Category: Events

Event: Design Alexandria at Stokefire HQ

Hey locals!

Just a quick note to say that as of a couple days ago we’re hosting Design Alexandria‘s events at our Del Ray HQ. In addition to the usual great chats you’ve been having with other designers and technologists, attendees will get a glimpse inside the doors of our little shop and meet a member or two from our team.

As of this moment there are a handful of seats left at next week’s November Meetup, and you’ll need to reserve a spot, since space is pretty limited. Derrick Douglas will be giving a presentation on using InDesign to create an interactive wireframe document, and attendees will be discussing the various things we’ve been working on.

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Time: 7 PM to 9 PM
Location: 2016 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA #300 (top floor)

The Stokefire crew will be there, but probably won’t be presenting anything at this event. Still, should anyone want our guidance, opinions, or some nifty drink coasters, we’re game.

Hope to see you there!



EVENT: “Branding? Meet Gandhi.” with Tate Linden


Be a part of Tate’s first-ever public discussion on the topic of kickass Gandhian brands. One day you might even tell your grand-kids you were there. (Note: said telling is far more likely to occur if you already have grand-kids, and if they just so happen to be visiting around October 4th.)


Topic: Gandhi’s Secrets to a Successful Brand
Presenter: Tate Linden, President & Chief Creative of Stokefire Branding and Advertising
Sponsors: The DC chapter of ASTD and the Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network.
Cost: Free! (Thanks sponsors!)
Date: October 4, 2011, 7 to 9 PM
Location: Bethesda Regional Library – 7400 Arlington Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814.


Only about ten seats remaining.
Call Peggy Linden, Coaching SIG Leader at 301-424-0860 or send her an email.

About The Session:

Organizational brands large and small struggle and fail every day. Many chalk this up to bad luck or poor timing, but that’s a cop-out. In most cases the situations leading to failure can be recognized and turned around before it’s too late. In this session you’ll learn to recognize and decode the warning signs, and to understand the steps needed to fix the problems. Tate Linden may be conveying the information, but it’s Gandhi’s words on alignment and perception that are the foundation of the session.

By the end of his 1 hour interactive session you will:

  1. Understand what a brand identity is and why it matters to the success of every organization, be it a sole proprietorship or industry titan.
  2. Easily recognize the three signs of brand misalignment and three indicators of weak brand elements – and the negative consequences of each.
  3. Learn why a critical ingredient in brand success is provided by the audience, not the branded organization.
  4. Know where and how to effectively focus your efforts to build a solid foundation for your own brand’s success.
Tate’s discussion starts after brief introductions from the attendees, and following his discussion there will be Q&A and networking.

About the Presenter:

Tate has over 15 years experience advising, managing and developing brands for the likes of Discovery Communications, Heinz, Charles Schwab, ADP, and the US Department of Defense. He’s also an in-demand speaker for audiences from 10 to 1500, with recent appearances for the US Congress, HOW Design Conference, ASAE Great Ideas, and the ACCE annual conference. He’s in the midst of writing a book and developing workshops that show in detail how and why to incorporate Gandhian philosophies into organizational identities.

About Time You Pull Over And Ask For Directions:

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Growth without risk and discomfort?

Posted by:
Florence R. Webb
Landaff, New Hampshire

So what do a few hundred Association leaders and the Stokefire team have in common?

We’re all on the lookout for Great Ideas that can enhance our performance, improve our outcomes, perfect our practices, or just generally make things work better at work.  So when primo brander Tate Linden and I were invited to share our insights about comfort, change, and decision making with the attendees at ASAE’s Great Ideas Conference 2011, we jumped at the chance.  (literally).

Turns out our intrepid presenters have quite a bit to share on the subject.  My years of experience in public and nonprofit arenas and Tate’s extensive background making and facilitating strategic identity decisions in a range of environments combine to a lot of practice in trying to move people away from the familiar into new territory.  From the organization that wanted a new name which would satisfy more than forty separate criteria (including “keep the old acronym”)  to the folks who let “not invented here” phobia lead them into a major public humiliation, our presenters shared war stories, theoretical frameworks, and practical tips and tactics with a room full of curious execs.

The message?  Fear of risk is a crippling disease which keeps businesses and organizations from recognizing opportunity – and most of us are infected with it whether we know it or not.  The very structures and procedures which allow our organizations to function efficiently everyday do double duty as anchors, tying us down and holding us back from pursuing the extraordinary.

The trick is learning to recognize where bureaucratization feeds efficiency and where it impedes vigor.  The second trick is learning how to turn it off when it’s a drag instead of a tool, whether that means changing our patterns to disorganize organizational habits or invoking new talent that’s immune to those habits.  Whatever tactic we adopt, we can tell that it’s working if we are feeling a choppy mixture of exhilaration, discomfort, anticipation, and concern as we work our way through problem solving and decision options.  Because no important growth comes without risk and discomfort.  None.

Dems Make a Wrong Turn.


I just read on POPwink (a couple days too late) that the Dems are looking to come up with a new bumper sticker. I had no idea.

You should read Michael’s post over there, and I must agree that his judgement (that the ones they’ve come up with are “hideous”) is spot on.

The choices they’ve laid out for us are:

  • W IS OUT – Send the Right Wing with Him
  • What Have Republicans Done For You Lately?
  • 2006 Was Just the Beginning. More Dems in ’08

Ouch. Y’all already know I dislike naming contest and such, so I won’t go into that here.

Is the left wing in such a state that they have to recycle old concepts? Two of the four are just reworking old slogans “No Child Left Behind” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately.” One uses a visual key to link W (as in Bush) to Wing (as in right) but seems to ignore the fact that the left has a wing too. The last option seems to endorse doing whatever we did in ’06… but somehow doing it better.

None of them seem catchy. None of ’em seem smart. None of ’em speak to me (as one of the centrists that typically decide elections.) None of them take advantage of the location of the message (a bumper.) None of them are memorable (without having to recall either right wing rhetoric or bad pop songs.) These are conversation enders rather than conversation starters.

But what if you could fix that? What if you had a phrase that sounded catchy, implied at least a bit of intellect, could speak to disaffected centrists, used language that mixed well with the bumper medium, and could be used by talking heads as a conversation starter?

I think it’s possible.

Something like “The Right Turn Is Left” ™(sm)(c)(etc…) above a contextualizing message such as “Democrats for ___________” (where the blank is a platform cause) or “Vote Democtratic in ’08” seems to fit the bill.

It throws wordplay, logic, message, direction, context, mnemonics and all sorts of good stuff (like the fact that this is a “Googlenope” as I write this) at the reader without preaching about “W” or gloating about 2006…

…and you can almost hear people chanting it at the Democratic Convention if you listen hard enough.

(Added bonus – the logical Republican response “The Right Turn is Right” or “The Left Turn Is Left” loses all of the power and wit that the use of the conflicting statement brings. It’s a hard slogan to fight effectively.)

Anyone else think there’s a better option?

The Thingnamer Does San Francisco, Again

Here we go again.

The Chief Thingnamer of Stokefire is headed West to the city by the bay from September 4th through the 7th. Yeah, I know I’m invading the territory of just about every other namer in the United States, but I come mostly in peace (I only had one client in the Bay Area and it was a little vineyard about a year ago.) Heck, I’d actually like to visit some of you in your places of work and write about it here.

So all of you Landorians, Igorians, Lexiconians, assorted Luddites (I say that with the deepest affection) and technophiles – anyone want to give me the grand tour of your naming/branding empire? I promise I’ll be on my best behavior.teddybath.JPG

In the interest of full disclosure I’ve gotta admit that I’m bringing Thingnamer Jr. along, though if you don’t want to see him (as thus far his best behavior can’t be promised, and isn’t particularly good anyhow) he can stay with The Boss.

Edit: Both the photo and text above are clicky (and take you to different places) and enable those that are interested to get their “Teddy fix.”

Last time I came out West I somehow ended up in the middle of a party overflowing with fellow namers. As absolutely awe inspiring as that was, (thanks Alexandra and Steve!) I’m hoping that this time I can spend some time talking to people without spilling free spinach puffs and beer down my shirt.

Stuff on my mind that I’d love to talk about:

  1. The Yet To Be Named Association of Namers and what it could do for you
  2. Is everyone as messy as I am when they’re being creative? (And can I take a picture as evidence?)
  3. What pictures and totems do you keep near you when you work?
  4. Are you a Powerpoint or a Flipchart kinda person?
  5. The name you’re most proud of

Anyone interested in playing host(ess)?

The Naming of a Child

May 26th, 2007 at 8.30 pm
Theodore Joseph Linden was born.
Weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz.
Congratulations Sarah & Tate!


Want a job as a namer? Talk to these guys.

No… not with Stokefire. (We’re done hiring until we find a bigger space.)

Try Landor – the Grand-daddy of the industry. I received this in my in-box this morning with no mention of copyright or non-distribution policies. So I’ll help a competitor out… (They’re not competing in my space at the moment so I’ll play nice.)

If I were in New York and didn’t have my own firm I’d consider talking with them about it… But I’m not and I do, so there shall be no talks.

Landor isn’t currently known for their creativity in naming, so perhaps the new person can bring a little spark to the organization. (If I’m gonna help ’em I gotta get a little dig in, don’t I?)

If you’re applying I’d love to hear about it.

Applied Linguistics & Naming Architecture: Director, Naming & Writing, Landor Associates/Young & Rubicam Brands, NYC, USA

Organization: Landor Associates/Young & Rubicam Brands
Department: Naming & Writing
Web Address:

Specialty Areas: Applied Linguistics; Verbal Identity


In the ‘agency world’ and among marketing professionals on the client
side, Landor Associates is known as the world’s most accomplished and
internationally recognized branding and design consultancy. For 65 years
we’ve delivered a multidisciplinary range of brand strategy, design,
naming, interactive, and research services, helping clients around the
world create, renew, and strengthen their brand power. Besides being a
solid career credential for the best designers, marketers and all sorts of
advertising, strategic and creative professionals, Landor is also well
known as a fun, collaborative, and intellectually stimulating place to work.

The Director, Naming & Writing, based in Landor’s New York City office,
will be a strategic thinker and doer with expertise in developing branding
and naming architectures, nomenclature systems, and naming guidelines for
complex corporate and product/service projects. You will also be an expert
in name and tagline development and brand voice strategy and guidelines.

Here are just some of the other things we expect from you:
– help clients make decisions about strategic and creative work
– sell naming solutions and bring ideas to life
– provide clear direction to team members for creative efforts, helping
them to optimize creative output
– identify and take the lead on developing new products, methodologies and
– be the problem solving “hired gun” on relevant client engagements and
function as client leader on all types of Naming and Verbal Identity
– have strong and lively facilitation and moderation skills
– manage, mentor and develop multiple direct reports
– take the lead on creation of proposals and pitches
– formulate, assess and manage overall department budget
– handle day to day management and operational issues related to the
Naming & Writing practice in Landor’s NY office.

– The ideal candidate will have a Bachelors Degree in English,
Linguistics, Liberal Arts, or related studies with a minimum of 8 – 10
years of Naming/Writing/Verbal Identity experience (on the agency or
client side).
– Must have leadership experience and worked in an organization as a
Naming/Verbal Identity Consultant.
– Significant experience with naming and nomenclature strategy is an
absolute must.
– A “wide angle” view of branding and ability to represent Landor’s range
of offerings to clients is necessary.

Landor Associates, part of the WPP Group of companies, provides a
competitive compensation and benefits package.

To apply, please visit our company website listed below. Please create a
new member profile and upload a copy of your resume (Word or PDF format is
preferred). If you choose, you may submit samples of your work by
clicking on the ‘Add Documents’ link after creating your profile.

Application Deadline: 30-Jun-2007 (Open until filled)

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
Manager, Human Resources: Ira Beckman

News Links – 3-27-07

Time Shutters Life

Three years after relaunching Life magazine as a newspaper supplement, its third incarnation, Time Inc. said it would fold the title with the April 20 issue, citing the decline in the newspaper business and outlook for ad revenue in the newspaper supplement category.

The iconic titles name, which will continue to operate online and through its books, had begun to find its footing after rocky start since its most recent reincarnation.

News Links – 3-24-07

A Little Brittan. A Little Corner of New YorkAnyone walking east down Jane Street in the West Village yesterday morning would have known they were approaching the border. There were puddles on the road when the rest of Manhattan was bone dry and somebody had laid little sections of plastic lawn around the bottoms of all the trees.
All right, we are a little ahead of ourselves here. Wrest yourself from your daydream and look at the little green street sign. It says Greenwich Avenue as it has done for generations. Never mind that the block is home to that little oasis inbase_image.jpegimages-11.jpeg Gotham of British comfort cuisine, Tea & Sympathy. But renaming the block Little Britain is, in fact, exactly what the owners of the restaurant, Nicky Perry and Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, have in mind. They are quite serious. So serious, they launched a petition drive last week to persuaimages2.jpegde the local community board and the Mayor to allow them to do it.
There is nothing unsophisticated about their campaign. They hired a marketing company to create a website – www. – brought Virgin Atlantic on board as a co-sponsor and staged a press event with flight attendants and the English soul singer, Joss Stone.

News Links- 3-16-07

The Three Little Puppies. That’s what one British school renamed the traditional Three Little Pigs story for a school play, so as not to offend Muslims in the community, London’s Daily Mail reported.

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