Murray Brand Communications - Visual Brand Design and Consulting

About Us

Working with a creative agency should be the most rewarding and enjoyable part of your day. At Murray Brand, our graphic designers, production experts, brand consultants and project managers work hard to make this a reality. Our work reflects our passion for creativity, our excitement for discovery and the daily enjoyment we experience partnering
with our clients.

Our Work

Welcome to Murray Brand’s portfolio of recent design work. To speed you to the examples that are most relevant to your needs, our portfolio has been divided into the following sections:

Services - examples of packaging, identity, naming, digital, collateral, environments and more.

Markets - examples of projects targeted at specific markets and channels.

Total Branding - examples of complete brand redesigns impacting all consumer touch points.

Knowledge is Power

Informed Creativity, that's our guiding principle. We dig deeper to uncover fresh ideas that will bring a new perspective to our clients' brands. We inform our creative process with the latest consumer insights, proven branding principles and emerging design trends. In our Knowledge Center we bring you a variety of resources to assist you in making better branding decisions.

Main Offices

San Francisco
3328 Steiner Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: 415.567.4402
89 Beauval Road East
Dulshich London, England SE22 8UH
Phone: 0779 047 9570


We work on a broad collection of projects ranging from complete brand or packaging system redesigns to new websites to single SKU line extensions. Our brand-building solutions strike a balance between strategy and design by blending well-defined branding and marketing principles with inspired creative execution. This approach allows us to deliver consistent revenue growth for our clients, garners industry recognition for our creative teams and forms the basis for our many long-term partnerships.


At Murray Brand we keep things simple. By employing a flat organizational structure and multidisciplinary team approach, we give design, project management, brand strategy and production an equal voice in solving each creative challenge. This approach delivers more comprehensive solutions, compresses project timelines and reduces unnecessary costs and overhead.


Murray Brand's award-winning work has been featured in multiple national trade publications for design excellence. We're pleased to share what others are saying about us and the results that have been realized by our clients from our creative partnerships.


Murray Brand Communications has been honored more than 150 times during the past twenty years for design excellence. Our most recent accolades include eight American Graphic Design Awards for excellence in identity, packaging, and print design presented in 2010.


Our design and brand strategy services are built around a simple idea. Strong brands distinguish themselves because they deliver a consistent message to consumers no matter what the promotional vehicle. Known as integrated marketing communications, our solutions allow the client to partner with one branding resource whether the need is for a new packaging line extension or for a total brand redesign requiring a new identity, consumer product packaging, website and promotional literature.


At Murray Brand, we've worked in nearly every retail channel and in every aisle of the store over the past 20 years. As such, we know the imagery and messaging that motivates consumers, we understand the competitive landscape and we're skilled at avoiding the roadblocks that can derail a project or delay a product's release to market. Tap into our channel expertise, and we’ll help your next product launch be a success.

Total Branding

Perhaps your brand needs a facelift. Perhaps your competitive landscape has changed. Maybe you're trying to attract an entirely new target audience. Whatever the reason, you may be faced with the need to undertake a total brand redesign. At Murray Brand our vision and experience enables us to create and extend your new brand identity across all promotional assets. We know your identity needs to work on everything from a mouse pad, to a retail package to the side of a truck.


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Brand Glossary

Our brand glossary is a compendium of the industry and academic lexicon frequently used in marketing, brand management, design and print production. Each term and definition leverages the research and thinking of industry thought leaders including Dr. Edward Tufte at the Yale School of Design, Dr. David Aaker, Dr. Phillip Kotler at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Leatrice Eiseman, consultant to Pantone Inc. and Dr. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School.

White Papers

Expertise takes time and is honed through trial, error, refinement and success. During the two decades we've practiced our craft, we've remained alert to the importance of taking the best thinking from each of the more than 3,000 projects we've executed. The result? A series of perspectives distilled from thousands of hours of real-world design, branding, consumer research and print production engagements.

Brand News

Each week, members of our team scan the Internet for relevant news, innovative approaches and provocative perspectives to ensure we are up to date and developing solutions that are beyond conventional thinking.

Informed Creativity. It's at the core of Murray Brand's commitment to quality and partnership.

White Papers

Thank you for your interest in our white papers. We have received your contact information, and will email the requested white papers to you soon.

A program used to interpret and create Adobe PDF files.

Additive Color Theory
The mixture of red, green, and blue light, the primary colors of light, to produce white light.

Aqueous Coating
Water based coating applied like ink by a  printing press to protect and enhance the printed surface.

Basis Weight
Weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade; example: 500 sheets of 17" x 22" 20 lb. bond paper weighs 20 pounds.

Printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

The total experience delivered by a company or source as it relates to a product or service. This experience includes a company's core values, goods and services offerings, personnel, facilities, suppliers, management practices and philanthropy.

Brand Architecture 
A term used to describe the graphic and messaging hierarchy employed by a brand or collection of sub-brands to differentiate product or service offerings. Graphically, the brand architecture is built around the presentation of common visual elements that are unique to the category and consistently presented across all the marketing assets used to promote the brand. From a messaging perspective, the brand architecture is comprised of multiple verbal and non-verbal elements (range brand, driver brand, endorser brand, value propositions) that are presented in a sequence of importance based on differentiation from competitive offerings and/or sub-brands within a company's portfolio of products.

Brand Association
Links or "associations" the consumer makes to a brand influenced by the symbols, imagery and related messaging a brand employs when delivering its message. Classic brand associations include links to people (celebrities), places (geographic locations), lifestyles (young & active) or symbols (icons and visual metaphors).

Brand Awareness
The level of recognition a brand enjoys in the mind of a consumer. The level of awareness can be determined by measuring the aided and unaided awareness a consumer has of a brand's logo, product category, product and service offerings, packaging and advertising.  

Brand Bridging
The instance when an endorser brand eventually becomes obsolete from the product it is supporting and the emphasis is placed on the product brand.

Brand Core Essence
The core, timeless elements and characteristics that define a brand. 

Brand Equity
A collection of assets and liabilities associated with a company, product or source that contributes to or detracts from the value of the company, product or source in the eyes of the consumer. Brand equity is measured by evaluating a brand's awareness, perceived quality, loyalty, associations and differentiating functional and emotional value propositions.

Brand Equity Dimensions
Elements that contribute to the strength of a brand and include; brand awareness, consumer loyalty, high perceived quality, brand associations (to people, places, lifestyles and symbols) and differentiating functional and emotional value propositions.

Brand Extended Essence
The elements that help to provide details to support the core essence and complete the story.

Brand Identity
A set of brand associations representing what a brand stands for and what a consumer can expect when interacting with the brand.

Brand Identity Trap
An approach to creating a brand that is limiting in its vision and ultimately leads to a dysfunctional brand. Brand Identity Traps can occur by focusing on what the brand image is now and not having future vision. Brand Identity Traps can also occur by focusing only on the brand position and becoming enveloped with tactical objectives versus a strategic outlook and vision for the brand. Another Brand Trap occurs when it does not clearly and concisely explain to an outside audience for what the brand stands. The fourth trap occurs when there is too much focus on product attributes and the brand personality, associations or symbols are lost.

Brand Loyalty
The commitment a consumer has to one brand over others in that brand's category.  Elements that contribute to loyalty may include overall brand quality, a brand's ability to deliver self-expressive benefits to the end-user, a brand's philanthropy or cause-oriented marketing activity and loyalty programs the brand offers (e.g. frequent flyer programs) to encourage repeat purchases.

Brand Loyalty Elements
A consumer's devotion to a brand. Elements include price premium and satisfaction. A loyal consumer has experienced repeat satisfaction with the brand and is willing to pay a premium over another band offering the same benefits.

Brand Positioning
The core essence of a brand, supplemented by functional and emotional value propositions that are consistently expressed to a target audience in a manner that differentiates the brand from competitive offerings and positions the brand as superior in the eyes of the consumer.

Brand Quality
The level of "goodness" or "excellence" associated with a brand in the eyes of the consumer. Considered the most important of the brand equity drivers due to its ability to enhance financial performance and deliver improved profitability. 

Brand Recall
A term used to define a consumer's ability to recognize a brand name when the product category in which the brand competes is presented. Brand recall is a fundamental method used to measure the strength of a brand's awareness in the consumer's mind.

Brand Strategy
A plan for the systematic development and maintenance of a brand to enable it to meet its agreed objectives. The strategy should be anchored to the brand's core essence, designed to differentiate the brand from competitors and executed to deliver messaging consistency across the entire marketing mix.

Branded Component
Branding a product ingredient or component or highlighting the presence of a branded ingredient or component within the product to communicate credibility, memorability or perceived quality.  Example: Dunken Hines brownies with Hershey Chocolate Sauce.

Branded Feature
Branding a product feature in order to differentiate the product and communicate credibility, memorability or perceived quality.  Example: TaxVantage with Refund Maximizer™ a branded module in the software that no competitor offers and is directly on target with the consumers needs. The name is also very easy to understand the function.

Brandmark (also called a logo)
An iconic symbol or wordmark that serves as a visual representation of a company, its people and the total experience delivered by the products or services offered.

A slight size reduction of an opening into which an image will print.

The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Post press (CIP4) Organization; a not-for-profit association responsible for JDF.

Cyan, magenta, yellow, black. These are the four primary paper printing colors.

Developing a relationship with and leveraging other brands to enhance the consumer benefit, increase overall brand awareness, enhance perceived quality, enter a new product category and/or possibly reduce implementation costs.

Color Bars
The color strip on proofs that is used as a guide for the printer in determining the amount and density of ink needed.

Color Blocking
Establishing a consistent brand block through the use of color to create a dominant visual impact at point of sale or on shelf.  Example: Campbell's Soup creates a recognizable block of red and white at point of sale with all cans having a red lower half and white top half of the can.

Color Calibration
A means or method of setting a computer monitor, scanner, or color printer to a standard set of color values so as to ensure that all the colors remain consistent throughout each step of the imaging process.

Computer-to-plate (CTP)  
Describes a system in which the use of desktop publishing software, electronic prepress workstations, and plate setters allows the imaging of metal plates for any format of press without the use of film, stripping or traditional plate making. This process results in lower costs while shortening the amount of time needed to get a job on the press. Sometimes also called C2P to distinguish it from CTP, or computer-to-press.

The shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. Creep moves the inside pages or signatures away from the spine.

Crop Marks  
Symbols placed in the margin outside the image area that indicate to the printer and bindery the area to be printed and/or trimmed from the image.

Dot Gain
The increase in the printing dot size from the halftone film to the printed substrate resulting in darker tones.

Driver Brand
A brand that drives the consumer's decision to buy and encompasses the key benefit or value proposition for which the consumer is looking.

A two-color halftone produced by overprinting two halftone screens made from the same photograph (usually a black and white photo), as a means of generating a monochromatic image with a full range of tonal gradations.


To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.

Endorser Brand
An umbrella brand that provides credibility and perceived quality to the driver brand. Example: Apple is the endorser brand to iPod.

A statement of what a print job will probably cost based on specified quantities, materials and labor.

Felt Side
The smoother side of the paper.

Flash uses vector-based imaging, and timeline based editing that allow for a variety of sophisticated Web techniques to be used relatively reliably. Flash relies on a plug-in, which must be downloaded by the end-user in order to run.

A printing process that uses a raised surface of flexible rubber or photopolymer printing plate mounted on a rotary drum and thin, fast-drying inks to print on almost any roll stock.

Four-color Process  
Use of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to create a full color image.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
FSC is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.

An acronym used in the design industry as an abbreviation for the phrase “For Placement Only.”  FPO is used to identify copy, illustration or photography that has been incorporated into a concept or layout on a temporary basis while formal photography, illustration and copy are being developed.

File Transfer Protocol. An Internet protocol used to send and receive files.

Graphics Interchange Format. Gif files are bit mapped, lossless, and they can contain transparency and animated commands. Their downside is that they have a limited number of colors to make images with. Highly photographic images or images with high levels of graduation do not make good .gif files.

The gradual shading of one value of tint into another lighter or darker tint.

The process of printing from cylinders that contain cells that hold the ink for transfer to the substrate. In gravure color printing, each succeeding color is printed on a dry color, rather than one still wet as in letterpress and offset lithography.

A grayscale image uses only black & white and shades of gray to represent an image. On most computers that limits you to 256 shades of gray, usually more than enough to get decent results.

The inside margin of a bound page. The blank space between two columns of text or image areas is also called “gutter.”

An image composed of tiny dots whose variations in size create the illusion of variations in tone. Traditionally, a halftone screen was used to convert a continuous tone image into a halftone; such screening is currently done electronically.

Hyper Text Markup Language. Language and protocols used to write documents on the World Wide Web.

Laying out pages in a press form so that when the pages are printed and folded they will be in proper order.

A method of printing images using jets that squirt minuscule drops of ink onto a variety of surfaces.

Method of printing in which the image is etched below the non-printing surface. Gravure and engraving are the most common forms.

Integrated Marketing Communications
The development of marketing assets that coherently support the core essence of the brand and deliver a “consistent” message over a variety of media assets over time.

JPG (jpg, jpe, jpeg)
Joint Photographic Experts Group. Jpg is a lossy compression scheme that is able to reproduce photorealistic images with massive compression ratios.

The line space, or white space, between lines of copy measured in points.

Method of printing where the wrong-reading raised surface of a printing plate is inked and impressed directly onto paper.

Line Extension
A new flavor or version of a product that carries the same brand identity and architecture of a product class. Line extensions can help re-energize a brand by offering variety as well as appealing to a broader consumer base. In addition, line extensions can allow for brands to be innovative and block or beat competitors in the marketplace. Example: Butterball Turkey Bacon offers a healthy alternative to bacon. By extending the line to include a Low Sodium option, they have offered variety and appealed to a heart health conscious audience. Coke introduced Coke Zero to appeal to a male audience who were looking for a low calorie yet not diet tasting alternative. This broadened the user base and helped energize the brand through innovation and by adding youth, energy and an opportunity to increase visibility.

Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. The images are first printed onto a rubber blanket and then offset to paper.

Lossless Compression
Lossless compression schemes do not lose any information in the compression process and can be decompressed without loss of quality. Gif, png, wav and tiff, are all lossless compression schemes.

Lossy Compression
A lossy compression scheme often can reproduce higher quality images and sounds with smaller file sizes. The downside, of course is that you lose some quality if the image is decompressed because to achieve higher compressions like jpg and MP3 files you have to throw out certain information.

The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper, and set of printing conditions prior to a press run. Also, the paper used during these adjustments.

Marketing Mix
The mix of promotional activities used by a brand to promote its products and services.  An abbreviated list of activities includes: direct sales, direct mail, website, television, print, radio and web advertising, tradeshow participation, coupons, public relations, catalogs, seminars, brochures, Pro Bono Charity work, and event marketing.

Complete pages, with text, line art, and crop marks in position, ready to be photographed or output to film.

Mental Network
A diagram or map of the core and extended identity elements showing the relationship between each of the elements.

Objectionable patterns that appear at regular frequencies when two or more screen patterns are placed over one another. May be caused by misalignment, incorrect screen angles, slipping or slurring.

Optical Character Recognition. OCR is software designed to create electronic versions of scanned documents. These electronic versions can be opened in standard word processing software.

Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents print on one side from showing through to the other side. Also, the characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Orphan Brand
Brands that are not supported by other categories but rather are the only product offering within the category.  Example: Nestle Morsels, only product offering by Nestle in the baking section.

Numbering pages in order. Also, the process of performing page makeup on a computer.

Portable Document Format. PDF format is designed to allow desktop publications to be transported and shared over the Internet but maintain the look, font, spacing, and printability of the original file. Adobe Acrobat is used to read and write PDF files the reader is free.

Perceived Quality Elements
A consumer's belief or perception of a brand's credibility and value that may drive a consumer to select one brand over another, pay a premium and maintain loyalty to a brand. Elements include differentiation, proven leadership, consistency, satisfaction and relevance.

Photoshop is the preeminent imaging software in the world. From magazine photography, to Web design, Photoshop is the tool for finishing images.

Unit of measure commonly used in typesetting and design. A pica is one-sixth of an inch.

Short for picture element. A single point in a graphic.

Press Check
When a customer is at the printing press in order to approve the job as it is printed.

Range Brand
An identity created to represent product categories and reinforce the relationships between product groupings that may otherwise not be recognized. A range brand employs a consistent value proposition and personality across the line. Example: Vera Wang began with high-end designer clothing, ready to wear luxury focused on designer wedding gowns. The brand that stands for modern, ready-to-wear luxury now includes clothing, bed lines, crystal, kitchenware and even mattresses. This is a range brand about lifestyle.

To convert mathematical and digital information into a series of dots by an imagesetter or recorder as digital data that will be used for output.

Register Marks
Crosses or other designs that are placed outside the image area of a proof and press sheet to prevent elements of the job from being misaligned.

The correct positioning of one color over another during the printing process.

Sharpness of an image. Also quantification of laser print quality using number of dots or pixels per inch.

Red, green and blue. RGB colors are the colors used to generate images on the Web.

Abbreviation for raster image processing, a hardware and/or software system that translates page description commands into bitmaps for output.

Sans Serif Type
Any type style that does not have cross strokes on the ends of the letters.

Screen Printing
Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Screen Ruling
Sometimes confused with resolution, screen ruling is the number of printing dots per inch or per millimeter on the exposed film. The screen ruling is a critical factor in determining the resolution need. The finer the screen ruling, the higher the resolution needs to be, due to the amount of information required to generate the printing dots.

Sheetfed Press  
A printing press that uses sheets of paper, rather than a continuous paper roll or web.

To print one side of a sheet of paper with one form or plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another form using the same gripper and side guide.

A group of pages brought together into proper sequential order and alignment after it has been folded.

Silver Bullet
A sub-brand, product or branded benefit that can either significantly support the parent brand or change the image of the parent brand. Example: iPod where Apple went from being known for computers with excellent graphics to re-shaping how the world listens to music.

Spot Color
Individual color or colors that are utilized to highlight illustrations or type. Spot color is frequently printed with non-process color inks, although process inks can be used.

Standard Viewing Condition
An area surrounded by a neutral gray and illuminated by a light source of 5000K both for viewing transparencies and reflection prints. Large format transparencies should be surrounded by approximately 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters of white surround and should not be viewed with a dark surround.

A brand within a brand system that differentiates it from the parent brand. The sub-brand should be consistent with the parent brand identity and should enhance the parent brand by one or more of the following:

  1. Sub-brand as descriptor: clearly describes the product offering and explains the product function, user benefits or product attributes without competing or diluting the impact of the parent brand. Example: Tarter Control Crest
  2. Sub-brand as clarifier: offering a different product or serving a different market segment using the same parent name. This allows the brand to leverage the equity it enjoys while offering new aspects. Example: Gillette Venus Razors. Leverages the heritage of the brand with men’s razors and sub-brands the product as Venus to specify that they are targeted towards women. The product is pink and has other qualities specific to women. In addition, the consumer can then pick from disposables, scented razors, etc. which helps structure the offering and purchase decision.
  3. Sub-brand as innovator: creating new brand associations to compete in a new marketplace. A sub-brand can leverage it's parent brand associations while introducing new associations relevant to the new market and allowing the brand and product offering to be more flexible.

Any surface on which printing is done.

Abbreviation for the revised Specifications for Web-Offset Publications; a set of specifications for color separation films, files, and color proofing to insure the consistency of the printed color.

The Four Ps
Identified by Professor Neil Borden of Harvard Business Schools, the “Four-Ps” are activity classifications used by marketing professionals in varying degrees to influence the consumer. They include; Product (product variety, design, features, brand name), Price (list price, discounts, rebates and credit terms), Place (distribution channels, in-store location, transportation cost) and Promotion (advertising, events, sale force, PR).

A method of printing in which the image is coated with a resin which, when heated, results in the image being raised off the surface of the paper.

Tagged Image File Format. A graphics and page layout file format for desktop computers. Used as an intermediary file format for both color and black and white images. TIFF is used to transfer documents between different applications and computer platforms.

A method of overlapping adjoining colors or inks that helps minimize the possibility of a fine white line appearing between two colors, caused by misregistration of color negatives. Also, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink.

Variable Data Printing
Digitally printing a file where each successive image may be different.

Vector Based
Vector based graphics are defined and reproduced mathematically and therefore are resolution independent. This means that you can enlarge them to twice the size of the screen and they will still be the same size in bytes as a 1-inch version. Vector-based graphics are what make Flash so flashy and are certain to prove useful in future aps.

Visual metaphor
A visual metaphor is a design concept that uses a related object for structural elements of a site. An example would be a library site using the metaphor of the card catalog as a navigational element.

Web Press
A printing press that prints on paper from a continuous roll (web) and outputs it onto another roll, as a folded signature or as cut sheets.


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01 Achieve Dramatic ROI Through Packaging Redesign
02 What Makes a Great Design
03 Essential Components of a Creative Brief
04 UC Davis GSM Presentation

01 Murray Brand's Design Wins American Package Design Award
02 Murray Brand's Redesign of Springfield Featured.
03 Two Packaging Design Awards for Murray Brand.
04 BrandPackaging features Murray Brand's packaging design for The Crown Choice on page 29
05 Murray Brand Minute - YouTube Video - Packaging Design using Visual Metaphors
06 Murray Brand Minute - YouTube Video - Why Tropicana Orange Juice Package Design Failed
07 Murray Brand's Cal Poly logo ranked 19th
08 Murray Brand Minute - YouTube Video - Nestlé Brand Evaluation
09 2013 Marketing Tips & Trends
10 Great Value Juice Redesign
11 Dieline Website Critiques Murray Brand's Work.
12 Murray Brand wins International Design Competition.
13 Murray Brand package design drives 20% sales increase for Reser's Fine Foods
14 Murray Brand featured as cover story of Package Design Magazine
15 How market research can benefit from Twitter
16 C-stores Want Healthy Groceries on Shelves
17 Supermarket Prepared Foods Sales Expected to Surge
18 Tropicana's design disaster

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