Duffy & Partners

Duffy & Partners
Duffy & Partners
Type Design
Industry Branding and Design
Founded 1984
Headquarters Minneapolis, Minnesota
Key people Joe Duffy (founder)



Duffy & Partners is a branding and design firm that was founded in 1984 by Creative Director, Joe Duffy. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Duffy & Partners’ work spans many media and design disciplines including corporate and brand identity, packaging design, marketing communications, digital experiences and branded environments.[1][2]



Joe Duffy founded the firm on the premise of collaboration and the power of creativity. Duffy was a pioneer in forging the integration of design and advertising when he partnered with creative advertising agency Fallon Worldwide.[2][3]

Duffy was one of the first design firms to work in partnership with an advertising agency, originally as a subsidiary of Fallon McElligott Rice.[1][2][3]

Package and Design Magazine wrote, “Duffy holds a strong belief that great people working in a great environment can do great things. They employ a business approach that is transparent and simple: look and listen with curiosity, be honest, work smart. With every project, they strive to do the right things the right way. And they believe the process of design should be fun and inspiring for everyone involved.” [4]

In 2004, Joe Duffy was recognized as a medalist by the American Institute of Graphic Arts which recognizes “exceptional achievements, services or other contributions to the field of design and visual communication.” [5] For the award, John C. Jay, Co-Executive Creative Director, Wieden + Kennedy, Tokyo, wrote: “Duffy Design has withstood the winds of fashion, the elitism of the design industry, the economic recession, the creative recession and the consolidation of what was an industry of individuality. Today, Duffy remains a premiere problem-solver for brands with a future.” [6]

In 2006, Joe Duffy was ranked 7th among the 50 most influential people in the future of business by Fast Company (magazine). In January, 2010, Joe Duffy was named one of 20 “People to Watch” in the design industry in 2010 by Graphic Design USA Magazine, described as “one of the most respected and sought after creative directors and thought leaders on branding and design.” [7][8][9]

In January 2011, Joe Duffy was interviewed by How Design Magazine which featured tips for bridging the communication gap between designers and clients. Duffy explains, “We have clients who are bold, brash and opinionated, while others are meek, mild and couldn’t be nicer – and everything in between. The best designers learn to communicate in that particular person’s language.” [10]

In April 2011, Joe Duffy was named a “Design Icon” by Computer Arts Magazine. In the feature article celebrating Duffy’s work, Duffy explains his push for the democratization of design, saying “We’ve reached a point in popular culture where everyone is a designer to a certain extent. People have the ability today to design their own stationary and their own logo and they can do what graphic designers do...But for me, I think if people are gaining a better understanding of design, they’re therefore gaining a greater appreciation for the people who do it at the highest level.” [11]

Over the years, Duffy & Partners has worked under various names including The Duffy Design Group (1984), Joe Duffy Design (1990), Duffy (1998) and Duffy & Partners (2004).[12]


Notable installations and showings

  • Gallery Von Oertzen, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England
  • New York Art Directors Club (1999)
  • Uma Voz exhibition Panamericana School of Art and Design, Sao Paulo, Brazil (August, 2002)
  • Library of Congress, Permanent Collection, Washington D.C., USA
  • Cooper Hewitt, New York, USA
  • Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (2008)
  • University of WI-Stevens Point (2010)

Notable Honors

  • 1997 - Best Brewery Advertising & Design, recognizing First Reserve branding.
  • 1997 - Effie Awards, Most Effective Fast Food Product Launch recognizing McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, Time Magazine, Top Ten Designs of 1997, McDonald’s.
  • 2000 - DuPont Antron Grand Prize for Best Environmental Design, Hospitality & Retail, recognizing custom designed carpets for Webb Restaurants.
  • 2000 - Ad Tech, Best Online Audience Community Building Campaign, recognizing efforts for EDS.
  • 2004 - Medalist, American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Legend Award.
  • 2006 - Winner: Communication Arts Design Annual 2006 for Thymes Home Bottles.
  • 2007 - Susan G Komen was awarded highest honor of excellence award by Color Marketing.
  • 2007- Winner: Communication Arts Design Annual 2007 for Thymes Fragrance Bottles in the Packaging category.
  • 2007- Winner: Communication Arts Design Annual 2007 for Thymes Packaging in the Packaging category.
  • 2008 – Winner: Zandi Award for Best of Show was given for The Bahamas Brand Book
  • 2009 - Joe Duffy was presented with the Fellow Award by the AIGA Minnesota.
  • 2010 - AIGA honors for work in branding and corporate identity, Coca-Cola and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Notable work

  • "Brand Apart" by Joe Duffy, designed by Duffy & Partners, published by One Club Publishing in 2005. Features insights on the art of creating a distinctive brand voice, in eleven interview style marketing cases.
  • "Art for the River" - 10 limited edition screen prints, created by Duffy & Partners’ designers sold to benefit The Mississippi River Fund
  • Selected to showcase Thymes, Beauty of Bathing book and Thymes Integrated Branding Program in Design Annual 49, the November 2008 issue of Communication Arts.

Notable talent

Many talented people have worked at Duffy through the years. Among them are people such as: Charles S. Anderson, founder CSA Design; Brian Collins, designer and founder COLLINS; Genevieve Gorder, television host of TLC’s former Trading Spaces, Sharon Werner founder Werner Design Werks, INC and HGTV’s Dear Genevieve.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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