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Merging Identities

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Looking to boost their service offerings to more effectively compete in an increasingly difficult economy, IdentityOne and Furnace Labs have joined forces.

Tim Stevenson, founder of interactive design shop IdentityOne, wanted to add more technology components to his operations.

"We needed to increase our skill set [and] there were two ways to do it," said Stevenson, president and CEO of Boston-based IdentityOne. "Either we could hire people or find a company with complimentary skill sets to us."

Furnace Labs—which develops software that powers Web sites—has been absorbed into IdentityOne, creating a 20-person agency that retains the latter's name. All seven employees of Furnace Labs moved into IdentityOne's loft-style digs in downtown Boston. No money changed hands in the deal.

Stevenson first met Furnace Labs founder Naphtali Visser in 1994 when the two worked together briefly at an Internet technology company in Boston. The two met again last winter when Visser's company was searching for a design firm to help out on a project. The two companies decided to merge during that collaboration.

Visser, now chief of technology at IdentityOne, and his team are currently working with Arnold, Boston, on software for the agency's Truth.com anti-smoking Web site.

IdentityOne recently completed a Web-based music video for Atlantic Records, Los Angeles. The company is also working on a site redesign for Zed, the phone company for Finland. IdentityOne works with the company's Waltham, Mass. division.