Duolingo expands creative horizons with Hobbes acquisition

Image Source: Reuters

Duolingo has officially announced the acquisition of Hobbes, a prominent animation and motion design studio based in Detroit. The move follows Duolingo’s earlier successful acquisition of Gunner in 2022, another Detroit-based studio linked with Hobbes. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The strategic acquisition underscores Duolingo’s commitment to enhancing its platform through animation and motion design, aiming to boost user engagement and enjoyment. With this acquisition, Duolingo is set to establish a specialized motion design team within its Design department.

Ryan Sims, Chief Design Officer at Duolingo, emphasized the importance of design in the company’s achievements, highlighting the role of character illustration and animation, particularly after integrating Gunner’s expertise. “The addition of Hobbes will enable us to further leverage motion design to make our products more interactive and enjoyable, ultimately leading to improved learning outcomes,” Sims stated. He expressed confidence that Hobbes’ unique talents would significantly contribute to Duolingo’s mission of creating a more animated and delightful product experience.

The integration of Hobbes will bring twelve distinguished motion designers, animators, creative strategists, creative directors, and producers into Duolingo’s existing design teams, effectively doubling the size of its Detroit office. 

Hobbes has already been a valuable partner for Duolingo, contributing to the development of features for Duolingo Music, product architecture, and animation design systems, among others. Eddy Nieto, Partner and Creative Director at Hobbes, remarked, “We believe in empowering animators in product design, and Duolingo’s dedication to art, design, and continuous innovation aligns perfectly with our goals.” Nevin McRay, Managing Partner at Hobbes, added, “This acquisition is a significant milestone for our team, and we are eager to expand our community of top-tier talent in Detroit.”

Written by Jordan Bevan


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