Mo Bofill joins 123w to establish a Toronto office

The Vancouver agency's new partner will help it expand its design-led approach.

Mooren “Mo” Bofill has joined 123w as a senior partner and equity owner, taking on the title of creative director, design to help the Vancouver agency establish an office in Toronto.

Bofill built and led the design department at John St. for the past five years, working across the agency’s full portfolio of clients, including Loblaw, Tangerine, Boston Pizza and Mitsubishi. She tells strategy that the opportunity to build an offering from scratch once again was a personal long-term goal and a big reason for joining 123w.

Bofill is familiar with the leadership team at 123w, having previously worked with CEO and co-founder Scot Keith at Zulu Alpha Kilo when he was a general manager there.

While Bofill – whose new role begins today – will be 123w’s first staff on the ground in Toronto, roughly 30% of the agency’s revenue is already coming from clients in Ontario. To further build its base in the city, the agency wanted to lead with its design offering, something it did when launching in Vancouver over seven years ago and which remains foundational to its approach to client work. The agency now has just under 40 staff, and half of its creative department comes from a design background. In March, it added designer Tim Hoffpauir to its roster of 13 creative directors in Vancouver, part of a “low overhead, high talent” approach that gives clients direct access to creative leaders in the agency.

Growth in Toronto will be determined by new business, opportunity and client need, the agency says. Bofill – and the team she builds in Toronto – will work as one team with 123w Vancouver. And beyond setting up shop in Toronto, Bofill’s duties include leading the design offering collaboratively with Jeff Harrison, co-founder and creative director in Vancouver.

“My role in this agency is to partner with Jeff and really drive that forward,” Bofill says.

Bofill says the agency’s approach of growing a client’s business through design has always been a passion of hers. “The visceral representation of what a brand truly is, is a big power of what design can do,” she says. “But the other portion of what design can do, in terms of driving business for clients, is the ability and power to really galvanize that entire consumer experience.”

Design used to be thought of “your brand as a logo,” but consumers are now introduced to a brand in “so many different ways” – be it through packaging, social media, online and TV, and brands need to be relevant and communicate their purposes through all those mediums.

“Brands that have become either irrelevant, or [aren’t] meaningful to contemporary audiences, they need to transform,” she says, adding that her work with clients at John St. has shown design is crucial to that. “For me, that’s what I want to be able to bring to the table at 123w as we tackle more national brands,” opportunities that will become even more accessible to agency as it expands its presence.