“It’s in our name: Partners. We can’t do what we do without working in a true partnership with our clients. Creating a partnership requires building TRUST, and when you trust each other, that’s when the magic happens.”
Partners + Napier is an integrated creative agency built to leave a mark on people, business, and culture. They do this every day on behalf of ambitious brands through their results-obsessed, creative-focused approach. They believe ROI is driven by equal parts courage and craft, and that great design is key to delivering impact that lasts. Their audience-led approach inspires ideas that connect with real people in all the real (and virtual) places that matter, that give people a reason to try, buy, and believe, and that deliver big results and long-term brand growth. Their ideas leave more than an impression. They leave a mark.
Here’s a snippet from the team’s interview:
What is your work philosophy?
Dan O’Donnell, GCD, Partners + Napier (D.O.): To make work that’s as breakthrough as possible. It needs to be simple, relatable, and impactful if your client is going to stand a chance of reaching their audience. It can be smart, funny, emotional, or just beautifully designed. Whatever it is, it needs to break through the clutter and connect to your target. Great work isn’t great unless it’s effective.
Jen Rampe, GCD of Vine Creative Studios, Partners + Napier (J.R.): Always try your best, but at the end of the day, what we do is pretty fun, so basically you should enjoy the process even when what you’re working on is a struggle.
Rob Kottkamp, CCO, Partners + Napier (R.K.): Do the best you can with whatever it is that you’ve got.
What is it about advertising that you are most passionate about?
D.O.: Really it just comes down to making great, effective work. Nothing excites me more than a great idea. You get a visceral, emotional reaction to a big idea, and that usually translates to a connection with your audience.
J.R.: The amazingly talented people I get to work with every day.
R.K.: The ability to make the complex simple.
What are the most important ingredients you require from a client to do successful work?
D.O.: It’s in our name: Partners. We can’t do what we do without working in a true partnership with our clients. Creating a partnership requires building TRUST, and when you trust each other, that’s when the magic happens.
J.R.: Trust is so important between agencies and clients. I’d rather have a client give us the problem that needs to be solved versus brief us on the solution. Let us do what we do best. R.K.: Trust. Respect. Honesty. Confidence. You take an audience-led approach to creating your work.
What advice would you give to students starting out today?
D.O.: Keep making stuff. The more you make, the better you get. Always be creating, and keep your eyes open to everything around you. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
J.R.: It’s hard to get a foot in the door, but it’s so worth it. Be tenacious, always write thank you notes, and never stop working on your portfolio.
R.K.: The “Three H’s,” which Roger Baldacci coined long before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did. Be humble. Be hungry. Be hard-working.
Read more of Partners + Napier’s interview and discover other great artists and educators in Graphis Journal #374, which you can purchase online at graphis.com.