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Digital design agency Basic joins Dept

by Marjan Straathof

December 14, 2020

International digital agency Dept’s latest addition in the U.S. bolsters both agencies’ services and geographic reach with a client and culture-first perspective.

Branding and digital design agency BASIC, best known for their work for Google, KFC, Herman Miller/Design Within Reach, Patagonia and Airbnb, has joined Dept, a leading digital agency in Europe. This marks an exciting new chapter of growth as Dept continues its expansion into the United States. Together, both companies will broaden their geographic footprint as well as strengthen end-to-end digital services for clients across the globe.

For a decade, BASIC has earned an industry-leading reputation for its transformative work in branding and digital product design. Anchored by brand and e-commerce work for Google and culturally relevant work for Patagonia and Design Within Reach, BASIC‘s ethos applies an in-depth understanding of human emotion that transcends digital as utility. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and St. Louis, the 120-person company has been the Webby Awards most recognized independent agency for the past four years and has seen 600% growth during that same time period.

“BASIC exists to solve challenges for brands we believe in,” said Matt Faulk, CEO at BASIC. “In a digital-led world, our expertise in customer experience strategy, digital products, and eCommerce has helped these brands to thrive and move fast. Now, as more people rely more on digital platforms in the face of the pandemic, they have greater potential than ever to shift perceptions and drive cultural conversations. Joining Dept greatly strengthens this positioning by bringing data and technology into the mix. We see our agency as a place for our shared values to collide. In Dept, we’ve found a partner that boosts our entrepreneurial spirit with the global scale and service expansion that both our clients and people are looking for in the world of today.”

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Dept is one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in the world, represented in 13 countries with over 1,500 people across the globe. With a purely digital DNA, it brings together creativity, technology and data experts in integrated teams for clients like Bose, Ganni, Mizuno, Netflix and Formula E. BASIC joins Dept as its second agency in the U.S, after Boston-based product agency Rocket Insights joined in 2019. Outside the U.S., Dept also recently added renowned Danish strategic design agency Sorthvid and premiere Swiss agency Hinderling Volkart.

“Our goal is to build the best agency in the world,” said Dimi Albers, CEO of Dept. “One of the key steps in achieving that goal is to build a leading agency in the U.S. that helps our clients further build and accelerate their digital business. After making a strong start in technology with our Rocket Insights team, we were looking for the best digital experience and eCommerce design agency out there to join us on our journey and form the heart of Dept in the US. BASIC is rapidly growing while working for some of the biggest brands in the world, and shares our cultural values when it comes to running a people business. Simply put: it’s a perfect match.”

Going forward, BASIC will operate under the leadership of BASIC Founder and CEO Matt Faulk, VP of Operations Ashley Reichel, VP of Creative Steve Denekas, and VP of Strategy Ryan Parkhurst. The deal is Dept’s first in the US since being backed by The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, earlier this year. In 18 months, the agency strives to have a solid presence across the key economic regions of the US / North America and a complete capabilities portfolio across creativity, technology and data.


mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
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