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A San Francisco Brand Identity Firm

The idea of The Engine Room began in 1999 with a casual lunch conversation between good friends. We slept on it for a while, then over rounds of beer, games of chess, and shared dreams of the kind of design we both wanted to do, The Engine Room was born. We worked late nights at Mike’s home office in Sausalito and never got tired. Our fantasy had become reality and we soon found ourselves setting up shop in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood on 22nd Street and 3rd. And this is where we are today. Take some time to meet the Team.


We designed our space to function as an inspirational arena for sound thinking and sound creative. Its elements project clarity, simplicity and purpose which are the very qualities we want instilled in our design work.


Dave Braden and Mike Cotsifas both come from ‘Humboldt’ beginnings — both having studied fine art and design at HSU, in the redwood cathedralesque landscape of Arcata, CA. It is here the two founders met, studied together, and by virtue of an incessant need to create stuff, pushed one another to become better designers.

The brand of design we have here is not necessarily driven by the desire to see our work permeate our culture. It is likely first and foremost a result of a need to create. While this is a selfish pursuit, it drives all else. It drives sound thinking. It drives problem solving. It drives customer service. And it drives effective brands. Because that’s what design is. That’s what we signed up for. Solving visual communication problems and helping form connections.

A little trivia: Nobody wants canned design, but the building we call home actually used to be a can and bottle manufacturing facility dating back to 1915. The American Can Company cranked out cans and bottles until 1969.

When we create or update a brand, we don't wave goodbye when the first scope is done. An ingredient in our success may just be our loyalty, as our tendency is to continue caring for the brand (maintaining it) over time. So if your business is open to working that way, we are too. We're used to it.



As a Bay Area native, Mike Cotsifas has always been surrounded by great design and a picturesque landscape...

As a Bay Area native, Mike Cotsifas has always been surrounded by great design with a backdrop of natural beauty. His connection to the outdoors brought him to study Art & Design in the Redwood haven of Humboldt State University, where he met his business partner and earned a BFA in 1994. After college, Mike dove into the agency scene serving up award-winning design for clients like Charles Schwab, Peoplesoft and Siemens.
His sites were set beyond, however, to create his own agency where quality, clientele and pace could be better controlled. Mike cofounded The Engine Room in 1999 with Dave Braden and he hasn't looked back. His drive for superior design has helped lead The Engine Room to cement itself as one of the best and most enduring boutique design firms in the Bay Area.


Dave cofounded The Engine Room in 1999 four years after earning his BFA in Art & Design...

Dave cofounded The Engine Room in 1999 four years after earning his BFA in Art & Design from Humboldt State University. Having served the design industry for more than 20 years with a focus on consumer brands and identity design, he sees design as not only a bridge between products and sales, but also as a culture making activity. He values that his work facilitates business success, while also having great respect for the power of design and its potential to positively and negatively affect our culture.

Dave’s professional life has always been steeped in design, but he finds it just as important to step outside of it to pursue complementary interests. Whether it's distance running, chess, painting or quality family time, Dave feels his penchant for variety makes him a better designer and a better thinker.



Charlie is the Production Designer at The Engine Room and is a rare blend of creativity and high efficiency hailing from the Academy of Art, San Francisco...

Charlie is the Production Designer at The Engine Room responsible for mechanical development, design, illustration and digital imaging. She earned her BFA from the Academy of Art in 2012 where she acquired a high level of proficiency and speed in Adobe CS applications. Charlie's versatility and efficiency continues to help TER roll out a quality and volume of design work that keeps clients wondering what the heck happened, how they got it so fast, and why it's so good.