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The Port of Seattle was challenged to communicate a clear, cohesive and compelling purpose to multiple constituents, each with differing needs and impressions of the Port. Stoke was enlisted by Ardent Sage to develop a powerful brand position and expression.

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The Port of Seattle is a regional authority, planning and managing vital infrastructure for the Pacific Northwest, including a major commercial seaport, recreational boating facilities, cruise terminals, waterfront facilities and operations – and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The airport alone handles 42.3 million passengers per year, or the equivalent of one NFL Seahawks game every single day.

With limited marketing communications resources (with respect to its scope), the Port of Seattle is challenged to communicate a clear, cohesive and compelling purpose to multiple constituents, each with differing needs and impressions of the Port.


The Port of Seattle is a multi-facility, multi-service agency challenges to communicate the scope of its operations to the voting public, for which it relies on tax funding. While consumers know its role in the commercial seaport operations, it is not commonly associated with its management of Seattle’s international airport. The Port is also challenged to communicate to civic partners, commercial aviation customers, maritime freight companies, environmental organizations and the traveling public. Consequently, the Port needed to improve its salience and resonance, in order to win broad support for its initiatives.

As the Pacific Northwest’s regional economy and civic culture have changed, the Port has becoming an increasingly vital link to the Pacific Rim for the Washington economy, and brings a necessary blend in economics and revenues to assure our area’s stability and sustained economic health. The organization has an elected Commission, inviting a political dynamic into how the Port communicates its interests, priorities and purpose.

Over time, the Port of Seattle’s story has been clouded by the many initiatives, facilities and programs, and diluted by different organizational voices saying different things in different ways. In 2013, the Port of Seattle adopted ‘The Century Agenda,’ a bold set of long-term organizational objectives related to economic growth, increased employment, education and a sustainable environment.

Stoke was challenged to develop a brand position and, with partner Ardent Sage, a messaging system and brand look and feel that would serve both broad institutional objectives and divisional requirements.


Working with Ardent Sage, Stoke developed a brand position around “Momentum” – positioning the Port as a stewardship organization, harnessing the resources of our region to accelerate and assure the continued vibrancy of our economy and community.

Previously, the Port represented itself as a collection of standalone, under-merchandized, and all-too-often unremarkable places and activities, each seemingly with a different name, logo, and theme.Stoke conducted a comprehensive audit of the visual identity system for the scores of programs, facilities, and initiatives.

So, we developed protocol for naming, contributing to Ardent Sage’s development of the graphic identity system including typography, iconography and imagery that serves to identity, distinguish and unite all of the Port of Seattle’s assets. Extending from the Port’s logo, the new “Wave” design form expresses the sea, land and sky of our environment, and the boundless creative energy our region.

By increasing the ambient presence of the Port of Seattle at more touch-points with the consumer, the organization receives greater awareness and recognition for the importance of its work – and produces that image at lower cost through organized and efficient communication systems.

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Brand Design
Brand Strategy




Ardent Sage