Wieden + Kennedy Hires New Leadership for Its Renowned Design Studio

Nicole Jacek and Noreen Morioka to serve as co-heads of design

Morioka (l.) and Jacek (r.) will relocate to Portland.
Wieden + Kennedy

Wieden + Kennedy announced it has hired acclaimed design veterans Nicole Jacek and Noreen Morioka to serve as co-heads of design. Together, they will lead the 100-plus employees who are part of the design studio at the agency’s Portland headquarters.

The duo will relocate to Portland and lead creative and new business efforts for the studio, which often collaborates with W+K’s most prominent clients, including Nike, KFC and Airbnb.

Morioka served as chief creative officer for San Francisco-based Japanese luxury skin-care line Tatcha before joining W+K. Jacek ran the design agency NJ(L.A.), which created brand experiences for such companies as The New York Times, Good Magazine and Sesame Street.

With these high-profile hires, W+K is looking to elevate its existing studio practice in a market flush with opportunity for design-savvy brands.

“As we continue to invest in our design studio, Nicole and Noreen were exactly the type of provocative, world-class design leaders we were looking for,” said executive creative director Jason Bagley. “They understand the impact creativity and design thinking can have on brands and culture. But almost more importantly, they have a track record of building strong teams, and nurturing, attracting and developing amazing talent. We could not be more excited to add them to the family.”

Earlier in her career, Jacek worked at several prominent design firms including Sagmeister & Walsh and karlssonwilker. Her work has been honored by groups including Type Directors Club, Red Dot, Print Magazine and D&AD, among others. She was also the youngest Art Directors Club board member in addition to serving as chair of the ADC Young Guns committee.

Morioka was co-founder and spent 25 years as a partner at design firm AdamsMorioka and served in top roles at the Los Angeles American Institute of Graphic Arts, receiving the AIGA Medal in 2014. Other career accolades include an International Design Conference at Aspen fellowship along with stints as chair of the James Beard Foundation Award for Design and Architecture, and board member of the Art Director’s Club in New York.

“We can’t wait to share our combined experiences with an amazing team of talented individuals at W+K, creating great work and challenging culture with brands that appreciate the power of creativity and design,” Jacek said.

Morioka added, “The design studio at W+K is the agency’s secret weapon—the contributions these designers have made to the culture and work is extraordinary. W+K has helped brands become modern, world-class marketers from day one, and our design offering is no different. Let’s go!”

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