The Firm List > The Firm List Spotlights > Edge

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Edge Spotlight on the Firms
FL: One of the first messages one runs across on your site, is the line "Edge, first and foremost, is a creative company." What exactly do you mean by this and why is it so important to your firm to emphasis this so prominently?
Edge: We believe that every assignment can be understood as a problem in need of a solution. The opportunity to identify the problem, distill its essence and deliver a solution of uncompromising originality fuels the creative souls of Edge.
FL: A very striking visual on your site is a photograph of a desert with a small building off in the distance. This photograph is certainly a striking one and obviously it was intentionally chosen for the site. How important is photography to your firm's work and how difficult is it to integrate the photography with a client's site while still retaining the meaning you saw in them?
Edge: Photography is a very important part of the creative arsenal at Edge. We have a full-tilt photo studio on the premises equipped with digital and conventional capabilities, and a very fine photographer to boot. It's one more component that separates us from many other design houses.

As far as integrating the photographic imagery, that falls under the heading of shooting to express or reinforce the solution. It is custom . . . we don't shoot until we have the idea.
FL: In the section on "balance" there is reference to building a lasting relationship with a client. Too often in this industry, client-firm relationships are marked by one-off projects & little future-planning and few long-term relationships are seen. Would you see this as a part of what makes your firm different, or is just some unthought of, natural part of business for Edge?
Edge: Follow-up is incredibly important but often neglected. We make it our intent that the completion of a project affirms the partnership that has developed. After delivery we continue to be available to keep the client's creative solutions relevant, as their business needs evolve.
FL: Your website affectionately includes nicknames for your staff. Is it common for people to refer to each other by these nicknames during a regular business day? How important do you think this informality is to creating just the right office environment?
Edge: We believe it's very important to laugh at each other.
FL: Many firms prefer not to include but a small sampling of their staff on their site, worried that other firms will try and poach your talent. In terms of your company values and atmosphere, what are your greatest worries when it comes to your team?
Edge: Edgeheads remain at Edge because it continues to be a place that harbors innovation and encourages explosive bouts of individuality.
FL: Most people have heard of Portland, OR but I wonder how many people have heard of Corvallis. What's the history behind your office there and how has it affected what Edge has become? And as someone who almost went to the University of Oregon, is there an internal wish that your firm was instead located in the cosmopolitan town of Eugene?
Edge: Relocate to Eugene... never. Corvallis is a peaceful little town of about 50,000, yet with a better football team. Joanne McLennan started the shop in Corvallis back in 1984, and in 1998 we opened our second office 100 miles north, in Portland. Having an office with live Edgeheads in Portland allows us to personally and more easily penetrate a bigger market.
FL: The Firm List includes firms with all sorts of focuses & backgrounds. Many are completely web-only, with no print offerings. How important to your firm's history and positioning is your background and offerings in print and traditional aspects of identity? Has this part of the business remained as important over time, or is it losing/gaining ground compared to the new media part?
Edge: Edge was ten years old before the Web arrived. We are designers first, the Web is just another medium to work in. At Edge we are fortunate to have on staff the talent to work in a variety of mediums. Let's face it, print still works and we'll keep working with it until it doesn't.
FL: Does your firm have a design style? If so, what would you say that is? If not, do you feel that having a design style is detrimental for a firm, or is it just not right in the case of your firm? If not a specific design style, what sort of consistency do you offer/guarantee for your clients?
Edge: Our style is apparent in the process, not necessarily in the product. HOW we tackle the problem may be similar from one assignment to the next but WHAT we come up at the end hopefully has its own identity.
FL: Given the current state of the economy/industry, what are your concerns for the future of web design as a business? How do you feel that the industry will transform as it "matures?" What are your plans (if any) for riding the currently choppy waves?
Edge: Listen, learn, solve, produce results.
FL: Your firm obviously enjoys ping pong. Many firms on the east coast have a similar fascination with foosball. Would you say this is a truly regional difference in the industry or a matter of personal preference? Is foosball as challenging a sport as ping pong?
Edge: We'd have foosball tables too if we had the space. And bowling.
(spotlight first ran May 2001)

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