Stack of Athleta catalogs topped with cover of a woman in a green shirt

Athleta goes for the Gap

Athleta has been acquired by the Gap after a decade of designing women’s athletic apparel.

Elixir worked directly with Athleta founder Scott Kerslake from the earliest days, collaborating on the name and creating the still-in-use identity. Also, Elixir’s catalog concept supported initial fundraising efforts. Over the next seven years Elixir evolved the brand’s strategy, catalog design, and art direction. Back in the late 90s, both the nascent brand and its catalog were innovative, providing a new perspective by focusing on the confluence of performance and fashion.

Top portion of brown briefcase on tan-gray background

What’s in store at Hlaska

Developing a visual brand language for the independent bag, apparel and accessory maker

“The first thing I noticed about Elixir is how much time they take to ask questions to understand our brand. Elixir does not take the easy way, they don’t look for shortcuts. They are so passionate about our products that the work feels seamless, like they are part of our company. They helped keep our goals both realistic and ambitious. They are always on time, and everything they touch looks 50 times better than the original. They are worth every penny.” –Anthony Mazzei, Hlaska’s founder and CEO

Black CA Communication Arts logo on light gray background

On the design radar

The March/April Communication Arts (CA) celebrates the magazine’s 50th anniversary, and Elixir is honored to be mentioned twice in this retrospective issue.

CA, which originally stood for “commercial art,” predates most of us. It has always been there: fresh work beautifully reproduced, plus forward-thinking, history-respecting perspective. But in 1959, the magazine was blazing a trail in the CMYK wilderness and being perfect-bound by hand!

2 open catalogs featuring children and children's clothing

Tea Time

Elixir has recently begun to work with Tea, a globally-inspired children’s clothing company.

Dual objectives are to better align the Tea catalog with their brand and to integrate “best practices” to increase profitability. Since its start in San Francisco in 2002 “with three pima cotton sweaters,” Tea has developed two lines that are now sold in over 500 stores around the world (including Bloomingdale’s, Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, and Takashimaya). Creative consulting will encompass a voice guide, design templates, photography direction, and other recommendations for infusing the catalog with the essence of Tea.

10 Elixir members in front of black chalk board

Communication Arts profiles Elixir

The inside scoop on what we do and how we do it.

The January/February 2009 issue of CA, featuring an in-depth article about Elixir, is on newsstands now. Founder Jennifer Jerde talks about Elixir’s “North Star” branding process, and clients describe their experiences working with the firm. Event designer Stanlee Gatti, who has collaborated with Elixir on projects for Lucasfilm, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, pays the supreme compliment, “I don’t think there’s anyone like them!” Download the complete article in pdf format here.

Silver pillow with red tag

We wish you a silver lining

Sweet dreams are made of gift giving.

Elixir’s annual holiday gift to clients, colleagues, and friends is always a studio-wide undertaking—from concept to design to packaging to assembly. This year, silver linings seemed just the aspirational thing.

Cropped glass bottle of Golden Star Tea White Jasmine

T for Timely

Just in time for holiday meals and festive toasts! Golden Star Tea Company’s White Jasmine Sparkling Tea is now available at all Whole Foods locations in California. 

The Elixir-designed bottle {which won Golden Star a Best Iced Tea Packaging award at the 2008 World Tea Championship} will stand tall on any bar, buffet or table. This innovative product {which won Best White Flavored Iced Tea at the show as well} is also filtering into San Francisco specialty shops, including Plumpjack, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, and BiRite. Here’s to non-alcoholic, fine-food-friendly holiday cheer!

Sundance Almanac catalog cover and interior spread showing outerwear

Nac, ’nac. Who’s there?

The new Sundance Almanac: A Catalog for Men. Elixir worked with Sundance to introduce an expanded offering of men’s apparel and accessories.

The design is classic, rugged and warm—like a grey merino Henley wool sweater. The Holiday 2008 book shipped mid-October as a bind-in to the main Selected shoppers {The A-for-Almanac List} will receive it as a self-mailer. For cozy shopping, all items are also on the web.

Crumpled paper ball with cropped blue May 2, 2007 Save the Date letterhead

Inviting Indeed

New book showcases several invitations designed at Elixir

Rockport Publishers recently released Design for Special Events: 500 of the Best Logos, Invitations, and Graphics. The hardback book showcases several invitations designed at Elixir.

Elixir projects on display at event

Opening night at SFMC+D

The opening of San Francisco Graphic Design at the SF Museum of Craft + Design drew a kaleidoscopic crowd.

We hope you’ll visit, or revisit, the exhibition, which is up until April 26, at 550 Sutter Street, between Powell and Mason. While you’re out and about: The Hotel Rex, two doors up, has a peek-worthy elevator, decoupaged with vintage pages from San Francisco Social Registers. The hotel’s interior was designed by Elixir client Candra Scott & Anderson—whose logo is featured in our Communication Arts profile along with several invitations and other projects showcased at the exhibition.