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How to Start a Design Agency: Two Toes Creative

A mini-series of interviews with some of the creators who have successfully branched out into their own projects, how they did it, and why.

Two Toes Creative: 2 Friends Creating a Design Studio

Two Toes Creative creators, Kika MacFarlane and Tala Schlossberg
Two Toes Creative: Kika MacFarlane and Tala Schlossberg

Two Toes Creative is a new design and animation studio for the unordinary. Their work is the amalgamation of brilliant motion and storytelling by Tala Schlossberg, and thoughtful illustration and design by Kika MacFarlane. Together they make animated videos, illustrations, and creative campaigns and have worked on projects for the NYTimes, and independently have worked on projects for Patagonia, Target, YETI, Climate Power, to name but a few.

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How did Two Toes come to be?

“We have been creatively collaborating since 2018, and although finding successful careers on our own, we just couldn’t deny how much stronger our creative was and better our ideas were when we worked together. We had the perfect complimentary skill set for a design & animation studio, and a friendship that we knew would translate into a working environment we both craved. We also wanted to put more of the things we love to make out into the world.”

We’re big believers in absurd, out-of-the-box visuals that feel human, instead of just following current design trends.– Two Toes

What was the point at which you thought this could really work, and knew it was time to take the leap?

The move to remote work culture really helped us realize how plausible it was, as we live across the country in Wyoming & New York. We also have both worked in agency environments and with other agencies as contractors, and getting to see how they structured themselves and ran their work was really helpful.

A gif created by Two Toes, of two people looking at a painting depicting two toes
© Two Toes Creative

How do you plan to make your agency sustainable, and how would you manage demand as you grow?

We plan to be selective with the projects we work on, and make sure we’re taking on clients who value us for our visual output and our unique collective voice. We’re moving forward with the plan to do less projects overall, but make sure each one is meaningful and right for us. As we scale, we’re excited to thoughtfully build a team that prioritizes design and creative, but also places importance on the business and strategy side too.

Any advice for designers who want to start their own thing?

“Take the leap! The hardest part is trusting yourself and your skills, but the minute you believe in yourself your community will too. Make exactly what you want to make. Post all the designs you think are too weird and different. Lean into making things you’ve never seen before, and don’t try to force yourself to be anything you’re not. The world needs your ideas!”

An abstract illustration by Two Toes, of an astronaut floating inside two overlapping circles.
© Two Toes Creative
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For more on their venture, follow Two Toes, Tala, and Kika on Twitter.

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Written by

Sophie Clifton-Tucker

Editor, UX writer, coding since GeoCities 👾

Hi! I'm Sophie. I'm the editor of The Gibraltar Magazine and Gibraltar Business, founder of the Little English language school, and creator of the By Design newsletter by Prototypr. Nice to meet you!

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