Studio Portrait: Moniker SF

For the latest installment of our Studio Portrait series we’re chatting with our friend Brent Couchman of Moniker, a San Francisco-based design and branding studio.

Hi Brent! How is it going in San Francisco?

Things are good. We’re finishing the year strong with some exciting projects and trying to finish the buildout of our new studio. Though, we are looking forward to the holiday break coming up.

Where is your studio situated?

We’re in the Mission in an old box factory built in 1907.

Sounds like an incredible space. What makes it so great?

It’s a nice open space with good lighting, can’t ask for much more. We like the neighborhood, all the coffee shops and cafes and we’re getting to know our neighbors which is fun as well.

There’s a lot pre-conceived ideas about working in SF, especially in regards to Silicon Valley. Your studio does a nice job of dipping in & out of the that industry. How do you feel about SF and tech?

The Bay Area is definitely saturated with tech, so we make a conscious effort to even it out with a variety of work. There’s not as many opportunities for non-tech work, but when we do get we take advantage of and invest as much as we can in the work.

Your work for Facebook Open Source felt like a unique opportunity to work within the tech industry. Could you tell us a little bit about how you developed the identity system for it?

We had been working with Open Source team at Facebook to create a system of logos for their open source projects for a while. After 5–6 of these had launched, it made sense to brand the Open Source team as a way to build some awareness around the project internally. We used a combination of an O and a hexagon shape that various FB teams had used in the past to create a simple iconic mark for the team.

Why did you choose to use GT Pressura?

GT Pressura provided a nice balance between fitting in with other Facebook elements and having it’s own unique style. There was also a connection in style to typefaces used in coding interfaces so it felt appropriate.

That conceptual connection between the system and the typeface is great. It reminds us of another one of your projects. We love the playful illustrations and visual style of your identity for Tidepool. Could you tell us how GT Walsheim fits into that?

GT Walsheim nicely echoed the geometric style of our illustrations and more importantly, worked well speaking to the various audiences Tidepool was reaching out to. Not only did it need to feel confident and assuring to parents and patients, but it needed to feel like it was fun and engaging for kids as well.

How did the project came together?

We were brought in by A Hundred Monkeys, a naming and branding agency in the Bay Area, to work with Tidepool on the visual identity. We always enjoy working with companies who are making a difference in the world, and it’s been awesome to see how Tidepool has succeeded.

Making a difference with your work is admirable. Do you have any other goals for your studio?

We’re trying to fine tune the focus of our studio to more projects that overlap with our interests. We enjoy working with international clients and have a few exciting global projects we’d like to leverage for more opportunities abroad. We’re also trying to find a better work / life balance and make sure we have down time to relax, travel, and be with family and friends.

Any dream clients?

I’ve always wanted to work with U-Line, which on the surface might sound boring, but I always think the most interesting work comes from the places you least expect it.

Definitely! Have you found any inspiration in an unexpected place recently?

Earlier this year we all took a trip to Tokyo. We worked from the city a bit, but spent most of the time walking around, exploring, and eating amazing food. It was a great experience not only from a visual standpoint but we got to meet a lot of cool people that expanded our horizons as human beings.

Broadening your horizons can have a deep impact on your work. Did this idea play into the framework for the identity system you developed for Delve?

As the name suggests, Delve was all about taking things deeper, trying to achieve connection through rich stories. We discussed and explored a lot of ideas but in the end settled on a simple typographic solution to convey the brand idea.

Why did GT Pressura fit the bill?

The initial concept was pretty obscure, we had found a few references for type on film negatives and liked the idea of that subtle reference being present in GT Pressura. It also had a nice cinematic feel to it.

Beautiful. And it looks great!

We have one last section that we like to run through for these interviews. Can you please share:

One person we should know about.

Ryan Leidner

One image we should look at.

This One

One song we should listen to.

Joe Meek — I Hear A New World

One link we should click

This Mother Jones Article

Thanks, Brent!

Moniker is a San Francisco-based design and branding studio that belives in delivering timeless work for clients far and wide, big and small.