Studio: General


About Paul Howell

Paul learned everything he knows about graphic design in the Navy. Not really, but it’s fun to point out that he printed his first design at the age of 15, working as an intern in the design studio of the U.S. Navy’s Department of Morale, Welfare and Recreation on the U.S. Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. He’s come a long way since then, earning a BFA with honors from Arizona State University’s graphic design program and working with some of the Southwest’s most respected design firms and advertising agencies.

Paul has served on the Executive Boards of Directors of Junior Fulfillment and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Arizona Chapter, and as an adjunct professor teaching Corporate Identity, the History of Graphic Design, Letterform, Typography, and Senior capstone and studio classes at Arizona State University. Paul is a member of the AIGA, the Type Director’s Club (TDC), The One Club, and the Society for Experiential Design (SEGD).

His creative work has resulted in a steady stream of success for his clients and has garnered over 100 advertising and design awards—most notably: the One Show, Graphis, numerous gold, silver and bronze Addy Awards, AIGA PRISMA Awards, Best of Show in the MMA Awards and a gold CASE Gold Design Award for publication design. His work has been recognized in leading creative publications, including HOW Magazine, Print Magazine, Retail Ad World, American Corporate Identity 12, American Corporate Identity 17, The AIGA Guide to Education, Graphis Logo 9, The One Show (Vol. 24), the 2017 LogoLounge Logo Trend ReportLogoLounge Vol. 10 and LogoLounge Vol. 11.

Paul has created work for national and international clients across a wide variety of industries. He has considerable experience in a number of sectors including education, healthcare, hospitality, retail, real estate, and technology. After eight years working as a designer, art director, creative director, and mentor, Paul formed his design studio in 2001.

News + Musings

Notable  |  Phoenix, AZ
October 2017

Two phD Logos Selected for Logo Lounge Vol. 10

We’ve had our noses to the grindstone the past several months, so much so that we almost forgot to post this. We got more good news from Bill Gardner, and our colleagues at Logo Lounge this week. We’re honored to learn that out of 37,000 entries received, two of our logos have been selected to be published in LogoLounge Vol. 10.

Our logos for Howler Horticulture, a horticulture services company in Colorado, specializing in brokering tree sales, and for Original Gravity, a bar in central Phoenix offering small plates, wine and craft beer made the cut for publication. Logo Lounge 10 is available now on Amazon. Click here to see more of our logo work.

Thanks to the kind folks at LogoLounge and the judging panel for the recognition.

phD-Logo Design-Chimera Screems

Notable  |  Phoenix, AZ
May 2017

phD Logo Featured in 2017 Logo Trends Report

We heard from Bill Gardner, and our colleagues at Logo Lounge that our logo design work would be featured in the 2017 Logo Trends Report delivered by Bill at How Design Live in Chicago, May 4 and online at LogoLounge today. Our logo for Chimera Screems made the list as an example in the category of MicroLines.

Of the trend category, Gardner remarks, “Going against every rule of smart identity design, this works. We’ve been admonished time and again that too fine of a line will not scale down well. Allowing line work to run together will create a printing nightmare. And don’t go for a swim for a half-hour after you’ve eaten. I’m here to say this trend dispels at least two-thirds of those warnings.” We couldn’t agree more.

Read the full report at, or click here to see more of our logo work.

Paul Howell Design Top Logo Designer

Notable  |  Phoenix, AZ
March 2017

phD Grabs Two Gold Awards & 6 Merit Awards from Graphis

We’re excited to learn that several of our logo designs and brand identities have been recognized for excellence by Graphis. Six entries ( for CEA, Original Gravity, Howler Horticulture, Chonka Projekt, St. Jude, and our own studio identity) received merit distinctions. Entries for Chimera Screems and Custom Church Interiors were awarded Gold distinctions and will be featured in Graphis Logo 9 & Letterhead 8 with half-page presentations in the hardcover book. Graphis Logo 9 & Letterhead 8 will be available March 15, 2017 from

Graphis Inc. is a publisher of the world’s most significant and influential works from the greatest talent in Design, Advertising, and Photography since 1944.

To see more of our award-winning logo design work, click here.

Exterior photo of new studio location for phD, a top graphic design firm in Arizona

Notable  |  Phoenix, AZ
February 2017

New Year. New Digs.

We welcomed 2017 with a move into a mid-century modern building designed and built in 1955. Our new studio is located on the second floor at 1429 North 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 — just across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum and two doors down from Giant Coffee. If you find yourself in the area, drop by and say hello.

15 year graphic for phD, a Phoenix Branding Agency

Notable  |  Phoenix, AZ
October 2016

Celebrating 15 years

This year phD turned 15 — old enough to know better, but still too young to drive. When I started the studio in 2001, I did so with the belief that design has immense potential to inspire, inform and impact commerce, community and culture. Today, 15 years and thousands of design projects in, I believe it more than ever.

To mark the milestone, we’ve launched a new identity and website. Check it out, let us know what you think, and come back for updates and new design and branding work.

I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to all of our employees, clients and partners, past and present. Each of you has had a role in shaping the studio. I’m incredibly grateful and looking forward to the next 15. Cheers!

Arizona restaurant branding

New Client  |  Phoenix, AZ
July 2016

Original Gravity — Restaurant Branding

We’re excited and very thirsty as we set out to create new work for our friends at Original Gravity—a small plates, craft beer, wine and champagne bar opening late 2016/early 2017 at the Strip (at 12th Street and Highland in Phoenix).

Our engagement includes a branding workshop, restaurant branding, packaging design, signage development and environmental design, website development and consultation on interiors and artwork. Stay tuned!

Custom Type Design

Custom Typeface Design  |  San Francisco
June 2016

Designing Type in Fog City

Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to San Francisco to attend SF Design Week and take part in a three-day type design workshop hosted by Crafting Type. In my studies and career I’ve worked extensively with letterforms and have designed typefaces for personal use. 

For my type design project I decided to complete and refine an uppercase, partial display type that I had developed as a component of an in-progress branding engagement. The client brief was to create a brand identity that conveys a conservative, elegant and contemporary feel. I set out to design an extreme contrast Didone type to meet the objectives of the brief.

Special thanks to Dave Crossland and Thomas Phinney at Crafting Type for their insight, critique and a great workshop. The branding work is scheduled for launch in early October. Stay tuned.

Made with love, in Phoenix and San Francisco using Glyphs.

Environmental Design project Installation

Environmental Design  |  Phoenix, AZ
May 2016

Tempe Tourism Office Environmental Graphic Design

We’re excited to finally see the installation of our collaboration with Tom Martin of Twin Engine Design. This environmental design piece features a super-graphic window panel designed to both welcome visitors to the lobby and provide a privacy screen for the workspaces directly beyond it. Check out the full project here.

Fabrication and installation by Associated Sign.

About Us

Who We Are

We are a purposely small team of strategists, designers, and art directors based in Phoenix, Arizona who place high value on quality, craft and above all, intelligent ideas that deliver results. We help our clients communicate their values and promote their products and services by creating authentic and enduring brand identities and experiences.

Through our work processes and products, we seek to crystallize purpose, reveal character, foster understanding and engage the senses. 

We are passionate about what we do and are fanatical about the power of strategic design to affect positive change across commerce and culture.

What We Do

phD designs for physical, digital and environmental spaces. We are obsessed with quality and actively seek to work with organizations who value strategic, creative thinking executed to high standards.

phD engages in work nationally and internationally for cultural and commercial organizations who embrace the advantage of exceptional design.

Our Services

Brand Strategy

Brand Architecture

Brand Identity

Visual Language
Content Development
Narrative & Tone
Identity Systems
Brand Guidelines
Brand Books

Brand Experience

Print Design
Interactive Design
Environmental Design
Packaging Design

Branding Agency Studio Interior

How We Work

phD is a collaborative branding and design studio working with clients initially to clarify and codify their brands and then execute and extend those brands across relevant customer touchpoints. We uncover what matters most, help our clients set and meet goals, and work to tell their truths in meaningful and beautiful ways.

phD has cultivated a talented network of expert writers, photographers, illustrators, animators, filmmakers and technologists with whom we partner to meet the distinct needs of each client engagement.

Our organizational structure ensures variety and flexibility while delivering the best-suited talent for the assignment at hand.


We’ve had the pleasure of working with numerous organizations and individuals with inspiring missions and interesting challenges. 

Arts & Culture
John Nelson
Heard Museum
John Wagner Photo
Musical Instrument Museum
Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Symphony
Richard Laugharn

Consumer Goods & Services
Salt River Project (SRP)
Smith & Wesson
Chimera Lighting

Arizona State University
Rankin Technical College
SurePrep Learning, Inc.
Universal Technical Institute (UTI)
University of Phoenix
Verde Valley School

American Title

Ferndale Laboratories
Mega Systems & Chemicals
NKK Switches
Stirling Energy Systems
Vista Systems

Healthcare & Medical
Alere Medical
Arizona Oncology
Arizona BioScience & Biomedicine Institute
Banner Health Systems
Catholic Healthcare West
FHP Healthcare (Pacificare)
NDC Health Information Services
Nyer Nutritional Systems
Planned Parenthood of Arizona
Proton Therapy Corporation
USC University Hospital

B&K Optical
Breitfeld & Schliekert, GmbH
Breitfeld & Schliekert USA
Briot/Weco Canada
Santinelli International

Dax’s Farm
Friends of the Arizona Cancer Center
Seeds for the Future
St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital
University of Arizona Cancer Center

Professional Services
Chonka Projekt
Crane Logic
GPM Engineering
Holly Street Studio Architects
JV Partners (UK)
Latz Negotiation Institute
MBO Partners
Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Snell & Wilmer
Synergy Partners Consulting
Walkers Global
Withey Anderson & Morris PLC

Real Estate & Development
Berkana Homes
Bushong, Christian, Almquist
Celebrity City
JAG Development
Meritage Homes
Old World Communities
Salt River DevCo
Showlow Bluff
Standard Pacific Homes
Whispering Canyon

Restaurant & Retail
Fat Tuesday
Original Gravity
RA Sushi
The Sweatshop
V’s Barbershop

Software & Technology
Cozint Interactive
Pipeline AZ
Sky Republic
WGM Associates

Travel & Entertainment
Arizona Lottery
Austin Lehman Adventure Travel
Casino Del Sol
Mucho Mas Media
Paula Abdul
Smashing Entertainment
Sony Pictures Television
Tempe Tourism

Have a branding or marketing challenge you need to solve? Let’s talk.