On its 15th birthday, creative brand agency Studio Output gives us both serious and whimsical imaginings of what it will be like 15 years from now.
This month, Studio Output turns 15. Along the way, the agency has worked with an enviable list of clients including the BBC, Sony Playstation and Ministry of Sound - working on projects as diverse as designing the world's biggest musical to rebranding BBC Three. Along the way, the company's offshoots have produced both London's best creative networking event, Glug, and a new studio called Found that creates AR, VR, animation and other forms of motion content.
To celebrate, we asked the team at Studio Output to imagine what the company would be up to in another 15 years - and what it would be like to work there. The answers we received are by turn thoughtful and fanciful - seriously considering how technology will change branding and marketing, and charting the company's progress to world domination via a coup and 3D-printed meat.
Studio Output in 2032
1. The year is 2032. Output is a team of 150 employees, sharing 75 jobs, but with desk hubs for just 50 at their London studio. Flexible working means team members choose where to work each day, and the desks are occupied mainly by small groups of co-working creatives and clients. Sentient phones have taken on most of the logical thinking for the business, freeing up the humans to focus on creative pursuits like hashtag conceptualisation.
2. The company is split into various divisions, all centred around different specialisms. 50% of the work produced is for clients and brands, 50% of the work is Output's own IP that it sells direct to consumers.
3. The designers mainly work in virtual reality (something a couple of the team were already starting way back in 2017). Their homes are fitted with VR rooms, where they craft a version of the office they want to work from. Creative director of Found VR, Marcus Moresby, now 'only' lives in virtual reality, and has done since 2018. His ‘actual’ home is a 3m x 3m box hidden behind an unmarked door somewhere in the building.
4. Over the years the agency has built an incredible reputation as the world's most effective brand design agency.
It achieved its ultimate 'big hairy-ass goal’, branding the 2028 Austin Olympics, and have just repeated this feat with the 2032 Reykjavik Summer Olympics. The agency received critical acclaim for this work, although debate still rages over whether Mexico ’68 or Munich ’72 had the best pictograms.
5. Having established their reputation as the modern multichannel branding agency 'achieving quality and coherence across all touchpoints of a brand’s experience’, the agency produced a white paper in 2021 documenting the now 465 different channels and formats it has to produce work for. The summarising infographic was briefly the most viral piece of content in the world, according to an independent poll.
6. Found Studio continues to thrive, having achieved its ultimate ambitions of making the John Lewis ‘winter seasonal event’ ad (2020 and 2021), and creating the title sequences for three consecutive Jane Bond films throughout the 2020s. Director Mike Sharpe’s trademark blend of live action and motion design is so popular that the titles are now longer than the films themselves.
7. The youngest employees in the agency are aged 11. Output Free School was formed in 2022 and takes kids from Junior School straight into agency life, giving them 10 years of in-work experience before their university peers even graduate.
Graduates of the free school rarely work past the age of 35, having given 20 years to the agency and therefore get to retire extremely early on a final salary pension.
8. Glug, the agency ‘side project' until 2013, achieved its ambition in 2020 of becoming the world's largest creative community, with over 300 city chapters worldwide and 5 million members.
Glug hosts over 3000 events a year and is followed online by nearly 80 million creatives. Over the years Glug has hosted some incredible speakers, including Elon Musk, Michael Bierut, Rob Janoff, Kate Moross, Jonathan Ive, Vivienne Westwood, Banksy, JJ Abrams and the current UK prime minister, Mr. Bingo (below).
9. In 2024 Output announced it would no longer creatively pitch for client work but rather be appointed based on the quality of its previous work and chemistry meetings with prospective clients. Despite some early wobbles this strategy led them to win accounts with Adidas, TOMS, Tesla and Greggs.
10. Rob Coke now has his dream job running the heavily subsidised, Michelin-starred studio canteen, serving a menu based in locally-sourced seasonal insects, foraged weeds and 3D-printed ‘mEAT®’.
11. Dan Moore retired and now runs a small multi-functional creative tea rooms and gallery space on the seafront in Poole, selling Output-branded merchandise and curiosities: caps, mugs and tea towels.
12. After a board level coup in 2023, Ian Hambleton was sacked for gross misconduct. The coup was led primarily by his son Lucas, who graduated for the first cohort of Output Free School and now runs the agency. No one talks about Ian anymore.
13. Over their 30 year history, Studio Output have proudly helped a host of incredible clients in 'making the difference through design’, including the BBC, Auto Trader, Sony PlayStation, Adidas, Tesla/SpaceX, Apple and the International Olympic Committee.
Returning to 2017, here's a selection of Studio Output's work from 2002 to present.