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United by Design and Brew York bring GOLD back to York in international design awards

Creative agency United by Design is toasting a huge success, with news that it’s picked up a prestigious gold Design Business Association (DBA) Design Effectiveness Award for its work with craft brewery and tap room Brew York.


The awards are unique in the UK for being the only scheme that recognises commercial success when deciding the winners. It rewards collaboration between forward-thinking businesses, proving that investing in great design really does boost business.

Collaboration from the outset

The two companies first joined forces in 2015, when Brew York asked United by Design to create the branding and packaging for its full range.

The teams have taken a very collaborative approach to design and brand development, taking this local home brew from the garage to the shelves of Asda and Tesco within 12 months of starting to trade.

From launch in March 2016, the brewery has increased production by 500% and quickly risen to be among the top 45% of SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) in terms of turnover. And it’s continuing to thrive, averaging 27% month on month growth. The the tap room has swiftly become one of the must-visit places in York, attracting impressive Trip Advisor reviews.

United by Design managing director Owen Turner said: "The great thing about the Design Effectiveness Awards is that they’re no airy-fairy accolade. They’re all about recognising where design has had a real-life, measurable effect on business.

"Our designs for Brew York helped win those all-important supermarket listings.It’s all very well praising clever design - but these awards are about celebrating commercial success."

Brew York co-founder Lee Grabham added: "The strength of our branding, design and packaging means we’ve already beaten some of the commercial objectives we built into our 3 - 5 year business plan - within our first nine months of brewing and trading."

Impressive competition

The DBA judging panel reads like a who’s who of branding and marketing specialists, with all entries put through two rounds of rigorous scrutiny by a panel of business leaders, marketing professionals and design experts, from the likes of Diageo, Britvic, EE, IBM, ITV, Mars and PepsiCo.

Chief executive of the Design Business Association Deborah Dawton said: ‘Design uniquely cuts to the heart of every business it touches. It closes the gap between business and market success. 

"So when it comes to our nation’s competitiveness, infusing design universally into business should be a priority in order to drive long-term growth and economic advantage for the UK. The DBA Design Effectiveness Award winners prove why."

Excellence in York

It will be the second time in the limelight for United by Design, which works out of a studio on The Mount. The team won a silver DBA Design Effectiveness Award in 2015, for their work with another brewery, Treboom, based in Shipton-by-Beningborough.

"We actually work with businesses from a huge range of sectors and from all around the country,’ said Owen, "So it’s a strange coincidence that our two big award-winners are local breweries.

"It’s great news for the city though and proves that our ancient streets are peppered with innovative, cutting edge businesses that can stand tall with the best in the world."