Category: In The News

Unexpected Surprise

Cougar paper's "Share" promotional book

We’ve just learned that some of our client work featured in the Cougar paper company promotional book, Share on Cougar®.

The identity kit for Leadership Ascent will be on display at HOW Design Live this year in Cougar’s Live Blueline Gallery, in booth 511. If you’re lucky enough to attend this year, please stop by and say hello for us!

Lindsay Benson Garrett showing off Stokefire's work featured in Cougar's latest promotional book.

About the identity kit

A lifelong mountaineer, the founder (a recent escapee from the world of Fortune 500® client-side leadership training) looked to blend his thus far distinct passions for corporate leadership and adventuring into a single entity that would seamlessly bring lessons learned on the mountain to bear on the boardrooms of his clients. His mindset was fundamentally shifted on his climb up Mt. Rainier, leading to the tagline we developed for him: “Find yourself on the way.”

Leadership Ascent identity kit

Where we start considering paper

The choice of paper played a critical role in contributing to the feeling of authenticity in the final design, but we began considering the weight and texture of the paper from the moment we conceived of the historical approach to the kit. As we started to develop the vintage mountaineering inspired stationery, we simultaneously started exploring cost effective paper options to make it come to life.

We utilized century-old, lightly edited public domain maps of the founder’s favorite mountain as the consistent visual, and this required a lot of ink to sit on top of the paper. We went with Cougar’s 70lb text for the smooth grain and solid weight, choosing an uncoated stock to maintain the outdoorsy, weathered feel. Cougar natural was a cost effective stock that had a variety of weights available that enabled us to increase the tactile experience of the all-important business card while maintaining the same look as the rest of the kit.

Our favorite moment during the project

At the initial presentation of the tagline in combination with the ID kit, his business partner (and wife) suggested that our creative director “must be sleeping with him, because that’d be the only we could possibly know him so well.”

Leadership Ascent identity kit

The piece on display at the HOW Conference:

Leadership Ascent on display at the Domtar gallery

DARPA Wins Logo Award, Stealthily

2011 MarCom Award Winner

We just learned that our DARPA logo work received an Honorable Mention from the MarCom Awards. We’re surprised and honored by the recognition. We figured that without seeing the logo in action (e.g., transitioning from on-white to on-black as is shown in the video below) it’d get lost in the herd.

It didn’t, and for that we’re giving thanks. Though we can’t seem to find any mention of the award online…

Congratulations to DARPA, and to the members of Stokefire’s very own design team:

Graphic Designer: Jonelly Sharp
Art Director: Randy Rodriguez
Art Director: Kaitlyn Wells
Creative Director: Tate Linden

Want to see the story behind the brand identity and the challenge we faced? Check out this live markup narrated by the boss:


Other live markups have been done for The Stokefire Logo and Think Harder. Concrete.


A Concrete Win for PCA and Stokefire Branding & Advertising Agency

Sorry to all for not posting this great Portland Cement Association PR on our site earlier. Was a bit of a flurry yesterday. Here’s the official release: A Concrete Win for PCA and Stokefire Branding & Advertising Agency. It looks pretty spiffy in PRWeb’s format – or you can see it awkwardly formatted below.

DC-area agency makes concrete front-page news and earns client top honors from 2011 CWA Marketing Communications Awards.

This billboard was viewed by hundreds of thousands of frustrated commuters during asphalt repaving.

A Billboard from PCA’s Award-Winning Campaign

“Forty-eight hours after the billboard posted, concrete was on the front page of the region’s major newspapers.”

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) October 05, 2011

Stokefire Branding & Advertising Agency today announced that its work on behalf of the Portland Cement Association (PCA) has won the 2011 BEST OVERALL Marketing Communications Award as judged by the Construction Writers Association (CWA). This marks the first time a non-profit industry association has earned top honors in a contest typically dominated by commercial industry titans. PCA will receive the award at CWA’s Grand Awards Dinner in San Antonio, Texas on October 25, 2011.

“We are honored by CWA’s recognition and excited that the concrete brand and campaign developed by Stokefire’s creative team served the needs of our membership so well,” said Bruce McIntosh, PCA’s Vice President of Communications. “This campaign quickly allowed us to become part of critical infrastructure conversations, and ultimately led to new concrete and cement projects for our members.”

“PCA needed to provoke a change in behavior,” said Tate Linden, Stokefire’s President and Chief Creative. “Politely knocking at the door of opportunity hadn’t opened it, so we gave the industry another way through. PCA’s top-notch team delivered in a big way once the door was opened, converting opportunity into tangible results.”

CWA’s judges lauded the multifaceted national effort targeting wide-ranging audiences including public works officials, consulting engineers, city and county officials, and even taxpayers and the motoring public. Stokefire delivered campaign strategy and creative execution across print, web, outdoor, clothing, and trade-show elements. In awarding top honors to PCA, judges cited the all-around strength of the campaign, from the design detail and copywriting effectiveness to the broader strategic approach and key media placement.

A strategically placed billboard component above an asphalt repaving project received specific praise from the panel. Forty-eight hours after the billboard posted, concrete was on the front page of the region’s major newspapers, had earned favorable stories on CBS TV News and Public Radio, and had generated buzz on blogs, bulletin boards and Twitter. More importantly, PCA’s leaders were granted access to key infrastructure decision-makers, leading to the true measure of the campaign’s success – tangible new business.

About Stokefire Branding & Advertising:

Stokefire has secretly branded and advertised stuff from its hideout in the Washington DC metro area since 2005. The Stokefire team develops award-winning strategic brands and advertising campaigns that change behavior and get results. The agency has quietly established a diverse client list that includes Heinz, Charles Schwab, Discovery Communications and the US Department of Defense.

About the Portland Cement Association:

Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at

About the CWA Marketing Communications Awards:

For over a decade the Construction Writers Association has recognized the top marketing and communications work from around the globe. Previous CWA Marketing Communications awards have honored work for megabrands like Caterpillar, Bobcat, John Deere, and Volvo. The CWA, founded in 1958, is a non-profit, non-partisan, international organization that provides a forum for journalism, photography, marketing, and communications professionals in all segments of the construction industry.


That’s it!

Congrats to PCA on the 2011 CWA BEST OVERALL Marketing award. Many, many, thanks to Bruce, Patti, Doug, Brian and the rest of the PCA team for giving us the opportunity, for giving our strategists and creatives great information to work with, and for executing flawlessly after the campaign launched. Without every ounce of opportunity, trust, and execution none of this would’ve happened.

Happenings in Advertising, Branding, and Design

1. Oh Netflix – What are you doing to us! Netflix’s Attempt at ‘Transparency’ Angers Consumers, Hurts Brand. Take a look at their new name and logo. (via Ad Age) (via Brand New)

2. OXY had a design overhaul, is that all they did? (via The Dieline)

3. Ben and Jerry’s won’t back down: Schweddy Balls Leaves Sour Taste in Conservative Group’s Mouth AFA slams Ben & Jerry’s. )What do you think of their new flavor? (via Adweek)

4. Nextel rebrands – X Connects the Spot (via Brand New)

5. BBH Rebrands British Airways in Grand New Campaign Ads debut new tagline: ‘To fly. To serve’ (via Adweek)

6. The colors you choose for your brand show personality and emotion – IBM represents it all. IBM Billboard Changes Color Based on Your Clothing (via Adweek)

7. Barefoot Wine presents a poster made completely out of rubbish: “One Beach” (documentary) (via Creative Review)

8. Esurance Taps Leo Burnett (via Adweek)

9. Maggie Gyllenhaal Does First-Ever Latte ‘Got Milk?‘ Ad.

10. A little something for all the designers out there: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Principal Of The Swiss School (via Noupe)

11. The evolution of the advertising executive infographic – Where do you think you stand? (via Adverblog)

Get More:

Thoughts on Advertising 
Thoughts on Branding
Thoughts on Design
Thoughts on Creativity


Happenings in Advertising, Branding, and Design

1. WOW – It’s too bad the automatic laces don’t exist! Nike Auctions 1,500 Michael J. Fox ‘Back to the Future II’ Nike MAGs. (via Adweek)

2. Technology just keeps going and going and going! It’s amazing what we can do these days! An interactive table top and mirror. (via Adweek)

3. gets a new logo. Clean, simple and very friendly. (via Brand New)

4. Mercy Hospital once again gets a new brand – Double Crossed. Check out the more modern look.  (via Brand New)

5. Well I could use a little adventure and a new car! Ad of the Day: Dodge W+K hides three Dodge Journey’s across America. You find one, you keep it. (via Adweek)

In Other News:

Twins rock the Creative Industry – Pelle and Calle Sjoenell

Wieden + Kennedy named Digital Agency of the Year 2011

Celebrities Avoid .XXX Domain Naming and Branding, But What About the Rest of Us?

Get More:

Thoughts on Branding

Thoughts on Advertising 

Happenings in Advertising, Branding, and Design

1. Happy Birthday To Bill Bernbach last week! He would have been 100 on August 13th. The famous adman is well known for advertisements such as, VW Think Small 1959, VW Lemon 1962, Levys Indian 1967, and the Burlington Sock Dance 1970. View the tribute here, and check out more ads of his. (via Creative Review)

2. Montreal Impact, the latest expansion team of Major League Soccer, got a new crest! It’s always a great thing to see how logos are presented, and this one takes the cake. What are your thoughts on the update? (via Brand New)

3. What does tide have against tomboys? Could this new creation from P&G cause a larger controversy? View the Ad Here, and send us your thoughts! (via AdWeek)

4. Beer Billboard Casts Long Shadow Newcastle ad and its 3,000 bottle caps come alive at night. A very creative and clever take on a billboard, this one should be the one to beat. Check out the billboard, and the making of videos. (via AdWeek)

5. Tropicana’s Premium Premium not premium enough – Lets hope this isn’t another repeat episode of when Tropicana tried to rebrand a few years ago.  Check out the Images here. What do you think they could do to be more “premium?” (via thebrandgymblog)

6. If you’re a fan of AC/DC, you probably should look into getting some of this: More Elastic Branding: AC/DC Wine Has Arrived (via BrandCultureTalk)

7. For all of us, and for the entire U.S.A – I Will on September 11, Deutsch LA and MyGoodDeed partnered together to lead a non-profit organization that will pay tribute to all those who faced tragedy on September 11, 2011 through the “I Will” campaign. (via The Inspiration Room)

8. Axe (Lynx) set a world record with their recent advertisement – The most people in one shower. The trick? 152 gorgeous women and one guy – showering with Axe (Lynx) body wash of course. Watch the ad here. (via Creative Criminals)

9. Petco Unleashes Unhealthy Logo: A new logo refresh, including a new tagline, unveiled by Petco caused a bit of a stir. The big question: What about the unhealthy pets? (via Brand New)

10. Nike celebrates 40 years of the swoosh. Its amazing how a low budget logo, created by a student at the time helped to mold one of the biggest sporting goods companies in the world. Both Logo Design Love and Imprint have featured the celebration today.

Thoughts on Rebranding
More on Advertising
All about Branding

happenings in advertising, branding and design

Are You A Victim Of Phantom Vibration Syndrome? (via Fast Company)

Red Lobster rebrands: Lobster-schmobster….right? (via Brand New)

Did you watch the ultimate New Old Spice Guy Face-off? (via The Inspiration Room)

We have judged these Oliver Sacks books by their cover…and the verdict is VERY good! What do you think of these designs? (via HOW Design)

MuchForgotten Logo: MuchMusic, often referred to as the MTV of Canada, introduced a new identity (via Brand New)

Why do YOU follow brands online? (via Turquoise Branding)

Who would you join up with to win the war? – beautiful social media propaganda posters by Aaron Wood… (via Design Milk)

The London Tube Map, Redesigned For A Multiscreen World: ‎”According to research by NYU professor Zhan Gao, 30% of travelers choose the wrong route on the current London Tube map, which has twice as many transit lines and is just as likely to be squinted at on a smartphone as gazed at on a wall. Is it time for an update?” Isn’t this true for most big cities? How many of you in D.C. have had a hard time figuring out your route via smartphone? Nearly impossible, no? (via rt Strategy)

LivingSocial Taxi: LivingSocial deals were promoted recently in London through surprise offers made in a London taxi. (via The Inspiration Room)

Happenings in advertising, branding and design

The Murdoch hacking scandal enfolds as agencies are monitoring the meltdown. (via Ad Week)

The Winnipeg Jets were purchased by True North Sports & Entertainment with the full intent of bring the team to Canada, where they own the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg. And they got a new identity to go with it. (via Brand New)

Mashable shows us the history of advertising on YouTube: see how the site has evolved since its founding in 2005. (via Mashable)

Watch out, Netflix. Walmart is now streaming Vudu video on demand on (via Tech Crunch)

New identity for the National Museum of Australia (NMA)…an improvement to the previous logo? Yes. But Armin over at Brand New has a point about the “women laughing with salad photographyAnd yes, you want to go there! (via Brand New)

The most uncool ad ever made featuring Amy Winehouse (via Ad Week)

This TopGear Magazine print ad warns people to not be on social media networks while driving. Simple tagline to go along with it: “Paul Johnson just checked in @ the bottom of the river Thames. Driving and social media just don’t mix.” (via Creative Criminals)

Absolut Blank: this campaign “blends print, interactive, digital, and installation art as the artists used the blank canvas of the bottle to indulge their creative inspirations including light installations, murals and collages.” (via Creative Criminals)

Curious about the open source movement?  (via Noupe)

Top 10 Beer Commercials: Mmmh, beer! The One Club’s Top 10 beer commercials from past 15 years of One Show- top spot went to: Big Ad for Carlton Draugh (via The Inspiration Room)

Julia Roberts, Christy Turlington Ads: Wait, you mean that models in make-up ads are photoshopped? No. Way! (via Ad Week)

Happenings in advertising, branding and design


Amazon launched Kindle Textbook Rental (via Tech Crunch)

Have you heard the “Amazing Harry Potter Song“? (via Ad Week)

This Pantone campaign for Renfe, the railway company owned by the Spanish government, won a Silver Press Lion at Cannes 2011. (via The Inspiration Room)

Awesome Rube Goldberg inspired photography machine video. The real question is how long it took to actually create this video… (via The Inspiration Room)

Stephan Zirwes‘ aerial photography shows the real beauty of scale, pattern, grids, colour, texture and drama. (via Form Fifty Five)

Google growing like a weed indeed: “Hitwise Estimates Google+ Got 1.8 Million Visits Last Week And Grew 283 Percent”  (via Tech Crunch)

SavePaste, the collapsible toothpaste – never waste another drop of toothpaste. (via Fast Co. Design)

The All Day Everyday Project: ‎”Never stop learning.” Great personal project by German designer Hannes Beer featuring lots of great typography and inspiring quotes. (via How Design)

Apparently Brand New got a few calls this week of people wanting things back, like the “Internet, it wants its Hexagons Back” and apparently “Herb Lubalin called also and he wants his Typography Back” (via Brand New)

Gastrovet: Angry birds are now invading the world of advertising too… (via Ads of the World)

Apple Does Away With the MacBook (via Mashable)

Twitter TownHall “Reveals That GOP ‘Debates’ Require No More Than 140 Characters”  (via Fast Company)

Meet Your Newest Old Spice Guy: Fabio (Yes, That Fabio)  (via Ad Week)

Leeds-based Thompson Brand Partners has created a new identity for the UK’s National Railway Museum, the largest rail museum in the world (via Creative Review)


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