WeWantMore is an Antwerp-based, award-winning design studio that works across Benelux, France, UK and beyond. Its strong design thinking uses authentic storytelling across two disciplines at the highest level: branding and interior design, to create inspiring projects that challenge the status quo.
Founded by Ruud Belmans and Thomas Vanden Abeele, WeWantMore has an established reputation for its innovative design direction and a growing network of international clients across the retail and hospitality sectors, including AccorHotels, Neuhaus, Loop, to name a few.
The studio operates at the forefront of a new wave of creatives who blur the boundaries between the junctions of design, art and entertainment, to create intricate work that is comfortable in the context of contemporary design culture.
To learn more, we spoke to Founder Ruud Belmans, Client Services Director Tom Vanhemelrijck and PR/Copywriter Zita Van Dijck.
How was your company born and where are you based?
We are based in Antwerp, Belgium. WeWantMore was founded in 2006 by Ruud Belmans and Thomas Vanden Abeele, both product designers by education. From the outset, they viewed brands from a designer’s perspective.
In other words, they thought in solutions rather than disciplines. Grounded in this multidisciplinary perspective, the studio now houses two highly skilled teams: one dedicated to interior design, the other to branding.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
Keeping the perfect balance between creativity and operational excellence in order to perform exceptionally for our clients while keeping the business healthy in the long run.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
One of our first branding milestones was industry recognition through winning an Effie. For us, it was the first time that it was made tangible that design contributes to the effectiveness of a brand.
It highlighted that spending money on design is a smart investment. Our first wins at the Pentawards - an award that recognizes excellence in packaging design - were also a success for us.
For interior design, our first huge success was winning an Ahead Award - the leading annual awards for hospitality experience and design - with our hotel project Chateau de Vignée.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
International growth. We are stepping up our game since we are asked more and more by international clients. These credentials open up a world of possibilities.
Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?
At WeWantMore we always start from a strategic point of view, a unique big idea that sparks the concept. We aim to create desire through design. So, the main question we ask ourselves is how can we create something desirable and sustainable for our client.
What comes after is a sequence of experiments to stretch the playing field and challenge the status quo. In the following iterations we make sure that there is a high level of craft involved in the execution.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
We invested in our studio which is a place where we collaborate, inspire and celebrate. We think that one of our core strengths is in the cross-pollination of our diverse creative talents: branding, interior design and product design. We visit design events all over the world but we also invest in possibilities for our team to unwind after hours.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
Covid was a setback but it gave us time to sit back and analyze the current state of our studio. Which resulted in a more focused set of goals and values.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
We get our inspiration from anything that is art, design and entertainment. And also in the beauty that surrounds us everyday, but most people are too busy to notice.
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
Get your inspirational goals straight and stick to them with a passion.
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
First step was to define the clients and brands we want to work with. This seems obvious but it is a very hard exercise to do. In this way our new biz team knows where to network and who to approach.
We also learned that it is important to be top of mind with a lot of clients and prospects, so we invest a lot in PR and social media. Most of all, giving our best everyday because interesting work attracts interesting clients.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
The current business model of the design industry will not be sustainable in the future. Our hope for the future of the industry is a rethinking of the value of design in terms of how it affects the growth of a brand.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
Unreasonable hospitality - Will Guidara
No rules rules - Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer
Madison Avenue makeover - Michael Farmer
The creative act - Rik Rubin
Let my people go surfing - Yvon Chouinard
Thinking fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman