Happy birthday to us!

Today Grain turns nineteen! In 2002, we started life as a design consultancy called Sunny Side Up, renamed a year later to Grain. From a number of meanings like the love of nature’s beauty — wood grain, or a grain of sand which grows to a pearl inside of an oyster — or the enormous potential of growth represented by the grain growing in a field and many products beyond. It is the last meaning that stuck, as we worked more and more with ambitious, entrepreneurially-minded businesses growing their business to success.

Grain founder Christoph Geppert was inspired by his uncle, an industrial designer, and after his degree in Management, Economics, and Politics at St Andrew’s, he went on to study Industrial Design at Central St Martin’s UAL. Previous to founding Grain, he worked in-house in a large FMCG company as well as agency side for Pentagram, Scholz & Friends and Siegel+Gale. Grain projects include a collaboration with Marc Newson to design the Airbus A380 business class interiors and with Tom Dixon for Sony Playstation.

In the meantime, Madelyn Postman, Christoph’s wife, had left her position as art director at Gucci Group and started a design agency with her friend Luca de Salvia, focusing on branding and design for mostly luxury and fashion brands like Burberry, Sunglass Hut, and Richemont as well as some other big names like Nokia. Eventually, in 2010, Madelyn and Christoph joined their businesses and under the name of Grain and grew it into a larger consultancy with a team of outstanding designers and developers.

With start-ups like Floreon, Petit Tribe and Button & Wilde, Grain has enabled founders to realise their visions, starting with a spark of an idea and growing into powerful brands developing the strategy, trademarked names, visual identities, websites and campaigns along the way.

We have rebranded established organisations like Lucideon, which traces its roots back to 1920, in order to reflect essential changes in its positioning, services and offerings. And in the property sector, we helped the ‘organisation of organisations’ for sales and lettings agents unite and transform into Propertymark, to not only look after its own members and represent property professionals, but also to protect consumers when they buy, sell, rent and let out their homes.

Celebrating with a fantastic 15th birthday bash in 2017 at The Hoxton, Holborn, the Grain team merged in 2018 with Leidar, an international advocacy, branding, and communications consultancy.

From then until the end of last year, we worked more and more with international organisations, philanthropic foundations like Oak Foundation and the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation, and in healthcare. We often used the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, and advised on clients’ sustainability communications.

In 2018, Christoph began designing an electric motorbike for the Indian market, an exciting project which is approaching the first prototypes as we speak.

When the pandemic arrived, it gave the two of us, Madelyn and Christoph, a chance to step back and evaluate our life and work. For decades we had been connecting strategy and creativity to realise the dreams and goals of others. We decided that we wanted to better align our personal values with our everyday work: to help companies become champions for the planet. And of course with our experience and expertise in design and communications, once we enable companies to take action, we then support their positioning and messaging so they can shout out to the world about it.

At the end of 2020, the two of us left Leidar and relaunched Grain as Grain Sustainability. We are joined by a growing team of enthusiastic, highly skilled professionals with experience in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, finance, property, and food systems.

We’re already thinking about another big bash next year for our 20th, so pencil it into your diaries!

If you would like to make your company more socially and environmentally sustainable, get in touch on +44 20 8187 7040, email madelyn@grain-sustainability.com, or book in a chat.

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