second city

We needed to create a design system that was as dynamic and engaging as the brand itself. Rooted in a rich history.

The Second City is one of the world’s most storied comedy institutions, a cultural flagship of second‑city, and the training ground for the likes of John Belushi, Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, and dozens upon dozens of the best comedians to ever grace a stage. Known around the globe for unmatched talent and smart, irreverent humor, The Second City has been the bastion of the improv‑based sketch comedy scene since 1959.

Role: Creative Director


Design System

The Second City  had experienced a long period of sustained growth and diversification of their business. The iconic brand needed consolidation, modernization, and amplification, all while maintaining the heritage that makes it so legendary.


Give me a brand identity that will speak as loudly as we do.


In order to craft a brand identity that hits as hard as their punch lines, and a design and messaging system flexible enough to speak to a variety of key audiences (which swing from late night bar crowds to kids’ camps), we developed a spectrum of visual and written communications that allow the internal marketing and design teams to dial in a precise amount of Second City provocation—a “spectrum of subversion.” With this internal tool, the brand can hone in on the correct voice, tone, and degree of irreverence and for each piece of collateral created.


The Second City has always prided itself on being unconventional and non-conformist. The ability to reach a younger generation meant that the comedy was progressive and original.