How Squarespace found its edge

Squarespace has taken the fusty world of website builders and found an opportunity for imagination and entertainment. CCO David Lee talks to us about how the brand manages to draw blockbuster talent and why it’s starting to direct ads in-house

Ask a creative where they would most like to work, and it’s unlikely they’ll wax lyrical about their passion for website ­builders. A leading agency would be nice, or perhaps a boutique studio. If it has to be a brand, then a consumer behemoth like Apple or Nike will do. Yet by investing in design and storytelling, Squarespace, a website builder, has become an unlikely hotbed of creativity.

This legacy has been steadily nurtured under the guidance of chief creative officer David Lee. He began his career in his home city of Montreal, followed by AKQA in San Francisco, Wieden+Kennedy London, and TBWA in New York. This year saw his 10th anniversary at Squarespace (which itself has just celebrated its 20th year), which he found offered “a really good cross-section of all the different experiences I’ve had in my career in one place,” he tells us.

He believes that Squarespace is an outlier among tech com­panies, most of which still don’t value creativity. “You get a lot of headwind, and you’ve got to work your way up and fight and fight and fight to put that up on a pedestal and speak the virtues of why that’s important. And I actually joined a company where they intrinsically already cared about those things.”