Expert to know: Carlos Williams (Q&A Interview)

April 23, 2024

Carlos Williams is the Prime Minister at DBC (based in New York City, New York), listed on 50Pros as a top 50 firm in Branding & Brand Strategy.

In this Q&A, Carlos shares his in-depth perspective, unique background, robust experiences, and insightful tips.

How did you get into the branding industry?

My career journey has been quite the adventure. After working in the high-pressure world of Wall Street and commercial real estate, I realized that my true passion was in the marketing and design aspect of these industries. I started spending my free time practicing my graphic design skills and creating designs for friends and family. It wasn't until the 5th or 6th person suggested that I start charging for my work that I realized I could turn my hobby into a full-fledged business.

What inspired you to start your agency, DBC?

I embarked on my journey as a small business owner with an unwavering determination to channel my passion for strategic design and create a workplace that empowers the world's most innovative creatives. The spark that ignited my entrepreneurial spirit came during my tenure as a management consultant at Bain & Co. It was during my spare time that I started taking on design projects for friends, and what began as a side hustle soon blossomed into a self-sustaining venture.

As the founder of DBC, I was motivated by a vision to not only turn my passion into a successful enterprise but also to build a scalable business that could make a meaningful impact on the world. I strongly believe that creativity flourishes in an environment of equity, where diverse perspectives and voices are valued and embraced. In the realm of marketing and communications, authenticity and inclusivity are not only morally imperative but also proven to be sound financial strategies. By introducing equity as a central pillar in our approach, we aim to revolutionize the creative landscape and drive meaningful change that ripples through the industry.

The origin story of DBC reflects the power of following one's passions and daring to pursue dreams with tenacity. From humble beginnings to a thriving team of over 15 exceptional professionals, our growth is a testament to the value of perseverance and the profound impact of creativity. As we continue to chart new territories, our commitment to authenticity, inclusivity, and creative excellence remains unwavering, fueling our ambition to leave an indelible mark on the world while creating a lasting legacy for the generations to come.

What do you like most about your industry?

I absolutely love working in the marketing industry because it's always evolving and there's never a dull moment. From new technologies like automation and AI to the latest social media trends, there's always something new to explore and learn.

But what I really love about marketing is that the skills we develop can be applied across a variety of industries and challenges. Whether it's helping a large corporation improve their branding or working with a non-profit organization to increase awareness and donations, the skills we develop are transferable and can make a real impact.

Speaking of impact, I'm proud to work with some amazing clients who are making a difference in the world. Our non-profit clients, who we refer to as our for-purpose citizens, are particularly inspiring. Being able to use our skills to help them achieve their goals is incredibly rewarding.

Finally, I believe that the marketing industry is sustainable and growing. According to a recent report, the global digital advertising and marketing market is set to reach $786.2 billion by 2026. This growth means that there will always be new opportunities and challenges to tackle.

Overall, I feel incredibly fortunate to work in the marketing industry and to be able to work with such talented and inspiring individuals and organizations.

What do you dislike most about it?

While I love many things about the marketing industry, there are two things that I don't particularly enjoy. First, there's a trend towards commoditization, where some clients view marketing services as a commodity that can always be obtained for cheaper. At our agency, we practice value-based pricing, where we focus on the value we create for our clients rather than the time or effort required to deliver that value. I just wish other creatives in the industry would do the same, so that we can collectively focus on delivering more impactful results for our clients.

Second, the lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry is also a concern for me. While our agency has been able to rise above these challenges and thrive, I know that many creatives of color struggle to get meaningful opportunities and a seat at the table. I believe that having diverse perspectives and experiences is crucial for creating truly effective marketing campaigns, so it's something that the industry as a whole needs to work on. We need to do better at providing more opportunities for underrepresented groups and creating a more inclusive environment for everyone in the industry.

If you could make 3-5 changes to that industry, what would they be?

Here are some potential changes that could be made in branding, graphic & logo design, and web dev & design:


Emphasize authenticity and transparency in brand messaging and visual identity. Consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that are honest and genuine in their communications and brand persona.

Focus on building a strong brand purpose and mission that resonates with consumers and aligns with their values. This can help differentiate the brand from competitors and create a deeper connection with consumers.

Prioritize user-generated content and customer feedback in branding efforts. This can help build a more community-driven brand that values customer input and engagement.

Graphic & Logo Design:

Incorporate more minimalist and simple design elements. Clean, simple designs are becoming more popular as consumers seek clarity and ease of use in visual communication.

Experiment with more abstract and unconventional logo designs that stand out from competitors and leave a lasting impression. This can help differentiate the brand and make it more memorable to consumers.

Use more animation and motion graphics in graphic design to create dynamic and engaging visual content. This can help capture and hold the viewer's attention, leading to better brand recognition and engagement.

Web Dev & Design:

Optimize for mobile-first design to accommodate the increasing number of users accessing websites from mobile devices. This can improve the overall user experience and increase engagement.

Use more responsive design techniques to create websites that adjust to different screen sizes and resolutions. This can help ensure consistency across different devices and improve accessibility.

Implement more interactive and immersive web design elements, such as virtual reality or augmented reality features. This can help create a more engaging and memorable user experience, and set the brand apart from competitors.

What do you wish people knew about branding & design?

Here are a few things I wish people knew about branding, graphic & logo design, web dev & design:


Branding is not just about a logo, it's a combination of visual and non-visual elements that create a perception and emotional connection with the audience.

Branding is a long-term investment that requires consistency and constant effort to build a strong and recognizable brand.

Branding is not just for big companies, even small businesses and individuals can benefit from a strong and consistent brand.

Graphic & Logo Design:

Graphic and logo design is not just about making things look pretty, it's about solving visual problems and communicating a message effectively.

Design should always prioritize functionality and usability over aesthetics.

Design is subjective, what looks good to one person may not appeal to another, but good design should always meet the goals and objectives of the project.

Web Dev & Design:

A website should be designed with the user in mind, focusing on usability, accessibility, and user experience.

Web development requires a combination of technical and creative skills, including coding, design, and problem-solving.

A website is not just a digital brochure, it's a dynamic platform that can be used to engage and interact with your audience.

Overall, I wish people knew that branding, graphic & logo design, web dev & design are all interconnected and require a holistic approach to be successful. It's not just about creating a pretty logo or a functional website, but about creating a cohesive and memorable brand that resonates with your audience.

When you first started, how did you get clients?

Once I had stopped doing design work as a side hustle for friends and family and DBC had been established, my initial clients came from word of mouth and my network.

...and how do you get clients today?

Today we still rely heavily on network but we have grown to where we have a dedicated sales and marketing team that utilizes a range of tools to bring in new projects like; linked in to find clients we’d like to pitch to, social media efforts to create brand awareness, participation in interviews and press opportunities and we are also registered in a few states where we can bid on government contacts.

What is the biggest issue that your firm, or firms like yours, face?

As a burgeoning creative agency, our most significant challenge lies in seamlessly scaling up to meet the demands of new growth opportunities while upholding the highest standards of quality and excellence. With each new client we onboard, we are committed to ensuring that our team has the bandwidth and expertise to deliver exceptional service and innovative solutions that leave a lasting impact.

To mitigate this obstacle, we are proactively investing in talent development and expansion. By continuously nurturing and expanding our team of skilled creatives and strategists, we equip ourselves to embrace new projects with confidence and competence. Additionally, we are refining our internal processes and workflow to optimize efficiency without compromising on the meticulous attention to detail that defines our agency's reputation.

Furthermore, collaboration and knowledge-sharing are at the heart of our approach. Through fostering a culture of cross-functional teamwork and collective brainstorming, we harness the collective brilliance of our diverse team members, allowing us to tackle challenges head-on and unlock the full potential of our creative ingenuity.

In line with our unwavering commitment to quality, we maintain a continuous feedback loop with our clients, valuing their input and insights. This not only helps us tailor our services to their evolving needs but also ensures that their vision aligns seamlessly with our artistic direction.

As we continue to grow, we are wholeheartedly dedicated to maintaining the passion, creativity, and excellence that have defined our journey thus far. Our tenacious spirit and thirst for continuous improvement drive us to turn obstacles into opportunities, ensuring our agency remains a leading force in the realm of creativity and branding.

How do you maintain strong relationships with clients to ensure long-term partnerships?

DBC’s culture is built around the concept of the City-State of DBC. We express it in everything we do, from our mission to democratize the design process to our structure. Instead of a CEO, we have a Prime Minister and instead of clients, we have citizens! This reflects a commitment to our craft. As we grow, we create Ministries, such as the Ministry of Design in Motion, where Ministers and Deputy Ministers communicate complex brand ideas through motion graphics. This structure gives everyone a seat at the table, all in the name of being chosen and re-chosen by our citizens.

How do you ensure that your team members stay motivated and engaged in their work?

We manage a decentralized and often asynchronous workforce, where our team chooses where they can work from. In the creative process, that brings along massive challenges, solved by communication primarily via agencyMAX, a hub that allows our designers to communicate directly with citizens and share files in, making us less reliant on email. No stakeholder identified in a project is ever left off of important communications. Our citizens always have access to the latest version of the creative and can review on the platform. Wherever in the world you wake up, you are up-to-date at all times.

DBC is built to reflect the world around us and as a global organization, our values reflect this. For instance, DBC will pay for a passport or passport renewal, so you are able to see the world and the creativity in it. We also made sure that our team saw the world when we met in Toronto this year and many partners met for the first time. Communication is one of our values and so we make it a priority to connect weekly during stand up and regularly host virtual team building activities like wellness session, drag bingo and cooking classes to strengthen our team and feel connected even when we don't have contact irl.

What else would you like to publicly share about your agency?

At DBC, we thrive on seizing transformative opportunities that propel us towards exceptional growth and impact. From securing major projects with renowned clients like American Express to participating in SAP's Pro Bono for Economy Equity program, each pivotal moment has shaped our trajectory.

Now, we're on the verge of solidifying our strategy and fortifying our offerings, setting us on a path to profitability and scalability. As we embrace this new chapter, we remain committed to our values of inclusivity, authenticity, and innovation. Our team's diverse expertise and unwavering dedication enable us to deliver exceptional results, driving impact not only for our clients but also for the communities we serve.

With every project, we seek to inspire and be inspired, creating a dynamic ecosystem where brands can transcend boundaries and forge genuine connections with their audience. Together, we're committed to making a remarkable difference, reshaping industries, and building a more inclusive, dynamic world through the power of creativity and design.

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