Creating an elf with character

One of the most rewarding creative exercises as a designer is being able to watch a concept grow and evolve through the course of not only a single project, but through multiple iterations and projects. Once complete, we always find it interesting to go back and look at how it evolved.

Our work for Gilbert LLP is a perfect example. Gilbert is a wonderful boutique law firm based in Washington, DC. specializing in insurance recovery and liability strategy. To say that they have personality would be an understatement. So, when it came to creating their holiday cards, we needed to deliver something with spunk. And thus, our Elf was born.

Our job was to create an Elf that was non-denominational –as pure an elf as possible — but it still needed to be playful and convey holiday cheer. To do that, we turned to representing the elf in its simplest form. Type.

The font selected had to imbue the Elf with a playful amount of whimsy. Optima Extra Black was the almost perfect match, and we made only a few modifications to create our elf.

14-379-Elf-Blog-art-TYPE-Elfs FEB5 2014
14-379-Elf-Blog-art-TYPE-Elfs MASTER LOOK FEB5 2014-01

Once we developed our character concept we made certain that our Elf could handle a number of situations: it was just a matter of finding the stories that fit.


Since 2008, the Gilbert Elf has been tackling humbugs, children, mystical mountains and even dragons, all in the name of helping to spread holiday cheer. Andin later iterations, the elf gave hugs and expressed a variety of emotions.

So, take a look at our holiday tales and tell us what you think.

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