San Francisco design firm Ammunition beat out Apple and others to be named Fast Company’s top “Innovative Company in Design.”
Co-founded by Robert Brunner, the former head of Apple’s industrial design studio who hired Jony Ive, Ammunition is most famous for designing the Beats Electronics headphones. Ammunition was named most innovative not just for the string of hit products it’s helped bring to market but for taking an equity stake in the companies with which it works.
The magazine cited the group’s long list of hit collaborations, including the Ink and Slide digital iPad pen with Adobe, Polaroid’s cute Cube camera and Square’s innovative Stand, an iPad payment terminal.
Says Fast Company:
Many brands, having caught the design religion, are now investing in in-house teams, which is hurting the bottom lines of the likes of Frog and Smart Design. But Ammunition says it’s thriving because it has evolved with the industry: It frequently partners up with clients as equity holders, so that brands feel as if the design studio is also part of the house.
Ammunition also ranked No. 29 on the magazine’s annual list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,” which named Warby Parker No. 1, Apple No. 32 and Google No. 34.
Ammunition was founded in 2007 by partners Brunner, Matt Rolandson and Brett Wickens. In addition to product design, the firm helps companies with branding, identity, UI, graphic design and packaging.
When Brunner was Apple’s director of industrial design, where he set up the astoundingly successful internal design group, Apple’s IDg. Now run by Jony Ive, the IDg operates almost like an external design agency with only one client — Apple — and, of course, a ton of equity.