The Blog

Branding is hard*.
* Especially when you’re your own client.

December 23, 2013 Chemistry Club


In December of 2012—yes over a year ago—we decided to restructure our agency and give ourselves a fresh coat of paint. We had begun life in the traditional world, and over recent years we’d morphed into something very different, doing lots of digital work, content creation, design and, most importantly, brand strategy. Sure, we could easily have stayed with our old name, but we’ve never been especially good at doing things the easy way.

So we gathered the troops at the beginning of 2013, talked through the plan, and asked everyone to think up some names. We compiled huge lists, sorted through them and posted our top 500 or so on our big magnet wall. We asked everyone to mark their favorites, and got the list down to about 100. We re-arranged the finalists on the magnet wall, letting the best ones rise to the top, and then we started checking availability.

We’ve been through this process many times for other companies; doing it for ourselves was particularly gut-wrenching. Basically, nothing is available. The English language has officially been depleted. This name has no available URL, that name belongs to a hair salon in Gdańsk (“they’re unlikely to sue, but it’s not completely without risk”). Finally, we found something we liked that we could get our hands on.

We set about creating a visual identity, designing a new website, and writing up our raison d’être. (Oh the agony. Why is this so manageable when we do it for others, but so torturously pretentious when we try to describe ourselves?)

Then, as luck would have it, the shop got really busy. Client work, as it always does, took precedence. We squeezed in a little time on occasional evenings and weekends, and by summer we had a logo and a wireframe. By fall we had a mostly functional site. By late fall, we realized the year was almost over and we simply had to get it done.

Eventually we did. Here it is.

In the grand scheme of things, we realize, no one puts much stock in how an agency brands itself. The work is the only thing that really matters. Everything else is just window dressing. For our part, we’ve at least tried to make nice window dressing.

Thank you for indulging our temporary self-importance. We now return to business as usual, with a renewed respect for what our clients live every day.

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451 Pacific Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133


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