Featured Studio

Kobra Agency

August 2019

We recently caught up with Creative Director and Founder of Kobra Agency, Tuukka Koivisto, to get the lowdown on life inside their Helsinki studio. We hear the story behind the agency name—it includes a drunken epiphany at 3.30am; Tuukkaa shares the good and the not-so-good of his day-to-day, and we discuss the scarcity of originality and ideas these days.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

We had a long list of names, probably close to a hundred, but nothing seemed to fit perfectly. At some point me and James (co-founder) were at a party having a smoke and shooting the shit – it was around 3:30am – he suddenly turned to me and said “I figured it out! Listen… listen to this… KOBRA. You know, because of our names, Koivisto and Zambra.” Classic name combo that works! I think people remember it.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

We combine our skills in brand strategy and design to create impactful, memorable and compelling brands.

What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

The best part is the collective creativity that happens at our office and during lunch. I love a good slow lunch. The only bad part is emails, writing and reading them. I prefer calling people.

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Originality is a rare treat these days.

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What’s your take on internships?

I think every designer should do an internship. That’s if he/she really want to see what it's like to do design as a business. I would like to think of our internship “program” more as a mentorship than as a “can-you-make-coffee-ship”. It lasts for 6-12 months. We want to integrate interns into our team and help them grow as designers. And you definitely have to get paid for doing an internship.

What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

Ideas, ideas, ideas. I can’t emphasise that enough. These days most of the portfolios that we get look alike. Originality is a rare treat these days.

Whats the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When you think it’s good go back and see if you can make it better.

Website: kobraagency.com

Instagram: @kobraagency

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