Made Thought joins Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office to form The New Standard, a collective championing borderless creativity and a transformative design ecosystem.

Made Thought, Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office are uniting to create The New Standard, an industry-leading collective of specialists to tackle new challenges. In a move that will redefine the contemporary design agency as the antithesis of singular multidisciplinary studios, The New Standard will give each studio creative independence as well as the space to collaborate providing original, joined-up, cross-platform thinking.

The global business landscape is changing faster than anyone could have predicted. These changes call for evolved creative thinking. In the same way early generations of the design agency were borne out of significant world events, Made Thought, Universal and Map are united in a shared belief that design will play a pivotal role in what comes next.

The desire to provide “bigger, bolder, borderless creativity” is shared by AKQA, who is taking a majority stake in Made Thought, supporting the creation of The New Standard. Together, they believe the future of design demands a new era of collaboration to solve problems and enable the world’s boldest visions.

The partnership marks a full circle for the studios, with Universal and Made Thought having shared a space twenty years ago. The studios will collaborate in a collegiate style, with bold experimentation and intellectual curiosity sitting at the heart of the new collective.

“Universal, Map and Made Thought have an unmatched track record for design excellence, influential and distinguished work. The New Standard represents the next wave and is founded on the beliefs that form and substance are inseparable, and creativity is both revealed and enhanced in an atmosphere of collaboration,” said Ajaz Ahmed CEO of AKQA.

Made Thought co-founders Paul Austin and Ben Parker added: “Creativity is the most important currency for business in the 21st Century and we believe collaboration is the key to bigger, bolder thinking. For us, the coming together with Universal, Map, alongside AKQA, is the best way to see in this new age of design.”

On the new partnership, Universal and Map Principals Richard Stevens and Jason Holley noted: “The New Standard will allow the creative talents of each studio to flourish, whilst we foreground the nurturing of ideas at all scales and across disciplines, as a group. Using the power of our collective to remain at the forefront of creative transformation and disrupting the status quo.”

By coming together in a single constellation, Made Thought, Universal and Map will blend their individual areas of expertise in shaping visionary brands, crafting the spaces we inhabit and reimagining industrial design and materials science. Their combined client roster encompasses companies redefining every facet of modern life, from start-ups to global corporations and those innovating entirely new experiences.

Their ambitions will be supported by AKQA, who Map and Universal joined forces with in 2018. Now, with Made Thought, the trio will work with the foundational support of AKQA’s internationally acclaimed team.