Creative Review: Design and the Future of the Performing Arts

When the San Francisco Symphony invited us to work with them, they were already celebrated as a pioneering, global orchestra.

Their ambition was to expand that reputation, retain the devoted audiences who had come to love the Symphony and begin recruiting new audiences for the future.

Quickly, we realized the power of cultural institutions like SF Symphony lies just as much in their ability to pull stories, ideas and questions from the future into contemporary art forms as it does in their capacity to preserve the masterworks of the past.

To put it plainly: timeless art forms help us metabolize, understand and embrace the new.

So, together, we built a brand expression that offered up tradition as a fertile ground for innovation. And we anchored it with the Symphony’s dynamic typography–the idea of musicality visualized.

Creative Review checked in with the remarkable crew at NB Studio as well as with COLLINS about what might be next for the world’s performing arts institutions.

Read on.

Astrid Stavro joins COLLINS as VP, Creative Director

Several years ago we were introduced to the dazzling creative work of Astrid Stavro, a designer, leader and formidable partner at Pentagram in London. Since that day we have tracked project after project she has produced with deep admiration.

On her way to Pentagram, Astrid built a reputation working with the likes of Phaidon, McKinsey & Company, ELEPHANT and AB InBev. She co-founded the acclaimed brand and design consultancy Atlas with Pablo Martín. She is a Visiting Lecturer at both Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and The Royal College of Art in London. Her work has received over 150 international awards.

So, she’s been…busy. But today we are insanely fortunate to announce something new that might make her even busier.

Astrid has joined us at COLLINS.

As Vice President & Creative Director, Stavro will play a key part in driving our ambition to deliver the level of craft, intelligence and adaptability of small, highly focused creative and technology studios—but against the world’s most complex problems and opportunities.

Welcome, Astrid Stavro.

We couldn’t be happier.

Join us at the 2022 AIGA Conference

Ask the next question.

“Every advance this species has ever made is the result of someone, somewhere, looking at his world, his neighborhood, his neighbor, his cave, or himself, and asking the NEXT question. Every deadly error this species has committed, every sin against itself and its high destiny, is the result of NOT asking the next question, or of not listening to those who ask it.”

—Theodore Sturgeon

Problem-seekers revel in the unknown.

We are at ease with ambiguity and have a heightened sense of peripheral vision.

We are looking for what isn’t yet obvious, a quest that begins with asking a question.

That leads to the next question, which leads to the next, and on and on.

The more meanders, the better. That means we’re getting close.

It’s almost in focus.

Almost there.

Join us as we ask the next questions.

Let’s assemble in Seattle in October at the AIGA Conference.

Brian Collins, co-founder of COLLINS, is hosting the event with fellow questioners and designers Rick Griffith, Lee-Sean Huang and Debbie Millman.

And there are still tickets left.

Lauren Ranke joins COLLINS as VP of People

From the very start, COLLINS has sought to nurture and advance our people and their careers.

In looking to our next chapter, we have been seeking a true talent leader to help accelerate that ambition.

Lauren Ranke - the legendary Director of Talent at Wieden + Kennedy - has been our benchmark for quite some time. Over the span of 14 years, Lauren has played an integral role in building and developing one of the world’s most celebrated creative cultures.

Hoping to model who our VP of People should emulate, Co-Founder Brian Collins pointed to Lauren as just the kind of leader we wanted to find.

Co-Founder Leland Maschmeyer just pointed to Lauren.

So we called Lauren.

And we could not have been more honored when she said “yes.”

We are beyond thrilled to have Lauren join COLLINS to help us all build what’s next for each other, for our company, for our clients and for the future of design.

Welcome, Lauren.

The way we see it, we’re just getting started.

Jaeyou Chung x It’s Nice That

COLLINS Associate Designer Jaeyou Chung counts among our newest colleagues. For that, we count ourselves beyond lucky.

In this interview with the editorial staff at It’s Nice That, Jaeyou walks through his inventive approach to the X Museum—a project that was one of the reasons we were hoping to have him join us.

He also just won top honors for the Young Ones portfolio review and two Type Directors Club awards for typographic excellence. Auspicious beginnings, indeed.

So, welcome Jaeyou.

And go, Jaeyou.

See the full story here.

And his honors here.

CNET — Jump Jirakaweekul and Tom Elia with Creative Boom

We’re quite fond of the good people at Creative Boom.

They had a few questions about the work we got to make with our remarkable partners at CNET. COLLINS Design Director Jump Jirakaweekul and Creative Director Tom Elia had a few answers.

Happily, it was all written down.



We’re all made up of many things, but it’s hard to find one place on the internet that allows us to easily showcase all of them. It’s as if we toss our digital selves into a jumbled storage closet, where huge chunks of who we are—and what we do—get lost. Enter: Linktree. A tool that lets anyone untangle their web and become the personal tour guide of their digital universe.

We’re thrilled to have worked closely with our friends at Linktree to help craft their new brand strategy, tone of voice and design system–supporting their transformation from their “link-in-bio” beginnings to a revitalized, vibrant platform that champions self-expression and drives the discovery of all the extraordinary things happening just beyond the feed.

A full case study of our work together—and the many things that make up Linktree—is coming soon.

Checking In with Darius Wang

Creativepool has made a habit of interviewing some of our industry’s brightest newcomers.

It was only a matter of time before they grabbed COLLINS Motion Designer Darius Wang for a few questions. Together, they talk hard-won lessons, current sources of inspiration and tips for creative professionals new to the scene.

We just wish they’d asked more.

Cause for Celebration — AAPI Month 2022

Well, one month certainly isn’t long enough to celebrate the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made across every facet of our culture and society.

There’s a lot of ground to cover.

As it comes to a close, we’re taking one more moment to salute all of the incredible gifts they’ve given our nation, our history and, of course, our industry.

We’re so grateful to count them as neighbors, leaders, clients and friends—as well as our remarkable colleagues.