New Partner, New Name For Selbert Design – Agency’s Growth Prompts Changes at Top

By Judy Warner

BOSTON–Robin Perkins has been promoted to partner of Clifford Selbert Design Collaborative. The agency founded 15 years ago by Clifford Selbert will change its name to Selbert Perkins Design on May 1.

Cliff Selbert becomes chief executive officer while Perkins, a 10-year veteran of the agency’s Cambridge, Mass., office, assumes the title of president. In her new capacity, Perkins will oversee design activities and management functions for the agency’s 50 staffers in two offices. Selbert will concentrate on business development and corporate strategy.

‘We want to make this as seamless a transition as possible,’ said Perkins. Her new role is both ‘a logical move’ and one born of necessity. ‘We now have 50 employees in two offices. We need to apply a (management) structure so we can also have a life,’ she said.

The Santa Monica, Calif., office opened two years ago when the Jerde Partnership of Venice, Calif., tapped Selbert to create a unified graphics environment for Canal City, a combination retail and residential development in Fukuoka, Japan. Other clients now with the West Coast office include Disney, Time Warner and Universal Studios. And the number of staffers there rivals that of its headquarters in Cambridge.

Selbert and Perkins, who share a vision of combining art, design, communications and marketing, are also a longtime couple and have lived together for the last few years.

Perkins was named one of three principals of the design firm in 1995 with Linda Kondo and Lynn Riddle. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she has led corporate identity and retail graphics projects for such clients as Stride Rite, World Cup USA in 1994 and Spinergy.

A smaller, but no less distinctive, accomplishment was the neon sign for the Lyons Group’s Zanzibar nightclub in the Boylston Street alley in Boston.

In addition to her work at the agency, Perkins has an artist’s studio where she creates large-scale metal sculptures. Some of her work has been incorporated into the Canal City project.

The design firm has also built a niche in simplifying the prospectuses of mutual fund companies such as Fidelity Investments and John Hancock Financial Services.

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