ahoy is a branding and design agency for visionaries across the globe to future-proof our planet for everyone.
Women-founded in New York City in 2000, ahoy operates between the US, Germany and Switzerland under the direction of Connie Koch, Aline Ozkan and Denise Sommer: friends, founders and partners with a mutually rewarding passion for design in any form.
Co-founders Aline (left) and Connie (right) in their first studio in Nolita, New York in 2000
Today’s ahoy NYC partners Denise (left) and Connie (right)
The first impression counts, and design creates an impression in under a second. We founded ahoy understanding that. And we soon learned that good design really needs a good cause, just as any good cause needs good design.
Art and design, cultural exchange, education, climate and environmental protection, social justice, peace and security, global health, women’s rights, equity and sustainability, and respect toward all races and religions are the issues we support with our work.
We see communication as a super power to shake up, inspire and engage minds, hearts, and lives. Our aim is to create visual and verbal communication with a pleasant wake up call for everyone and everything seeking to make our world a more caring, creative and progressive place, leaving no one behind. A popular mission these days… ahoy’s been at it for over twenty years.
Good design is conceptually driven, and that’s how we – together – elevate your cause: to be seen, memorized, and acted upon. We strive to (re)position you with authenticity, originality, conceptual power, and with just that extra amount of playfulness, color and irritation that makes the result more striking, memorable and engaging.
Once up and running, we help ensure consistency and relevance across all outputs, so your cause is not only alive and in action, but also seen and memorized.
A friendly reminder near our NYC office in SOHO
Small egos, big ideas: we do YOU –
with strategic guidance:
Creating or updating your brand means to us: a good analysis of your situation, a collaborative strategic plan defining your brand core, positioning and persona, and its unique and inspiring creative interpretation. Expect curiosity, honesty, common sense, creative problem solving, and meaningful design to stand the test of time.
In addition to the creative execution of your brand, we now offer a ‘holistic package’ including strategic, verbal and visual consultation and realization, all together – ready to produce eye and ear-catching authenticity to tell stories that matter, and to let your brand stand out. Ask us and we’ll tailor our approach.
Technology has disrupted communication – marketing and the packaging of messages for physical matter and interactive channels are changing drastically, rapidly. This global experiential avalanche requires a fresh, multidimensional yet focused approach: one that directs your attention toward an idea and experience worthwhile, no matter where you ‘are’ – in physical space, or online.
ahoy bridges experience in conceptual design in media of any age – from branding to advertising, from print design to interactive design, from spatial projects to animation. We understand the power of consistency across different platforms, and develop our design solutions with the big picture in mind – as much as we know that ‘the devil’s in the details’. We understand a brand needed an authentic story, longterm vision and consistency. To stand out today, we push the norms across different platforms with concept, humanity, surprise, and the power of outstanding design.
Lilou the home office cat in southern Germany demanding a break…
We offer a collaborative discovery, brand strategy and positioning process, content consultation and copywriting, and conceptional, content-driven design – our pride and joy.
Our design services include brand identity, refresh or expansion; UI and UX design for websites, microsites and apps; social media templates and content boards; publications including books, reports, magazines and brochures; campaigns online and in print; event branding and spatial design; illustration ranging from key visuals to infographics, data visualizations and iconography; and video and animation to bring it all to life.
Over twenty years in practice, ahoy has reached adulthood. With it comes an international reputation for developing award-winning design concepts for clients with an exceptionally high standard of design sophistication.
They include festivals, conferences, award shows, publishing houses, universities, theaters and galleries, cultural organizations as well as foundations, local and international government institutions and NGOs:
An unusual project for WolfGordon, our first client: a dress made of wallcovering in 2000
Our core team covers generations X, Y and Z, and we are a diverse bunch, beyond age: with locations in the USA and Europe, we’re from the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, South Korea, Israel, Egypt and South Africa. And since we work seamlessly between the USA and Europe, we capture cultural diversity naturally. Our international network of collaborators, ranging from designers, writers, photographers and illustrators to animators, printers, web & app developers and data scientists, ensures that we deliver what we envision, no matter the size and type of the project.
Our studio in SOHO, NYC
Broadway in front of our office during the lockdown in April, 2020
Design is our pride and joy. We’re excited to have won close to 25 major awards in various categories:
In 2022, our World Aids Day campaign for the World Health Organization won an Art Director’s Club bronze cube in 2022. Our campaign for a textile collection designed by Venus Williams for WolfGordon won a Gold Graphis Award. Our magazine design for LEX, a publication by Drexel University, won Graphis Silver, and our Corporate Identity for The Global Energy Alliance received honorable mentions. In 2020, our magazine LEX for the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Drexel University won a Print Regional Design Award for the New York City region. And our gala branding and invitation suite for the Public Art Fund received a silver recognition in Graphis’ Design Annual. In 2019, we won a Silver Graphis Award and an Educational Advertising Award (EDUAD) for our publication design for LEX, published by Drexel University. In 2018, we won a Silver Award in Graphis Branding 7 as well as a Print Regional Design Award for our new brand identity for the United Nations Development Group. We further received an award in BRAND / Communication Design of the Art Director’s Clubs’ 97th Annual Awards (ADC Awards), a Print Regional Design Award, a Graphis Gold Award as well as a nomination for the German Design Award 2019 for our Gala Branding for the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. In 2017, our fundraiser campaign for Public Art Fund got awarded in the Print 2017 Regional Design Annual. In 2016, our winning entry at Print Regional Design Annual was the art publication ‘Art for Rollins’ published in 2015 by the Rollins College of Art. In 2015, our branding and design work for the Vilcek Prizes for the Arts and Sciences was selected as a winner in the 2015 Print Regional Design Annual. In 2014, our hardcover book ‘AHOY’ was selected as one of the ‘Top Five Swiss Style Graphic Designs’ by HOW Magazine. In 2012, our catalogue for the Biennial at the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum received a Design Award from Graphic Design USA; so did our benefit invitation for the Public Art Fund. A third of this kind we received in 2011 for our VIP invitation for PULSE Contemporary Art Fair. Our book cover for Loretta Napoleoni’s ‘Rogue Economics’ was nominated in the category of excellent cover design for the Book Design Review as featured in the New York Times in December 2008. Our print advertising campaigns for Swisspeaks and Wolf-Gordon wall coverings were honored ‘Best of US Print Ads’ in the US AD Review in 2005 and 2004. Our first self-published book “2/15 – the day the world said NO to war” was honored ‘Best of International Design’ in Grafik Magazine (UK) in 2004 and became part of ‘Design by Dissent’, a book and traveling exhibition by Milton Glaser in 2006. A shopping bag designed for the Swisspeaks Festival found its way into the ‘Best Packaging’ chapter in Graphis Design Annual 2003. Our broadcast design project for ‘24FrameNews’ – a news show on independent film by the Sundance Channel – won a ‘BDA Gold’ for Best News Open in 2001. And last, our website created for Face Design (in fact our first website ever) was awarded ‘Best Interactive Design’ in Print Magazine in 2000.
Reviews of ahoy’s work were published in Abitare, Adbusters, Brandweek and Creativity, Branding USA by Graphis, Elle, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Geo, Grafik Magazine, Graphis Design Annual 2005, Greenpeace Magazine, GQ, Hochparterre, How Design, Io Donna, Neue Züricher Zeitung, Novum magazine, The New York Times, Page Online, Printcritic and Print magazine, Print Regional Design Annual, Publisher’s Weekly, Type and Eye, Vogue and Wired.
Article in NOVUM Magazine November 2020
handing the mic to our clients…
“I’ve worked with the designers at ahoy since before the company even launched. We’ve done everything from broadcast design to corporate identity, from ad campaigns to viral marketing together. The common thread is their way of creating work that’s fresh-feeling, clean and contemporary, warm and human – something that’s increasingly meaningful in our cool digital world. The process is without fail a pleasure – they understand better than many that there’s an intent to every assignment, an idea that needs to come through in the design. The work is always thoughtful and on-point as a result.”
Adam Pincus, former Managing Partner, Director, Mediacom Content Group
“I’ve been a client of ahoy, and worked with Connie and Aline since 1997. Design produced by ahoy possesses great conceptual strength that is further distinguished by a very particular upbeat, lively note that they have hit for every single project they have created for Wolf-Gordon. This has resulted in smart, color- and pattern-savvy projects in 2-D print, 3-D objects and catalogs, web-based animations, window displays, and advertising campaigns. I would like to underscore ahoy’s extreme professionalism at every stage of the design process. I cannot recommend them highly enough.”
Marybeth Shaw, Chief Creative Officer, WolfGordon
“ahoy developed the first ever branding guide for the United Nations Development Group, which comprises of 32 agencies, funds and programmes working for sustainable development in the UN System. ahoy is just a brilliant team. They are great designers and efficient project managers. They create a vision that excites us and carry it out while helping the client find solutions in an efficient and professional way. They have become our go-to company to develop almost any kind of material, from brochures, videos, publications, to websites. We can’t remember a time without them and they have became (in just one year) an extended part of our team!”
Maria Blanco, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Group
“Working with ahoy is an enjoyable process from start to finish. Their design team is constantly creative and eternally inspired. They always consider carefully the message we want to convey, and through a substantive creative dialogue, articulate it in ways we had not previously imagined. Their hard work and dynamite graphics have made a significant contribution to the success of The Vilcek Foundation’s prizes, exhibitions and events.”
Rick Kinsel, Executive Director, The Vilcek Foundation
“The German Mission to the United Nations New York has worked with ahoy since 2008, during which time all employees of ahoy have provided us with excellent support for our corporate design. Their work has been a major factor in our campaign for Germany’s candidature for the United Nations Security Council 2011/2012, and again in 2016/17. We are looking forward to a close cooperation with Ahoy studios also in the future. We can confidently recommend ahoy studios as a solid and reliable supplier and experts in their field.”
Claudia Rohde, Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations
“We selected ahoy as our agency to design MIGA’s 2019 annual report and related microsite along with a package of social media infographics and we were excited by the results. The team at ahoy came up with great design concepts and executed them brilliantly. All of this was done in a seamless collaboration and feedback process. We were also impressed by their creative concepts and professionalism. ahoy is a great agency to work with – highly skilled, creative, and responsive. They understand our subject matter – bringing private investment to fragile and impoverished countries for development impact – and express it in ways that is both clear and creative, both online and in print. We highly recommend them!”
Punjanit Leagnavar, Officer, World Bank Group
“ahoy has provided design services to RepRisk AG, a global ESG data science company, over the course of more than three years. These include the concept and design of a new suite of advertising based on RepRisk’s branding, full concept and design revamp of the RepRisk Website, as well as a design revamp of RepRisk’s suite of marketing and sales collateral. During our collaboration, the team at ahoy was extremely reliable and able to deliver under tight deadlines while simultaneously ensuring an excellent level of quality. The team has a broad range of competencies of which their technical expertise, ability to familiarize with the client’s specific business context and needs, and willingness to provide guidance and advise beyond design work are particularly worth mentioning. ahoy has RepRisk’s highest recommendation.”
Gina Walser, Head of Marketing and Communications, RepRisk
“ahoy has been brilliantly creating the print graphics for the AICP Show for the past 15 years. ahoy designers have always understood our brand and every year inspire us with fresh, beautiful and relevant design. They are meticulous in every way, their vendors are top-notch and we don’t worry about the quality of the finished pieces. In addition, the team is a pleasure to work with – professional, enthusiastic, smart, fast, and very nice.”
Ileana Montalvo, Director of Communications, AICP Show and Next Awards
There are many reasons to celebrate design – sailing around Manhattan is ahoy’s way – join the boat!
Special thanks to Peter Gabriel for his fantastic photography and Arne Spremberg and his team for brilliant and extremely patient web development!