Branding Agency for Hospitality, Retail, & CPG.

We’re a San Francisco brand strategy and graphic design agency with an insatiable appetite for restaurants/ hospitality, retail, and CPG brands. From menus to merchandising, window displays to lobby walls, we sink our teeth into the whole brand story with winks and surprises at every turn.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
1996
Show all +
San Francisco, CA
Headquarters
  • UNIT partners LLC
    1416 Larkin Street, Unit B
    San Francisco, CA 94109
    United States
    415.409.0000

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Michael Mina / Mina Group

Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group

San Francisco Soup Company

Che Fico

Bamboo Asia

Ohana Real Estate Investors

Activision Blizzard, Inc.

Harry & David

Herbalife

Kia Motors

Mercedes-Benz

Platine Cookies

Powder | Taiwanese Shaved Ice

Jamba Juice

Sola Bee Farms

Zoli, Inc.

Reviews

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Corporate Identity Project for IT Company

"They are small, nimble, smart, creative, flexible, and they know their stuff."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

UNIT partners  was hired to create an entire identity for a new company. Their work included developing a company name, logo, brand, business cards, and several other services. 

The Reviewer
 
San Fransisco, CA
Sejo Jahic
Founder, Echo Technology Solutions
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client was pleased with the work that UNIT partners did, and noted that they still receive positive feedback from the branding work that was done, even two years after the engagement.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Echo Technology Solutions is a technology consulting company or technology service provider focusing primarily on small and medium-sized businesses. I am the CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with UNIT partners?

We've been working with them for quite some time but, initially, when I engaged with them the first time, we just launched a new company that resulted as a split from a previous entity. We needed a new name, new logo, new brand – a whole new identity. We needed the whole corporate identity to be designed from scratch – we had nothing. That's where we engaged with them initially.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We went through the naming exercise first. That took us awhile. I think then that the rest of it was the branding identity for the company. This included creating the logo, creating the colors, determining what it is, determining what we want to present, how we want to represent it, and who we are. Then, they went into designing and creating our new website. We also helped them with the content.

How did you come to work with UNIT partners?

I don't remember how I found them, but I did at that time like these guys. I liked their flexibility, I'd like to say that they're creative. There were no, "This is how it's done." We went through a lot of brainstorming sessions. It was very collaborative, and it was very creative, especially with a bunch of engineers. I'm, in a sense, not very creative.

I also appreciated their assistance when it came to generating content for the website. This is something that engineers are pretty bad at. We just gave them a lot of raw content, and they did an amazing job of taking something that I wouldn't call even content –just a bunch of stuff – and turning it into something usable. It started out as something like, "Hey, this is what we do, this is who we are, and this is who we want to see," which was very unrefined. They actually managed to put it into a pretty good message.

How much have you invested with UNIT partners?

It's been a little while, but I think the initial project, including the naming, branding, and website, was probably $25,000 to $30,000. We're still working with them on other certain things [as of September 2016]. I have been disengaged from the relationship, or with directly doing the work with them, for the last two years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I don't believe I have any metrics because we needed stuff. I think what we got out of them is fantastic, much more than we ever hoped for. I still get many compliments on a daily basis on the logo, website, and business cards. I think that's still working almost 4 years later, that it just stands there. We didn't have to adjust anything since they've created it a few years back.

How did UNIT partners  perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent –much better than I expected. They're creative people – not very good on project management – but everything was done on time and tracked properly. There was absolutely no frustration on our side that I can link back to their performance being delayed or just being distorted.

What did you find most impressive about UNIT partners?

I would say that what I personally liked is that they're small and nimble. A little bit later in the process, I tried to engage a marketing consultant.

Generally, when I started talking to marketing consultants. I found that they learned one or two tricks, and they've been applying the same trick for 20 years. Simply put, they can't go beyond what they know. It's creative and they were willing to listen. There wasn't a set pattern like, "Hey, this is how we do it," or "Look. This is how it's done." It was more like "Tell us what you want, and then we're going to find the right solution for you." That's probably the best part that I think. I would reiterate that they are small, nimble, smart, creative, flexible, and they know their stuff.

Are there any areas UNIT partners  could improve?

I would have to think a little bit more about it. I'll tell you very simply that, when we engaged in this, I didn't even know what we were doing. It took me from 0 to 100 very gently. I didn't have any expectations. I just needed it to be done. I think the result was fantastic. If I would go through the same process, I would just go with Unit partners.

5.0
Overall Score 5―I like these guys. My experience with them was fantastic.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    5―5 again – absolutely.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    4
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    5―I would give them 5 for that for sure.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    5―Absolutely. I did have many times.

Branding for Honey Business

"They're wonderful people and great to work with and do great work. They won an American Graphics Design Award two years in a row for our honey labels."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

UNIT partners was hired by the client to develop branding, labels, and website work for a honey business.

The Reviewer
 
Woodland, CA
Claire Tauzer
Brand Manager, Sola Bee Farms
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client was happy with the work that UNIT partners has done with them and noted that UNIT partners was given two awards for the honey labels they designed for the business.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Sola Bee Farms is a family-owned honey company – a beekeeping operation out in Northern California. I am the brand manager.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with UNIT partners?

We were developing our honey line, and we wanted to come up with branding and labels and brand image.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They did everything from developing the logo and the labels and helped us with our website. They helped us create how we wanted to be viewed in the retail world.

How did you come to work with UNIT partners?

They were recommended by a friend of my husband. He's related to Shardul's wife [UNIT partners cofounder and creative director Shardul Kiri].

How much have you invested with UNIT partners?

The initiative was between $10,000 and $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's ongoing [as of September 2016].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I've been told by grocery buyers that our labels are what sets us apart from other brands.

How did UNIT partners perform from a project management standpoint?

They're incredible. I feel like we're one of the smaller companies they deal with, but they still make time to work with us. I feel comfortable emailing them. When I reach out, they're always responsive.

What did you find most impressive about UNIT partners?

We started with three labels, and they expanded that to seven. They did a good job helping us expand and still maintain the brand image we wanted. They do a good job with small projects and being able to build on that.

Are there any areas UNIT partners could improve?

As a small company, we want things to be less expensive. But, what they do is worth what we pay them.

5.0
Overall Score They're wonderful people and great to work with and do great work. They won an American Graphics Design Award two years in a row for our honey labels.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've done that already.

Branding Strategy for Expanding Food Company

"I continue to try to find work for Shardul and vice versa. He has been a great outside advisor as I've moved on. They're a great team."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

UNIT partners was hired by a large chain or restaurants to perform projects ranging from brand strategy to web design.

The Reviewer
Vice President Marketing, Mina Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client was very pleased with the work that UNIT partners did and noted that the value they received for their money was very good.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I was with the Michael Mina Group. I am the vice president of marketing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with UNIT partners?

The Mina Group never had a marketing person. We were trying to address large franchisee issues across 22 restaurants across the United States as well as introducing new brand concepts. We hired them for a one-off project with a new concept called Ramen Bar. From there the demonstration of their work capabilities and partnership was clear that it was a great benefit for us. They did a number of ongoing projects ranging from brand strategy and web design to signage and collateral.

SOLUTION

How did you come to work with UNIT partners?

They were referred to us by another client of theirs that owns a couple restaurants including Stone's Throw and Trestle. The business manager of that group was a former operations person at Mina Group. When I was putting my initial feelings out, I knew we couldn't work with a big, expensive agency, but I didn't want to work with an individual freelance designer.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The small assignments were less than $10,000 and then the larger ones were more than $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Mina Group is still using them [as of September 2016].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I don't have stats, but there was never a project that was too small or too big. They always came to the table prepared and had the right resources. Any client we introduced them to they were always very professional. They were a great value for us in being flexible to whatever the project needed.

How did UNIT partners perform from a project management standpoint?

Excellent, they worked their tails off. They identify local resources and did a fantastic job working 24/7 to get the project done.

What distinguishes UNIT partners from other providers?

It would be their client management. They represented themselves as part of the Mina team and they were a team player. I felt like I had the benefits of an in-house design resource team. They were always very professional. They were the middleman between what the Mina Group was requesting and what the client's expectations were.

Is there anything UNIT partners could have improved or done differently?

I wish there were more of them.

5.0
Overall Score I continue to try to find work for Shardul [Kiri, partner and creative director at UNIT partners] and vice versa. He has been a great outside advisor as I've moved on. They're a great team.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The only time they missed deadlines was not because of them. Either the client added scope or there were construction issues, and the projects would be put on hold or delayed.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The tricky thing is trying to find a small agency where you can keep prices down, but can deliver in terms of the quality of work and professionalism of a larger agency. They were able to do that.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The fact that we continue to use them is a testament. We were shopping around for multiple agencies because we got what we wanted from UNIT.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I started at my new job nine months ago, and I've already suggested them for two projects.

Branding for Food Startup

"They always go above and beyond and are dependable."

— President, Food Startup ​

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

UNIT partners was hired to spearhead the branding of a food startup. The work they did included brand identity as well as logo design, creating their sticker, stamp, and signs.

The Reviewer
President, Food Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Overall, the client was very happy with all of the work that UNIT partners did. They were especially pleased with the input they received from UNIT partners, including feedback on aspects of their existing website.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Powder is a brick-and-mortar food business. We sell a product called shaved snow, which is like a hybrid between ice cream and shaved ice. We're opening our first stores in the next couple of weeks [as of September 2016].  I am the president and CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with UNIT partners?

We are just getting off the ground, so we worked with them to go through a lot of our brand identity development work. We were new to the food space and being entrepreneurs. We knew how important it was to get the brand right from the start, we didn't want to go to market with a starter brand and then go through a rebranding. We had some ideas, but we needed a lot of guidance from a design and concept standpoint.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started with brand identity and logo design. We gave them our philosophy around our product, and we went through several iterations of refining the colors and the tone. Then, we went through a manifesto and tag line. They designed a sticker and our stamp. We didn't use them for the store design because the architect they used was out of our budget. They've been helpful on menu board design and in-store signage. We did interior signage, exterior signage, and A-frame. They designed the open and close sign. They always go above and beyond and are dependable. I told Ann [Jordan Bowlus, partner and creative director at UNIT partners] that I appreciate working her. She's super responsive and on point.

How did you come to work with UNIT partners?

We interviewed firms in San Francisco, and we were referred to them from a woman that works for Michael Mina for the Mina Group. She said they were great and accommodating. We told them what we need, and they put together a proposal. They presented some work they'd done. They gave us a pitch, and we were impressed. We liked their style and their approach to working with the customers.

How much have you invested with UNIT partners?

The initiative cost between $18,000 to $28,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started talking to them in April [2016], and we are almost done. The first store is about to open, but we will use them for any future design work.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I've come to trust their opinion. They didn't design our website, but I asked if they had any feedback on it. They were very accommodating even though it wasn't part of the scope. People are impressed with the logo. We wanted something eye-catching, so that's what we were after.

How did UNIT partners perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent. They are great at communicating and updating timelines. They do deliver when they say they're going to deliver or set expectations appropriately.

What did you find most impressive about UNIT partners?

Both their aesthetics and their specialty in food and beverage and hospitality as well as their flexibility. We were newbies. We came to them with an ambiguous task, and they were flexible with the scope and payment structures. They were receptive to feedback.

Are there any areas UNIT partners could improve?

No. They've been great to work with. The bulk of their work is done, and they're still very responsive. They come onsite and look and give advice.

5.0
Overall Score They're amazing.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding Strategy for Restaurant Group

"I'm very happy with what they've done for us. They're terrific partners. I feel like they're an extension of our company. They care about our success, and they're deeply engaged in everything we do."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

UNIT partners LLC was hired to perform a total rebranding of an existing business, including using qualitative and quantitative data to best position the company.

The Reviewer
Co-Owner, Ladle & Leaf​
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client was very pleased with the work that UNIT partners LLC did for them. They noted that they listen very well and have a strong skill set in every area of rebranding.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

San Francisco Soup Company is a fast-casual restaurant group. We own 12 San Francisco Soup Company restaurants, four Ladle & Leaf restaurants, and one restaurant called Urban Bistro. We have a central commissary kitchen where we produce a lot of our food. We also make many of the items fresh in the restaurant. I am one of the owners, and I'm in charge of marketing in addition to other things.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with UNIT partners LLC?

We were looking to refresh and reestablish our fast-casual concept, and we weren't sure how we wanted to do that. It became a very significant rebranding project. UNIT partners led us through the process.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They helped us do an assessment of our current brand and where we wanted to position ourselves in the future. They also used some qualitative and quantitative data that we had already done market research on our customers and competitive customers. They were able to synthesize that into a summary of what they called our brand pillars. They were much more than a marketing and advertising agency. They help us understand and define our brand. They looked inside and outside of our company to help us position ourselves best based on what our capabilities are and looking at consumer needs.

How much have you invested with UNIT partners LLC?

The initial project was probably $60,000 to $80,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with them for two and a half years [since 2014]. It's ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We're very pleased with their work. It's very comprehensive. They are my internal marketing department as well as an agency and graphic designer. They do everything for us. They're negotiating with signage companies. They're doing everything with the sign. They have a network of providers, and they don't say this is who you should use. They put it out to bid so I know I'm getting the best value for my investment. They don't put themselves up on this pedestal. They don't just work with one sign company. They spend my money very carefully the way I would spend my money.

How did UNIT partners LLC perform from a project management standpoint?

They're fantastic. I've never worked with a service provider that kept their eye on the timeline and the deliverables as closely as they did. Usually companies that are as creative as graphic designers and marketing people are, they're good at being creative but not good at project management. They're fantastic at project management and good at looking at the creative side and deliverable side together and making sure they perform well in both areas.

What did you find most impressive about UNIT partners LLC?

They listen very well. When we had meetings with them they're very attentive to hearing what our team has to say. They're not afraid to provide their insights. They're very patient and listen well. They don't come to the project with an agenda that serves them. They come being receptive and wanting to meet our needs.

Are there any areas UNIT partners LLC could improve?

They're very good listeners and they take the direction that my team desires. However, they could push their own opinions even stronger.

5.0
Overall Score I'm very happy with what they've done for us. They're terrific partners. I feel like they're an extension of our company. They care about our success, and they're deeply engaged in everything we do.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding & Design for Restaurant Group

"[T]hey listen, and if something isn't right, they make it right."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

UNIT Partners has performed a variety of branding services for a small restaurant group, from logo, menu, and signage designs to websites and messaging.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Ryan Cole
CEO, Hi Neighbor Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

UNIT Partners has a commitment to continuous improvement and always strives to get things done right. They are hands-on, good at listening to feedback, and conscientious. The menus that they designed, in particular, are highly functional while maintaining a pleasing aesthetic and custom touch.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We’re the Hi Neighbor Group. We’re a restaurant group operating four restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area.

What is your position?

I’m the Chief Executive Officer and President.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with UNIT Partners?

We started working with UNIT when we only had one restaurant. We were looking for somebody to help design the logo for the company. We liked their work so much that it expanded into menu design and then just general aesthetic design of the entire location.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

The first project ended up coming into basically all branding needs, from website, to logo, to exterior signage, interior signage, menu design, etc.

How did you come to work with UNIT Partners?

A friend first introduced me to UNIT. After we saw the work they did for us on the logo, we decided to expand the scope of their work.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It’s been in the $20,000 to $50,000 range.

What is the status of this engagement?

We probably started with them in August of 2013, and their work went live that November. We're working on our fourth project with them and we have them on a retainer for all of our needs in all the restaurants.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I think the results were an overall fantastic feel across our restaurants. They built a very functional menu that has a pleasing aesthetic and custom touch, but also isn’t going to break the bank when we have to reorder. They also helped us design dessert menu cards that have enabled us to collect emails. With those we've been able to grow our email database to over 15,000 in two years.

What distinguishes UNIT Partners from other providers?

It is definitely their people. They were very hands-on. They would come into the restaurants to understand the space, and understand from the business side what needs to happen to be sustainable in the long-term. I felt like they were always looking out for what was best for me as the client. UNIT's number one priority is not to get it done, but to get it done right, no matter if it takes twenty tries or if it takes two tries. They listen, and with each round of feedback, they come back with something better. I love their commitment to continuous improvement.

Is there anything UNIT Partners could have improved or done differently?

Not really. It's been such a great working relationship that we've just continued to expand the relationship. Like I said, they listen, and if something isn't right, they make it right.

5.0
Overall Score They've become good friends in addition.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    That's the driving factor.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've referred them to many other people in the restaurant business who've used them.