One of the most obvious changes in our recent rebranding process has been to change our name to ‘Mark Pinney Associates’.  The arrival in the office of a large box of new business cards, all emblazoned with my name, really brought this change home to me.


Our branding consultants believed strongly that we should move to become a named practice. As designers we specialise in providing a bespoke, tailored service and the rationale is that a benchmark in quality is often underpinned by a signature name. This is evident in the fashion industry but a cursory glance at some of the more prestigious architectural practices will reveal that many of these brands have also been built around a name.

In this case, despite my initial reservations, that name happens to be mine. Apparently, my 30 years of experience provides assurance and accountability!

Ironically, we decided to call ourselves MPA Architects a number of years ago specifically to remove my name to give the individuals within the practice more ownership of the brand, so I did query this latest change. However, it is this, in part, which the ‘Associates’ alludes to. I am proud to say that we have an outstanding team within the studio and I felt it important to reference this in the new name of the practice. I understand the move to a signature brand but I do still fundamentally believe that the individuals within our team should feel a sense of ownership of it.

‘Associates’ doesn’t only refer to those within the practice, we also place immense importance on the professional teams we work with, and the relationships we have built over decades. The branding exercise encouraged us to think about ‘how’ we do what we do, and we realised the tangible value we bring to projects through the team of professionals we have experience working with, throughout the world.

I am guessing that many design studios will have gone through a similar process of reviewing their names, but it seems that utilising a name, or names, creates the brand and defines the practice. That said, and I must admit my own hesitation, my role will be to ensure that the team that makes up the practice gets the credit where it is due.

Given the effect that the new business cards had on me, I may think twice about wearing one of the newly branded hoodies when they arrive!