Joe + Leslie Stitzlein


Stitzlein Studio is a Bay Area brand and typeface design practice, led by husband and wife team Leslie and Joe Stitzlein. We lead a global team of designers, strategists, writers and typeface designers. We’re a global, cross-functional and seamlessly integrated team in the US, South America, the EU, Korea, China and Japan. Our clients have included Airbnb, Apple, Head Start, Intuitive Surgical, Meta/Facebook, Netflix and Nike.

We worked with Steve Jobs to define Apple’s photography and packaging standards and launched Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program for healthy schools. We created campaigns that made the Nike Free the world’s best-selling running shoe, and have designed custom brand typefaces in thousands of languages. We built a global design studio at Google, launched the world’s first crypto bank and the first hydrogen airplane.

Tell us how and why you became involved in socially responsible communications, any thoughts on why design can be an especially effective tool for this goal, and, if you wish, give us an example of a project of which you are proud.

Our agency’s mission is to take our client’s advanced technical achievements and translate them into simple, inspirational stories and design systems. Because of our expertise in launching highly complex technical brands and products at Nike and Google, we’ve recently been working with several climate technology platforms that are addressing decarbonization where it has the most impact: How we power society and how we travel.

One recent project comes to mind: H2FLY aviation. H2FLY is pioneering viable hydrogen fuel cells for flights traveling less than 1,000km. These flights make up 85% of all air travel. We think the exciting part of being a creative partner for these types of organizations is that they are optimists and builders; they see the challenges of climate change and are rolling up their sleeves to build their way out of the problems we face. We work closely with them to understand the details of the technology so we can translate it effectively into an insight and a unique design language that connects with their intended audience.

For example, hydrogen fuel cells are incredibly clean, but when people hear hydrogen and aviation they think of the Hindenberg. Safety and clean, water-based emissions were the core of the H2Fly brand; hence the brand concept: A flight path made of water. By being comfortable with deeply technical conversations, we’re pretty good at discovering fascinating insights that people will understand and care about.

Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does this moment in time present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?

We’re technology optimists by nature, which guides our approach to our work.

The challenge for the next century is that the problems associated with carbon fuel sources are outweighing their benefits, and our planet’s appetite for energy is only increasing as we prepare to scale energy-intensive, transformative technologies such as AI, Web 3 and commercial space exploration.

Clearly, we’re not going backwards to live like Laura Engels, which is why it’s an amazing time to be working with startups that are decarbonizing travel and energy for the next era of human progress. We’re scifi nerds at heart, and we believe that moving beyond carbon to new energy discoveries will unleash creativity and innovations we haven’t yet imagined.

This new generation of inventors needs storytellers who can translate what they do into human language and memorable, iconic experiences so that they can attract investors to grow their business, and show consumers that the future is hopeful. That’s the best part of our jobs and we’re lucky to partner with clients that are truly the Thomas Edisons and Wright Brothers of our times.