Jim Cohen
Founding Principal

Jim Cohen

Part alchemist, part sherpa and part producer, Jim is a trusted brand strategist and accomplished business advisor. He brings a diverse set of lenses and perspectives to his work; focused on the union of brand offering and experience design.

Jim has a depth of real-world experience as an architectural and graphic designer, musician, artist, chef and passionate student of the remarkableness of life. This empowers him to bring a holistic, authentic and innovative flavor and tone to the development, evolution and revolution of brands and their expression. Paired with his design thinking, his ability to inspire people, to collaborate with organizations and to navigate the complexity of markets and business, Jim is able to dig deep into a company’s soul, galvanize its essence and communicate its true potential.

For over 30 years, Jim has helped businesses uncover their authenticity, generate the courage, create bold ideas and sustain the commitment to new, truly differentiating products, experiences and environments. His clients include Starbucks, Sodexo, Coinstar / Redbox, Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the Tennis Corporation of America, the Lookingglass Theater Company, Sears, Getty, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, AT&T, JDL Development Corporation, the Frank Russell Company, the Buona Companies, Florsheim, Exxon, Kraft, Tishman, Wendy’s, among many others.

Jim founded Spark in 1992. Prior to that, he was a Senior Principal at RMM, Inc, one of the nation’s leading, highly recognized Interior Architectural Design firms. For seventeen years, Jim had an active, senior management role in the growth of the firm, driving key corporate client and commercial real estate relationships. He led numerous corporate headquarter projects, requiring deep insight into their businesses, cultures and organizations and provided trusted counsel to national developers and other design partners. After an acquisition by a Fortune 100 Service Company, the firm became the second largest in the design industry.

In 1989 he sought new opportunities and became a Principal at a leading Chicago based commercial real estate firm and then, relocating to Seattle became, the Director of Marketing for a prominent architectural interior design firm. Jim is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Chicago’s branding program and with other business and civic groups.

If you’re party to a devolving, evolving, tarnished or confusing brand…have lots of key players on different pages about what’s next, what’s new or what’s possible, need clarity in the face of complexity, focus in the face of fuzziness, or energy in face of stagnation, with regard to your direction and journey, Jim can get you going and help take you there.