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Press release

Decoding the world – CLEVER°FRANKE is Red Dot: Agency of the Year 2023

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Successful agencies that shape and advance our industry are not sprinters, but marathon runners. This is why the Red Dot: Agency of the Year is chosen annually as part of the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design – a special honorary title for which no one can apply. This award recognises the innovative spirit, long-term strategic thinking and exceptional communication performance of agencies that consistently pursue these parameters over many years. This year, the agency CLEVER°FRANKE from the Netherlands can be pleased about the honorary title.

Decoding the world
This year, the “Stylus” trophy, created for this honorary title, was passed on to the Dutch agency CLEVER°FRANKE at the festive award ceremony on 3 November in Berlin.

“CLEVER°FRANKE was considered a pioneer in data visualisation when founded in 2008 and has since become an internationally sought-after specialist in translating complex data sets,” said Peter Zec, Founder and CEO of Red Dot, pleased with the choice. This also underlines the importance that intelligent information design and vivid data visualisation have assumed in the meantime. CLEVER°FRANKE wants to “decode the complexity of the world” and sees this as a relevant mission for designers: “In the design industry, there are some key issues that require attention: the ethical handling of misinformation, the promotion of diverse collaborations and a strong focus on accessibility. From our perspective, data visualisation can have a positive impact on the world primarily through the way we present and talk about information.”

Thus, the Red Dot: Agency of the Year title also puts the focus on a design sector that not only has a high economic but also a strong social impact. “There is now no doubt that information is the ‘raw material’ of our time. However, this raw material requires design so that we can harness it for the benefit of society,” Peter Zec affirmed.

From pioneers to leaders
Thomas Clever and Gert Franke founded their agency CLEVER°FRANKE in 2008. At that time, a lot of convincing was still needed to explain the importance of data visualisation as a powerful tool to clients from industry and business. This changed rapidly: from the launch of the “Weather Chart” series in 2010, which has since even been included in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, to the reappraisal of the Google research project “Consumer Barometer” in 2011 and information graphics for Bill Gates, to the visualisation of Chicago’s mobility, CLEVER°FRANKE got off to a flying start. And the Corona Dashboard commissioned by the Dutch government also shows the benefits that the general public can derive from comprehensible data visualisation.

The creatives at CLEVER°FRANKE see the next step in the development of visual storytelling that is fed by data: The new look of the Eurovision Song Contest (2020), based on the identities of the participating countries, is an extremely successful example of this. “Our goal is not only to visualise data to tell a story or make it useful for practical applications, but also to use it to develop distinctive identities. This can mean incorporating data-driven elements into branding and communication materials, thus combining the aesthetic appeal of information visualisation with the core identity of a company or project,” Thomas Clever and Gert Franke conclude.

With more than 40 employees and a second branch in Chicago, CLEVER°FRANKE is one of the most renowned agencies for data visualisation today, not least because of this constant development. Numerous design awards have already honoured their remarkable projects, which are always characterised by an innovative design language. Now CLEVER°FRANKE is being honoured for its overall performance as Red Dot: Agency of the Year 2023. “This is a great recognition for the entire team, highlighting our exceptional creativity, innovation and commitment to outstanding data-driven design that helps decode the complexity of the world,” enthuse the two founders, who accepted the “Stylus” trophy in person at the award ceremony on 3 November.

Red Dot: Ageny of the Year - Hall of Fame
Over the past ten years, internationally active agencies that stand for relevant design at the highest level and repeatedly set new impulses in the design community have been awarded this honorary title for their achievements:

2022 MetaDesign
2021 denkwerk
2020 Interbrand
2019 KW43 Branddesign by Grey Germany
2018 Banda Agency
2017 thjnk
2016 Serviceplan
2015 Leo Burnett Deutschland
2014 Scholz & Friends
2013 Mutabor
2012 601 bisang
2011 beetroot
2010 BBDO
2009 KMS Team
2008 Strichpunkt



Press contact:

Red Dot Design Award
Birte Köppen
Phone +49 201 838885 35

Press agency
GeSK Agency for Public Relations
Gabriele von Molitor
Phone +49 30 21750460