Eric McDougall has worked alongside many Silicon Valley leaders, either as a media consultant or overseeing creative, and he felt it was time to establish a new category of go-anywhere, do-anything service for C-level technology entrepreneurs.

The name Black Ink originated as a bookkeeping trope: the opposite of red ink, it signifies a robust revenue stream. As we began work on a brand identity, our exploration quickly led us into deeper waters, in particular the legends surrounding tech leaders in California who left stable jobs to explore the unknown, and to chart their own course.

The octopus emerged as the perfect symbol of these explorers, a hint of the unknown complexities that lurk in the riskier depths, emblematic of the courage required to go there.

The brand is purposefully mysterious. The website features an ominous cloud of black ink, revealing a message of the company’s mission. Business cards employ subtle references to secret societies, and small black leather booklets were mailed out to colleagues, clients, and friends featuring a mariner’s story of risk and reward. Tight control of all brand assets kept the message consistent: Black Ink is an established insider, and for those in the know, just a secret handshake away from an in-depth conversation.