Creative team offers city ‘solutions’

Katherine Filice and Jason Raby stand near one of the new Articulate Solutions-designed wayfinding signs in Gilroy. Photo by: Bryce Stoepfel

If you’ve been in Gilroy, it’s likely that you have heard or seen work from the creative minds of Articulate Solutions.

The tagline, “A Community With a Spice for Life?” That’s from them. The wayfinding signs, like the “Welcome to Gilroy” signs? That’s their idea, too.
They also handle the marketing and advertising for the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the most critical weekend of the year in the city. And it all started 27 years ago in Katherine Filice’s kitchen in San Martin.

“We are a full-service creative agency,” Filice, 55, said. “We do everything from creating brands, logos and the basics of business design, all the way to website design. We do advertising and marketing plans for companies that don’t have marketing departments.”

Aside from the garlic festival and Gilroy Gardens, Articulate Solutions’ clients range from local downtown businesses to cities like Gilroy, San Jose and Santa Clara to global companies like Germains Seed Technology. Depending on what the customer needs and wants, it may cost hundreds or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Articulate Solutions has come a long way since its founding in Filice’s kitchen. Filice was born in Arizona but moved to the Bay Area as a child when her father took a Silicon Valley tech job. After graduating from San Francisco State University, Filice worked for Apple, an experience that exposed her to computers.

“I started the company with $35,” Filice said. “I did some freelance graphic design work; then I did some design work for a small Penny Saver magazine. When the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce asked me to design their newsletter, it got me connected to the local business community, and it opened a lot of doors.”

Gilroy is intertwined in the history of Articulate Solutions. Jason Raby, who did an internship with the firm fresh out of of Gilroy High School and who coded his first website at 12, helped Articulate Solutions find newer and better ways to utilize technology. Years later in 2013, he and Filice became full business partners.

“When he came in for an internship, I rolled my eyes,” Filice said. “But when he showed up, he was phenomenal and not your typical teenager. That is what triggered our growth. He brought a data-driven mindset. We match our left and right brains together.”

Raby, 31, would go off to study at Chico State, and even while he was studying abroad in Prague, he still worked remotely for Articulate Solutions. The tradition has carried on. Of 15 employees, six work remotely in San Jose and Chicago.

“It’s never difficult,” Filice said. “We have an integrated production system, and if we’re working across the hall or the country, it’s the same. The model allows us to be very responsive and flexible.”

Articulate Solutions has been downtown at 65 Fifth St. for 14 years. Starting with a single office, the business expanded twice to eventually occupy three office spaces.

As the summer months approach, so does the garlic festival. The festival has been a client of Articulate Solutions for eight years. Three years ago the company took over media relations and marketing for the festival, so it’ll be a busy month ahead.

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