in West Yorkshire, to develop a logo that would reflect the club’s values and ambitions. Kenny Watson, Chair of Leeds Powerchair FC, was thrilled with Nick’s work and praised his ‘exceptional talent and passion for design’.

Business Development Manager Michael Grady also made a difference by introducing our Culture Club team to Lemons of Love – a nonprofit delivering care packages to hospitals and oncology centres across the US – and suggesting that Equator design an art therapy colouring book for the organisation to include in its care packages. It’s great to see people taking the initiative to utilise our collective skills in a way that makes a difference in the community and we’re very proud of everyone who volunteered or took part in charity work last year.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making 2023 such a fantastic year for Equator. We are very grateful for our talented team and creative clients, and we can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring to us all. Watch this space and keep an eye out for what we have in store!

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