Our story

In 2010, Malcolm Gilbertson realised he had more in common with gorillas than design agency folk. That’s when he founded Silverback®.

Why does this agency cut corners? I’d rather work this out with them. Isn’t this what we tried to sell the other brand? Hmm, is the client on holiday, I haven’t seen them for weeks?

Troop photograph

All reasons why Malcolm decided to start his own company. One that did things the right way, gave two hoots about producing great, original work every time, and treated staff and clients well. No to ‘them’ and ‘us’, yes to ‘hey team!’ At the time, he was reading a book about silverbacks and their troops, and imagined a place where everyone respected each other and worked together towards a common goal, like it was second nature. Beautiful, ay?

That’s why we welcome you into our Troop, to work with us, throwing off the shackles of the traditional client/agency relationship. Building trusting, fun and effortless relationships is what we’re all about – and success follows. Come on in, and see for yourself.

Troop photograph

Silverback, as in the gorilla?

We’re always asked why we’re called Silverback®. Well, silverbacks are big, strong and powerful, with an innate wisdom that goes back for generations, almost to the beginning of time.

So how does that relate to an independent design and web agency in Surrey?

Well, silverbacks are respectful of their troop, protecting and nurturing it with their lives, they thrive off collaboration, are brave enough to stand up for what they believe in, and know instinctively when they’re right. Just like us, mostly. Well, we learned from the best (gorillas).

Troop photograph

Meet Mukunda, he’s a legend

Mukunda is a silverback mountain gorilla who lives in the Congo. For real. His name means likeable, and that’s why if we really were a silverback, we’d be Mukunda. It’s not about his power and muscles (yeah they help, but they’re not the most important thing).

Different to the other mountain gorillas, he strolls into villages outside the forest, to watch and hang out with people. He’s never threatening, always curious, the communicator of his entire species. He shows us that being likeable is your greatest strength. It gets people talking with each other, barriers come down, true collaboration happens and great partnerships begin. We call it the Mukunda-mic-drop-moment.

The silver moon is there as a constant, shining knowledge and wisdom on Mukunda’s back, lighting the way to guide him through the rainforest. The relationship between Mukunda and the moon is similar to Silverback® and our clients. It’s a partnership. With your knowledge and our expertise, together we make a difference.

Giving back

We can’t be called Silverback® and not give back to the incredible creatures who’ve inspired our ethos. The more videos and articles we see, the more respect and affinity we feel for gorillas. Sadly though, they’re severely under threat due to deforestation, disease and poaching, where they’re sold as pets and trophies, or as medicine and magical charms.

So we’ve adopted a gorilla from the Susa group of mountain gorillas through the WWF – it’s the least we can do. He’s called Ihoho (pronounced e-hoe-hoe), meaning ‘incomparable beauty’, which is how gorillas are considered in Rwanda.

The WWF helps protect gorillas by safeguarding their habitats and training the rangers.

Find out more

Hey, let’s see what we can do together