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Q LTD operates thriving branding firm out of Kerrytown offices

When it comes to branding work, Ann Arbor's Q LTD has found a recipe for success that has netted high-profile international work. With a staff of just 12, the team works closely, collaboratively and creatively to ensure maximum productivity and impact.

So what exactly does a branding firm do? Director of planning Scott Hauman describes the company as a "strategic design consultancy. We are design problem solvers."

Q LTD often works with companies in transition, helping it with graphic design, name development, brand positioning and brand identification. The company considers itself media-neutral and will research where a company should market, whether that is television, the internet, direct mail or print brochures.

The firm was recently awarded the contract for brand work for the 2008 SIGGRAPH conference -- which will be the 16th year of this relationship. SIGGRAPH is the international association dedicated to computer graphics and interactive technologies. Other recent client adds include The Kresge Foundation, Clark Hill Attorneys, Forte Belanger and Simon Fraser University: School of Interactive Arts + Technology. The firm has often worked for the University of Michigan and the city of Ann Arbor and has a long-standing pro bono relationship with The Ark.

Q LTD also has a European partner in Q GmbH, located in Wiesbaden, Germany. Incredibly, both firms were named Q and doing basically the same type of work, which led to their fortuitous meeting. Now, they work collaboratively and give each other strategic access to work across the pond. In addition, Q LTD has a small outpost office in San Francisco, giving the company a West Coast presence.

The firm envisions topping out at 15 to 20 employees. "We never want to get too huge," says Tom Rieke, president."We prefer the smaller group idea, but we plan on growing designers, storytellers and web developers here."

One of the reasons Q LTD is so bullish on their Kerrytown address is the stream of talent from area colleges and universities. "We have a great source of interns coming from U-M, Eastern Michigan University, College for Creative Studies and Washtenaw Community College," says Christine Golus, the firm's vice president and creative director. "It's one of the reasons to stay around in Michigan."

Plus, she observes, "We have the fresh water!"

Sources: Christine Golus, Scott Hauman and Tom Rieke, Q LTD
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
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