Executive Briefing

Designing in a crisis

Mythology partners Anthony Sperduti and Fernando Music on how brand and retail design is already changing.

Mythology partners Anthony Sperduti and Fernando Music
Anthony Sperduti and Fernando Music / Photo Courtesy Mythology

The past decade’s economic and startup boom brought us a new generation of consumer brands with personality, voice, and fresh takes on customer experience, retail design, and marketing.

Many of those brands — or at least some of those components — were designed by the team at New York-based creative agency Mythology, formerly known as Partners & Spade. (Co-founder Andy Spade left the studio and moved to the Bay Area.) They’ve worked with startups like Harry’s, Away, and A24, and also with big brands like Coca-Cola, Target, and now Beyond Meat.

As the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly and profoundly changes our global economy, mood, needs, and norms, I thought it would be interesting to speak with Mythology partners Anthony Sperduti, who heads the studio, and Fernando Music.

How will this change the way brands look and act? What happens to “experiential” retail, even when social distancing rules relax a bit? And how are hands-on creative agencies working in a distributed, remote environment?

It’s still early, but Sperduti thinks this will push brands even more toward what he calls a “progressive posture.” And something like this, he says, “just accelerates the trend tenfold.”

“If consumers were expecting their brands to to have a bit of a soul — and if they were expecting their brands to care for them beyond that transaction — I believe there’s going to be a much bigger appetite for that coming out of this.”

What follows is a transcript of our conversation — conducted this week, remotely from Brooklyn and Long Island — edited for length and clarity.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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