Verified Expert Brand Designer: Base

Base coined the term “blanding,” but the international branding agency is anything but boring. With clients ranging from AI startup Rival Theory to e-commerce company Kidbox, Base leverages its broad portfolio of clients and designers from all around the world to help startups develop their individual personas. As they celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, we talked to Base Partner Geoff Cook about how the agency continues to evolve.

On Base’s culture:

“Base strives to have a profound cultural impact. Yes, we do strategy, and yes, we do identity, and all sorts of brand executions, but the end goal is to have a significant cultural impact for our clients. The end goal isn’t the product, it’s the result.”

“As one of our longest-standing mentors at Techstars in New York, Base partner Geoff Cook (with Base as back up) has helped to brand several of our portfolio companies and provided counsel to hundreds more.” Jenny Fielding, NYC, Managing Director, Techstars

On common founder mistakes:

“This may sound provocative, but I think the most common mistake is that there is a belief in the tech world that branding should be approached iteratively like their approach to product development. Having now been through that process of iteration with both startups and the largest tech companies, we’ve found that the results are often compromised. Oftentimes if you iterate or have different groups weighing in throughout the process, it can be detrimental to the end result. It’s a conversation we’re now having with founders to say, “We’ve tried both ways, we’ve seen these results, and we would ask that you go along for the ride and put your trust in us, and we’ll ensure that you will arrive someplace really compelling.”

Below, you’ll find the rest of the founder reviews, the full interview, and more details like pricing and fee structures. This profile is part of our ongoing series covering startup brand designers and agencies with whom founders love to work, based on this survey and our own research. The survey is open indefinitely, so please fill it out if you haven’t already.

Interview with Base Partner Geoff Cook

Yvonne Leow: To kick things off, could you tell me about your backstory? How did you get into branding?

Geoff Cook: I actually came from DKNY, back in its heyday, and met Base’s Belgian partners through the world of fashion. I always joke that I wanted out of fashion and they wanted out of Brussels. So I invested in Base and brought it to New York City in 1999. My background is in marketing and strategy. When I was leading the International Menswear division at DKNY, I started realizing that I always had the most fun working with our internal branding group. So, when I left, I knew I wanted to pivot and go more in that direction. I think what appealed to me was the combination of creativity and the massive impact branding could have on the world. The intersection of those two things really drew me in.