After spending a decade working at international design and branding agencies, Kristine Arth launched her own independent branding agency called Lobster Phone last April. Since then, she’s launched 22 brands under her unofficial tagline “I don’t sleep.” Lobster Phone, however, is all about creating iconic brands with bold personality, which Kristine passionately delivers to her clients. We spoke to Kristine about her branding philosophy, the story behind the name Lobster Phone, and why she loves working with founders.
On working with founders:
“My specialty is people, honestly. I don’t find that I focus in any category, field, or particular segment of an industry is my focus. My specialty is working with people and understanding their background because entrepreneurs have a very different outlook on life. They will climb that mountain at all costs, and I feel very similarly. My sign is Capricorn, I’m a goat. So I will always climb to the top of that mountain. I feel very in line with entrepreneurs in that way because I want to help them do their best work.”
“Kristine is what every person dreams of in a design partner to give your brand a soul and heart.” Julián Ríos Cantú, México City, Mexico, Co-founder and CEO, Eva Tech
On common startup mistakes:
“Entrepreneurs will come to me and say, “I want a logo, I want a campaign, I want this.” And I will say, you need a brand, you need strategy, you need a foundational promise to sell to your clients. And with that foundational brand strategy and a flexible brand, we’ll get what you want. The common mistake is to come with a solution versus coming in with the problem.”
Below, you’ll find the rest of the founder reviews, the full interview, and more details like pricing and fee structures. This profile is part of our ongoing series covering startup brand designers and agencies with whom founders love to work, based on this survey and our own research. The survey is open indefinitely, so please fill it out if you haven’t already.
Yvonne Leow: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into branding?
Kristine Arth: I originally thought I was going to be a ceramist. I went to school at Columbia in Chicago, and studied ceramics for about half a semester before I discovered the computer lab, and was like “Oh my God, everything is happening so fast there, this is amazing. It’s for me.” So I quickly moved into graphic design and never looked back. I started in advertising and marketing, and worked in Chicago for about 10 years at Leo Burnett, Wunderman, and then moved out to San Francisco to start fresh. Fuseproject, a top industrial design and branding agency, reached out to me, had me come in for an interview and the rest is history.