On April Fools’ Day 1997, two friends opened a small design firm. Since then, the letter Q has become widely known for creative communication design. A fragmentary history …
Tanja Hilpert joins Q, later marries, and continues today on the Q team, as Tanja Nitzke.
We receive support from our first interns: Marion Birner, Sascha Kraus, and Andreas Wolf. Over the years, many more interns join the firm. Their stories and pathways are available at Q VADIS?.
The fiscal authority in Wiesbaden calculates an income of 28 million Deutsche Mark for Laurenz Nielbock and asks for taxes of 4.2 million Deutsche Mark. Amazing good fortune! But it was all due to a programming error in the authority’s computer.
Marcel Kummerer joins Q, eventually marries, and is still a member of Team Q, as Marcel Gutsmann.
Matthias Frey starts at Q as a freelancer. He moves to Berlin and runs a small Q office in the German capital. In 2006, Matthias returns to Wiesbaden – and is still with us.
Our German client Lido, a Lufthansa subsidiary, provides important data for pilots, including detailed weather information. The company asks us to create an advertisement for international audiences. We suggest a visual idea: a cockpit that displays a weatherfrog in a glass case. (The frog climbs a small ladder, as weather conditions change.) Everybody at Lido and Q loves the idea! But few hours before the elaborate photo shoot with a real frog, the concept is cancelled, when we learn: The myth of the weatherfrog is unknown outside Germany.
Sabine Hess joins the firm, later marries, and is still with us, as Sabine Merck.
Ute Dersch joins Q, but later moves to Northern Hesse to be with her life partner.
The smallest agency network in the world emerges: An international design magazine showcases our artwork – and the artwork of a a design studio in the US with the same name – Q. We consider whether we should sue the Americans or become friends. We decide for the second option. We remain close friends with Christine, Tom, Jeff, Todd, and their team after collaborating on various transatlantic projects, visiting each other frequently, and exchanging staff to broaden our horizons.
First Red Dot Communication Award for Q.
Burglars break into Q’s studio.
For paper manufacturer Arjowiggins, we create an elaborate sample and inspiration book, entitled Designers’ Friend. For its cover, we choose an illustration of a bull terrier. The client decides this is too aggressive. The Q team transforms the animal into a cute dachshund.
First iF Communication Design Award for Q.
A driver underestimates the width of his vehicle and breaks the exterior rearview mirror of a parked car that belongs to Q managing director Thilo von Debschitz. The parties exchange business cards. After looking at Thilo’s card, the rueful traffic offender asks: “What is your profession?” – “In our agency, we create brands, design information, find solutions for printed and electronic communication.” – “Then, you are my man!” And through a broken mirror, a new client relationship is established.
Matthias Frey becomes a Q partner.
A second German creative agency names itself Q. We think that this is not creative, so we politely ask the competitor – who is much bigger than we are – to rename its organization. He does not. We seek a legal solution in court. From the revenues of the judicial decision, we pay for an annual retreat adventure in the Côte d’Azur, and the competitor changes its name.
At an award ceremony for corporate social responsibility, a “Mr. Schmiedebach from Q” is called to the stage. Clueless, we sit in the audience and look at each other: There is no one in our team with this name. Soon afterwards, the situation is clarified. The speaker was mistaken. Since then, the phantom Schmiedebach has been in our hearts. He is blamed for any major mistakes, and he is the contact person for unsolicited phone calls.
The Calendar of Coincidence – an experimental design project for paper company Antalis – ends up winning more awards than any previous Q project! We receive a European Design Award, A’ Design Award, Gold at the Creativity International Awards, a Merit at HOW Promotion Design Awards and HOW International Design Awards, a silver trophy at the Berliner Type, as well as awards from Red Dot and the Deutschen Designer Club.
UFO prevents a plane trip: Our annual retreat to Riga, Latvia, is shortened by one day because plane Lufthansa flight 890 can not take off due to a strike by the Unabhängigen Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO, Independent Flight Attendant Organisation). We spend the waiting time in museums in Frankfurt.
On the occasion of our 15th anniversary, German’s leading graphic design publishing house, H. Schmidt in Mainz, publishes a printed showcase of our work. The lookbook “QXV” receives a special award.
Massive award shower: For corporate design and a website created for the Ensemble Musikfabrik, Q wins a German Design Award, is ranked number one at the Annual Multimedia Award, and receives an Award from the Deutschen Designer Club. Our calendar „Bauen für Kultur“ for SOKA-BAU receives gold at the Gregor International Calendar Award, silver at the European Design Award, and a nomination for the German Design Award.Hannah Meinhardt and Hendrik Peermann join the team and are still with us.
A billionaire’s wife from Africa purchases a used German soap machine to establish her own soap-production company in Nigeria. In her vacation domicile in Wiesbaden, she looks for a good agency, finds Q on the internet, and asks if we trust ourselves to do soap-packaging design. We do not have any experience with packaging design, especially not with soap. But she requests concepts, and we create various packaging designs within two days. At the concept presentation, she ends the meeting after the first design, says she has seen enough, and hires us for the packaging project.
We order pizza. For the first time, the food is delivered in pizza boxes designed by Q, commissioned by the Museum Wiesbaden.
Q becomes 20. Laurenz Nielbock and Thilo von Debschitz are still friends. In the photo from left to right are the four partners at the end of 2017: Matthias Frey, Thilo von Debschitz, Alex Ginter, and Laurenz Nielbock. At the end of the year, Alex moves to Bavaria.
We successfully close our 20th year of existence.
In an agency pitch, our creative concept for the corporate design for the Museum Reinhard Ernst wins. Now our work shapes a quarter of our city: After project-based works for the Nassauischer Kunstverein and the Museum Wiesbaden, after the logo design for the RheinMain CongressCenter, after serving the Hessian State Ballet since its founding, the cultural axis along the Wilhelmstrasse in Wiesbaden is completed by another client.
The year starts with great news: Our logo for the Museum Reinhard Ernst is among the Top Ten at the international “HOW Logo Design Awards” and winner at the 65th competition of the renown Type Directors Club of New York.
We sign a rental contract to move into the Walkmühle, new creative hotspot in the City of Wiesbaden. In July of 2019, we will move into the old building of a brewery which dates back to the 18th century.