Austin-based argodesign Expands to Europe with a Studio in Amsterdam

Austin-based argodesign announced this week it has expanded to Europe with the opening of a new studio in Amsterdam.

The team heading up the new Amsterdam studio is known to Rolston. He worked with them previously at frog design. Tjeerd Hoek and Joe Fletcher, who are leading the argo studio in Amsterdam, previously held leadership roles at frog design. Fletcher also co-founded and served as executive director at Raft. He brings with him, his co-founders Guus Baggermans, Matthias Dittrich and Servé Custers.

Amsterdam is almost a secondary consideration, Rolston said.

“It just came down to this is a great team. They are really talented,” Rolston said. “It’s a creative place with a lot of other creative people. As we grow, it won’t be hard to hire the talent.”

The Amsterdam studio already has a roster of clients including NS Dutch Railway, Facebook, Elsevier, Philips and a large Dutch bank, said Mark Rolston, Founder and Chief Creative of argodesign, a product design consultancy.

“Great user experience design is not a commodity, despite a common industry narrative that says otherwise,” Tjeerd Hoek, head of Creative, argoEurope, said in a news release. “We take a nimble but deliberate approach with our clients, tying all design decisions back to business strategy and doing everything we can to understand the full picture of what they and their customers need, want, and do. With that mindset, the creative team that we now have inAmsterdamand the U.S. is primed to push the boundaries of how we deliver design, innovation and digital strategy with real business impact, bringing delight to users at a global scale.”

In Amsterdam, argodesign has 11 employees, which puts its total headcount at nearly 70 people, Rolston said. Most of its employees are in Austin, but it also has a studio in Brooklyn, New York.

In Austin, argodesign’s clients include CognitiveScale, Magic Leap and ICON. Its other customers include Sam’s Club.

“Austin is a fantastic place to put a design company,” Rolston said. “Being in the middle of the nation we can reach so many.”

The new European studio is the “first set of steps that will hopefully be argo becoming a more global organization,” Rolston said. “We think of our market as anywhere in the planet.”

For a while, argodesign had a series of opportunities in China, Rolston said. It kind of backed away from those because of the practicality of executing those works, he said.

The company has also done work in Japan and Israel, but those projects are hard on the team because they stretch the team, Rolston said. In the future, argodesign may consider opening a studio in Asia, Rolston said.

The European market is a very mature market, Rolston said. They are creating global products, he said.

The Amsterdam studio is doing a concept scooter project to help with urban transportation, Rolston said. In Austin, scooters have this mixed reception, he said. They’ve become urban blight when they are not in use, but people do enjoy them as a way to get around, he said.

“There is a real struggle on how they fit into a city,” Rolston said. “It’s a long-term problem.”

argodesign is contributing to the thinking about how to solve the urban transportation problems in cities like Austin, Rolston said.