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#TheFWA - Agency Spotlights - Digital Kitchen

DK is a creative content agency that blends strategic creative development, film, motion graphics, experiential design and rich brand storytelling for clients who need access to a group of dedicated innovators.

When was your company founded?

1995

Is there a story behind how the company came about?

DK s Chairman and Founder, Paul Matthaeus started DK as the digital studio inside his ad agency he ultimately sold the ad agency to focus on building just DK because of the richer opportunity to experiment in digital filmmaking.

How many offices do you have and where are they located?

Digital Kitchen (DK) maintains three offices in Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles.

What type of projects do you handle?

We ve created everything from interactive player pianos to Emmy-winning main title sequences to producing content on floor-to-ceiling architectural columns to establishing brand visions. Our nimble, specialized teams provide clients with strategy, creative and production services. We have capabilities that fit into a few neat categories, but our people do not which explains both the breadth of our talents and the precision of our craft.

DK ers are thinker-makers. Our creatives, strategists, technologists and producers are hands-on from the moment of kickoff until an idea comes to life.

Has your vision changed since the company was founded and what is the goal your company strives for?

No. Despite a wildly diverse work history across marketing and entertainment, Digital Kitchen has always been unmatched at blending design, filmmaking, branding and marketing. DK manufactures meaning not ads which is why so much of our work actually becomes a critical ingredient in our clients products.

There has always been a consistent thread of innovation throughout DK s history no matter the platform or medium. We helped reinvent the T.V. main titles as a brand, reconsidered travel and leisure environments as an integrated experience and continue to find new ways to engage.

After almost exactly 20 years of independent ownership, on June 2, 2015, we announced that Digital Kitchen was acquired by kyu, the strategic operating arm of Hakuhodo DL Holdings. We saw this as an opportunity to create global reach, while preserving DK s unique culture.

Who have your favorite clients been?

We love clients who take risks and love telling authentic stories. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort has been a fantastic partner since 2010, giving us the opportunity to brand them from the inside out. Our work with HBO s franchises has been exceptionally challenging and rewarding as well.

Our favorite clients are brands that stand for something, something bigger than themselves. It takes courage, but the rewards of unequivocally saying that this is what you stand for are huge. It s how to create authentic, emotional and sustainable connections with your audience. We excel at finding the emotional core of a brand, the center of gravity that inspires great work and creates long-lasting relationships. That s where we want to take every client who comes through the door.

What has been your most memorable project and which project do you think you are best known for?

Aside from our game-changing television main titles for HBO s Six Feet Under and Showtime s Dexter, we are probably best known for our work with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the LAX Bradley International Terminal.

Through the mashup of art, architecture and innovative technology, DK set a new standard in experience design by using creative ingenuity and branding to completely transform an environment.

Do you, or have you, ever done pro-bono work?

We regularly take on pro-bono strategy and design projects, creating brand systems, websites and more for clients ranging from a gardening co-op, film festivals and nonprofits that empower local artists and designers. Our history of supporting the Seattle International Film Festival and Sundance are hallmarks for us.

At FWA we love to see experimental work. Do you get involved in hackathons or the like?

DK constantly invents things for brands, entertainment companies, special events and ourselves. So far, we ve conducted three official Hackathons in order to experiment creatively. We invented Stanley Piano, the world s first interactive player piano, for a music festival. We also created The Enigmatic, a retooled vending machine that dispenses prizes in exchange for answering riddles.

Do you encourage team members to have personal projects?

DK team members are always encouraged to take on personal projects. Creating and tinkering on the side is in DK people s DNA.

Do you have internships?

We have both internships and apprenticeships at DK. At PossiblyAwesome.com, the DK apprenticeship program recruits the thinker-makers of tomorrow. Apprentices experience a full-immersion environment, working alongside DK staff, on real client projects and internal initiatives, with access to all stages of the strategic and creative process.

The program is informally structured and is intended only for extremely self-motivated individuals who have a proactive approach to learning. Areas of focus include creative, strategy, production, marketing and public relations.

Do you ever have events with other agencies and would you like to see more friendly competition with and between other agencies?

) Friendly competition is an oxymoron perhaps. But yes, we do support our local ad clubs and national design organizations. We re happy to raise a glass with like-minded folks.

Are awards important to you as a company or maybe more important for the teams who make the work?

Although being awarded for our work is always flattering, it s more important to us to have our teams recognized, as they work rigorously to ensure consistently exceptional results.

Which awards do you strive for the most?

Naturally, winning a Grand Prix Lion at Cannes was a thrilling moment for DK. We appreciate awards programs where our work can be fairly reviewed by a qualified jury of our peers. We re big fans of the One Show, Effies, Webbys and D AD.

Has FWA made any difference in your agency?

Absolutely. Work featured on FWA is definitely required reading for our interactive and creative teams. We take submitting our work to the site very seriously and consider it a huge honor to be recognized.

Your first FWA win was on September 7th 2011 with askaway.ca campaign. Was that a good day? Do you remember it?

Yes, the project was a particularly rewarding UX experience and really showed off DK s strengths with blending interactive, entertainment and rich storytelling. In this case, storytelling through film and motion design.

Finally, smiling can make all the difference when times are tough, please attempt to leave us with one anecdote or random thought that could make us all smile. )

Perfect people create perfect design -- Designer Slash Model

Links

Digital Kitchen's FWA Profile

Digital Kitchen

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