In a true story of rags to riches, Simon Needham and James Sommerville, graduates of the Batley School of Art and Design, established their business in Huddersfield in 1986 with a £1,000-grant from the Prince's Trust (an organization that provides money for startup businesses) in the attic of Sommerville's grandmother-yes, hence the name.
During a rough patch in the late 1980s, Attik moved their operation to London, and business did pick up-but not necessarily in the industries they were hoping for. So, in 1995 they self-published Noise, a noncommercial book peppered with abstract, heavily layered layouts to lure clients in the music and entertainment industries; the Noise books (four to date and one in production) became objects of desire among designers. In 1997, William Travis, an Attik employee since 1992, headed to New York to open the first American outpost and with the burgeoning dot-com scene in the West Coast opened a San Francisco office in 1999, the same year Needham started an office in Sydney.
After some rough years following the demise of the dot-com era and the events of September 11, 2001, Attik turned its focus to integrated branding and in 2004 began a relationship with Toyota Motor Corporation, helping them launch the Scion automobile; whose subversive identity package departs from anything the automotive industry had seen or done before. In the same vein, Attik has continued to do work for the thriving and increasingly brandaware generation of young consumers for companies like Virgin, America Online, and Nike. In 2007, Attik was acquired by global advertising agency Dentsu, giving the firm an even bigger stage on which to work. Needless to say, the £1,000-grant paid off.
A Masters Degree in Attik
In 2003, the first class of students-hailing from the United States, Canada, Singapore, Spain, Ireland, and England-arrived at Huddersfield University to inaugurate the masters program in creative
imaging, a joint effort of Attik and the university. The two-year program consists of academic courses coupled with practical assignments on client briefs at Attik's studio with the aim of closing the gap between theory and practice and fostering graduates who can immediately contribute to a design firm or start their own business.*
Gomez-Palacio, Bryony. Graphic Design Referenced. Beverly: Rockport Publishers, 2009. Print.