The New Standard: an industry leading collective to tackle new challenges.


Made Thought, Universal Design Studio and Map Project Office are uniting to create The New Standard, a world leading collective of specialists to tackle new challenges.

The New Standard is the antithesis of today’s multidisciplinary studios, redefining the contemporary design agency. Each studio will gain creative independence as well as the space to collaborate providing original, connected, cross platform work.

The pace of change in the global business landscape is accelerating faster than ever before. These changes call for a new creative approach. In the same way early generations of the design agency were born out of significant world events, Made Thought, Universal and Map are united in a shared belief that design will play a pivotal role in our imminent futures.

Made Thought co-founders Paul Austin and Ben Parker said: “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.”

The partnership marks a full circle for the studios, with Universal and Made Thought having shared a space 20 years ago in the studio’s collective inception. They will now collaborate in a collegiate manner, with bold experimentation and intellectual curiosity sitting at the heart of the new collective.

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

Connecting their individual areas of excellence, Made Thought, Universal and Map will shape visionary brands, craft the spaces we inhabit and reimagine tomorrow’s industrial design. Their combined client list encompasses companies and organisations that are responsible for redefining every facet of modern life, from start-ups to global corporations and those innovating entirely new experiences.

The New Standard will work with the foundational support of AKQA’s internationally acclaimed team, who Map and Universal joined forces with in 2018.