San Francisco Design Week

A week to question everything

SFDW is one of the most awaited and revered events within the design sphere. A week dedicated to celebrating design in a city considered by many to be the quintessential mecca of design and technological innovation. Little did we know that SFDW 2017 was to become the biggest design week to date.

Challenge the industry


Essen International was contracted by AIGA SF to design the identity and campaign for SFDW. We needed to create a conversation piece that would be relevant to our times and challenge the design industry visually and intellectually. A campaign reflecting how boundary-pushing the San Francisco design scene is.

Question everything


Collaborating with AIGA, we reflected upon what it means to be innovative. We realized that innovation is not simply about developing the new and different. To truly challenge and disrupt, we need to question what already exists. This notion became the foundation for the year’s theme – A week to question everything.

Look a little closer


For the campaign visuals we created graphical abstractions inspired by prominent social issues in the US and the world. A droplet inspired by climate change and water scarcity. Ripples of fabric inspired by waving flags and rising nationalism. And folded stacks of paper inspired by the omnipresent impact of media.

Think on it


Our approach resulted in an engaging and thought-provoking campaign that stimulates conversation and invites us to reflect on the role of design in society. Can design affect social change? Is collaboration the heart of design? Can morality and design coexist? We’ll prompt the questions, it’s up to you to ponder. 


  • Brand positioning

  • Naming

  • Communication strategy

  • Content strategy

  • Social media strategy

  • Qualitative and quantitative research studies


  • Visual identity

  • Verbal identity

  • Iconography

  • Illustrations

  • Motion design

  • UX/UI design

  • Websites and apps

  • Retail / Environments

  • Guidelines / Brand portals


  • Copywriting

  • Campaign

  • Design templates

  • Office templates


  • Guldägget 2017, Silver