Tilford:Norman Opens in Dallas

Former Pyro partner Todd Tilford and award-winning designer John Norman have teamed up to form the image consulting group Tilford:Norman here.

Both in their 30s, Tilford and Norman have each won their share of industry accolades, establishing them as hot creative talents in the Southwest as well as nationally.

Tilford has seven One Show gold pencils to his name and several gold New York Art Directors Club awards. He earned those while at GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and The Richards Group in Dallas.

In 1994, with the backing of Stan Richards, Tilford and partner John Beitter formed an agency affiliate, Pyro Brand Development, to handle youth-oriented brands such as Dr. Martens, Spyder Skiwear and id Software (maker of Doom and Quake computer games).

But the Richards relationship was not perfect. “There were situations where we were competing with each other, causing problems,” said Tilford.

Then former colleague Norman returned to Dallas, after two years as design director for Bennetton Sports in Italy. Said Tilford, “I thought it was the time to free myself from the relationship and growth problems and create the model that I was working towards at Pyro independently,” said Tilford.

Initial clients of Tilford:Norman include Spyder Skiwear, Footaction, Telecom Italia and The Limited. Additionally, the two creatives have formed a strategic alliance with Tracy Locke Partners in Dallas to serve as consultants.

The defection of Tilford from Pyro puts the future of that division into question. The agency gained the low-seven-figure Heelys ac-count several weeks ago with the help of creative director Terence Reynolds, who rejoined the group from another Richards unit. But it has lost clients and creative staff recently as well—some of them to Tilford’s new venture. Representatives at Pyro did not return calls seeking comment.

Tilford:Norman will focus on a more international style of advertising, according to its principals.

“In Europe all of their advertising is design,” said Norman. “Brand art—art that represents the brand—creates a deeper connection that’s looked at differently.”

The two also have plans to collaborate on art installations, spoken word performances and music.

“We don’t look at that any differently than a project from TLP,” said Tilford.