Baltimore’s Longest-Running Graphic Design Studio Forges on Thanks to Two Familiar Faces
Baltimore, MD (May 14, 2020) ⏤ Ashton Design is pleased to announce that David Ashton has transferred ownership of his namesake studio to Ashton's two creative leads, Alexey Ikonomou and Jenny Romei Hoffman. Founded in 1985, Ashton Design is Baltimore’s longest-running graphic design studio. Both its founder and new owners look forward to the opportunities the transition presents.
“You know you’ve built a strong company when it moves to another generation,” David Ashton said. “I mean, that doesn’t happen often⏤even less so during uncertain times. To me, that’s a big deal. With Jenny and Alexey, either of them could have led the studio on their own, but by doing it together I think they’re going to be even more successful.”
Of course, the original transition plan did not include a global pandemic. The new owners’ commitment to the studio, their team, and their clients, however, is absolute. “We know there is a lot of uncertainty right now,” Hoffman confided. “But Ashton Design’s mission has always been to provide the best support possible for clients, who often own small businesses. Now more than ever, we’re dedicated to working on their behalf.”
Both Hoffman and Ikonomou are seasoned Ashton Design employees. Hoffman joined in 2000, where she quickly rose to director-level positions while creating award-winning work for clients such as Pew Charitable Trust and Johns Hopkins University. Ikonomou joined the team in 2011, bringing with him a more diverse professional background but an equally celebrated design portfolio. Once at Ashton, he led and designed a number of prestigious projects that included the Sagamore Pendry Hotel and L.A.’s Dodger Stadium.
In 2013, the two teamed up to serve as co-creative directors and acting studio heads. Hoffman has extensive internal knowledge thanks to her now 20-year career path at Ashton, while Ikonomou has valuable insight from founding, building, and working in other studios. The breadth of expertise has proved successful for the firm, and it made the recent transition to ownership a seamless one.
There's a sense of stability with the history at Ashton and it has proven vital in the midst of difficult circumstances. Today, Ashton Design’s team is fully intact and using their collective creativity to help clients solve unexpected problems in resourceful ways.
“A studio in business as long as Ashton Design has weathered a few storms,” Ikonomou explains. “While we can’t predict the future, we’re still looking forward. There's a strong team in place here, and when the time is right, we'll continue to grow the studio’s size and our offerings. We want to provide growth opportunities for both our employees and our clients.”
“In the meantime, we will continue to stand by our partners and this city,” Hoffman said. “We’re proud to be in Baltimore. We’re committed to helping our community see this through.”
Baltimore-based Ashton Design crafts meaningful brands and experiences for people through the creative and innovative use of environmental, print and digital design. Since 1985, our collaborative approach from concept to implementation has earned us a reputation for unique, timeless design. Most importantly, we care deeply about our clients, who entrust us to translate their visions into reality across a wide range of projects. For more about Ashton Design, visit ashton-design.com.
Jenny Romei Hoffman, Principal + Creative Director
Since 2000, Jenny has helped cement Ashton Design’s reputation as a stalwart of compelling and timeless design. She has worked on a broad range of diverse projects for educational, cultural, and commercial organizations, creating an enormous body of award-winning print and identity work. Past clients include; Pew Charitable Trust, Sidwell Friends School, St. Paul’s School, US Lacrosse, Maxim Health Care Services, Towson University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Georgetown University, and The Johns Hopkins University. Jenny has designed and art directed the identity and branding materials for hundreds of architectural, construction, engineering, development, and consulting firms. Her design sensibility and comprehensive understanding of communications and marketing strategies, have earned her awards from The Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, How Magazine, Print Magazine, and Mohawk Paper. In 2020, she became co-owner of Ashton Design. Jenny is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she earned a B.A. in graphic design. She currently serves on the boards of the Baltimore Design School and Charles Street Development Corporation. Outside of Ashton, Jenny enjoys playing tennis with her son and husband (also an Ashton designer) and exploring the beautiful beaches in her home state of Maine.
Alexey Ikonomou, Principal + Creative Director
As a strategic thinker with a passion for all things designed, Alexey brings a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to Ashton’s creative process. From developing solid brand foundations, to implementing fresh and intentional designs for each project, he draws upon his diverse background and extensive expertise across identity development, built environments, digital and print design to help his clients build rich, far-reaching campaigns. Over the course of his career, Alexey has developed and cultivated brands for many Fortune 500 clients, including Anheuser-Busch, BP, Gillette and Stanley Black & Decker, and has worked on architectural projects spanning the U.S., Great Britain, Korea, Berlin and Dubai, including the Architect of the Capitol, while at the global architectural firm RTKL. Since joining Ashton Design in 2011, Alexey has led award-winning creative teams in crafting everything from niche identity systems for specialty businesses to large-scale experiential graphics for mixed-use developments, hospitality venues, schools and sports stadiums—including Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry Hotel and L.A.’s Dodger Stadium. In 2020, Alexey became co-owner of Ashton Design. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in business marketing and advertising communications from Towson University and a graduate degree in graphic design from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta. He has won multiple design awards, including several prestigious National Design Awards, from the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD). Outside of Ashton, he can be found teaching in the Department of Art and Design at his alma mater and doing various projects with his wife and two children.
David Ashton, Founder + Principal Emeritus
David Ashton’s 60-year career has left prolific and lasting contributions in the field of graphic design, and, in particular, the visual landscape of Baltimore. Upon graduation from a commercial art program at Richmond Professional Institute—now Virginia Commonwealth University—David started his design career at the Barton-Gillet Company, a renown institutional marketing enterprise with a graphic arts emphasis. He then partnered with Fred Worthington to form the Ashton-Worthington Company, which ran from 1968 until 1985 and counted itself as the first Baltimore design studio to be featured in Communications Arts. Following that partnership, David launched David Ashton & Associates, later renamed Ashton Design. He oversaw 35 years’ worth of timeless and compelling work in print, digital and environmental graphics, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, until passing the torch to two of his creative leads, Jenny Romei Hoffman and Alexey Ikonomou. David helped establish the foundation of graphic design in Baltimore through his own work as well as his dedication to dozens of designers he hired and mentored throughout his career. Inspired by history and design, David has been a collector all his life and boasts an impressive collection of trains, enamel signs, and tin cans. He enjoys time at his restored 1850s farm in Pennsylvania with his wife, a naturalist painter, and their chickens, horses and cats—"keeping it simple" as he did with his classic, ubiquitous designs. He is currently working on a book about his life in design to be published next year.
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