In a year that’s seen the opening of a new Brooklyn studio and key leadership additions like VP of People Lauren Ranke, strategy and experience design company COLLINS isn’t missing a beat – welcoming internationally-renowned designer Astrid Stavro in as VP, Creative Director.
Stavro will play a key part in realizing COLLINS’ ambition to deliver the level of craft typical of small creative studios against the industry’s largest, most complex problems – a mission she recognizes as one of the firm’s distinguishing attributes: “COLLINS consistently creates groundbreaking work and meaningful stories executed with extraordinary craft at incredible scale,” says Stavro.
In leading projects directly, Stavro will work closely with clients, CCOs, strategists and designers to distill complex business challenges into compelling ideas and robust brand systems – helping clients define their brand purpose and bridge them into new futures. It’s a role for which her wide set of experiences has thoroughly prepared her.
“From running my own design practice to co-founding Atlas to being a partner at Pentagram, every experience has been unique, amazing and rewarding in different ways,” Stavro adds. “I have learned about design, the business of design, managing creative teams, nurturing and mentoring young designers and making mistakes. As the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset said, ‘Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.’ What excites me most about joining COLLINS is not what I have done, but what we can do.”
Based in London, Stavro will lean into her international background with the aim of supporting COLLINS’ set of European clientele. With a well-stamped passport and fluency in five languages, Stavro is at ease navigating cultural differences and innuendos. “The nomadic sense of belonging has made me quite chameleonic. Understanding the culture of a place and its people is essential. The fact that I live in London and speak European will hopefully enable closer, more meaningful and culturally relevant experiences and relationships.”
An avid reader who studied literature and philosophy before design, Stavro counts a range of literary greats among her influences – from Borges to Virginia Woolf, W.G. Sebald to Cesare Pavese and Thomas Bernhard to Aldous Huxley. They’ve served as good company on her way to achieving international renown, with a reputation for design grounded in excellent strategy. Stavro’s work is succinct, emotionally engaging and places a strong emphasis on exquisite typography and craft.
Stavro brings a long list of accomplishments with her to COLLINS; she kicked off her career by leading the celebrated redesign of London-based culture magazine Elephant and went on to work with Barcelona Design Museum, Camper, Vitra, Phaidon, McKinsey & Company, Acciona and AB InBev. She then moved on to lead her own award-winning studio in Barcelona for ten years, and in 2013, co-founded the acclaimed brand and design consultancy Atlas with Pablo Martín. In 2018, she was invited to join Pentagram as a Partner. Her work has received over 150 international awards, and she is a Visiting Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art. Stavro is an elected member of Alliance Graphique Internationale, the world’s most prestigious design association, and also currently serves as the President of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD).
“To say that I’m excited about joining COLLINS would be an understatement. I have known and admired their work for quite some time. After multiple conversations with Leland Maschmeyer and Brian Collins, I realized that – besides the ambition to create timeless and meaningful work – we shared the same insatiable passion, curiosity and ways of thinking about the transformative power of design,” Stavro adds.
COLLINS Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Brian Collins notes, “She’s a key part in charting our future. We’re looking for the most creative talent in the world. And when I reached out to Astrid, she said yes in a heartbeat. We were looking for dazzling intelligence, and I personally look for three things: character, energy and talent. And she has those in droves. We can’t wait to see what we will do together.”