Brand identity design for Seattle’s nightclub, Baltic Room, 2010

DK designs and sketches a brand identity for a Seattle nightclub, 2010


There were times when you could see your design work in the world, when you went into it, and saw things made into signs, printed in brochures, and put on business stationery and passed out, person to person. Now, it’s different, but let me take a moment to talk about one of my favorite real-life 3D brand identity design projects.

This is the context. In the 2000s DK got to go to a lot of gigs, since we were based at that time in Capitol Hill, amongst all the buzz and arts and nightlife of this bustling neighborhood in Seattle.I’m not sure how it is now, I’ve heard that many of the artsy places and venues for culture were priced out and had to move away so people could build condos for those who could afford to buy them. It was gentrification and all the things to come, happening, right on our doorsteps, and I think that seeing come to start when that was happening was part of the reason I wanted to exit Seattle, which DK did in 2009. We set up in Durham, NC after that for a time, which was simpler in some ways and harder in others. The missing part was of course the vibrant music and nightclub scene of Capitol Hill, Seattle’s gay neighborhood that is full of lots of people who like to be seen out and about and all that. I understand. We are all young, at some point.

So let me tell you about this project, one of my favorites because it was for one of my favorite venues. It was called the Baltic Room

In the 2010s thanks to TH, an architect, DK got to rebrand that nightclub. 


‘Design is making meaning’

Cool to see that they are still using our design…. 

T., after all, had referred us. She was working on the project and she had hired DK to make her own brand identity design mark after looking for the right person to do that for a decade, she had said. It was flattering and awesome and she was one of DK’s first clients in Seattle. 

We got along. A combination of: a shared aesthetic appreciation of the beauty of chance encounters, plus a common love of jazz (which is after all improvisation in space on the spot), was what led to us meeting T in the first place. ‘I’ve been looking for you,’ T had said. ‘To do the design for my new company. When I break out to do my own company, you’re my designers: I just know.’


‘And that’s how a thing starts, sometimes.’

The Baltic Room rebrand was cool. Was fun to be a part of the process of seeing things update, and guiding the identity redesign by the usual process of ours. We just ask a lot of questions, at the start. It’s like 90% of the whole design project is happening at he start. You have to have that thrashing period so everyone can get the point where they can be honest and say what they really want to say instead of trying to please someone else at the table.

Somewhere along the way there’s a harmony that you can find… I guess design is like music in that regard, too… it just comes into shape on the spot when the mood is right and the people are in the spirit of being ‘on,’ intellectually and creatively, to do the jam, together.

I want to give people a chance to think clearly and long-term, so they don’t have to redo everything later.

Thought of it for two reasons this week.

  • One: I’m working on a few more issues of S P A C E to round out our Autumn 2019 collection, which includes stuff from the Baltic States visit , and
  • Two: I always liked electronica but I kind of can’t get over this:

Despite myself, I like it.