The booming tech industry has made San Francisco one of the hottest cities to do business in the US. It’s the most vibrant startup hub in the nation, counting the highest number of unicorns. Does this wealthy city still have room for entrepreneurs on a budget?
The most prominent branding agencies in San Francisco have the expertise and skills to turn challengers and underdogs into the next big names in their respective industries. But choosing the right one for your business could turn into a full-time job sans the paycheck.
We employed our comprehensive evaluation methodology to rank the best brand builders in San Francisco. Scroll down to discover the only branding agencies that have checked each box of our demanding criteria.
The Leading Branding Agencies in San Francisco
Average Hourly Rate
For nearly 20 years, Salt Branding has been helping the world’s most successful brands, and startups amplify their value. The outfit is now part of a larger marketing group, Material, that brings together expertise from 10 reputable agencies. Powered by design thinking, analytics, deep business understanding, and creativity, Salt is a one-stop-shop for B2B and B2C brands.
Emotive Brand agency balances the rational business demands and the emotional people’s needs to drive rapid growth and high profits for B2B companies. This branding agency from San Francisco takes a cohesive approach to brand building and activation. Its portfolio features buzzy names like Slack, Facebook, and Pandora.
Repeatedly rated the #1 naming agency, Catchword has worked with industry leaders like Starbucks, Asana, and Upwork. Since 1998, it has developed names for over 500 companies, establishing many ground-breaking naming practices. With a presence in San Francisco and New York, Catchword serves clients across the nation and beyond.
BayCreative is a full-service B2B marketing and branding San Francisco agency that works as an extension of internal teams. For over two decades, the firm has been providing innovative marketing support following its unique “marketing department in a box” approach. The team also offers comprehensive branding services for organizations of all sizes.
With capabilities in strategy, data, and technology, Nika Digital Agency creates brand experiences that increase exposure, sales, and profits. As part of the Silicon Valley crowded marketplace, the company understands what it takes to get your brand on your audience’s map. The team works with brave businesses that aspire to shape the world.
As the name implies, Citizen Group builds citizen brands with initiatives that deliver economic, social, and environmental impact. For over a decade, its diverse team has been working with purpose-driven brands, helping them align values with profit goals. This San Francisco branding firm creates solutions that improve people’s lives while boosting bottom lines.
McLean helps brands realize their full value and gain a dominant position in the industry. The team builds brands on strong consumer engagement, using various advanced tools to elevate the user experience beyond the mere service or product. With almost 30 years of successful operation and diverse expertise, McLean is one of the most reliable agencies in San Francisco.
Evviva Brands offers tailored solutions for every stage of your business journey. The team has developed proven branding methodologies for new and mature brands alike. Whether you need to establish your image, rebrand, and get back to market fast, solve complex branding challenges or attract top-notch talent, this San Francisco branding agency can deliver.
Division of Labor is one of the top branding companies San Francisco has in store for small to midsize businesses. It’s an agency/freelance hub hybrid that offers the best of both worlds. The team can execute all-encompassing campaigns for your brand or connect you with the right freelance expert to work directly with your in-house employees.
Founded in 1997, DDW has grown into a full-service brand design San Francisco agency, offering a range of strategic, marketing, and design services. The team creates compelling brand stories to make businesses relevant to modern consumers. It has 900+ brand assignments under its belt, making it a reliable choice for organizations of all sizes.
Gumas is an advertising, branding, and interactive agency, specializing in helping challenger brands compete against industry gorillas. From research and strategy to design, development, and digital media, it offers comprehensive support under one roof. The team has developed proven methodologies that can stretch your marketing dollars to achieve better results.
300FeetOut is a strategic creative studio that breaks through the sea of sameness with innovative tools and methodologies. It creates one-of-a-kind brand experiences for national and global companies. Founded in 1997, this branding firm from San Francisco has built a stellar portfolio that includes buzzy names like Netflix, Yahoo, and The Four Seasons.
Timelapse is a young and prominent San Francisco creative agency for innovative businesses. It makes brands stand out by marrying scalable design systems with powerful digital marketing campaigns. The team has developed a highly collaborative approach where executives are directly participating in the creative process for every client.
This team describes itself as an agency “where creativity is Born; and as a result, brands are Bred”. This branding agency from San Francisco specializes in strategic and creative solutions that provoke emotions that lead to actions. From brand analysis and research to design and advertising, this agency can solve all your business challenges.
Project6 is an award-winning design, development, and branding firm with a presence in the US and Canada. The agency has developed in-depth experience and knowledge in the retail, nonprofit, education, and high-tech sector. Its cross-disciplinary team excels in spotting what makes brands unique and amplifying their competitive edge.
Established in 1996, Gershoni works with brands of all sizes, industries, and stages of growth. The agency teams up with businesses to help them build a memorable image, revitalize their legacy, turn launches into success, and fuel their growth. Its diverse expertise and decades of hands-on experience have made it a star among the branding agencies in San Francisco.
Spritz is a San Francisco integrated marketing agency that relies on digital, and traditional marketing methods and compelling design to propel businesses. It combines the latest trends with personalized marketing strategies to maximize the outcomes for each project. The company offers an array of branding and creative capabilities to get your brand noticed and remembered.
Global Brand Works is among the best branding agencies San Francisco has to offer, specializing in everything from positioning and reinventing brands to successful product launches and elevating the employee culture. It can complement agencies with brand expertise, act as an extension of internal marketing departments, or direct specific projects.
The House of Who is a unique blend of arthouse and agency founded on the idea that "your truth is your greatest asset and you don't have to be fake in order to succeed". The firm describes itself as a group of artists who work in branding to reveal the humanity behind businesses. Its distinctive approach has made it a star in the SF agency scene.
ZinZin is one of the most prominent naming and branding agencies San Francisco has to offer. The team approaches naming as a science for which has developed a battle-tested process. It can take on any naming adventure, from creating one-of-a-kind-company names to coming up with product names that trigger emotion and inspire action.
Basic is a branding and experience design firm that engages culture, design, and technology in everything it does. Backed by 100+ diverse, world-class experts and a decade of experience, the agency excels in helping lifestyle brands start on the right foot and move forward. It’s the most recognized company in the web and mobile category by the Webby Awards.
Gold Front helps pioneering companies unleash their full potential through branding, content production, and advertising. Capitalizing on the way brands and culture interact with one another, this small branding agency from SF has developed a distinctive approach to brand building.
San Francisco — The Innovation Capital of the World
The Fog City is one of the most enterprising and innovative places inside and beyond the US borders, hence the massive demand for quality brand consulting in San Francisco, among other services. The advantageous combination of geographical beauty and vibrant business climate has attracted ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators from all over the world.
San Francisco also is home to a diverse and highly-productive workforce. More than half of the population over 18 holds at least a four-year degree, and 20% have a graduate or professional degree. Hosting 15 high education institutions, out of which many are leaders in their fields, San Francisco is an endless source for academic talent.
With a high concentration of talent, founders, investors, and pro-business regulations, San Francisco is undeniably one of the best places to launch your dream company and grow it into a powerhouse.
The High Demand for Branding Agencies in San Francisco
San Francisco is home to six Fortune 500 companies and an ever-growing number of startups. The most prosperous industries in the Bay Area include biotech, high tech/digital media, cleantech, global business, professional services, financial services, hospitality, and retail.
The City by the Bay has the most vibrant tech industry, which has quadrupled in size since 2010, creating 100,644 tech jobs as of year-end 2018. Even the Bay Area’s insanely high cost of living hasn’t stopped ambitious entrepreneurs from launching businesses there. Since not everyone has the budget to compete with the giants, newcomers turn to the best branding agencies San Francisco can offer to gain a competitive edge.
Three factors have contributed to San Francisco growing into the hottest startup hub – innovation and R&D centers, venture capital, and disruption. The city of Google, Uber, and Airbnb is a welcoming place for newcomers thanks to the array of innovation centers operated by Fortune 500 Companies and other big players. With support from the top and quality San Francisco branding agencies, startups have higher chances to succeed in the city’s overcrowded business scene.
The city’s startups continue to eat most of California’s venture capital dollars. In 2019, San Francisco-based companies accumulated 45% of all seed money for California businesses, a major jump from 18% of all VC in 2010. As a global epicenter of innovation and a city with the largest share of unicorns, San Francisco has built a reputation for producing highly successful startups. Investors keep pouring billions into the city’s ventures, enabling even younger companies to afford top branding agencies from San Francisco.
If you’re ready to pay premium prices for food, rent, and everything else to get access to premium opportunities, San Francisco is the place to be. Besides hiring a top branding partner, you’ll most likely need other professionals to support your growth. Take a look at San Francisco’s best talent in graphic design, web design, and digital marketing.
The Best Graphic Design Companies in San Francisco
Mucho is a strategy, packaging, graphic design, and branding agency from San Francisco, with offices in New York, Paris, Barcelona, and Melbourne. As an international creative studio, Mucho embodies global trends and cross-disciplinary expertise in each project. Whether you need a stellar website or engaging advertising campaign, this firm will deliver solutions that sell.
🏆 Smack Happy Design
Smack Happy Design excels in all things design, from email and web to logo design. It’s also among the top graphic design firms in San Francisco with many successful projects under its belt. The team has built a stellar reputation in the past decade for crafting one-of-a-kind visual solutions.
🏆 Camp Creative
Camp Creative is a holistic digital agency that puts user experience front and center. Having been around since 1999, it’s among San Francisco’s most experienced outfits in the field. The team embodies strategy and creativity in each graphic solution, creating visual storytelling that impacts consumer behavior and drives profit.
The Top San Francisco Digital Marketing Companies
🏆 Colibri Digital Marketing
Colibri is one of the top digital marketing agencies in San Francisco, designed to meet the ever-changing needs of visionary organizations. As a certified B-corp digital agency, it develops each solution to support the triple bottom line of people, profit, and the planet. It offers an abundance of digital marketing and creative services, and is considered one of the top branding companies in San Francisco.
🏆 97th Floor
97th Floor is among the best branding agencies, elevating brands with top-performing digital services. Incorporating teams of diverse marketers, branding specialists, graphic designers, copywriters, and video makers, the agency can get your brand exposed in all the right places where your audience hangs out.
🏆 Avalaunch Media
For over 15 years, Avalaunch Media has been helping businesses across the nation create sustainable marketing success. Its diverse team boasts the right mix of digital experts, entrepreneurs, attorneys, MBAs, and other professionals, being able to solve any business or creative challenge. It also counts among the top branding firms San Francisco has to offer.
The Best Web Design Agencies in San Francisco
Eight25Media is an award-winning, full-service digital agency offering a wide array of services through four business divisions. From web design and marketing to mobile development and UI/UX design, you can get everything done under one roof. As one of the best web design companies in San Francisco, the firm builds high converting sites with an average increase of 200% post-launch.
🏆 Razorfrog Web Design
Razorfrog is a top web design agency for small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded over a decade ago, the team has built a reputation for responsive design, timely development, and first-class client support. The team crafts modern web solutions for all devices.
With a presence in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Reykjavík, Ueno has grown into a globally-recognized creative studio. It’s also among the most prominent branding agencies in San Francisco. The team excels in helping clients develop and foster unbreakable connections with their customers through strategic web design, marketing, branding, and a wide array of digital products and experiences.