Buddy System: Ideate, Extricon

Two small agencies, Ideate and Extricon, have fashioned a joint venture designed to make the most of the former’s traditional creative offerings and the latter’s technical know-how.

The new entity, named i.e. partners, will offer an integrated set of services and allow the shops to pitch new business as a team to potential clients.

“What we’re trying to create is a very efficient organization that holds onto the creative qualities we’ve always had,” said Rick Colson, president of Watertown, Mass.-based Ideate.

Ideate will contribute its core offering of print and broadcast ads, custom publishing, corporate iden tity work, collateral materials and its in-house photography studio.

Web development and programming are Extricon’s forté.

By combining the forces of the two shops, Colson believes the venture can offer more cost-effective solutions than larger shops with high overhead expenses.

Colson will head i.e. partners along with Warner Jones, CEO of Extricon. The two became acquainted in the mid-1990s, when Jones was a senior executive with Cahners Business Information in Newton, Mass., an Ideate client.

Together, the two shops have about 10 full-time staff, along with a roster of freelancers. The venture is also supported by independent contractor Margaret Cook, who will serve as director of business development.

“[Ideate] is strong and deep in the print world, and I have the same depth on the Internet side,” Jones said. “We fit together like a puzzle.”

The venture has begun working with Quest Specialty Chemicals, a South Bend, Ind.-based holding company for chemical con cerns. i.e partners is charged with forging corporate identity and positioning for the startup.

The shops are also collaborating with It’s Mar gery, a Cambridge, Mass., handbag designer.

A number of joint new-business proposals are in the works, said Jones.

Other Ideate clients include Matrix Partners, Homeport folio and Catalyst Partners. Natick, Mass.-based Extricon has created Internet applications for voter.com, Altavista and Andrx, an online pharmacy.