South Austin-based Accomplice marries digital and physical design

Ben McCraw is chief design officer at Accomplice. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ben McCraw is chief design officer at Accomplice. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Ben McCraw is chief design officer at Accomplice. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Accomplice designer Blake Manns works in the company's physical design space. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Digital designers work at the St. Elmo Accomplice offices. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Accomplice is located in the St. Elmo District of South Austin. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ben McCraw of South Austin design firm Accomplice says great design is found at the sweet spot between physical and digital work. Accomplice, which McCraw co-founded, is a “brand experience design firm” that integrates different mediums of design into a brand’s story.

“Very [few] physical spaces that we build don’t have a digital element to them,” said McCraw, who is chief design officer of the business.

Accomplice has gained local and national brand awareness since the debut of a “Game of Thrones” installation called “Bleed for the Throne” it produced at 2019’s South by Southwest festival in partnership with Giant Spoon, another design firm. That project used immersive digital technology in coordination with physical set pieces.

“The idea that digital and physical are two different things, two different initiatives with two sets of priorities and two sets of teams and two sets of vendors is definitely coming to an end. It’s not the future,” McCraw said.

According to McCraw, Accomplice is “uniquely position[ed]” to accomplish that combination. Instead of being caught in the scramble to figure out the industry’s shift, Accomplice is already doing the work, a feat aided by the company’s acquisition of the St. Elmo area-based physical design company Design + Manufacturing two years ago.

Accomplice is already working on a project for next year’s SXSW and recently designed an elaborate showpiece for Barkitecture Austin, a custom dog house design show and auction in which Accomplice’s creation received the top bid. However, much of Accomplice’s work involves more permanent designs. Locally, Accomplice has done physical, digital and web design work for businesses including Kammok and Shed Barber and Supply in East Austin.

The company’s most common customers, however, are large national companies such as AT&T, Disney and Nike. Accomplice’s local projects only make up around 10% of its total output, according to McCraw, but those are some of the work he is most proud of.

“In Austin specifically, nobody is doing what we’re doing right now,” he said.

Accomplice
4201 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 317, Austin


512-861-4090




Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.
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By Olivia Aldridge

Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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