Plewes son to take the reins

Ownership of William Plewes Design, a prominent Toronto design company, is passing on to a new generation.With more time in the studio, Chris Plewes wants to begin stretching creative parameters.Designer Chris Plewes, who has been working at the firm his father...

Ownership of William Plewes Design, a prominent Toronto design company, is passing on to a new generation.

With more time in the studio, Chris Plewes wants to begin stretching creative parameters.

Designer Chris Plewes, who has been working at the firm his father founded for the past 10 years, is taking over the operation with a new partner, Michael Bertouche.

The new company, jointly owned by Plewes and Bertouche, has been renamed the Plewes Bertouche Design Group.

‘This industry is really about people and personality, and the key people in the company define its personality,’ says Chris Plewes.

Plewes says the kind of personality he has been looking to maintain in his design company reflects the complementary strengths of design creativity and a business and marketing underpinning that is also sensitive to the design process.

He says he feels these two sides are reflected in himself and in Bertouche.

In effect, this point of view is a continuation of the philosophy established by his father, who was an art director with Procter & Gamble for about 10 years before moving out on his own in partnership with a variety of designers over the years.

‘Bill’s [his father's] philosophy was that the person talking to the client had to be very knowledgeable about design and had to be hands-on,’ Plewes says.

‘You need that in account people if they are to help design stand up to the rigors of debate,’ he says.

Says Bertouche: ‘You need to be able to provide more than good solutions. They must be responsible solutions as well. Clients want to know that they have been really well-thought-out.’

With more time in the studio, Plewes wants to add to the solid reputation of the Plewes name and begin stretching creative parameters.

Says Plewes: ‘We always use the word `clever’ around here. That implies that your answer is smart and solves the problem, and it also means that you are compelling and have sparked interest.’

Bertouche says the new company will practise what it preaches by marketing itself aggressively.

‘I see a great opportunity,’ says Bertouche. ‘It’s not necessarily about being louder, but being better known.’

William Plewes will remain involved in the company as an advisor.