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How To Build A Design Firm From Scratch

The design studio HAWRAF had no clients, no bookkeepers, and no design process. Here’s how they made it work.

How To Build A Design Firm From Scratch

Carly Ayres, Andrew Herzog, and Nicky Tesla were happily toiling away at Google, when they collectively decided it was time to quit–and start their own design studio.

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The three young designers wanted to test creative ideas free from the constraints of a large corporation, but they had little idea how difficult it would be. Who would manage projects? What would their design process be? How would they persuade clients to give them money when they didn’t have a portfolio yet? You could say that building a their firm from scratch was the ultimate design challenge.

We sat down with Ayres, Herzog, and Tesla–partners of New York-based HAWRAF–to learn about what it takes to get a new studio off the ground.

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About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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