In this day and age, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a purpose that inspires and drives them. And one new company that showcases this way of forward thinking is 478 Studios, a collective of designers, strategists, developers and content creators that launched in 2020.
Together, they offer clients a multi-pronged service which ranges from design and storytelling, to branding, and delivering workshops to start-ups and established businesses. 478 Studios have a passion for creating memorable digital experiences and working with brands that have a genuine desire to create an impact and leave a desirable mark on the world.
I sat down with Scott Ohene Nyako, the founder and driving force behind 478 Studios. Following nearly ten years’ experience in the design industry, during which he has worked with a number of brands in both London and Accra, Ghana, he tells me why now seemed the perfect time to create a new style of agency and why the company is him in a nutshell.
More than just numbers and a name
“478 Studios is everything I believe in and everything I am passionate about in one. I wanted to create a brand which represents who I am and what I am about; utilising my talents in design and branding to create a business. At the core of 478 Studios we are a branding and design studio, however, inspired by my love for art, and African art in particular, I felt a need to incorporate that into the business to provide an outlet that enables me to share and express my fondness for the arts.”
Even the name 478 Studios is personal, as Scott explains: “The name 478 Studios was inspired by my final university project. The project itself was all about trying to use design and data visualisation to help tell a story around how communities perceive black people. I wanted to showcase that stereotypes may not be untrue, but many are certainly incomplete. It was all about having real (and sometimes awkward) conversations with people of different backgrounds and asking poignant questions about how they perceive people of colour.”
Scott continues: “Imagine, after seven months of research and design development, I still didn’t have a name for the project. One evening (most probably whilst I was delirious due to numerous long nights!) I decided to upload a photo of myself to Photoshop. Soon after, I applied a colour picker to my complexion and it came out with the Pantone number, 478. And that’s how 478 Studios was born.”Above. Editorial spread captured from Project 478
Scott sees his final university project as a light-bulb moment for him in determining where he wanted his design career to take him. To Scott, design and branding is not just pretty pictures and beautifully set text; it’s about using design to tell complex stories in a beautiful way. Just as his university project moulded what kind of designer he wanted to be, it also helped establish the path he wanted 478 Studios to take. It is also why such emphasis is put on working with like-minded founders and conscious business owners who have ethical elements to their business strategy and conduct.
The power of conversation and mentoring
Not content with just creating brands and digital platforms, 478 Studios also offer face-to-face and virtual workshops and mentoring to small business owners, helping them get on the right tracks in terms of branding, strategy and communication. Scott explains how his own desire to keep growing, but not always having access to mentors during his career, was instrumental in him deciding this was a service he must provide.
“In hindsight, one thing I know I would have benefitted from when I first started was being more proactive in seeking mentors to help me fill in any gaps in my knowledge. So fast forward to today, with the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, I’d like to be able to share my expertise with small business owners and those who have a grand vision but might be lost in the world of brand strategy.”
With a smile he admits: “I think the workshops are what excites me the most. I love meeting people and hearing their ideas. It’s inspiring to see and be surrounded by people with such ambition, creating businesses that solve problems. A brilliant organisation that continue to create environments for this is Foundervine. Workshops are a natural way for me to have conversations and help future founders unpick what their company is about.”
Let’s talk about art and community
478 Studios not only want to help shape the next generation of founders, but their aim to pay it forward goes much deeper. It is best shown in the art element of their company, Wovenby, which uses traditional Ghanaian Kente cloth to create unique made-to-order wall art.
Scott explains: “Something can look beautiful to the eye, but there needs to be a purpose or story behind it. At Wovenby, our philosophy is to not only bring quality Kente designs to the forefront, but we want to also have a greater social impact by giving back to the community and investing in the future generation of creatives. To this respect, 20% of each Wovenby piece sold will be gifted to some of the most creative young minds so they can be blessed with an opportunity to attend some of the best universities in Ghana to fuel their growth back home.”
What’s next for 478 Studios?
It’s been an exciting first few months for 478 Studios and they’ve already got ideas in mind for the future, some of which recognise the importance of lending their expertise to help tackle serious issues.
Scott tells me: “We’ve got a few personal passion projects that we want to deliver to help dispel some of the tainted and archaic perceptions some have towards various communities and countries across the continent. I’m promising to start at home, Ghana, and use the power of design and branding to disrupt old habits and change perceptions. We’re excited for the future – watch this space!”
Words by. Sian Williams