We have a new brand and name
Simplifying our name to Telepathy isn’t a huge change, but we believe subtlety can provide the greatest depth of meaning. This rebrand has been a long time coming. We spent over a year designing the new vision, direction, brand and future services.
We’ll explain each aspect of the Telepathy brand and direction in future posts. For now, we want to briefly introduce you to the new name and logo, as well as our freshly polished website: Telepathy.Design.
Why did we change our name to Telepathy?
Let’s be honest, it’s 2017 and we don’t need to use the preface “Digital” anymore. But that’s not the only reason.
As Digital Telepathy, we’ve been in the middle of the UX revolution since the mid 2000s. So we started asking ourselves, “If UX is eating the world, what’s eating UX?” Our pondering led us to look through a lens that’s larger than digital. One that encompasses any experience in life and allows us to impact the digital with the physical, and vice versa.
We believe it’s time to evolve our mindset from simply designing for “users” to designing for people — to realize that the “user” experience is only a part of the whole “human” experience. Simply put, we think the next step of UX is embracing the bigger picture of experience design (XD).
Stay tuned for a hefty post next week with all the intimate details of our belief system regarding XD and how it can impact the design industry. For now, I invite you to celebrate our future as Telepathy by exploring our past as Digital Telepathy.
The story of naming Digital Telepathy
18 years ago I went on a 12,000 mile road trip with my good friend, Taylor Vignali. We had just graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and needed a spiritual journey to prepare us for the real world.
Armed with nothing more than a maroon 1986 Honda Accord DX, nearly maxed-out credit cards and Radiohead’s OK Computer, we navigated the meaning of life by learning as much as we could from each place, person and experience we encountered.
We returned home with a vision to impact the world through design and experiences. Of course, we had no idea how to do this, so we began our careers at typical tech jobs and quickly became miserable. After the tech bubble burst in 2001, I got laid off and decided to start my own company. I asked Taylor to help brainstorm the company name. He wrote down over 20 options, one of which was Digital Telepathy. I reviewed the list and said, “That’s it, we’re Digital Telepathy.” That was the easy part.
What is Digital Telepathy?
My co-founder, Bill Bonnefil, and I didn’t know what it meant at first. We actually didn’t know anything at first, as you can see by our initial marketing brochure. We just wanted to sound cool.
We were first-time entrepreneurs, a first-time digital agency, and way out of our league in most cases. I like to think that this made us better. We had to learn everything on the fly and do it all the hard way. This allowed us to be unconventional and create something completely unique.
Over the years, we grew into the name Digital Telepathy. Our purpose became clear — to understand what users need before they realize they need it and deliver intuitive, magical experiences.
We figured out how to turn our initial naivety into innovation; and we became one of the first digital agencies to promote data-driven design, adopt UX as our primary service, and build our own design software.
Since we preferred to work with startups and high-growth companies, we quickly found the traditional agency service model to be broken and unintuitive with its waterfall approach. So we pioneered the design subscription, a better way to provide UX and product design services for both the client and the design team.
What did we accomplish as Digital Telepathy?
In the last 16+ years, we took on many initiatives we thought were going to be amazing. We fully spec’d a world-changing design process, innovative new services, a huge conference to design a visual world language — and they all flopped.
We used those failures to fuel our ambition and impact the world with design. Each failure just meant we were closer to succeeding. We eventually worked with the biggest startups in tech, re-engineered the design service model, and launched one of the first TEDx conferences in the world. We got used to being fearless in the way we approached our work.
We’re proud to have worked with with over 1,000 clients from all over the world, people who inspire us and drive us to be better designers. Our work has changed significantly from our early days with Flash sites and multimedia CD-ROMs. One thing remained the same — whether it’s our first project (a boat chartering website) or product design for the hottest startup in 2017, it’s our clients that played a huge role in making us the Digital Telepathy we’ve become.
We’ve made stuff. We’ve built, monetized and sold 5 in-house products, including The Hello Bar, SlideDeck and Filament. Experiencing the agony of finding product/market fit and the bliss of making money when you sleep was intoxicating. Getting our hands dirty with our own products gave us empathy for the experiences of both our clients and their users.
We’ve become a tribe. Instead of packing our office full of ping pong tables and kegerators (Ok, we do have one of those), we designed a philosophical platform, the Tao of DT, that allows us to run our company by our culture. It empowers each team member to be in control of his/her own career and make a lasting impact on the direction we take as a company.
What’s changing with Telepathy?
Just as we grew into becoming Digital Telepathy, we will be doing the same with Telepathy. The majority of our work will continue to be digital product design. However, we’re now using a broader experience design lens with the research, strategy, creation and validation stages of our process.
We’ve started to blend in service and organizational design into our approach and are taking on projects that allow us to design touchpoints around both physical and digital experiences. As a result, we’re able to impact the human experience in a more tangible and holistic way.
It’s been an incredible journey. Thanks for all your support over the last 16 years and here’s to many more!