Opalus fairy guardianWhat are the challenges of conducting business internationally? How does a small design firm end up completing projects for some of the world’s most well known brands?

Lorenc+Yoo Design principal Jan Lorenc answered these questions on June 5, 2014 at “Convergence: Crossing Lines,” the 2014 conference of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) in Atlanta, GA.

Joined by Jonathan Mugmon of AECOM, Lorenc discussed Lorenc+Yoo Design’s work abroad, including in Korea, Germany, India, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and China.

The secret to each successful business partnership is a solid personal relationship. That is especially true for partnerships spanning multiple time zones. Lorenc explained how Lorenc+Yoo Design began exploring the Korean market in 1995. After many years, this lead to the forging of an on-the-ground partnership with Korean firm CDR Associates, which has since blossomed into continuing collaboration on projects for clients such as Samsung.

In 2005, a future Lorenc+Yoo Design client discovered the firm through its completed work at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. This client-to-be invited Lorenc to Dubai, and introduced him to HQ Creative, which sparked Lorenc+Yoo Design’s work in Dubai and lead to additional regional projects.

The bulk of Lorenc+Yoo Design’s work today work is China. In 2007, owing to local Atlanta contacts, Lorenc+Yoo Design helped international shipping and logistics firm UPS design their hospitality suite for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Following this initial foothold, Lorenc+Yoo Design has developed a strong working relationship with Vanke, China’s largest residential development company. The collaboration with Vanke has spanned nearly a dozen projects from Shanghai to Guangzhou, including the awarding-winning Opalus property.

Lorenc explained how this collaborative approach has allowed Lorenc+Yoo Design to maintain its small firm ethos while expanding its project scope globally. Instead of other firms’ growth priorities–growth in offices and staff–Lorenc+Yoo remains interested solely in growing the number of quality products.

With a focus on a limited number of projects, Lorenc said, the firm retains principal involvement on all projects, and has the opportunity to continue building productive relationships. Being smaller allows the firm to better manage the risks associated with operating internationally, including risks pertaining to the enforcement of international contracts similarly to US contracts. “In most cases,” Lorenc added, “international contracts cannot be easily or inexpensively fought, making it vital to choose clients carefully.”

Lorenc+Yoo Design continues growing its international business through leveraged partnerships and delivering high-quality products to clients seeking personalized attention to their design challenges.

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