Officially founded in 2018, Zilligen Design Studio is the agile sports branding design boutique of CJ Zilligen.



Zilligen Design Studio is the agile sports branding design boutique of CJ Zilligen. A self-taught graphic designer with a track record in the sports branding industry since 2010, CJ began his career designing t-shirt graphics for the soccer and cross country teams of the two different high schools he attended in the Chicagoland area.

In late 2012, he attended North Central College to pursue a Graphic Arts degree. He continued to maintain a steady flow of freelance work, operating in a make-shift design studio that was a small college dorm room.

Before completing a full year, he dropped out to continue the momentum in his design business. Six months later at the age of 19, he was recruited to work full-time as an in-house graphic designer for Jimmy John’s, a popular sandwhich chain in the midwest.

The opportunity provided a breadth of real-world experience, working on projects including: ad campaign design, store design, product packaging, typeface design, NASCAR designs, directing photoshoots, icon design, app & website design, and more.

In August of 2017, after nearly 4 years of in-house design, CJ left behind a comfortable job to dedicate time to more meaningful projects and create opportunities to work with figures in the sports branding industry. The following calendar year, a small, self-titled, one-man team called “CJ Zilligen Design Studio” was born.

The studio has since been renamed to provide flexibility for growth, but the focus has remained the same – build unique visual identities and custom typography for brands of the sports industry. Zilligen Design Studio is capable and adaptable,working with clients that require anywhere from unique and thorough brand logo systems to design essentials that reinforce existing ones.

Our studio’s apporach is to tell a story while providing a visual solution with each project. The narrative behind the brand is just as important as its purpose. Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand they can create a connection with. Team names should align with the city they represent, color schemes should imply a desired feeling, and so on.

The design aesthetic in which we provide these solutions carefully balances detail and durability. An effective logomark is to be equally as appealing on a billboard as it would be embroidered on a hat, making detail very selective. With limited real estate, design elements are chosen carefully and must work together harmoniously.

We’re always looking forward to our next project, big or small. Keeping the client involved in the process is important to us, it helps ensure that the design is appropriate and effective. Send us an email – we’d love to help elevate your brand!

Select clients & creative partners: WWE, Salt Lake Stallions & Orlando Apollos of the AAF, BodyArmor, Holy Cross University, University of Tennessee, Greensboro College, Northwestern University, St. John’s University, Joe Bosack & Co., Torch Creative


Follow Zilligen Design Studio on Instagram: @cjzilligen