You’re familiar with LPK even if you don’t know it. The local branding and design agency responsible for the likes of Metro, UC, and ArtsWave (among many others) has been headquartered in Cincinnati since 1983, with satellite offices in Geneva, Guangzhou, London, and Singapore. We sat down with Chief Creative Officer Nathan Hendricks to learn more about LPK, his role, and the company’s foothold in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Refined: First things first, what does LPK stand for?
Nathan Hendricks: LPK stands for the founding members Mort Libby, Ray Perszyk, and Jerry Kathman.
CR: What does LPK do, exactly?
NH: We consider ourselves to be a brand and innovation agency. We work in the context of brands, but for a brand to stay relevant and to grow, innovation is important. So new products, new services, new businesses, and... pipeline innovation — what’s the next product in the pipeline that will help a brand feel lively, energetic, new, and fresh.
We create brands, we design for brands, and we innovate for brands. Because our heritage is in Cincinnati, we have a history of working with the P&Gs of the world. When you think about a brand and the associations you have with that brand, we typically have a hand in writing and creating it, and then when you think about a brand’s look, tone, and feel, we have a hand in creating that, too. On a really basic level, it’s, “What does a brand stand for and how does it show up in the world?”
CR: What is your role within LPK?
I’m responsible for the product and the output of this consultancy on a global level. Cincinnati is kind of our mothership office. At a smaller agency, you would have the chief creative just monitoring every single thing that goes out the door, but there’s no way for one person to do that here. You kind of have to back up and go, “What are the things that are key to creating excellence in the creative world?” The three I obsess over every day are culture, talent, and the rigor with which we do what we do.
CR: Who else is on the team at LPK?
NH: We have lots of different people who work here. We have traditional creative types (writers, designers, fashion designers, graphic designers, industrial designers), and we have strategic types (brand strategists and people who understand the human condition). We have trend analysts who help us understand cultural shifts as well. And we have people who are about innovation.
CR: What sets LPK apart from other branding agencies?
NH: LPK is independent and employee-owned, so we go toe-to-toe with these ginormous global behemoths every day and we don’t win every engagement, but we win our share. One of the things we’re proud of is our independence. We’re proud that we compete with the best in the world and occasionally win.
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LPK is a global brand design agency headquartered in Cincinnati at 19 Garfield Pl (45202).