Spencer Francey Peters

It may be pretty corporate today, but branding and design firm Spencer Francey Peters of Toronto got an unlikely start in the rock and roll business back in the 1970s.
At that time Peter Francey, president, and Clark Spencer, director of operations, were in the rock and roll management business. Out of necessity, they started a small design business within that firm to produce the logos, posters, press kits, album covers and other materials that Canadian performers needed.

It may be pretty corporate today, but branding and design firm Spencer Francey Peters of Toronto got an unlikely start in the rock and roll business back in the 1970s.

At that time Peter Francey, president, and Clark Spencer, director of operations, were in the rock and roll management business. Out of necessity, they started a small design business within that firm to produce the logos, posters, press kits, album covers and other materials that Canadian performers needed.

‘I guess it was one of those serendipitous things back in the 1970s,’ says Francey. ‘I don’t think we’d do it again today, in the current market situation, but in the ’70s, the design business was pretty immature in Canada.

‘We started getting record companies asking us to do work for their acts and then we had a couple of clients, both with different record companies, move into the corporate sector. Because they liked working with us, they brought us along to do work for them. Those were our first corporate clients.

‘That really opened the doors for us. From there we decided enough with the rock and roll business, let’s get on with real life.’ PS

1977 – Company incorporates under the name Fifty Fingers as a boutique design shop. First clients are Inglis and Block Drugs.

1982 – Renames as the Spencer Francey Group, specializing in corporate identity and corporate communications.

1986 – Time magazine selects Spencer Francey Group’s package design for Ability Software as one of the ‘Ten Best Designs’ of 1986.

- Begins working with Cambridge Shopping Centres, thus entering the design ‘big leagues’ in Canada.

1987 – Opens offices in Ottawa and California to meet increasing demand for creative services in the high tech area.

1988 – Wins its first million-dollar project with Ontario Hydro for the design of the utility’s Supply and Demand Plan.

1990 – U.K.-based communications company Clarke Hooper acquires Spenser Francey and merges it with U.K. package design company Michael Peters Design Group. Company becomes Spencer Francey Peters (SFP).

1991 – Wins first international account: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

1995 – Partners buy back the company and grow it to 40 people. SFP begins to seriously develop branding capabilities and market them to clients.

1996 – Enters a long-term relationship with Canada Post for marketing and branding services.

1997 – Establishes a digital media group. Leads the strategic process and implementation program with Toronto Hydro for major corporate rebranding initiative.

1999 – Becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of SFP Communications Group, a public company.

2001 – Staff reaches 50. Wins a major rebranding account with the Bank of Nova Scotia.