Graphical House — The 42nd Best Graphic Design Firm in the World

Don’t panic, this is not an ego trip. 

Devotees of the comedy sci-fi writer Douglas Adams will remember in his book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” from an enormous super computer named Deep Thought.

— Deep Thought from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

It takes Deep Thought 7.5 million years to contemplate, compute and verify what has been asked of it, but when it comes, the answer is as profound as it it simple:

"The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is... 42."

As a child of my generation, I grew up listening to Adams’ radio plays, and loved his comic fits. Adams insisted that he never intended the number 42 to have any meaning, describing it as a completely ordinary number”. Ordinary for sure, but I had no idea of the significance the number 42 would have in the development of Graphical House almost four decades later. Please allow me to explain.

Back in 2013 we were enjoying a Friday night drink with friend and kindred sprit Derek Welsh. Together we began to reimagine the simple game of dominos in a way that would exemplify our love of beautifully design and crafted objects. 

An image of Paul Smith Oblique dominos by Derek Welsh and Graphical House
— A collaboration between Paul Smith, Derek Welsh, and Graphical House

We knew our design hero Paul Smith, to be a dominos aficionado and hoped that that if we got it right, we could persuade him to partner with us. Sir Paul and his team were very receptive and after a period of design refinement and production, our dominos quickly sold out from Paul Smith flagship stores across five continents.

As a PR exercise we knew the importance that carefully curated content would play in telling this story, and our efforts were rewarded as the Paul Smith / Derek Welsh / Graphical House collaboration was picked up by a number of design blogs including a website called Graphic Design Degree Hub (GDDH). I have to confess, I had never heard of this website.

GDDH published an article entitled 50 Best Graphic Design Firms in the World’ listing many of the exemplary businesses that represent the diversity of our industry. To my pleasant surprise, nestled in towards the end of the list at a respectable number 42 was Graphical House — that lucky number.

In terms of profile, it is not one of the well known design blogs. However, the site has proven to have excellent search engine optimisation, and over time the benefits to Graphical House has not been lost on us. As clients have searched Google for the world’s best design firms, they have found this blog, and in turn, found Graphical House.

Over the past few years we have been able to directly attribute new business enquiries to this blog post, leading to enduring relationships with clients as far afield as Vietnam, India, and the USA.

— The work of designer Phuong My, Vietnam

Just like Deep Thought, we are great at solving ambitious questions with what can be deceptively simple outcomes. Our clients trust us to their biggest questions, to have a vision for their product or service, and to know that their investment will be returned with profit.

So is Graphical House the 42nd best graphic design firm in the world? Do let us know in 7.5 million years.