Red Dot Agency of the Year 2013: Mutabor

With more than 6,800 entries, this year’s Red Dot Award: Communication Design is one of the strongest in the competition’s history. Just 575 of those entries received the Red Dot, the seal of quality for excellent design. All those who were successful in this competition managed to impress what is obviously a strict international jury of experts – the award signifies top design quality, excellent creative performance and economic market strength. All the more impressive, then, when an agency’s achievements win an award year after year. This is the case for Mutabor, the Red Dot: Agency of the Year 2013.

“I am going to change” – any customer who wishes to obtain advice from the design specialists at Mutabor must be prepared to say these words. Change – that is what the agency has been about for 20 years now. The founders, Johannes Plass and Heinrich Paravicini, chose a company name to reflect this ethos: “Mutabor” comes from Latin and means “I am going to change.”

Based on this motto, Plass and Paravicini, who have known one another since their college days, work together with their team to develop a holistic brand presence for large corporations – such as BMW, Deutsche Telekom and Adidas, to name a few. Beginning with the branding, they stage these stories successfully at all levels of brand management or – in Mutabor language – by means of “tell, experience, move. For this they have been awarded the Red Dot: Grand Prix several times, most recently in 2012.

Over decades, the agency has demonstrated unparalleled creativity and design quality, starting out in magazine and graphic design and moving later to corporate design before arriving today at the development of brand presences in 2D, 3D and 4D – Mutabor sets first-class standards with projects across all disciplines. Starting with the avant-garde magazine Mutabor and a joint degree dissertation for BMW’s marketing department, Plass and Paravicini built up the sales structure for their later work at a very early stage. Created as an interdisciplinary forum for architects, designers and artists at Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Mutabor now employs architects, designers from different disciplines, strategists and customer advisors in carrying out brand staging for a wide variety of industries. Even today, Mutabor’s foundations are based on values: many of the currently 90 employees have been at the agency since its beginnings and have contributed to shaping its development.

The current collaboration with BMW marks a return to the agency’s roots and is hugely significant. “This partnership is and always has been a major milestone. It works wonderfully, also due to the fact that it is becoming more and more extensive. BMW was our first customer – without BMW, Mutabor would not exist”, say Paravicini and Plass. The agency’s 20th anniversary marks a further high point in its history and is celebrated by the owners with a book on the history so far. The publication is entitled C20 – this was the name of the university room where Plass and Paravicini commenced their careers and is a further nod to Mutabor’s tradition-based philosophy.

“An independent and owner-managed agency that has managed to prove itself on the design market for more than 20 years now – this alone is worthy of an award,” says Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, the initiator and CEO of Red Dot. “Mutabor wins out both through extraordinary creative achievements at all levels of brand communication and thanks to its unfailing courage to move established companies in the direction of change. In doing so, the agency has succeeded in achieving great things – in the automotive sector, in particular – while remaining true to itself and its customers throughout more than two decades of success.”

On Oct. 18, representatives from 601bisang from South Korea – Red Dot: Agency of the Year in 2012 – will hand over the “Stylus” cup to Mutabor at the Red Dot Gala in the Konzerthaus in Berlin. This is already the third time that the Red Dot Award: Communication Design celebrations will be held in Germany’s capital city. After the award ceremony with over 1,200 international guests, the design scene will celebrate into the early hours at the legendary Designers’ Night in the Umspannwerk Alexanderplatz venue.

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