Strategy First. Design Second.

A solid strategy is integral to developing your visual identity and growing your brand because it informs necessity and removes subjectivity. It also defines the direction we’ll take and the tactics we’ll create (design, messaging, promotions) to help you reach your future goals.
Strategy also helps us discover your business, its position in the marketplace, and most importantly, your customers. Because when you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re really talking to no one. So when we understand who actually needs you, we can focus on their needs, desires, and language, allowing us to create more genuine alignment.
Without strategy, the end result is most likely shaped by educated guesses, personal tastes, or fashion trends. So while it may look pretty, it will lack depth and clarity. Understanding your business and market, creates a foundation of sustainability and fosters empathy, authenticity, and trust.

Features and Capabilities


Business/Market Discovery
Naming & Messaging
Integrated Campaigns


Identity (logos, color, style guide, etc.)
Product Packaging
Wordpress Websites
Print Collateral

Every problem Phonographik solves is first rooted in strategy in order to guarantee the solution is informed by facts and genuine stories, not personal feelings or fashion trends. So if you’ve already solved your challenge and simply need execution, a freelance designer or desktop publisher may be a better fit in that situation. Otherwise,


Benefits and Results

Work with Phonographik and you’ll gain:
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Alignment / Clarity

When you know who you are, where you fit, and who you’re talking to, it’s much easier knowing what to say and do.


Understanding who you really are creates value and sets you apart from competitors.


Solving business and customer needs before personal tastes creates more authentic, quality content.


Strategic, objective solutions make navigating the future of your business more sustainable.


When the look, tone, and message are in harmony, that’s cohesive and groovy.


Consistency in look, tone, and message fosters memorability and trust.

I’m not an agency.

I’m not a freelancer.

I’m the sweet spot in between.

My name is Michael Kerwin and I am an independent Brand Strategist and Identity Designer based in Madison, Wisconsin. I help new and emerging businesses discover, align, and design their true identity, ideal customers, and position in the marketplace by seamlessly connecting creative business strategy and design.

For just over 20 years, I’ve been collaborating with a wide range of businesses across the United States, solving problems through advertising, marketing, identity, digital and print design. My abilities and experience are competitive with most agencies because every problem I help solve is rooted in a strategic framework, so that the end result is informed by facts and genuine stories, not personal feelings or tastes.

I am passionate about creativity, process, and organization—brand strategy and identity design perfectly align all three. I also have a passion for music, vintage record players, and the sound quality of record albums over digital, hence the business name, Phonographik, which I created to combine audio (phono) and visual (graphic).

Michael Kerwin / Owner, Brand Strategist, and Identity Designer