UPDATE: Vets from the consulting firm's early days are back, and betting the market is ready for their brand of digital design.
Wunderkind powers, activate? Alumnae of notorious dot-com design and consulting outfit Razorfish have rejoined in the form of a new digital consultancy deemed Bond Art and Science. The Bond Partners, ex-Razorfish managers Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten, along with Razorfish co-founder Jeffrey Dachis, plan on running the new venture more like a law firm than a typical ad agency or consulting company.
"We're looking at this more like a partnership literally in terms of the people who work here [and] in terms of the spirit and the personality of the company," explained Orensten, former managing director, EVP of corporate development and EVP of marketing and communications at Razorfish, an interactive consulting firm that came to be known as a symbol of hip, young, pre-dot-com-bust overindulgence.
Fancying Bond more of a consulting company than an ad or marketing agency, Orensten said the company will focus on "experience design." He stressed the firm won't be in the ad business, and shied away from the "marketing" label; though he said Bond will be involved in developing branding efforts for clients.
A lot has changed since the halcyon days of Razorfish, before it was acquired by Internet professional services firm SBI in 2002 and later in '04 by Interactive marketing technology and services company aQuantive.
"At Razorfish we used to say everything that can be digital will be digital," recalled Orensten. To be sure, the market may be riper for that sort of thinking now that adoption of digital media and communications is becoming more pervasive. Internal business operations within potential client companies also have transformed to better navigate the evolving landscape. Keeping this in mind, he expects that Bond's clients have more sophisticated internal teams in place with more digital savvy than they had in the past.
"Everything's matured to a point where the technology can deliver the kinds of experiences we always wanted to deliver," observed Orensten. "Users are more comfortable with having those experiences we always wanted them to have."
The band of digital designers has served clients MTV and A|X Armani Exchange, both of which worked with third Bond Partner Josh Rubin through Josh Rubin Inc. before transitioning that relationship under the Bond brand. Rubin, who created and managed Razorfish's mobile unit, runs design and technology blog Cool Hunting as editor in chief.
In addition to reflecting the team's aim to intersect art and science, the Bond Art and Science name "represents the bonds between our clients and their customers," said Orensten. He, too, works on the Cool Hunting site as executive editor.
Bond is based in New York, and has staff across the globe in LA, London and Sydney, according to Orensten. The company received financing recently from Dachis's investment firm Capital D Partners, which has obtained minority interest in Cool Hunting.
UPDATE: In the original version of this story, Armani was named as a Bond client; the correct name of the company is A|X Armani Exchange.
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