Spoke’s 2017 Review
An audacious year of growth, community, and hard work.
Before we get too much further into the New Year, I want to take to take a minute to acknowledge how much Spoke grown in 2017. This isn’t a comprehensive list of what we’ve been up to but something closer to a greatest hits album for the year.
We Expanded Our Leadership Team
Vince Wanga joined Spoke in a new role as Partner and Creative Director.
Prior to Spoke, Vince was an independent designer based in Minneapolis. His solo studio specialized in identity and brand design and we routinely collaborated on large-scale client projects. After years of collaborating together, the concept of a more formal partnership was an obvious and exciting next step for both of us.
In addition to his contributions to our creative offerings, Vince hosts over ten years of agency experience and brings a serious amount of business chops to Spoke. Much of our growth and success in 2017 are due to his tireless contributions.
We Moved to Northeast DC
The first two quarters of 2017 were spent introducing Vince and a rebranded version of Spoke to legacy and new clients.
During those early months we ran an extremely lean ship. We worked from coffee shops and “paid rent” by buying a new cup of joe every couple of hours. As we moved into the sweaty summer months of DC this nomadic, “office in a backpack” work style became pretty annoying and we started vetting more conventional office options.
Due mostly to luck, we stumbled upon a new co-working office in Northeast DC called Spaces. The location (NoMa), pricing model, and attention to detail in the design of the office environment really tied the knot for us and we moved in at the end of June.
We Focused on Building Community
Shortly after moving into Spaces, we hosted an inaugural client appreciation event — “Spoke at Spaces.” We took full advantage of the patio by partnering with a local art gallery to showcase work and offered mixed drinks from a DC-based distillery.
The success of our first event led to many more formal and informal events at Spaces throughout the year.
Towards the end of the summer Vince and another local designer took over a soon-to-be-shutdown Meetup group, eventually renaming it DC: District Creatives. They have now hosted five events and are already ramping up for an ambitious schedule in 2018.
In October, we partnered with the New York Code + Design Academy’s DC office to host a panel event featuring three designers and developers working in the government space.
We Grew the Team
By the time we moved into Spaces we were also reaching the limits of how much work we could accomplish with the team comprising of just Vince and myself. In August we recruited three new staff members to join the Spoke team.
- Mallory O’Conor, Designer
Brand beautifier. Masala lover. Anti-fluff sheriff.
- Tom Littrell, Copywriter
Wordsmith. Eagle Scout. Mustachioed minimalist.
- Elvis Guillen, Technology Lead
Code wizard. Musician. Vegan advocate.
With our newly formed team we were able to expand the scope of smaller projects, offer new dimensions to our core services, and branch into really new areas of technology including progressive web apps.
We Launched New Partnerships and Projects
The new office and growth in our staff would not be possible without the continued support of our client partners.
This year we were named Agency of Record to Height Securities, a DC financial services and investment banking firm. We also launched a new brand and website for a large energy trade association, built a web platform for a national suicide prevention campaign, and are in the final days of a brand reveal for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.
We Won An Awesome Award
To cap off a tremendous year of hard work we were honored and humbled to win DC’s Design Firm of the Year Award by Technical.ly DC, a local startup publication.
We have a slew of plans and projects that we’re anxious to share in 2018. We’ve officially made Medium the home for all of our future content, so keep tabs on our publications page to get the latest news.
Cheers to you for reading along and may your 2018 be equally as ambitious.