Recommendations from 25 Years of Making Brand Identities

Rolling out a new logo* is a big deal, whether it’s brand-new or the refresh of an existing one. A logo is a compact graphic, forever synonymous with your brand. Humans remember what they see more than what they read or hear, so that little encapsulation of your company should work hard to be indelible.

At Elixir, we’ve been doing precisely this kind of work—for start-ups and existing brands—for a very long time across countless industries, for-profits, and nonprofits.

If you are about to embark on a logo project, here are things to consider about the process and to address…


From its earliest days, Elixir has brewed up New Year’s gifts for our friends, families and, of course, clients. This is now an almost twenty-year tradition. The gifts are our way of thanking the people who mattered in our year, although we also always include on our list a handful of companies with whom we’d love to work. We apply the same criteria every year: — Will the gift delight the people who receive it more than the people who concocted it? — Can we afford to produce and assemble it in the way that we would like? …


As a company, we try and walk the elusive line of healthy work/life balance. However, when deadlines get tight and projects stack up, a “design chicken” phenomenon can seep in. Cooped at your desk and tasked to keep the work flowing at a steady and consistently high rate can be a challenge.

In a field where we are expected, and in fact hired to, see things from a fresh and differentiated perspective, it’s especially important to step off the daily treadmill and shake up the senses. …


Elixir was enlisted by prAna for it’s 2010 rebranding effort. They wanted to shift away from being perceived as an items-based yoga and climbing company and evolve into what they referred to as “an authentically soulful lifestyle brand.”

How? By being real. Not faking anything. No short cuts.

The brand visual language we created for prAna was the design equivalent of live acoustic music.

The imagery we used for the catalog had a raw immediacy to it. In some cases it was amateur photography, or the clothes weren’t front and center or the lighting may have sucked but the scene…


“I’ve been hugely lucky to work with design firms that I think are not only brilliant at design but super respectful of… the reader.” — Alyson Kuhn, AIGA Fellow

Sharing her talents with us for over a decade, we have long treasured Alyson Kuhn’s gifts of all sorts. Alyson’s love and respect for words and language make her a master at naming and word play and someone we frequently collaborate with on projects that need language. …


We’ve all been there. Time to show your portfolio to the world and land your first design job. Jen and Nate share their portfolios from back in the day. (Before iPads. Gasp!)

At Elixir, we believe in the power of first impressions. We are often charged with creating first impressions for our clients through design assignments — websites, business collateral, packaging and invitations. This is why strategy is so critical to our process. What does that first impression convey and is it a proper set up for communicating what you intend? …


One of Elixir’s own designed a heart for the 2015 Hearts in San Francisco Project that benefits San Francisco General Hospital.

What do boat epoxy, 1,035 Polaroids, Elixir Design and San Francisco General Hospital have in common?

We all benefit from the talents of William Westley (aka Billy)! Elixir gets first dibs on Billy’s capabilities during the work week, but after hours, Billy and his partner, Bruce Scott, run an instant photo-a-day blog called polaroidsf.com. The blog was started three years ago as a love letter to San Francisco and captures everyday city life — a sunset, a dog, a…


While we can’t literally move mountains, we can certainly try and make mountains moving for one of our favorite clients.

Sundance is not only a real place, but an extraordinary one. It’s the birthplace of the eponymous festival, the catalogs, the cable channel, the institute — and a testimonial to Robert Redford’s commitment to preserve its breathtaking natural beauty.

Sundance is both a resort and a retreat, the invigorating essence of uncorporate. We’ve been connected to it for over fifteen years now, during many of which we designed and art directed the catalogs. We truly love it there.

Designers Scott…


An idyllic farm producing incredible treats from the earth.

Front Porch Farm is a bastion of bio-diversity. We could describe the owners as bespoke farmers, since most of their products are grown to order for fine restaurants and specialty grocers. And we could describe the farm as a “Noah’s Ark for food,” since the owners are zealous about sustainability. Their dream is to raise all the ingredients for complete meals of deliciousness — and they’re already making wines to accompany them.

Jennifer Jerde

Founder, Principal & Creative Director at Elixir Design

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