After more than a decade on the creative team at Coca-Cola, Alex Center left to set up Center: a Brooklyn-based brand studio that puts as much emphasis on its designers’ wellbeing as it does their work. Since its founding, Center has worked with brands large and small, including Apple, New Balance, United Sodas of America and Kin Euphorics.
We caught up with Alex for the latest episode of our PRIVATE VIEW(S) podcast, to discuss why chemistry is so important for creative relationships, and what he learned from leading the design team of a blue chip business.
Read on for a few key soundbites, and listen to the episode in full on Spotify, Soundcloud or Apple Podcasts.
“I’ve always thought, how can I make this the best place to work if I’m a 21-year-old college graduate? And I think because I worked in-house in my first years, I learned so much about business and was part of this amazing team that had such great community and culture and fun. Vitamin Water was this incredibly culturally relevant brand, and I had the best experience in my first job, and it really set me up for this career in design. I often think about how I create that for the people that work here.”
“Brands don’t live in guidelines, they live in the real world and I think our goal is to give them the tools and the inspiration and the ideas and the typeface and colours and guidelines to make amazing brands. But it doesn't begin and end with us – it’s all got to be a team effort. Brand is a living and breathing thing that’s going to evolve and change over years.”
“In the very beginning I knew I wanted to work on projects I was excited about, and the very earliest press releases I wrote said that Center is a company that’s building brands that change our everyday lives. I wanted to work on startups, particularly, more than I wanted to work on giant corporations, and I wanted to work on projects and businesses that it felt like were doing something different.”
“Companies started to realise that brand and designed experience were a way for them to connect and win over people, and ultimately sell more products. I think we are living in the golden age of design.”Alex Center, Founder - Center
“Design has changed significantly over the past 25 years, and I think the way that design is involved in business has changed quite a bit. Companies started to realise that brand and designed experience were a way for them to connect and win over people, and ultimately sell more products. I think we are living in the golden age of design.”
“I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what it means to run and grow and scale a design studio; that was never the goal, the goal was never to build 100% Pentagram or Pearlfisher. It was never my goal to get to this massive company. My goal is to do work I’m incredibly proud of, and do it with people that I love. And that sits both inside my team, and the people on the other side.”