HOW Design Live is the biggest gathering of creative professionals anywhere. You and your design studio or in-house team are invited to join us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary in Chicago May 4–8 with what is sure to be the most inspiring, informational, educational, and talked-about HDL yet.
The Design Studio: Double Standards, Berlin
Principal: Chris Rehberger
Total Staff Members: 12, plus a camera-shy cat named Leo
Notable Clients: Lacoste, Red Bull Music Academy, Vitra, Vitra Design Museum, Museum of Applied Arts Berlin, Guggenheim New York, Bauwelt magazine, Schauspiel Frankfurt Theatre, Muenchner Kammerspiele Theatre
In Double Standards’ Berlin-based graphic design agency, there is a desk—a giant desk that is intentionally cleared at the end of every working day. Here at HOW, we can’t help but wonder if this is a key detail in the studio’s success. Perhaps starting with a clean slate each day allows the best foundation for building projects that both impact viewers and withstand the test of time.
“We make an idea come to life in a very specific way of interpretation,” says CEO and director Chris Rehberger, noting that they continue to beat expectations in all different ways, shapes and forms. “We are all classically trained print-product-designer[s]-typographers-hands-on-crew. … We do it all for the long-lasting impression. The objects, print products [and] campaigns we create, create their own voice and space.
Rehberger explains that all of the agency’s work is designed with something greater in mind than the object itself. Each project “makes you think, or smile, or wonder, or pleases, or disgusts, or provokes any kind of reaction based on one quite complex but simple idea that could be interpreted and translated in many ways,” Rehberger says.
And their clients truly appreciate this approach. “Chris and his team have a deep found love of quality, craftsmanship and above all, a demand for perfection,” says Matthew Hannigan, global trend manager at Lacoste shoes. “Double Standards’ undeniable creative ability led us to trust them implicitly.”
The firm works to create longstanding relationships with its wide variety of clients in many ways. This includes creating sets of flexible, simple and strict rules and grids that are intended to last at least five years, though Rehberger notes that in reality, they can last (and have lasted) much longer.
Everything I Wish I Knew Before Running a Design Studio: Join consultant Daniel Schutzsmith, former business manager at The Chopping Block, for a session packed with best practices for building client relationships, invoicing and billing, managing employees, obtaining new business and improving workflow through standardization. Order this MP3 download today, and you’ll be able to begin learning right away.
Inside the stunning studio itself, it’s clear that the creatives value powerful work across the spectrum. Their love for art, film and literature becomes quickly obvious from the bookshelves organized by color and the art pieces by Jorge Pardo, Martin Kippenberger, Thomas Bayrle, Tobias Rehberger, Michael Riedel, Douglas Gordon and Rirkrit Tiravanija that adorn the walls.
Rehberger says that all the creatives can wish for in the future is to keep up with the work they’re currently doing—continuing to ensure the presence of atmosphere and impact in their work.
“Who knows what we’re coming up with next,” Rehberger says. “We’re still, for years now, thinking of creating a house, a gallery, a car, a new way of life, a pair of Double Standards trainers, a collection of women and menswear, a haircut, writing a book, establishing a publishing house. … There is so much stuff to do—we’ll see what it is when the next opportunity comes up.
“Business-wise, we’re working hard to make the commercial world realize that at some point they have to let go so the magic of design can deliver and unfold its power.”
Work by Design Studio Double Standards:
Have you created an awesome client promotion? We want to see it in HOW’s longest-running design competition, the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards. It’s the only award that specifically recognizes outstanding promotion design work! Whether it’s a self-promo to showcase a design firm’s capabilities, a project that touts a client’s goods, an announcement for a major life event, or a student designer’s résumé or design portfolio, if it’s your finest promotional design work, we want to see it. And you deserve some hard-earned recognition.