Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide shuts local office, staff moves on

After a decade of giving brands and products award winning looks, Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide closed its doors at the end of October. 

Saatchi & Saatchi established the idea led design business in 2006 with the objective of helping the global network deliver design capability, and managing director Paul Wilson says over the last decade, it’s helped enrich the network’s capability and delivered a diverse portfolio of work for a wide variety of clients around the world.

StopPress understands the theory was to keep it separate in New Zealand so it could maintain its independence from the big agencies.

Over the years, it’s received Best Design awards for its work with clients including Auckland Theatre Company, KPMG, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, NZ Opera and Trelise Cooper. It’s also designed the fabric of Air New Zealand’s uniforms and worked on Kevin Roberts’ 64 Shots book.

However, Wilson says over the past 12 months, it’s helped the group focus on delivering design resources in key regional hubs and during this process, the decision was made to concentrate design resources in the regions, rather than through a global offering headquarter in New Zealand.

Since then, its director of design, Derek Lockwood, has started his own design consultancy and creative service, where he has been joined by four other former Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide team members (Lockwood says the core team of four was sometimes consolidated with freelancers).

Lockwood says it was a very amicable and logical move by Saatchi and he, and his fellow team members, have maintained a strong relationship with the agency.

“They respected and looked after everybody really well, even the contractors were treated like employees, and it was done really well,” he says.

Managing director Philip O’Neill is six weeks into his work as an independent consultant, and is enjoying it very much.

He says Saatchi was always very clear that Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide’s role was to deliver design expertise into the global network.

“In the last year that brief evolved to building design capability in the regional hub offices. I think we were pretty successful in doing this,” O’Neill says.

“But that success did mean there was no role for a global design operation, so, with the help of the Saatchi team we’ve moved on to our own ventures. We’re still working on projects together which is a fair indication of how well the process has been managed. I had a great experience being part of the Saatchi family, and hope to stay close for a long time to come.”

Studio manager Natalie Ferguson has remained in the Saatchi family as she’s been taken into the agency as a traffic studio manager, while StopPress understands design director Sam Trustrum is taking a break, before getting into something new next year.

Wilson wishes the team the best in their new ventures and says it will be business as usual for Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand.

“The agency will continue to service local clients with our existing in-house design capabilities,” he says.

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