Human-centered branding & design studio

Skidmore is a strategic creative studio (like an agency, but more agile and specialized) that helps organizations grow through expert branding and design. Our team of writers, strategists, and designers knows how to craft brands that get today’s consumers excited about products on shelves, online, and in their everyday lives.

We’re obsessed with two things: 1) branding and 2) brands that bring people joy. Our portfolio reflects these obsessions, featuring an eclectic mix of food, lifestyle, and just-plain-fun products, organizations, and experiences. It’s an interesting little niche we’ve created for ourselves, that we simply refer to as “food & fun.”

Our studio practices human-centered branding and design, with a unique creative approach honed over six decades in the creative services biz. We go deep quickly, working collaboratively with our clients and their customers to craft beautiful, compelling, effective branding that wins consumers and meets real business goals.

 
$25,000+
 
Undisclosed
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1959
Show all +
Detroit, MI
headquarters
  • 1265 Griswold Street #6
    Detroit, MI 48226
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Xenith, Inspired Organics, Dave & Busters, Halo Burger, Bon Bon Bon, Motor City Pizza Co., Universal Orlando, Ellis Island Tea, ZingTrain, Michigan Farm to Freezer, Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre

Xenith Rebrand & Launch Image

Xenith Rebrand & Launch

Founded in 2006, Xenith made a name for itself with brand new football helmet technology that gave athletes superior protection and a customizable fit. But Xenith’s brand couldn’t support their expanding line of forward-thinking protective gear, so it was time to evolve.

After an intensive discovery and strategy process, Skidmore delivered a comprehensive brand overhaul aimed at the customer who matters most:

competitive high-school athletes.

The new identity separates the brand from its aging, entrenched competitors and readies the company to expand their product line to include new cutting-edge gear in 2018 and beyond.

Halo Burger Brand Identity, Menu, and Website Image

Halo Burger Brand Identity, Menu, and Website

Halo Burger is on a path to become Michigan’s premier QSR brand. But change can be hard, especially for an almost-100-year-old brand with deep roots in a tightly knit community. The Halo team tapped us to bring freshness and scalability to the iconic chain while keeping its nostalgic, mom-and-pop feel intact.

Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre Brand Identity Image

Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre Brand Identity

Formerly known as Chene Park, Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre is a Detroit institution. Set on the bank of the Detroit River, the outdoor music venue invites local and international artists to its stage all summer long. It’s a beautiful place to catch a show on a warm evening, especially with the venue’s iconic blue drink in hand. We helped The Aretha team create a logo and identity worthy of its rename—and its namesake.

Reviews

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Branding for Sports Engagement Platform

"Their team was incredibly talented and easy to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Dec. 2019 - Feb. 2020
Project summary: 

Skidmore helped a sports engagement platform rebrand itself after a name change. The team endeavored to deliver a brand identity that would demonstrate its mission and goals in a creative way.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Benjamin Bakken
CEO & Founder, Scoreside
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Skidmore Studio delivered a brand identity that's greatly increased user and partner engagement. Thanks to their work, multiple parties have reached out to give great feedback. They were able to execute within a tight deadline and the workflow was incredibly seamless. They're truly able to deliver.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

CauseLine Labs are the makers of ScoreSide, a consumer engagement platform for sports fans and charitable givers, teams, sponsors and other entities. I am a founder and CEO

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Skidmore Studio?

We used Skidmore to redesign our brand and identity after a name change.

What were your goals for this project?

Our goals were to have an identity and brand that demonstrate our mission, personality, and goals.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We found Skidmore through personal recommendations and vetting

Describe the project in detail.

The project was a very quick-turn around in order to be present in a version 2 of our mobile platform. We needed a logo and UI personality that we could start from that would work for mobile, web, print, and broadcast.

We needed to work with only a few options (so, whatever was presented needed to be a choice, but not a long exploration or search for validation) and we needed exceptionally fast turnaround.

What was the team composition?

Our team was immediately given an account rep, two designers, and a production manager. The president worked directly with us as the account rep to manage the tight timeline and to make sure we felt valued.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

With our new brand and identity, we have greatly increased user engagement as well as partner engagement. We have had multiple parties reach out specifically to comment on the new logo and identity.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

With the very tight timeline, the workflow was incredibly handled. The skidmore team was willing to dig deep and take time when we needed it and were also able to take our initial input and feedback and return results within days

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Skidmore's ability to get what we actually wanted sometimes because of and sometimes despite what we actually said was very impressive. Their team was incredibly talented and easy to work with.

Are there any areas for improvement?

We were very happy with the outcome.

5.0
Overall Score Completely effective, great results, no pointless energy or attention required
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We knew when and what they needed from us and vice versa.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Skidmore understood our budget and over-delivered
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Our experience with Skidmore was the experience you want but rarely get.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We could do so much more if all our partner relationships worked like this

Rebranding Strategy & Assets for Agricultural Business

"We found a group of incredibly passionate individuals who shared our joy for good food and new opportunity."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2019 - Jan. 2020
Project summary: 

Skidmore Studio executed a rebranding initiative for a small-batch fruit and vegetable manufacturer. After presenting a competitor and market trend analysis, they focused on crafting a visual look and identity.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Detroit, Michigan
Brandon Seng
Owner, Michigan Farm to Freezer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Skidmore Studio's team understood the company's passion and translated that into a solid brand. Since launching the new branding assets (e.g., packaging, label, website), the manufacturer has retained a 100% win rate for securing grocers to partner with them. Revenue has also grown by more than 30%. 

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

Michigan Farm to Freezer is a small batch manufacturer of Michigan grown fruits and vegetables. We focus on season extension for specialty crops grown in our state in abundance, during a short growing season. I am the owner and operator of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Skidmore Studio?

Like many small businesses, our brand, website and strategy was created bit by bit over a period of time through the engagement of our staff, friends and a few contractors. The opportunity arose for us to move our business to Detroit from Northern Michigan, at which point we decided it best to undergo a re-branding in an attempt to enter a new market with a cohesive and quality look.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to increase our distribution in Southeast Michigan through the engagement of 30 new independent grocers and 85 corporate stores, which would nearly double our revenue and volume. We wanted a better way to tell our story of Michigan's bounty and season extension.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We spoke with a few network leaders and heros in Southeast Michigan's food economy. Skidmore's name continued to rise to the top as a company that we should engage in our process. Their experience in Detroit, and experience with other emerging brands made the choice a simple one.

Describe the project in detail.

We had several discovery meetings with Skidmore, and they brought their team out to our facility for a tour and understanding of our operations. We talked through how we've grown our business to the point that it was, what we were most excited about in the future, and what barriers we saw in the market.

After initial discovery, we were presented with a competitor analysis, market trend analysis, and a brief on our competitive advantages as a brand. As we worked through brand strategy and visual identity, we had regular meetings with their team to provide feedback, gain input and craft a brand that was truly representative of us, and the movement that we are a part of.

Their team brought a ton of energy, ideas and passion to this process, allowing us to step out of our current reality, and look from a high level at who we are, and why our business is critical in the food system. As materials were developed, we were provided opportunity to engage in feedback loops and share perspective that shaped the work.

In the end, we landed with a brand that speaks as well to our effort as we do directly.

What was the team composition?

We worked with an account lead who coordinated engagement across a diverse and talented team. We engaged regularly with Skidmore's Creative Director, several designers, copywriters and editors. There's was an approach that pulled different talent from within the agency as we needed it for specific portions of the project.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

Through this effort we launched a completely new packaging design, label, website and go to market strategy for our target customers in Southeast Michigan. We have retained a 100% rate in securing the grocers on our list of ideal prospects, and have revenues in by over 30%, and grown gross profitability by over 50% in the same period.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

They were flexible in meeting the demands of our fast moving, growing company, while maintaining professionalism and driving outcomes. Skidmore was a joy to work with in this regard. Their copywriters would jump in and take measurements of merchandising freezers when on site, to ensure that we had what we needed to grow. They were comfortable and successful in the fluid approach that we needed.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

We found a group of incredibly passionate individuals who shared our joy for good food and new opportunity. When we speak about Michigan agriculture, it is often met with sideways glances in industries that aren't directly engaged in growing or creating food.

For us, this passion and energy is ingrained in our DNA. We believe that a perfectly ripe strawberry is a gift pulled from the earth to be celebrated and shared. At Skidmore, we found a group of foodies that were energized by our focus and passion, and capable of using our drive to brand our product in a way that reflects that.

Are there any areas for improvement?

None.

5.0
Overall Score wonderful, talented company.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We worked through many meetings, calls and email exchanges, and scheduling was never an issue.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    For a small firm, the expense was large, but the outcomes created produced incredible value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    This was our first experience with a professional agency like Skidmore, and were blown away by the outcomes they produced.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We have referred several colleagues to Skidmore already.

Branding for Employment Initiative

"Working with the Skidmore team was a super smooth process."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. - June 2019
Project summary: 

Skidmore Studio provided branding services for a mission-driven organization that creates jobs through urban farming. They designed labels and packaging for various food products.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Detroit, Michigan
Gary Wozniak
President & CEO, RecoveryPark
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new labels and packaging are ready to hit the shelves. Skidmore Studio’s team listened closely to the project’s needs and delivered. They communicated well throughout the project, which led to a smooth collaboration.  

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the CEO of RecoveryPark. Our mission is to create jobs for people with barriers to employment. We do this by launching for-profit businesses in the food space. RecoveryPark Farms is our first launch and our City is Detroit, Michigan.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Skidmore Studio?

We were looking for a company to help with packaging, label design and product branding. After releasing an RFP to several companies, and an extensive interview process, we chose Skidmore Studio.

What were your goals for this project?

Development of specific product brand and the label for the clamshell packaging of our lettuce mix.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to multiple companies. We were specific about our requirements and asked to see examples of design work each company was commissioned to do for others. Additionally, we staged interviews with the candidates and called referrals.

Describe the scope of their work in detail.

We selected the vendor. We then scheduled information gathering sessions and a feedback loop. Each meeting built on the previous meeting. Our final sessions were review of concepts and selection of final product.

What was the team composition?

Four people on the design team - one to manage the workflow, two on actual design and the project lead, who is the Principal Designer of the company.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

We have a product label ready to put on packaging.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The team from Skidmore Studio worked seamlessly with the RecoveryPark Farms team. The project progressed PDQ.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

We are in the midst of raising capital to get our products into retail so we knew that we needed help with branding and packaging. Working with the Skidmore team was a super smooth process. They really listened to us and kept us in the loop throughout the whole process. Our products are now shelf-ready.

Are there any areas for improvement?

None.

5.0
Overall Score We are negotiating Phase Two of the project with Skidmore Studio!
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Highly recomend Skidmore Studio.