About

Great design starts with a great concept. But to get to that, you need to make time. To slow down, reflect, and discover.

Design and brand identity design

That’s where Design Kompany can help.

Once you’re clear on your concept, the sky’s the limit, from there.

I’m Dipika Kohli.

I founded Design Kompany in Seattle in 2005.

Staying open to the possibilities of being changed by what you hear: that’s curiosity, that’s listening, and that’s the mindset that works best when entering into conversations with Design Kompany.  Together we discover, we learn, we adapt. This is how I approach all my design projects. Things start with one question: ‘What would a collaboration with DK look like, for you, if it was “wildly successful”?’ Anything is possible. The most common story I hear when I meet with people now is this: It’s so nice to have space. To just talk. 

You’d be surprised what worlds can open, from there.

If you’d like, let’s start a conversation.

Here is my TEDx, ‘There’s Not That Much Time Left.’

 

 

 

A short history of the graphic design studio Design Kompany

The role of Design Kompany, no matter where this studio lands in the world, and I can elaborate on that momentarily, seems to almost always land in a unique position. A catalyst for conversations, and a space for hosting dialogues that build community. It’s something that naturally emerges, wherever DK is. This work to make conversations that help people identify their ‘why’ and core values started in Southwest Ireland in 2001, when I was part of a small team of people creating a weekly newspaper. The community aspect of how we share what’s going on, meaningfully not superficially, through words and photos, through design and the printed word, was a marvelous part of the doing.

 

‘What did you learn from Ireland about conversations, DK?’

Creating things was rooted in at least shared belief, I felt, that we had in common. A purpose.

What we were making together as a team could bring people together across all the divides that there were in our small community. It was sometimes referred to as ‘the blow in paper,’ as the people who move and settle into West Cork, a lovely place, are colloquially called ‘blow ins’.

The Irish style of conversing, and hosting dialogues that hit all the right notes of candor, humor, slagging, philosophizing, and sharing the news seeped in to how I myself approached every encounter, from then on, in the world. ‘Anything strange or exciting?’, is your standard ‘hello’ in southwest Ireland, which makes for a good start to a conversation that goes far deeper and meanders more than just a ‘How are you?’

(Where I grew up, the answer to the latter is ‘Busy or ‘Tired.’ You can see why I left this place?, to come to the Emerald Isle.)

But, I missed ‘home’ and three years after Ireland, tried a new part of the country. Seattle. There, I worked for a daily newspaper. Putting into practice all the interviewing techniques I’d learned from the Irish, informal and less informal, I wrote stories every day about what the city was up to with regard to ‘green’ design and environmental engineering as related to the building sector. A fun beat.

After a time, I started Design Kompany, too.

Design in Seattle influenced the way DK works: agile, with aesthetics that are ‘sort of Scandinavian or Japanese’

A blog, in 2006. It changed and grew, gathering some attention in a city that reads, and caught the eye of some people who became clients. Many architects and software professionals hired DK in those days. Sometimes I hosted parties, at my office, with a few of them.

It was a time of including people, across all walks of life, and age groups, getting us out of silos. In Ireland, I had done this, but with a ‘dessert party’, instead of actual conversation salons with panelists and anchoring, framing messages like, ‘Let’s talk about the role of the artist in the community.’

This event was called ‘Flourish,’ and it was the first of a dozen in Kornerhaus, DK’s office after moving into a house on 19th Avenue to set up something that invited people to come right inside, connect, dialogue, and discover. Who it is they were, who it is they could envision themselves becoming next. This happened in parallel with the brand identity design projects. Leaving Seattle was not an easy choice, but there was a wider world to explore.

Here we are, currently in Phnom Penh.

Welcome to Design Kompany. Re-imagined for 2024, but always, at heart, asking questions, inviting people to do the same, and sparking something… different.

Innovation spacemaking?

Maybe.

Good craic?

As my Gen Z friends say, ‘Yesss.’

 

 

Update: February 2024