30 January 2014

Winkreative Design Stories reviewed

Winkreative Design Stories cover

Image © Gestalten 2014.

Tyler Brûlé is a go-getter. His name is one that befits the dictionary definition of urbane. A refined, worldly and self-possessed gentleman, Brûlé is perhaps also part whirling dervish, part perceptive nonconformist, part grandiose. However his public face and character is perceived, Brûlé is an achiever, a doer, both brilliant and inventive. His many attainments are worthy of attention, the most notable being: Wallpaper*, Monocle and Winkreative.

Tyler Brûlé

Tyler Brûlé is Chairman & CEO at Winkreative. Image © Winkreative.

Set up in 1998 in a refitted broom cupboard within the office of Wallpaper* magazine, Winkreative, or ‘Wink’ as it was originally known, embraced the Brûlé Midas touch. A step in the right direction ensued with the relaunch of Swiss International Air Lines. Winkreative devised a comprehensible brand architecture to construct a new identity for the carrier. At that point, the agency metamorphosed from an adjunct of Wallpaper* into a fully fledged independent agency.

Union Pearson Express

Union Pearson Express (identity and bespoke alphabet). From Winkreative Design Stories © Gestalten 2014.

Winkreative is different than a typical creative agency, operating more in a newsroom and editorial-driven capacity. This difference has proven successful; in addition to its creative studio in London (a space shared with sister Monocle magazine), the agency has its headquarters in Zurich and bureaus in Toronto, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. After 15 years, Winkreative now employs more than 50 multilingual staff and its portfolio currently numbers 45 distinguished international clients across 15 countries. The impressive roll call includes: Louis Vuitton; Porter Airlines; TOTO; Francfranc; Union Pearson Express and Lexus International. Client services incorporate brand strategy, corporate identity, digital design, packaging and animation. At Winkreative clients are ‘hosted’, doubtless in an adept, polished and choreographed fashion.


Francfranc (the perfect high street). From Winkreative Design Stories © Gestalten 2014.

A testament to its creative endeavours, Winkreative Design Stories is an odyssey that maps Winkreative’s history. Published by Gestalten, this epic tome is charismatic, evocative and illuminating. It is a handsome volume, its matt sage green hardcover both contemporary and warm. The book’s intention is to engage, thrill and motivate the reader, amalgamating tactility (it is beautiful to touch and thumb through), conversational pieces, exquisite photography, attractive layouts and playful illustrations. Case studies and projects are cleverly divided across five core themes: Storytelling; Charm; Intelligence; Clarity and Craft.


The MINI International (photography). From Winkreative Design Stories © Gestalten 2014.

In perusing Winkreative Design Stories, six words encapsulate my thoughts on the book. They are: Tactile; Serene; Punctilious; Visual; Modest; Stirring.

Tactile. I found myself literally caressing each generous page.

Serene. The book’s approach is both composed and collected. It does not overwhelm the reader, but rather escorts them on an insightful journey.

Punctilious. A meticulous tome, it is diligently curated and precise.

Visual. Imagery throughout the book tantalises, absorbing the mind.

Modest. Given the extent of Winkreative’s portfolio, the book achieves a collective work that is free from vanity.

Stirring. On several occasions whilst perusing the book, I felt a strong emotional connection; much of Winkreative’s work brims with passion.

Winkreative Design Stories is a discerning design compendium and discourse. It is beautifully curated and narrates the adventures of a global design agency in a manner that is playful, arresting and revealing. It’s a desirable tome for all creative types.

From Monocle Shop

Image © MONOCLE.

Winkreative Design Stories is available now.

New editions of Walnut Grey’s discerning design zine published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.