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Twenty behind. Twenty ahead.

Cinco celebrates two decades in design.

Together with our team, friends, and the design community of Portland, we threw our biggest bash yet to celebrate our first 20 years. We transformed the Hawthorne Theater to bring together artists, filmmakers, chefs, and some of our favorite musicians to raise a glass and get our groove on. Special guest Talib Kweli brought the house down with a mindblowing set. And with everyone’s help we’re raising funds that will advance design education in Portland high schools, inspiring and empowering the next generation of design leaders. 

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We want to give special thanks to our partners who made it such a memorable night. No Such Recipe are a small band of pioneer chef’s changing the game through incredible, highly-considered dishes. They make culinary art accessible. You should seek them out at their regular gigs at Nomad.PDX, one of Portland’s most progressive kitchens - or on their own as they invent new flavors that will blow your mind. The team at Hawthorne Theater who made their theater our home and made it an absolute joy. Go see shows there. They serve up real rock-and-roll run by your friends in Portland. And, of course, Talib Kweli who delivered nearly 2 hours of classics and respun covers that simply crushed. He’s inspired us since we opened the doors at Cinco through hip-hop and activism that keeps your heart pumping and your mind wide-open. Finally, thank you to the skunkworks Cinco team – you know who you are – for making this celebration one for the books. 

For twenty years at Cinco we’ve focused on bringing design thinking and creative innovation to both global and emerging brands. From day one we’ve put our energy and ingenuity to work helping our partners launch new products and ideas with passion and purpose. At the same time we’ve brought designers, thinkers, and makers together giving them a stage to learn, share and grow together. At Cinco we have a saying, “We make things for us and our friends”. It’s a simple, understated idea that has incredible power. 

It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together. Our team. Our partners. Their customers. Each deserves our absolute best. For over two decades we’ve brought together hundreds of creatives to develop thousands of brands, products, spaces, and experiences that have served up bold thinking and value to people around the world. Trust. Belief. Determination. Intelligence. All with a healthy dose of chill, freshness, and humor. We know when you bring epic people and partners together awesome things are possible. 

In design, evolution is the one constant. Better. Fresher. Smarter. It's what’s been driving us year after year. We get after it by tackling new challenges with curiosity, confidence, and enthusiasm. We bring together creatives from different backgrounds, putting product designers side-by-side with brand designers, creative technologists with environmental designers, content creators with strategists, all while project and account leads dive right into the creative process. Then we mix them again. It's led us to find new ways to approach very different design challenges. It helps us drive change. Even our party was a reflection of that spirit. All of us working together to create something we couldn’t do alone. Not a bad way to have fun.

Moving forward we’ll put that same spirit to work. We’re convinced that amazing times are ahead of all of us. We’re stoked to help the next wave of entrepreneurs and innovation leaders create positive change and momentum. We’ll keep focusing on bringing creative intelligence to elevate the way we work, play, share, entertain, stay healthy, and make a difference through progressive brands and products. There’s a belief in our team that we ‘Vote for What’s Next’ with how we choose to direct our time, skill and effort. We work to build a future we want to live in. Even in tiny ways it matters. We choose clients that have purpose. We use design to inspire. To bring people together. To empower creativity. To remove barriers. To give everyone more to smile about. It’s not easy. But it’s not complicated. 

Artboard 24

Twenty years has brought us incredible opportunity. Each of us on our team – before, during, and after our time together – have proven that a life in design brings us so much to be grateful for. It’s in that spirit that we continue to give back. Our goal for years has been to support art and design education. At a time when our public schools have less to work with than ever; music, art, design, dance, and theater programs seem to always be the first cut from budgets. The need for support is paramount. 

We hope you’ll join Cinco and its entire staff in raising funds to help ensure that art & design have a place in our high schools. Even a little makes a difference. Our approach is clear and targeted. We work directly with teachers in art programs across Portland Public Schools to give 100% of what we raise to purchase equipment and supplies they need. Computers. Software. Cameras. Materials. The tools they can put into action and into the hands of students now. On top of that we’ll be personally working with several schools to talk with classes to explore the role and potential of design in the future and inspire more young people to believe design can be more than just cool, but a career. We believe that those teenagers can change the world, drive the next generation of design innovation, and likely one of them just might be writing a post like this in 20 yrs as they lead Cinco into the decades to follow. 

– Kirk James / Founder & Chief Creative Officer

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