The Mission

To Transform Small Businesses Into Sustainable Brands

I Am

My name is Michael Kerwin and I am a Creative Consultant, Identity Designer, and Principle of Phonographik Brand Identity Studio.

Earlier in my career, I was a generalist, casting a wide net in the creative field, working with many different types of clients and disciplines to obtain broad experience. Over the years I’ve collaborated as an in-house and freelance Designer, Illustrator, and Creative Director, with ad agencies, corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and solo entrepreneurs.

My business name was inspired by my deep love of music and visual design, the aesthetic quality of vintage, phonograph record players, and the sound quality of vinyl over digital: phono = audio, graphik = visual. The name as a whole stands for quality, precision, and groove. The stylized “r” in the logo represents a record needle stylus and arm.

I Do

I develop creative strategies and identity design solutions for new and growing small businesses (future brands), to help them stand out and succeed in the marketplace.

Today I’m a specialist. Over the past five years, I’ve intentionally narrowed and specialized my expertise into brand strategy and identity design (and the integral parts that go with it: naming, messaging, packaging, websites). Because when it comes down to it, a foundation first needs to be strong before anything it supports can be alignable and sustainable.

I still remain flexible with the types of industries I serve. Overall, I seek small businesses of all stripes because I can work directly with decision makers, which creates more fluid and efficient communication, resulting in better outcomes.


01. My Mission

My mission and passion is to transform small businesses into sustainable brands through creative business strategy and identity design. I first seek to truly understand my customers inside and out before I design anything.

02. My Experience

For 20+ years, I’ve been partnering with businesses across the United States to solve creative problems through identity design, print and digital design, advertising, marketing, and creative business strategy. I offer the same expertise as larger creative agencies, yet I’m more cost effective because I primarily work independently.

03. My Process

To guarantee successful outcomes, I follow a highly-organized work process that I’ve developed through many years of experience, self education, and mentor insights. View this Project Alignment Guide to learn more.

04. Results

My experience, process, and passion for my craft allow me to achieve successful outcomes that are effective, measurable, and sustainable. As positioning expert, David C. Baker says, “It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle.” Meaning, when you’re fully involved in running your business everyday, your views on who you are and who needs you, can become biased and skewed over time. So offering an outside, fresh perspective is beneficial to everyone.

I Am

Phonographik is located on the beautiful east side of Madison, Wisconsin, just 10 miles due east of Madison’s vibrant and creative downtown and hub of political discourse. Here you can experience amazing architecture, fine-dining, kick-ass live music, nature, and civil protests, all within a few blocks of each other. Austin has nothing on Madison.