The creative you 
The people you 
The solutions you 
The team you 
The studio you 
The experts you 
The strategists you 
The designers you 
The writers you 
The developers you 
The attention you 
The results you 
What do you Need?

Built to embrace.

Constructing positive change in an industry that desperately needs it, Akin is an LA-based collective of builders dedicated to crafting community-centric spaces.

With an ethos centred on emphasising vibrant placemaking over mere form, they sought to collaborate with a design team that delves deeper – finding the root of the problem to craft effective, sustainable and valuable solutions. We feel immense privilege that that team was us.

Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image

Normalise, not romanticise.

Akin look refreshingly different to your standard construction company, because they’re not your standard construction company. Led by CEO Ariel Lawrence and Business Development Manager Jordan Jua – along with a team of predominantly black women – the industry didn’t make space for them, they took it. They built the table and the seat at that table.

They build doors, too – opening them for future generations of young girls, people of colour, and those who have unconventional ideas that don’t fit into boxes.

These are all reasons Akin are exceptional, but not the sole reasons why they want to – or should be – selected to work on a construction project. Those reasons include their dedicated expertise in placemaking. Their unique process, which covers front-to-back planning and execution of build, design-elevating, hands-on artistry and creative crafts(wo)manship. Their impact-forward team-building that puts the construction of community cornerstones back into the hands of the neighbourhood. And, primarily, that they’re phenomenal at what they do.

Finding a balance between highlighting and celebrating the difference in Akin, while keeping a spotlight on the fact that they’re simply brilliant at what they do, became an early consideration that weaved through this entire project.

Building beautiful.

During our first workshop with Ariel and Jordan, they told us they’re normalising beauty in the construction industry – from the exceptional, seemingly small details of their builds, to the charismatic, black woman-dominated team themselves.

Beauty and construction. These felt like juxtaposing words. But why? Why can’t construction be beautiful? Why do we skirt over the beauty of the process and straight to the polished result?

We considered that word during a brainstorming session. Beauty. It’s not something that has to be soft or delicate. It doesn’t need to be confined to the world of fashion or art. It shouldn’t be reserved for femininity. Beauty is for everyone, it’s everywhere, it’s in the everyday.

That’s the approach we took for the look and feel of this identity. Editorial, artistic, strong, and alluring – all within the setting of construction. Highlighting beauty anywhere, even when it’s surprising.

Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image

Flexibility over rigidity.

As an organisation, Akin must communicate with a wide variety of audiences. From potential collaborators to city planners, architects to mentees, communities to contractors – and each of those communications has to look, sound and feel fitting. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a brand to do.

We took the approach of a sliding scale – something that can alter, grow and play depending on the output, the place and the person receiving it.

While endlessly confident and perpetually beautiful, the brand can be minimal and stripped back – letting Akin’s content speak for itself. Take their case studies, for example. The brand shouldn’t detract or distract, it should be there simply to facilitate – letting the work shine through compelling language and stunning imagery.

Or the identity can take centre stage. It can slide up the scale, morphing into a piece of art. We can utilise creativity to depict ethos, personality and authenticity.

Within a system-based scale, we can go from quiet to loud, minimal to maximal, expected to unexpected, mellow to audacious, and more.

Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image

Enabling longevity.

Our aim, always, is to build brands we can hand over to our clients with confidence. While we’re always happy to act as long-term partners and brand guardians, our process enables clients to take charge of their outputs with ease – and to take delight in doing so.

With tools, training and templates, Akin started 2024 fully equipt to continue sharing their work, ethos, vision and more to the right people, in the right format. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image
Need Thinking. - Akin Page Image

More of this please.

Collaborating with Akin was a highlight of 2023. Perhaps it was just a good fit, with matching energies, appreciation of the process, and love of problem solving. But more likely, it’s because we’re so in awe of how they run their business and what they’re striving to achieve.

To learn more about them – or simply to be inspired – head to Akin’s website or Instagram. If you’re an outside-the-box organisation in your field and want to work with a strategic design studio focused on making the best choices, not the easiest, get in touch.


Brand identity
Communications strategy
Tone of voice
Social media
Press pack
Event designs


Collaboration: WHY
Site build: Johnny Nguyen