This week we announced that, hot on the heels of establishing a presence in Copenhagen, Pearlfisher has just opened its doors in San Francisco.

Some of you might be thinking, “Here he goes again, blowing his own trumpet”. But actually, apart from promoting what we are up to – which is surely a good story for independent design businesses – I wanted to dispel some common misconceptions that have echoed back to me, like, “Pearlfisher are getting too big”, or “Pearlfisher is just interested in world domination(!)”, or “Pearlfisher is losing focus rather than doing great work” – all of which could not be further from the truth.

In response to our announcement this week, one of my better natured competitors in California sent me a picture of a seed from a Redwood tree, with a warm welcome reminding me how great things come from small beginnings. The visual was a lovely compliment. It accurately reflects the true nature of what we are doing in San Francisco – and, in fact, have always done – which is to start small and humble, but with an ambition to lay down strong roots, find and nurture the best talent to create the best ideas, and steadily foster a culture that allows us to grow – in stature and reputation.

Right now, as of week 1, we have one man in San Francisco and a relatively big and echoey studio space in the SOMA district. The man in charge of nurturing the creative seed to tree is Brian Steele, a San Franciscan Creative Director, great designer and all round fantastic person. He fits our people profile of having huge yet unfulfilled talent, a great personality, a personal ambition, and all important local street smarts. Our uncomplicated plan is to build a kickass team around him which he will choose and lead, and in turn allow the Pearlfisher creative DNA to spread. It will facilitate yet more creatively excellent work and win, as yet, undetermined business and awards in this creatively vibrant part of America. We will also nurture existing brand design relationships on the West Coast including the Wolfgang Puck team and, to top it off, we have a new fabulous rebrand launching at the end of this month for a client in California (watch this space).

When we originally started up in 1992, we were inspired to name ourselves after a small but highly skilled group of Japanese female divers, trained to dive deep to bring up pearls from the oyster beds. We were driven by a commitment to find and create only the best and most valuable; to seek out the gem in every brand – and maybe somewhere along the way create our own high quality brand of design. This is why we named ourselves Pearlfisher rather than put our own names above the door. It is a reminder of what’s possible if you put your mind to something and commit, and is a truth that has stood the test of time in every location we are in. Our name expresses both beauty and significance and, regardless of where we are or how big or small our teams become, it represents a place where highly talented people can make a mark and build something on their own terms – no matter how humble the beginning.

Welcome Brian, let’s challenge the conventions and grow something truly amazing.

Originally published on Jonathan’s LinkedIn.