We started Protagonist Studio because we’ve seen firsthand what narrative can do for design.

 

We’ve been using narrative to solve complex UX, content and service design problems for over a decade, for clients ranging from small startups to Fortune 100 companies, and with agencies like Ogilvy, Ziba and Isobar. Through that experience, we’ve come to embrace storytelling as a uniquely powerful and underutilized tool for shaping design strategy, especially in multi-disciplinary creative teams.

We formed Protagonist Studio in 2018 to put that tool at the center of the design process, and use it as a hub for more integrated, more user-oriented strategy. We build up teams on a per-project basis, tapping a trusted network of researchers, writers, designers and strategists in the US and Europe, to give you the right mix of expertise without the excess overhead.

Curious how that works, and how we can make it work for you? Send us a note—we’d love to hear your story.


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Victoria Kirk-Owal

Co-Founder

Victoria has over 15 years of experience helping businesses profit from change at some of the world’s most successful creative agencies. She's led strategic and creative development on products, service design, and integrated brand experience programmes for a host of international businesses, including Unilever, Lenovo, Barclay’s, Kellogg’s, and Bupa, as well as non-profits and social enterprises. Her training in product design gives her a knack for making things that function well, delight consumers, and make business sense.

Before co-founding Protagonist, she was Strategy Director at Isobar (Dentsu Aegis), and prior to that spent 6 years with the Ogilvy Group in Director and team leadership roles, including a secondment to Ogilvy in Bangalore to build a strategic planning capability.

Victoria holds a Masters in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute, and has lived and worked in the US, Asia, and Europe. A no-nonsense native New Yorker, she’s called London home for over a decade.


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Carl Alviani

Co-Founder

Carl specialises in telling stories about the process, artifacts, and consequences of design. He’s helped dozens of companies and agencies improve their design outcomes through research-based narrative, and his writing has appeared in WIRED, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Gizmodo, Forbes and elsewhere, on topics ranging from service innovation to urban planning and the ethics of interaction design – anywhere creative decisions affect human experience. He spent five years shaping content and marketing strategy for Ziba Design; before that, he edited and wrote at two of the world’s longest-running design websites, Core77 and Coroflot.

Previously a 3D CAD modeler, a high school science teacher, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in East Africa, Carl holds a BS in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego and a Master of Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute. Having lived and worked in New York, Portland, Sweden, Denmark and Singapore, he’s currently based out of Amsterdam.


Victoria is such an inspiration to work with. Her amazing ability to map strategic answers means that the client is in excellent hands...She is forward-thinking, a pleasure to work with and my first choice on a project team every time.
— Sangeeta Brady, Digital Transformation, Nissan Motor Company
…it’s [Victoria’s] unflappable belief in the power of design thinking to solve brand and marketing challenges that gave the discipline its fresh and effective power. She’s equally skilled at comms, brand and UX precisely because of that belief, and it makes her an ideal partner for client, creative and UX teams. She’s also thoughtful and diligent and genuinely passionate about her work, which makes her an invaluable colleague.
— Brian Jensen, former CSO, OgilvyOne, London
[Carl] has a special knack for turning a half-baked idea into something worth sharing with the world. Simply put, sharing a room and a piece of writing with Carl made me a better thinker and storyteller.
— Sean Madden, Senior Director of Product, Nike Retail
Carl delivered content wins. It’s that simple....His fluency runs deep in the design industry and his commitment to putting a point of view into context for the audience created resonance we would’ve otherwise struggled to find.
— Jensie Miksich, Brand Strategy Director, Context Partners