jesse side view peter king isa 2015.jpg
jesse side view peter king isa 2015.jpg

JB Case Study


JB Case Study


A brand for a rising legend

identity and website for jesse billauer



Jesse's Story
Jesse was ranked as one of the top 100 junior surfers in the world, a breath away from turning pro. Surfing's golden boy. And then one day, on March 25, 1996, a wave slammed him headfirst into a sandbar, rendering him a quadriplegic. But with the love and loyalty of family, friends and the surf community, his spirit rose above his circumstance. Jesse has charged forward, starting a nonprofit foundation (Life Rolls On), sharing his story with audiences of all ages, winning the gold medal in the ISA World Championship, and marrying the love of his life in Malibu, California. He is on a journey to change the world, and he invites everyone he meets to join him. 


Jesse's initials – jb – are crafted into the shape of a winged phoenix rising up from adversity. (And there is a nod to Jesse's sport in the shape of a surfboard in the middle.) The tail of the bird (the lower swoosh of the "j" and the "b") is streamlined to conjure up the imagery of ocean waves.

To reflect Jesse's love of the ocean, we had originally selected a gorgeous blue. But as the project developed, both Jesse and I said, "GOLD!" Gold is the color of metamorphosis, melting down but coming back, reconfiguring into something even more beautiful, even more powerful. It also represents what is best, what is of the highest order. 


Logo Lettering
The lettering is built by hand. I wanted it to have an effortless flow – just like Jesse's surfing – and be unique, "ownable" by only him.


When I was creating the Life Rolls On website for Jesse last year, there were moments when I felt like I was in the deep end of the ocean without a life jacket. Jesse always said, "Trish, you got this." In one phone call, I swear he said this ten times. This experience came back to me as we were working on Jesse's identity. Propping people up, reminding people of their infinite potential ... that is what Jesse does with everyone. So ... the tagline wrote itself.

We wanted the website to be a window into Jesse's big world. An invitation to share in his genuine fearlessness. Whether you are interested in Jesse as a motivational speaker, nonprofit founder, potential brand ambassador for your organization, or cultural influencer, each facet of Jesse's world can be explored in one place.

We are so thankful for the professional photographers who have captured iconic moments over the years. We could not fully communicate Jesse's passion for life without these images. Photo Credits: Cat Gregory, Grey Lockwood, Peter King, C. Mudlo, John Watkins, Emily Scher, Anthony Manliguez and Lori Moilov