Industry leaders launch disruptive experience design studio, ZeroSixty

The new design & venture studio will act as a discipline-agnostic accelerated international design partner, led by two of the most influential and internationally acclaimed design leaders in the industry.

ZeroSixty will bring a fresh perspective to the world of experience and product design, focusing on a diverse range of design services and forward-thinking partnership models in order to be more agile, streamlined, impactful, and integrated with clients. With services spanning experience strategy, digital, brand, marketing and industrial design – the overall offering aims to work with founders, c-suite execs, innovation and marketing leaders to bring bold new brands, products, and experiences to market.

The driving force behind ZeroSixty’s offer comes from decades of experience in the industry and a response to changing realities in design services. ZeroSixty’s premise is that the large agency model has become stagnant and that a new model of design offering is required. This new approach will be one that is holistic, human and experience driven, and that addresses multi-touchpoint and complex behavior-driven ecosystems.

“Throughout my career, the moments that resonate – the projects that feel most meaningful – are when we designed and launched a product that makes life better,” said Thomas Moeller, Founder. “Design’s role in our lives should be about improving it, creating new value through new behaviors, more efficiencies, and more rewarding experiences. After we designed the Samsung Frame, we transformed what the TV meant in people’s homes. When we designed better connected car experiences for Ford, Bentley, Lincoln, GM Motors, and McLaren, the driving experience improved. Our design of in-flight-entertainment systems for Singapore Airlines made flights more enjoyable. It happens all the time, and it’s hard to do in a typical agency model. What we’re trying to do is bring about more of those kinds of experiences and we have to approach these opportunities with a new model to do so. ZeroSixty was founded with this precise goal – for us to embrace critical thinking and world-class craft to partner and integrate closely with our clients to bring new products to the world.”

“I’ve dedicated my career to building and scaling great brands and launching products, so I couldn’t be more excited to unveil ZeroSixty to the world, ” said Kalpesh Rathod, Founder.

After years in design consultancies, Rathod thinks a different approach is what is needed in a design partner today.

“We believe you can do more with less, that a small, amazing senior team designing in close partnership with clients, iterating quickly and often, and exploring the possibilities more confidently and without the paralyzing overhead of the traditional agency structure will bring better outcomes.” adds Rathod. “We’re so close and aligned – and we remove the fluff, the theater, and the unnecessary noise. We believe creating hand-selected, project-specific, ‘spike teams’ that offer senior-level talent will appeal to a market that’s frustrated with a lack of access to the very best minds that the industry has to offer.”

Moeller adds “What we were noticing in all those years at agencies and studios is that the most successful products we ever made were all following a different path, which included a small senior team working in step-lock closely with the clients. and having no major presentations. We also see tremendous value when disciplines and creative tracks merge – for example, we feel branding, digital, industrial design, storytelling and advertising and marketing should all come together in any product design and launch. Anything otherwise will just feel disconnected.”

ZeroSixty’s first group of clients include diverse design territories such as intelligent autonomous farming machinery, a ‘creator community’ AI platform, a real-estate tech platform, new global online identity for a leading aerospace company, an in-flight entertainment platform for the modern age, connected kitchen appliances, a video game in partnership with a popular Netflix series, a leading automotive HMI interface, and a host of venture and startup branding, product, and marketing engagements.

ZeroSixty is also embracing the evolution of the design and product community since the pandemic, with remote and hybrid working the norm for both designers and clients. ZeroSixty has deep international experience gained over the last 30 years that has given them a dynamic, world-class, global team of talent that allows them to work across-boundaries and across disciplines.

“We feel the time is right for our studio to challenge convention and engage with our clients in a fresh and forward-thinking new way.” said Moeller.

Moeller and Rathod bring over five decades of combined experience in the creative, design and product industries, leading global teams for well-known agencies such as fuseproject, Designit, Sapient Publicis, IBM iX, Native, and Deloitte. Moeller recently spent over 6 years leading fuseproject’s Experience Design team alongside Yves Behar, one of Fast Company’s ‘7 Companies That are Changing the World’ & ‘30 Most Important Design Companies’, Rathod was Studio Lead and Co-MD of leading agency Designit. They have brought new and innovative products to market with such brands as L’Oreal, Bentley, Samsung, Lincoln, Singapore Airlines, McLaren, Google, Revo Air Mobility, and Kraft Heinz. Their groundbreaking work has garnered critical acclaim and prestigious industry awards, including IDSA, Cannes Lions, D&AD, Clio and Red Dot. The two also sit on numerous awards committees, acting as judges for some of the world’s most valued industry awards, such as ADAA, Awwards, ODA, & BIMA.

Both Rathod and Moeller are aligned on the changing role of design and what they feel is a discipline-agnostic approach.

“I’ve never really thought of what myself and the team do as digital design or any specific discipline.” explains Rathod. “For me, it is always strategic problem solving, understanding users, businesses, market and emerging behavioral trends, and designing compelling products that people love.” adds Rathod. “So for us at ZeroSixty to eliminate those distinctions and amplify our focus, our work and our partnerships – is the thing that resonates with me. Getting closer to the work is a priority.”

Moeller explains, “At too many agencies, the leadership and senior team are disconnected from the actual tangible work and thinking. So for us, we’re all aligned on doing the thing we love, which is wrestling with tough design challenges and building beautifully crafted products that get out in the wild.”

ZeroSixty is now actively running internationally with clients in the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Brazil, and across Asia. They are remote-first with an active presence in the UK and USA.

Source: ZeroSixty

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