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hows guide to branding


s p e c i a l c o ll e c t i o n

HOWs Guide
to Branding
HOW covers the world
of branding from how
designers have started
creating their own brands
to how you can help your
clients brands flourish in
a crowded market.
The End of Trend
What is the role of branding in our visually saturated world? Find out.

Birds Eye View


Joel Templin and Katie Jain run Hatch

Design as an incubator for their own
brands. Get the inside scoop on how to
develop successful new products.

Crafting your firms identity is a massive,

often painful, project. This digital design
studio reinvents its I.D. every 150 days.
Are they crazy? Try strategic.

by Stacey King Gordon

by Tiffany Myers

Look Out, World

Cult of Personality

If you dream of running a design business, meet the partners from LOGOSBRANDS. Three designers purchased an
existing firm, donned their business hats
and took the company global. They share
what theyve discovered about balancing
design and management.

What lifestyle does your brand represent?

Four winning ways to Extend Your Brand.

by Tom Zeit

by John Parham

(Re)making a Name
for Themselves

Is your Brand an

Two brave firms, that both realized that

change was necessary for future growth,
share the challenging process of creating new identities without destroying the
businesses they worked so hard to build.

How to tell and why it matters.

by Bryn Mooth

Any designer working on a multifaceted brand

understands the challenges of keeping design
and messaging consistent across a wide range of
media. Learn from three case studies of leading
consumer brands, where internal and external
creative teams work together to keep it all singing
the same tune.

Staffers at branding firm CBX rely on their training as actors to create brand stories and sell them
to clients. Learn how to tap into your theatrical
by Lisa Baggerman Hazen

by John Parham

Red Carpet Brand

Two ways to make celebrity sell.

Ultimately, its the designers job to

clearly communicate with clients and
colleagues, and to facilitate a common
understanding about colorand its role
in a brands visual expression.

Is Your Brand

by Terry Lee Stone

The Connection
Between Brand
and Archetypes
Brand archetypes can reveal how a brand
shows up in the world, how it is motivated and what triggers it. Archetypes can
facilitate the understanding of a brand
and why it attracts certain customers.
by Margaret Hartwell

by Michelle Taute

Theatrics at Work

Playing to the Fans

Color in Brand
Identity Design

by Matt Mattus

Brands in Perfect

by John Parham

7 Steps to Build a
Better Brand
Youre great at developing brands for your
clients. But how effective is your own?
A business expert shares his tips.
by Tim Williams

by John Parham

How to change consumer perception of

your brand.
by John Parham

How to Start
Mastering One
of the Most
Techniques in
Winning brand extensions are built on
strategy, and you cant create a solid
strategy without knowing the three basic
building blocks of brand extensions.
by John Parham


or the past twenty years, I have held a
number of creative positions at Hasbro,
the toy giant and maker of Transformers,
G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Monopoly, Scrabble,
Trivial Pursuit, Playskool, and Mr. Potato
Head, to name a fewbasically, most of the
classic toys and games we all grew up with.
My career path was pretty typical: I matured
from packaging designer to design manager
to creative director, until I moved into a new
group formed to take on the larger challenges of Hasbros emerging entertainment and
IP development.

IP stands for intellectual property, a term

typically associated with lawyers and gray
suits, but which has more recently taken on
a larger, creative definition. Today, behind the
doors of the worlds most competitive businesses, IP is quietly becoming a new way to
speak about brand development. It combines
the ideas of meaning, story and creativity
to go further than the original expression
of a brand into more surprising and effective experiences. Marketers might call it EQ
(emotional quotient). They might say its the
story of the brand, the meaning of the brand
or the brand essence. But whatever you call

Left: Optimus Prime, a character from Hasbros Transformers brand. Right, from top to bottom: Transformers movie poster. Design
concept for tween girl fashion magazine designed by the author. Blythe doll licensing guide, designed by the author. Megatron, another
Transformers robot. Special effects still from the Dreamworks feature film Transformers.



it, it explains todays explosion of brands in

unexpected places.
Its why a World of Coca-Cola store doesnt
seem out of place in Las Vegas. Its why Doves
Campaign for Real Beauty reduces women to
tears. Its why it makes sense to take a trip to
outer space on Virgin Galactic. And why the
Transformers movie was a project that Steven
Spielberg and Michael Bay were anxious to
take on.
Through the lens of brand expansion into
storytelling and entertainment, my view of
the role of creatives in the business envi-


ronment was forever changed. It was clear

where the role of visual arts in business
was inevitably going. It would no longer be
enough to simply communicate with the
consumer. Now, our job would be to move
the end-user emotionally, in the deepest possible way. So I set out to discover how others
were doing this to see what I could learn
from marketing powerhouses and young
upstarts alike.
In 2003, I moved into a role we titled Director of Visual Trends. I informed designers of
emerging trends that I gathered from travel-

Left: It seems that there is no escaping the branding of the world. Here, Tibetan wine is marketed in western China and Tibet. Center:
The Pepsi generations graphics translate well even deep in the Republic of Yemen. Right: If you think a Starbucks on every corner
completes the American experience, try Shanghai, China, or even Milan. As global brands grow, so does world sameness.



ing to known trend centers, as well as some

obscure ones. I dug into this role with gusto,
planned my first trend-hunting trip to all of
the major taste-making centers in the world,
and set off to chart the course of the future
for my company. From Tokyo to Milan, Los
Angeles to London, I explored whatever I
could findin alleys, galleries and boutique
shops. I dutifully captured my findings with
my digital camera, knowing that Id come
back to the office triumphant and inspiring
every designer in the company with a global
view of the big and small-but-soon-to-be-big
influencers around the world. I could see


the PowerPoint presentation in my head as I

boarded the plane.
But by the third leg of the trip, the PowerPoint
deck was not quite so clear in my mind any
longer. In fact, I was starting to get scared
that everyone would think Id been on a
whirlwind, worldwide boondoggle. I was seeing what other creatives were also just starting to uncover and it wasnt pretty.
It wasnt even ugly.
It was nothing.

Left: Chinese workers practice Tai Chi in front of posters for Disneys The Lion King, in Shanghai, China. Center: Even if you flunked your
last Turkish language class, you will hardly die of thirst in Istanbul. Right: In 2007, fans around the planet shared their excitement surrounding the premiere of Transformers. Here, a poster adds to the excitement in Hong Kong.


Global Sameness

Around the world, nothing much was new.

Oh sure, there was mid-century modernism, and craft, and the green movementall
microtrends I had already identified through
my daily Internet research back at the office.
But really, that wasnt what I was looking for
since I already knew those influences were
starting to mix. What surprised me first was
that besides the obvious cultural differences
in Japan or England, there was really very
little new beyond the mid-century modern
expressions that emerged back then. What

unique designs I did see were apparently

not adopted, as they often appeared only in
specialty boutiques and one-off artist shops.
Besides, those designs all contradicted each
other, so they couldnt be considered the next
hot trend.
And, to top things off, I couldnt really offer
anything new to answer the question executives always ask me. And you know the question. It sounds something like this: The
seventies are big right now. Can you show
me what the next hot look will be? Will it be
the eighties? I knew people back at the office

Brand identity can be expressed simply in form (and two colors). The IKEA experience still delivers to consumers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Top left: A Star Wars Stormtrooper guards over Londons Trafalgar Square during a promotion for the films debut. Photo by Bryan Allison.
Top right: Subway sandwich shop in Dubai. Bottom: A Gap store in Tokyos youth-trendy Harajuku section.





were expecting to hear big trend headlines.

All I was finding was yesterdays news.

instead, moving the bottom line forward, and

bottom lines love efficiency.

With that, I realized a larger and more important trend in design: that true, innovative work
was being done by few and noticed by even
fewer; that those who could break frame were
relegated to the side streets and back alleys of
culture. This gigantic influence of big business
on our culture today was, in fact, arresting the
very culture it was trying to market to. That
phrases like global efficiencies could actually
be culture killers. Business isnt interested in
moving the human experience forward but,

The truth is, it was so obvious that I never

considered it. We are now visually globalized.
Business became global, the Internet became
global, so why didnt I imagine that design
trends would become global? Not global by
being available to the entire world, but global by the fact that they have been integrated,
blurred, consumed and digested. Design
trends had been affected by all culturesnot
just oneand were ultimately transformed
into a murky, singular sea of a reinterpreted

Top: MPreis is redefining the food shopping experience in the Tyrolean Alps.The progressive Austrian food market chain
challenges various architects to make grocery shopping more of an experience than a chore. Bottom: Cappellini lamp by designer Marcel
Wanders at the Milan Furniture Fair. Furniture collection called Dream by Marcel Wanders at the Milan Furniture Fair.

mid-century-modern sameness. It was still all

stunning and beautiful design, but I couldnt
imagine what could be next.
You have probably noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell a Target TV
ad from a Sears ad. Once unique Starbucks
interiors with their artist-created murals and
comfortable atmosphere of Italian lamps and
lounge chairs now look like every other fast
food bistro, from Panera Bread to Boston
Market. Clothing retailers like J.Crew, Gap,
Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers all sell
similar merchandisechinos and khakis and

polo shirts. The democratization of design

is quickly becoming the homogenization of
design. Whats worse is that these restaurants
and retailers are found all over the world, and
they all carry the same merchandise at the
same time. A Gap in Tokyo has the same black
T-shirt for sale as the Gap in Paramus, New
Jersey. If this is what the goal of the democratization of design was, then I dont want it.
What does all this have to do with designers?
This ubiquitous-ness of design, as The New
Yorker architectural critic Paul Goldberger
puts it, is making us, in a sense, numbed by

Catalyst Studios Target animation for Times Square brings the Target experience to life, thirty stories
high. >> Brazilian illustrator Adhemas Batistas work for South American mobile phone giant Claro modernizes collage and helps it resonate with the youthful consumer the brand intends to reach.

too much design around us, by the sense that

it is all too familiar, and that we need what are,
in effect, higher and higher levels of design
intensity to respond. Sounds a little too much
like design addiction to me, but the point is
sound, especially if you are a designer in a
business that demands excellence and future
thinking on your part. In an over-designed
world, how does a designer design?

Technology has become a complicating factor to the challenge of design in several ways.

Not only has it brought about new tools and

software, easier connections, and the digital agesee The Digital Boomer Effect on
page 135it has made design accessible to
the masses.
Take shopping, for instance. Consumers are
under tighter scrutiny than ever before, as
technology allows the industry to track, measure and calculate every single purchase a
consumer makes. Manufacturers can instantly
gather statistics on how many of those Michael
Graves teapots have sold in every Target store
in America, so that as soon as one moves

>> A colorful and stylized composition by Adhemas Batista, created for the Sensorama Exhibition in Berlin, Germany. >> Australian firm
Elenberg Fraser reinvents the idea of ski lodge. This award-winning firm designed a world-class apartment hotel that brings the city to
the slopes. This pink, lavender and chrome playset for the rich is located at Mt. Buller ski resort, a three hour drive from Melbourne.

through the register, a manufacturing plant

(most likely in China) has that exact piece of
data on its screen. Inventory is managed down
to every individual Band-Aid box.
This information influences not only how
many to stock on the shelves, but who is buying what, where they are buying it, and how
many are sold. In short, it tracks the trends.
That might be too much information, though.
Its all data, no influence. If everything is
popular, there is no way to decipher actual
trends. Today, the rhythm of design has been
upended by so many converging and contra-

dictory influences that the days of trend are

numbered. Count em
Another effect is that the advances in computer
technology now allow pretty much anyone to
design. What at one time required typesetters,
type and copy fitters, copywriters, concept
designers, layout designers, mechanical artists,
photo art directors, print quality controllers
and printer approvals with film separators can
now be achieved by one person sitting behind
a desk with a computer and the marketing person standing over her shoulder saying,
Green doesnt sell. Make it blue.

>> Left: The power of design is best demonstrated by the principles behind Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living and MSLO brands.
Martha Stewart is actually less of a domestic diva and more of an ambassador to design excellence. Right: A Home Depot store, North
Americas answer to do-it-yourself home repair. >> A Michaels craft store aisle.

The availability of technology doesnt automatically transform someone into a designer. Its
not as simple as walking into an Apple Store
and buying a software program on design.
The tools of design available today are awesome, and may make it easier and more accessible for most anyone to attempt true design
creation, but a certain amount of talent, skill,
and education must also be present. Design
is a practice, but today it has also become a
pastime and a hobby. There is nothing wrong
with design as a hobby; in fact, I fully endorse
it as a mind-growing exercise, but there is a
risk emerging in our field, because there is

no such thing as a licensed graphic designer.

The future of artistic design may be headed
towards a messy collision until some parameters are established.
Do-It-Yourself Design

One threat to the future of visual design is

the do-it-yourselfers. Its Saturday morning at
the Home Depot, and a crowd builds around
the paint chip aisle. Eager homemakers,
swatches in hand, match tints of sage green
and butter yellow to cushions and upholstery.
Professional designers and colorists shriek

as these homemade creatives select paint

chips as if their living rooms were lit with
the same florescent lights as the store. They
are in desperate need of design intervention.
The entire system supports them, too, with
companies like Disney, Ralph Lauren and
Martha Stewart having licensed paint lines.
Television programs pitch designer against
designer, and make designing ones bedroom
a reality show. DIY (do it yourself) is even a
cable television network. Is this simply selfexpression? Or is it a, Its fun to design! sort
of play experience? Or, is it a new movement
of do-it-yourself-so-you-dont-have-to-hire-a-

designer-to-do-it? (A quick note on crafts:

Craft stores such as Michaels and Jo-Ann are
in every town in America. From scrapbooking
to quilt-making, these craft cultures are not
really about design at all. They are more about
self-expression than design. They use established designs, then assemble and customize
them. This is design by template. Its fun and
safe. There is no threat to designers.)
Today, anyone can declare himself creative.
Creativity is no longer exclusive to the creative class, but is encouraged in everyone.
Proof of designs new validation in business

>> Snap Wrap wrapping paper by Catalyst Studios of Minneapolis, Minnesota. >> Silk screen illustrations by Pasadena, California, artist
Steven Harrington, 2008.

>> Silk screen illustrations by Pasadena artist Steven Harrington, 2008. >> Illustration for The Coke Side of Life
campaign by Non-Format.

is the fact that the most respected business

schools are opening design programs. Stanford, the consummate B school, has now
opened a D school. Leading business publications, such as the Harvard Business Review
and BusinessWeek, have featured design as
one of the last platforms on which to compete. As the value of design rises to the top,
expect greater competition and greater definition between those who are capable and
those who are less. Gifted designers with
the skill to assemble breakthrough ideas
will have to work harder to rise above the
crowds of linear-thinkers who are more con-

cerned about the process of design than the

visual aspect.
The rise of individualized design affects
the design community in both positive and
negative ways. The positive effect, of course,
is that we need more designersespecially
good ones. It has resulted in new recognition and awareness of the value of good
design. But now anyone can declare himself a designer, which trivializes a career
in design. This poses a serious challenge
for anyone seeking creative talent, but who
might not be qualified to evaluate it (see

Making Changes to a Creative Organization

on page 148).

design those templates. That someone is the

real designer.

However, there will still be opportunities

for those who have the skills and talent to
produce quality design. Even though anyone
can explore his creative side through Apples
iLife software or the Martha Stewart Living
Omnimedia web site by clicking and dragging
images onto templates, someone still has to

Someone with extraordinary talent who can

create pure newness in a world of sameness
will rise to the top. Creative excellence will
draw a deep and impenetrable line between
those who play with design and those with
the rare talent to create magic.

>> Non-Formats 2006 exhibition Make A Fuss at Vallery, Barcelona, Spain. >> Center: Music packaging for Anoice Remmings, Important
Records. Bottom: Carhartt might mean wholesome work wear in America, but the brand also has become successful as an alternative
expression to urban street culture in many parts of Northern Europe. Budapest designer Karoly Kiralyfalvi is one of many artists hired

by the brand to customize their stores, each one unique and irresistable to the skaters, skallies and fashionistas who are hungry for an
alternative statement of authenticity.


How do you make every piece of your clients brand sing
together? Take a few lessons in brand unity from Sesame
Street, Guitar Hero and Coca-Cola Happiness Factory.


With hundreds of licensees,

how do you make sure Big
Bird always looks like Big
Bird? By using style guides
and an approval process for
every Sesame Street product.

Life would be a lot easier if all the brands you worked

on only lived in one place. But even small brands
often resemble groups of wandering nomadswith
websites, social media accounts, print materials and
more. All of these different elements can easily take on
their own personalities, but as a designer, its your job
to make sure theres a unied effort across the entire
brand. Easier said than done, right? We tapped three
top brands and the creative teams behind them to nd
out their strategies for keeping all those nomads speaking the same language and wearing the same clothes.
Think quick: Whats your favorite Sesame Street
memory from childhood? Maybe you loved reciting
numbers with the bright purple Count Von Count or


watching Cookie Monster devour a sweet treat. Or,

heck, you might have just wondered how Big Bird grew
to be more than 8 feet tall. And thats just the trouble
with keeping an iconic 40-year-old brand on the same
page: Every consumer brings an emotional connection
to the table, and in this case, the table includes more
than 700 consumer product licensees worldwide.
These are people outside Sesame Workshopthe
nonprot behind the showwho design everything
from toys, clothes and books to coffee mugs and
games, all featuring characters and other brand elements made familiar by the TV show. So how do they
keep Sesame Streets look, feel and essence the same
when its touched by so many hands? Very carefully.
I think a lot of designers end up designing from
a childhood memory of the show rather than how

5/6/10 6:21:56 PM

wed like Sesame Street portrayed now, according to

Theresa Fitzgerald, vice president of creative services
at Sesame Workshop. Were often sorting through
dated-looking designs.
Fitzgeralds 15-person department actually heads
up the approval process for roughly 18,000 consumer
products a year that all those outside partners create.
So when a design for a Big Bird T-shirt or a Bert and
Ernie storybook hits the ofce, theyre always trying to
push those designs forward: Can we make it fresher?
Can we make it cleaner? Can we make it simpler?
Can we make it feel more contemporary? For a single
product, her team might see two rounds of designs and
a prototype before the item receives the green light for
production, providing feedback at every stage.
One of the biggest tasks is making sure all the
brand standards are upheld, and to that end, Sesames
creative services department creates ve to 10 style
guides a year to cover different aspects of the brand.
These manuals are where outside partners nd the
CMYK and RGB colors for Elmo and Big Bird and
learn that the Sesame Street logo must always appear
right-side-up and horizontal. Historically, these guides
were physical books with DVDs in the back full of
visual assets, including perhaps 500 to 1,000 pieces
of art and even custom fonts developed in-house. But
now the company is working to move these guides
online to save money and paper.
Managing such a large brand and approval process,
however, means constantly changing and adapting.
About ve years ago, there were actually two different
creative divisions within the company. They werent
aligned and so they would almost be creating competitive style guides, says Noah Broadwater, vice president of information services. One would be sending
it out for vendors to use on our websites, to use in our
marketing materials. The other group was creating it
for packaging for licensees. So our packaging and our
marketing and our website materials didnt look the


same. Today all those style guides come from one unied creative department.
They also put a lot of thought into how Sesame
Streets core assets can be deployed across a variety
of media. A shoot for the television show may include
extra takes that could end up in an interactive game
with the same theme as the episode. Even pictures
of the shows set might end up as assets for marketing
materials or products. And since everything ows from
the TV show, Sesame Street creates one integrated
message across the entire brand. When they start
writing scripts for Sesame Street, theyre thinking
about how those scripts can be used in interactive
media, Broadwater says. Theyre thinking about how
those scripts are going to translate into potential books,
how thats going to translate into home video.
Right now the company is making an effort to
keep the big picture on track. Theyre partnering with
San-Francisco-based Ofce to re-evaluate the brands
place in the market and create an overall brand book.
Its an exercise the company hasnt done for 10 years,
and theres no shortage of material to draw from. The
contents of the show are rich and deep and wide,
Fitzgerald says. Its a show that works on humor. It
has celebrities. It has parodies. It uses all kinds of
cultural inuences and pop culture. And so as we try
to unify our branding at Sesame Street, it should be a
creative lter that helps anchor us in the world, but
actually frees up the designers to do new things.
Before revamping Guitar Heros online presence,
parent company Activision followed a model similar
to that of a lot of game publishers: They launched
another micro site every time a new title came out. You
could visit sites for Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar
Hero Smash Hits and, for the headbangers, Guitar
Hero Metallica. Even ad campaigns for the game
merited separate micro sites, and the user community
lived on a different site, too. A simple landing page
served as Guitar Heros main online home and sent
you off to all these individual destinations. You ended
up with a very fragmented brand presence, says Ken
Martin, chief creative ofcer at BLITZ, an agency in
Santa Monica hired by Activision. When we entered
in, it was just a lot of stuff all over the place.
So in late 2009, the digital agency worked with
Activision to create one powerful online hub for Guitar
Hero, a single place for fans to rock out and interact
with the brand. Previously, the games online community site primarily appealed to hardcore gamers, so a
big goal for the new site was mass appeal. It needed to
keep traditional gamers interested without intimidating what Martin calls the Wii moms, shorthand for
casual gamers. In order to do that, we really needed
to make it very simple and effortless for you to kind of
connect the community activities with the actual game
play, he says. Our mantra through the build was that
theres no community section of this new site. The site
is the community.
The new site focuses on a shared love for music
and an online social interaction thats reminiscent of

5/6/10 6:22:30 PM

Facebook. When you pull up the site, theres a Guitar

Hero music chart down the right-hand side that shows
you the most popular songs and newest downloadable
tracks. Registering on the site adds even more functionality for serious gamers. It allows you to connect
directly with your game console to track your Guitar
Hero statistics. Plus, you can chat with other players
in the forum about strategies or game gear and even
compete in Guitar Hero tournaments.
Graphically speaking, GuitarHero.com rocks a simple, pared-down look. As the hub, it really needs to
be somewhat agnostic to a game title, Martin says. So
instead of leveraging artwork from individual games,
which cover a range of music genres, the site reverses
the Guitar Hero logo from black and creates a simple
backdrop that still feels like the brand. This approach
creates a framework for introducing new games within
the hub instead of on individual micro sites, a move
that consolidates the games online community and
reduces marketing costs. And without in-your-face
game art, its more welcoming to the casual videogame player. Hardcore fans log in for all the added
The new site also embraces all the third-party
sitesfrom Facebook to YouTube to Diggwhere
people were already talking about the brand. The sites
news section, for instance, is completely powered by
Digg, and the BLITZ team integrated YouTube as the
video-serving platform for the site. By doing the latter,
all the eyes watching videos on GuitarHero.com count



After linking your console to the Guitar Hero site, you can see
the songs you just played, learn how you stacked up against
other people and even join tour groups.

5/6/10 6:22:48 PM


The new Guitar Hero hub (top) is game-agnostic, pulling

together fans of everything from Guitar Hero Aerosmith to
Guitar Hero World Tour in one place. Older sites (bottom)
tended to leverage more game-specic artwork.


as YouTube views and help increase the games search

results on this external video site. This move alone
increased video engagement by 500%, and thats just
one of the impressive metrics for the site.
Trafc has doubled since the new hub launched,
and site registration has increased 50%. I believe
thats due to the fact that now its worth registering,
Martin says. Theres stuff for you to do. Theres stuff
for you to interact with. The agencys online integration efforts also helped push Guitar Hero past the
one million fan mark on Facebook. But perhaps most
impressively, revenue from sales in the online store,
which was re-branded to Guitar Hero, rose 300%.
Martin says the site takes the best part of game
micro sitesthe immersion in the game contentand
marries it with a strong social strategy. Peers are really
the greatest inuence on the purchase decision, says
Martin. Being able to allow product information to sit
comfortably next to social commentary, through and
through, is a key element. So go ahead, watch the
trailer for that Guitar Hero game you have your eye
on, then click over to the message boards and see what
everyones saying about it.

5/10/10 1:14:37 PM


Playing 3D games on the

Coca-Cola Happiness
Factory 3 site unlocks downloads, such as screensavers,
ringtones and iron-on shirt


You may remember the Coca-Cola Happiness Factory
campaign from those fabulous TV commercials harkening back to the early 2000s. They took you inside a
Coke vending machine, where a world of magical, animated creatures prepares your beverage after you drop
a few coins in the slot. These happy-while-they-work
characters also live online, and by the time Sapient
Interactive dove in on the digital campaign in 2009,
the Happiness Factory website (www.hf3.coca-cola.
com) was entering its third phase. I think what they
wanted was a more immersive experience, and thats
what we were really gunning for as well, says Jimmy
Allen, creative director at Sapient. We really wanted
to make it look and feel like a video game.
Rather than unifying a disjointed brand, this project
gave the digital agency the chance to play within the
space of an existing, highly creative campaign. They
studied the Happiness Factory bible, a detailed guide
to all the characters created by Wieden+Kennedy, and
acquired visual assets from other agencies. One shop
sent over a huge hard drive, and the Sapient team


pored over those materials and more. We studied the

commercials and how the characters interacted with
each other, Allen says. We studied the environment
before we even came up with one concept. Thats a
really important aspect of all the stuff that we do. We
try to explore as much of whatevers already been created before we come up with any concept.
The team knew the ins and outs of Happiness Factory before digging in, but they still had to make sure
all the details stayed just right across the micro site,
banner ads, iPhone app and MSN Messenger games.
One way the agency achieves consistency for any
brand is by working in small teams. For this project,
there were two senior art directors, one art director, a
copywriter and Allen. He might put one of his senior
art directors in charge of the micro site, one in charge
of the iPhone app and check in with both of them
periodically. Its an intense working process over three
or four months, Allen says. But, we realized that by
keeping this small team, youre less likely to make mistakes, because everybody kind of owns something.
This small group created or oversaw just about
everything for Happiness Factory 3. The micro site

5/10/10 1:13:31 PM


If youre not into playing

games on MSN Messenger
(above), you could challenge
a friend to an iPhone game
via Facebook Connect (right).


5/10/10 1:13:45 PM


MSN Messenger games let

users experience Happiness
Factory in real time as they
compete against friends,
while banner ads (above)
added another touch point
to the campaign.

itself takes you inside the life of the humble factory

worker. You can watch HD video of the factory, or play
games that let you slide down an ice luge or y high
above the factory in a pedal-powered contraption. The
MSN Messenger games let you compete against your
friends in such simple tasks as outrunning kissy puppies, whimsical little creatures within the Happiness
Factory. Banner ads promote the site, and the iPhone
app offers up yet another gaming experience.
But all these different digital applications came
with a range of le-size requirements. On the micro
site, for instance, theres plenty of room to introduce
players to the animated characters, who might walk up
and start waving at you from the screen. A Messenger
game, on the other hand, needs to t within smaller
le-size limits. We might have to save that sequence
in fewer frames, Allen says. So you might actually see
a sketchier version of [a character] waving.
Theres also an art to making sure all the little
details stay the same across the entire campaign.
On this project, for instance, the team worked with
a group of animators and developers hand-in-hand,


day-and-night. But at one point, a new person came

into the fold and started doing his own shading and
adding it into the comps and animation. A couple of
days went by and the team started to ask, Whats
wrong with this character? He doesnt look the same.
On closer examination, they realized the little guy had
different shading on the arm, a different lighting pattern or maybe the source of light was coming from a
different spot. You notice those subtle differences,
Allen says. They really do give a different feeling.
Michelle Taute is a freelance writer and editor
living in Cincinnati, and a frequent HOW contributor. Shes the author of Design Matters: Brochures,
and creates copy for major consumer brands. Her
work has also appeared in magazines ranging from
Metropolis to Better Homes and Gardens.
B L I T Z S A N TA M O N I CA , CA www.blitzagency.com
S A P I E N T I N T E RA C T I V E M I A M I www.sapient.com
S E S A M E W O R K S H O P N E W YO R K C I T Y www.sesameworkshop.org

5/12/10 12:19:05 PM



At branding rm CBX, theyre not just selling a logo, theyre
selling a story. Talents gleaned from the dramatic arts help
sharpen this staff s presentation and branding skills.

In addition to playing the

role as the strategist at CBX,
Rick Fox, left, is a musician and a comedian. Right,
Jason Hackett, Rick Barrack,
Sandra Creamer and Dustin
Longstreth also bring their
vivacious personalities to the
table at CBX.


Although they may seem to come from disparate

worlds, branding and acting share two distinct qualities: a passion for storytelling and an inquisitiveness
regarding human nature. At CBX, an independent
branding rm with ofces and partnerships in the
U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia, youll nd
brand strategists who also happen to be practicing
musicians, aspiring comedians and classically trained
actors. These creatives tap into their performance
skills to craft spot-on brand messaging and compelling
client presentations.
Jason Hackett, senior vice president of brand activation (who also graduated with honors in theater)
says, Acting and branding both share a common
thread of narrative, and require an understanding of
the human condition and human emotions. From the
days of P.T. Barnum, theres always been the concept
of sales and marketing your wares. Clients dont want
you to just sell them a logo. They want you to sell them
and the end consumer a story. Its all about creating a
brand story that remains consistent and compelling
across different media and engages the end user.
You dont have to be a trained performer or even
like performing to harness these skills. They wont

just help you with client presentations, but theyre

also invaluable when it comes to creating your brands
story. Heres how some CBX employees use their acting and performance experience to proverbially set a
stage, craft a compelling story, and connect with consumers and clients.
If you ask chief creative ofcer and founding partner
Rick Barrack what business CBX is in, hell tell you its
primarily in the art of storytelling. When you develop
a brand, you engage the audience or consumer in a
story, he says. The story should have the power to
provoke an emotional reaction and create a connection. Its the connection that creates loyalty, and thats
what were trying to do: create loyal consumers.
Barrack has a performance background of his own.
He attended the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville, KY, and trained at Carnegie Mellon Universitys
renowned theater program. Despite the abundance of
employees with backgrounds in the performing arts at
CBX, he says this isnt something they actively seek in
employees. Yet, he recognizes the merits of this experience. Employees with dramatic backgrounds have

9/7/10 1:59:56 PM

By Dustin Longstreth, CBX strategy director
1) EMPATHY A theater professional uses empathy to see the
world from a range of different viewpoints. Similarly, the branding professional must have the ability to understand a range
of different perspectives in order to tap into the emotions and
insights that make a brand experience honest, relevant and compelling to the target consumer.
2) ENTREPRENEURIALISM Theater and branding are both
fueled by self-starters with a passion to create new forms of
expression. Theater and brand professionals are not afraid to
fail in their pursuit of new. You can only progress by creating,
testing, failing and improving.
3) STORYTELLING The next time you tell a story or give a presentation, have a point. This is simple and obvious, yet so many
professionals fail to grasp this basic concept. Those with theater
training understand the power of a compelling narrative.
4) COLLABORATION Brandslike playsare not created in isolation. There are a range of talents and creative points of view
needed in order to create an authentic, unique and compelling
experience, not least of which is the audience itself. Similarly,
a logo or product isnt a brand without the participation of


Young women want their sugar sweet, stylish and, above

all, subtle. So CBX created a designer series of portable
mist canisters for Splendaa longtime client.



When the 90s favorite Snapple was left in the dust by avored waters, the beverage giant turned to CBX for a facelift.
Through a full brand redesign, recommended healthier ingredients, and the creation of better avor choices and innovative
new products, CBX helped make Snapple snappy again.

been fruitful for our companys culture, Barrack says.

It has been interesting to see how they have inuenced our people and clients. Many dramatic personalities have an innate ability to capture an audience.
A product alone isnt a story, but a brand can be.
Products do not become brands until theyre brought
to life through the creative collaboration of manufacturers, brand managers, consumer research specialists,
account directors, strategists, designers, production
specialists, retailers, and, most important, consumers,
says Dustin Longstreth, strategy director and former
longtime actor with years of professional training. If
the work isnt grounded in insights that translate into
products and experiences that consumers actually care
about, then were just a bunch of marketers trapped in
our clever little bubble of brand hyperbole.
In the same way performers tell a story on stage,
those in brand marketing must give the client a story
to connect to within the brand. Theater is a participatory art form. The audiences energy and focus directly
affects the performers on stage, Hackett says.
The campaigns that CBX created for Duane Reade,
a New York City-based chain of convenience and drug
stores, evoked an urban narrative for their premium
food brand, Delish. Duane Reade portfolio products
are a story in and of themselves, Barrack says. Our
mission was to broaden Duane Reades private brand
product appeal while enhancing its position as the
preferred store for New Yorkers. Understanding, communicating and connecting with the New York lifestyle
was critical to building a story that would get New
Yorkers attention. For each product line, through both

9/7/10 2:00:11 PM


When this New York City

drugstore chain wanted to
redesign its private label
products, it asked CBX,
a rm they described as
understanding the quintessential New York shopper,
to make its 2,000 SKUs
unforgettable. The resulting packaging and overall
brand expression supported
Duane Reades new positioning, New York Living
Made Easy, and elevated
its overall status.

visual and verbal messaging, we engage New Yorkers

in a familiar dialogue thats uniquely New York and ts
with the New York lifestyle.
The concept of performance arts and branding translates more literally when youre talking about delivering a client presentation. The rst thing both actors
and marketers must learn is that every story and message begins and ends with the audience. Working
with clients is very similar to being a performer, says
Nicole Travis, account director. You need to be able
to read your audience and adjust your performance
accordingly. Enunciation, demeanor, pitch and facial
expressions all play a role in the success of connecting
with the audience. As the audience changes, so must
your character.
Travis has a different type of talent besides acting
that she also draws from when dealing with clients
on a daily basisformal training in the martial arts.
My martial arts background gives me an awareness
of my surroundings, and has trained me to be able to
shift on a dime, she says. Creatively, if were given an
unexpected project, we need to be able to shift things
around to make it work. Try as you might, you cant
always control the situation. You need to be able to
adapt when people throw different things at you.
When youre in a client presentation, theres a
wealth of information in your audiences body language. Ninety percent of communication is non-verbal in these meetings, says Rick Fox, a strategist for
CBX who also performs as a musician and a come-


dian. Be aware of how your audience is responding.

Are they shifting around in their chairs and playing
with their BlackBerries? Or are they leaning forward,
engaged? Reading these cues helps you know if youll
need to improvise to somehow pull your audiences
attention back in.
Its essential not only to engage your audience, but
also to deliver the right message to them. A lot of
prospective clients we pitch to must sit through eight
to 10 presentations on the same topic from different
agencies, says Crystal Bennett, vice president of business development. You have just a few seconds to
read the room when you walk in. Does this group just
want the bottom-line message, or would they prefer a
lengthier story with all the details? Either way, its most
important to keep your message compelling.
Perhaps most important, a successful presentation
is about being rooted in the moment. As an actor,
your goal is always to be present, Longstreth says.
You cant think ahead to what the next line is. When
youre living in the moment, youre connectingyoure
having a conversation with someone.
Many techniques learned through acting can help you
improve the actual delivery of your client presentations. The biggest one is about setting an intention,
Longstreth says. The words you use, the gestures you
make, the tone you take, the exhibits you show, the
energy you bring are all for the purpose of inciting an
action. In a presentation, you obviously want the client
to understand the points youre making. But, you also

9/7/10 2:00:36 PM


Research proved that 14to-22-year-old women like

straight talk. As a result,
CBXs packaging for U by
Kotex, a new brand of tampons, liners and pads, features black boxes with bright
colors that broke from the
patronizing pastel hues and
oral patterns of the category.


What does it take to invest

in hope? CBX helped create
a beautiful and meaningful
look for a $50 million gift
campaign at The American
Cancer Societys Hope Lodge.
This is where cancer patients
can live and get treatment
free of charge. Elegant collateral materials featuring
the personal stories of past
residents and donors subtly
inspired individuals to give
from their hearts.

want the client to be able to make decisions and take

action. Starting with a clear understanding of your ultimate intention provides the focus needed for dynamic
presentations and brands.
Many performers need to mentally coach themselves to slow down when theyre on stage, a concept
that also applies to client presentations. If you consciously tell yourself to slow down, youre probably at
the right speed, Fox says. I like how President Obama
pauses before he speaks. This also is an opportunity to
think about the next thing you say. Be constantly cautious of your tempo and speed.
Its a given that presentations wont always run
smoothly. Client presentations are about being
genuine, Bennett says. Whether youre on stage acting or presenting in a business setting, its about being
a real person. If you mess up in a presentation, make
light of the situation, add some humor or levity. Were
all humans, and we want to connect in a real way.
Channeling drama school basics like mastering
breath, enunciation and facial expressions are great
tools for gaining an edge in a client presentation, too.
Theres nothing worse than being in a presentation
with someone who has a shaky voice or doesnt enunciate enough, Bennett says. Acting school teaches
you to connect with your diaphragm and access your
emotions. These are great tools to help you strengthen
your message.



Not everyone is a born actor or a gifted storyteller.
Keep in mind that these are traits that need to be
developed, honed and polished. Practice can help you
sharpen and build them, even if you dont count performing arts as one of your innate talents.
Practice makes perfect. Thats it, Travis says.
Like martial arts, presenting is about muscle memory
and repetition. About 1% of people who present on a
regular basis enjoy it. Few people are born with this.
Just keep putting yourself in uncomfortable situations
again and again, and itll gradually get easier.
Fox cites Malcolm Gladwells 10,000 hour rule
that to be really good at something, you need to practice it for 10,000 hours. You have to start somewhere,
Fox says. Its about building condence. Wear clothes
that make you feel condent. Own the material you
create. Put your own spin on it.
Last, Barrack emphasizes that all is for naught if you
dont believe in what youre selling. Get in touch with
your inner passion, and the rest will follow, he says. If
you tap into your passion, youll be able to deliver your
message in a compelling, engaging way.

Lisa Baggerman Hazen is a Chicago-based writer

and web designer. www.lisahazen.com
C B X N E W YO R K C I T Y www.cbx.com

9/7/10 2:00:52 PM



Part design startup, part business incubator, Hatch Design

is a groundbreaking company that lives up to its name.

What would you do if you had a chance to start over

to wipe the slate clean and reinvent yourself?
For most people, that question is the fun fodder
for daydreams. But it was more than whimsy for Joel
Templin and Katie Jain, the principals of Hatch Design
in San Francisco. In April 2007 the two co-workers,
faced with the closure of the design rm where theyd
worked for years, threw out all their preconceptions
and started a new kind of company. You might even
say they gambled everythingbut thats a piece of the
story well get to later.
Located in San Franciscos North Beach neighborhood, Hatch is a branding and design agency with a
small and highly productive team of designers and an
impressive client baseafter only a year in business,
the rm boasted a portfolio of work for Apple, Starbucks, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Hilton, American Eagle
Outtters, JanSport and many other A-list companies.
But Templin and Jain also founded Hatch with
the intent to leave the agencys structure open and to
explore new ventures, with the possibility of becoming
an incubator for new brands. At press time, the rm
was planning to hatch its rst golden egg: JAQK
Cellars, a line of stellar wines and the beginning of an
aesthetically appealing lifestyle brand.
48 DECEM B ER 2008

HATCH.indd 48

It may seem that Hatch came a long way in a surprisingly short period of time, but the startup spirit was in
the companys blood.
In 1998, Templin founded Templin Brink Design
(T.B.D.) with Gaby Brink, his former colleague from
the internal design group at the San Francisco ofce
of ad agency Foote, Cone and Belding. During the
next nine years, the rm launched successful brands
and ad campaigns for companies across various sectors
and industriesfrom tech giants Oracle and Cisco to
retailer Target to the Bay Area-based boutique Charles
Chocolates. In 2004 Templin Brink was named one
of the 100 fastest-growing companies in the Bay Area
by the San Francisco Business Times. The same year,
Templin and Brink were recognized among the Best
and Brightest Designers by Graphic Design USA.
But all good things, as the saying goes, must eventually come to an end. In March 2007, T.B.D. screeched
to a sudden halt. My old business partner and I
decided that wed had a good run, but that we had different views, so we decided to go our separate ways,
Templin says. The partners wasted no time: Only days
after theyd made their decision at the end of March,
they began the process of shutting down the rm. We
waited until April 2 to tell the staff so they wouldnt
W W W. H O W D E S I G N . C O M

9/16/08 11:37:39 AM


To announce their existence,

the Hatch team sent this
mailer with a simple statement about the company and
its philosophybut inside
the sleeve was so much more.
Clients were thrilled with the
letterpress and screen-printed
bird mobile with a red string
that wrapped around the card
and could be used to easily
assemble the piece. More
than a year after mailing it,
Hatch still gets requests for
copies of the bird mobile.


HATCH.indd 49

H O W 49

9/16/08 11:38:07 AM


In keeping with its birdiethemed brand, Hatch

launched its most interactive
self-promotion to date in
spring of 2008: an egg-coloring contest. Hatch mailed an
Easter egg coloring kit in a
colorful box (reminiscent of
the PAAS brand kits everyone knew and loved as kids)
complete with color tablets,
a wire egg dipper, egg stands,
decorative stickers and a
white crayon, and directed
recipients to a website where
they could upload pictures
of their designs. The rm
received 147 entries and
plans to hold the contest
every year.


Hatch business cards are

printed on heavy, egg carton-like paper with stamped
lettering, helping them stand
out from the rest. Card
details are printed on bright
stickers that fasten to the
cards, allowing for variety.

HATCH.indd 50

think it was an April Fools joke,

Templin says.
Busy wrapping up client work
and selling the ofce building,
Templin hadnt thought too much
about what would happen next.
Luckily, colleague Katie Jain, who
had worked for T.B.D. for four years,
had that part covered. We had lunch,
and Katie shared an idea shed had for a
creative agency that was also an opportunity to launch
new products, Templin says. The pair decided they
had nothing to lose.
They started spreading the word among the T.B.D.
team within days. Amazingly, every single member of
the teamall the designers and the companys longtime bookkeeperchose to join Jain and Templin in
their new venture. Jain began shopping for an ofce
space and fell in love with the rst place she visitedcoincidentally, the birthplace of another design
startup, the modern architectural design magazine
Dwell. (See the Workspace column on page 36 to
learn more about Hatchs inspiring interior.)
T.B.D. closed its doors April 27, and Hatch Design
launched May 1. Because of the whirlwind pace, the
new ofce wouldnt be ready for another month, so the
entire team worked from their homes in the interim.
The rst week, Katie drove around with computers

setting everyone up. Our rst meeting was in my living room, and everyone networked to a printer at my
house, Templin says.
Templin and Jain didnt have to sit around waiting for
the phone to ring. Almost as soon as the word got out
about the new company, clients began calling them.
But the partners also wanted to take some time
to gure out the Hatch brand and to build a balance
that would extend beyond client work. We went into
it thinking wed split it up, 80% on client work and
20% on our own brand and projects, Jain says. We
originally planned to set aside one day a week to let
designers play and explore.
But the team quickly discovered that such a structured divide wouldnt work. The creative process is so
tough to control that way, Jain says.
Nevertheless, each member of the team set aside
time to seed and envision the new design rms brand.
The rst hurdle was determining the name for the new
endeavor. Templin and Jain put freelance writers and
naming experts on the case when they rst conceived
the idea for the company, but the Hatch name came to
Jain when she was in the shower one morning.
It ended up being the perfect name, she says. Not
only had a brand-new life emerged for the creative
agency, but the new company was founded with the

9/16/08 11:38:25 AM

intent to nurture new products and brandsand the

name t those themes perfectly.
The design team got to work scoping out Hatchs
brand, including its visual identity. About a month
after the company launched, Hatch mailed a selfpromotional piece to clients. On the outside was a
simple, folded sleeve with a short introduction to the
company, directing recipients to the rms website.
Opening the wrap produced a whole new experience:
Inside, encased in stamped and textured cardboard,
was an exquisitely crafted punch-out bird mobile that
included the rms logo and the phrase Inspiration
is in the air. The mailing sparked call after call from
excited contacts and potential new clients.
Since then, Hatch has maintained the buzz with
ongoing self-promotional materials and events. To
involve recipients, every piece is interactive in some
way, requiring action from the client. A new self-promotion is mailed to clients every three or four months.
It came to us naturally at rst, but now its starting to
become more of a plan, Templin says.
Each piece also adds another incremental brick to
the brand that Hatch is building. We eventually want
to become a brand, but were letting it happen organically, Jain says. Weaving an ongoing avian theme
through each piece, Hatch also uses the self-promotions to showcase the companys particular strength:
the handcrafted quality of its designers work.

With everything we do, you can tell a person was

behind it, that it was illustrated by a human being,
Jain says, referring to the richly textured quality that
often characterizes Hatch Designs work. Templin
points out that everyone on the design team is an illustrator and that it shows in the type of work for which
Hatch is known.


In fact, its that reputation that has kept Hatch so busy
since opening its doors. Templin says that the clients
who come to them tend to do so because theyre interested in the companys richly illustrative approach.
This allows Hatch to be selective and delve deeply into
projects that they closely align with.
People come to us because they like our work,
so if the work isnt our very best, its our own fault,
Templin says. Everything we do has potential.
Whether its the lush overprints on boutique packaging for Charles Chocolates or layers of stamped
patterns and gritty type on clothing tags for American
Eagle Outtters and Levis, or imaginative graphics
on holiday Coke cans, Hatchs work expresses depth,
dimension and often whimsy.
Not that working with Hatch means clients projects automatically take on a signature look, Jain says.
Everything we do has a totally different style. We let
each project be what it needs to be.

Joel Templin and Katie

Jain, former colleagues at
Templin Brink Design in San
Francisco, set out to create a
new model for their creative
rm, Hatch Design: part
design agency, part business

W W W. H O W D E S I G N . C O M

HATCH.indd 51

9/16/08 11:38:52 AM


JAQK Cellars is Hatchs own

brand of wine, having
envisioned, branded and
designed the entire line. The
bottles are custom designed,
creating intrigue and giving
it a high-end allure. The patterns are etched or printed
onto each bottle.

HATCH.indd 52

In the short time Hatch has been in business,

and with so much focus drawn to side projects, the
question naturally arises: How do you keep a creative
team motivated and focused in order to produce such
a wide body of work? Part of the fuel for any startup,
of course, is the initial rushthe excitement of being
part of something new, and the creativity that naturally
emerges when working in the zone to launch something you believe in. But those involved with startups
also know that once routine sets in, it can be hard to
maintain that momentum.
The rm keeps things loose by maintaining a fully
collaborative environment, Templin and Jain say. This
goes beyond the usual open oorplan: Impressively,
theres no hierarchy regarding who gets to work on
which project. And even if one designer owns a certain
assignment, all the others stay involved so the project
benets from many minds. There are no egos here,
Jain says. Everyone wants everything to be the best.
To stay inspired, the designers pore over reference
materials that may come from anywherefrom old
design books to vintage product packagingand throw
things up on the big white wall in their little light-lled
studio to get new ideas.
Theres one kind of inspiration, however, that the
Hatch designers avoid. We dont look at annuals,
Templin says. Stuff in annuals has been done. Were
forging our own path.


With all its client work, Hatch has managed to stay
true to its original vision of launching its own products.
Rather than a mere creative outlet, the incubator side
of the Hatch business is creating a buzz that nobody
could have expected.
Having done a lot of work for the wine industry,
Templin and Jain suspected that their rst explorations
would be in that sector. Shortly after launching Hatch,
Templin had lunch with a friend whose uncle was a
wine distributor in Las Vegas. Ideas started to formulate, and during a long commute to a client meeting
one day Templin and Jain began brainstorming about
a wine brand centered around a gaming theme. Initial
ideas of playing cards and poker chips soon evolved as
the partners started to realize the untapped potential
of the entire gaming lifestyle.
Initial research suggested that the Hatch founders
might have hit paydirt. Around 86 million people go
to Las Vegas every yearthats a quarter of the U.S.
population, Jain says. And the World Series of Poker
was the third most popular television event last year.
Popular movies such as Oceans Eleven have also
rekindled interest in gaming and the gaming lifestyle.
In the meantime, wine sales recently surpassed
beer sales in the U.S. for the rst time in history,
Templin says. And yet, Americans are still largely uneducated about wine and often dont know enough about

9/16/08 11:39:26 AM


The spare, geometric packaging design for Sanitas

hair and skincare products
exemplies Hatchs versatility,
developing the right identity
for the brand rather than
always applying the rms


One of Hatchs rst projects

was a line of illustrated holiday-themed package designs
for Coca-Cola, adding
textured, three-dimensional
illustrations to the cans.

W W W. H O W D E S I G N . C O M

HATCH.indd 53

H O W 53

9/16/08 11:39:58 AM


The brand identity for food

events consultant and caterer
Pamela Keith blends a contemporary look with a downhome style and real personality infused by the hand-drawn
signature in the logo.

HATCH.indd 54

9/16/08 11:40:35 AM

winemakers and appellations to make an educated

choice when they step into a wine store. We stumbled
on to the perfect storm, Templin says.
The pairs proposal was to create a lifestyle brand
of winesomething largely unheard of in the wine
industry so far. They took the idea to Craig MacLean,
a renowned Napa Valley winemaker who was a Hatch
client. He got goosebumps, Jain says.
Not unlike the founding of Hatch Design itself, the
birth of JAQK Cellars was a delirious rush of fortune
and success: MacLean signed on as the winemaker,
and Bernard La Borie, former head of the Napa Valley winery Darioush, stepped in as president of the
spinoff entity. Templin and Jain tapped Vinnie Chieco,
the freelance copywriter credited with naming Apples
iPod, to develop the brands namean acronym made
from the rst letters of playing cards four suits. It was
an impressive lineup of talent and collaboration.
Operating as a separate entity but the ofcial
agency of the new wine brand, Hatch developed a
proprietary structural design for the bottle, manufactured in Italy. Each bottle features a different pattern
etched into the glass. The rm then created the bottles
graphicselegantly illustrated, featuring ne-quality
paper, hand-lettering, embossing and screen printing
for production of each of the eight varietals.
With high-class packaging housing high-stakes
wine, the partners had created a brand that tapped
into an American aesthetic: From the cool-hand poker
players and gunslingers of old westerns, to the overthe-top riches and awless maneuvers in the elite
high-limit lounges of Las Vegas, consumers love the
romance and beauty associated with gambling.

HATCH.indd 55

But the idea was to offer up that kind of quality

and still make it accessible. We want to take the
snobbery out of wine, Jain says. Despite the prestige
of JAQK Cellars winemaker and the crop of Napas
highest-quality grapes that went into the production,
Templin and Jain anticipate the top-tier varietal will
retail for about $40 to $60, followed by seven other
lower-priced wines.
Templin, Jain and their partners realized they had
a hit on their hands, but they had no idea how much
of one. They raised money for the project in a matter
of weeks based on concept and reputation alone. And
then it came time to market the wine.
We met with a major distributor, Jain says. This
is a guy who sees 100 to 300 new labels a year and who
is simply not taking on new wine brands. But based on
the reputation of our winemaker and president, and
the concept itself, were now going to have distribution
with him in half of the states in the country.
As the team prepared for the wines October launch,
they were already envisioning the future potential of
JAQKthat it could become much more than just a
wine, extending to coffee or chocolate and more.
Its that so much more that keeps the creatives
at Hatch Design moving forward. Who knows what
theyll hatch next?


Exquisite ornamentation
applied to a plain brown box
lends a distinctive quality to
this new line of cereals.


Hatch redesigned the brand

identity for a popular San
Francisco bakery chain,
using a hand-drawn logo and
script type and introducing
the essence of the companys
difference with the tagline
Made from Scratch.

Stacey King Gordon is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is
the author of Magazine Design That Works and
Packaging Makeovers: Graphic Redesign for Market
Change. www.night-writer.com
H ATC H D E S I G N S A N F RA N C I S CO www.hatchsf.com

9/16/08 11:41:36 AM



In March 2006, partners

(from left) Rob Alexiou,
John Miziolek and Franca
DiNardo took the helm of


Ever dream about taking over a design firm and making it
your own? Heres how the partners at LOGOSBRANDS did
itby thinking big and aiming global.

Everyone knows good designers dont make good businesspeople, right? Thats why so many creative rms
have two leaders: the design partner and the business
partner. So the idea of three creatives coming together
to run an agency seems like a recipe for disaster. But
for Torontos LOGOSBRANDS, that mix works well.
I hate the term client service, admits John
Miziolek, president and CEO of Torontos LOGOSBRANDS (pronounced low-gahs). I dont mean that
serving clients isnt importantits just that it suggests
that were a service-based company, and thats not a fair
assessment. Any design company should be creatively
driven, and should be about the work thats coming out


of that and moving a brand forward. It shouldnt have

anything to do with an account manager.
Miziolek, who had long dreamed of owning a design
agency, joined LOGOSBRANDS in 2002 and purchased the company in March of 2006 along with vice
president and chief creative ofcer Franca DiNardo,
who was creative director at the time and had been
with the company for about 20 years. Later that year,
vice president and chief innovation ofcer Rob Alexiou
bought a partnership, and they now form a leadership
triumvirate, each trying to be involved in every project
the rm takes on. All three are good designersand
theyre becoming good businesspeople.

9/16/08 3:54:06 PM


Bucking the clear-glass

trend in the spirits category,
colored, frosted-glass bottles
that spotlight the real-fruit
avors for Empire Distilleries
line of citrus liqueurs (left).
The rm also created the
distinctive martini-glass mark
for the clients V6 brand of
premium vodka.


Malta was a category leader

for client Diageo/Red Stripe,
enlisted to rebrand the product so it stood out among the
competition. A heavy marketing campaign accompanied
the relaunch to re-introduce
the brand to markets in
Canada, England and the


9/18/08 4:25:10 PM


beyond its package-design
experience in creating the
identity, packaging and
related items for Timothys
Coffees of the World, a 100store chain in Canada.


Not surprisingly, given their youth and enthusiasm, the
trio had some big ideas for the rm when they took it
over. LOGOSBRANDS had existed since 1979 and
focused primarily on package design, but former owner
Brian Smith had semi-retired and the company was
sort of on auto-pilot, DiNardo says. The new owners
saw that condition as representative of the industry,
particularly in the Toronto area, but across North
America, as well. What they wanted was innovation.
There wereand still area lot of things happening in the industry that may be good for business, but
theyre not really moving design forward, Miziolek
explains. For example, if you ask fairly established
design companies what their focus is, some of them
will probably tell you that its the client relationship. I
think thats become more important to some of these
companies than the actual creative theyre generating.
In fact, Id argue that, with maybe a couple of exceptions, North America as a whole has become used to
watered-down design and really great service. Thats
the thing we absolutely wanted to change.
Another goal was to expand the companys reach.
That came both by diversifying the work (now about
70% packaging design, vs. 95% previously) and by
seeking more global opportunities. In particular, that
meant not just acquiring international clients, but also
developing global brandswines or clothing labels, for
examplerather than regional ones. Recently acquired
clients include the food giant General Mills, the alcoholic beverage conglomerate Diageo and the Liquor
Control Board of Ontario.
The partners also looked abroad for inspiration.
Theres a cultural diversity that already exists in
Europe and parts of Asia, a sense of being non-exclusive, that I dont think weve caught up to yet over
here, Alexiou says. Were still young, culturally speak-

9/16/08 3:54:59 PM


Multy, a North American

manufacturer of heavy-duty
oor coverings, got a notso-industrial look for its
catalogs and swatchbook. In
a departure from the clients
previous marketing materials,
upscale photography to represent functional products like
carpet mats and runners.

ing, and were not as diverse as we think we are. But

we have to learn from whats happening over there
because thats where were heading.
The team started their international push not with
particular clients or brands in mind, but with the goal
of identifying where the best growth opportunities are
globally. That led to the targeting of what they call
the four Es: the energy, environment, education and
elderly sectors.
Beyond adding clients, the new management team
took a hard look at their existing client list and asked
whether the core philosophies of these companies
were design-forward. As a result, they walked away
from some clients that werent providing the rm with
opportunities to grow. It may be nice to have those
bread-and-butter clients who give you great receivables every month and dont give you anything exciting
to do, but they just dont help you grow and develop,
which is what we needed to do, Miziolek says.
He cites General Mills of Canada as an example
of a great t for LOGOSBRANDS: a client that leans


Look to the rms name for its mission. The Greek word
logos has an extraordinary range of meanings, all having
to do with the formulation of ideas, the expression of those
ideas through language, and the attribution of meaning and
the faculty of reason that make this possible. Brands, of
course, are promises, identifying and authenticating products or services for customers and associating them with
certain qualities. Put them together in the work of a design
rm, and youll get creative work thats also purposeful.

9/16/08 3:55:26 PM



enviable task of introducing
new avors like caramel,
rhubarb and pear to this
Canadian brand of premium
frozen yogurts (and, no doubt,
the benet of sampling the


What are clients really looking for in design for packaging, pointof-purchase and sales materials? Judging from what some clients
of LOGOSBRANDS have to say, its design that is rmly grounded in
marketing strategy. In other words, it cant just look cool; it also has
to sing the same song that the marketing messages do.
Jim Gracie has been hiring LOGOSBRANDS for 20 years, formerly
for Glad products and now for his clients as president of Treeline
Consulting. Referring to a logo the rm did recently, Gracie says,
They could explain it beautifully, from how it t our corporate
strategy to why the design elements would capture the consumer. I
often nd with other design rms that the strategy is missingits
right for the moment, but its faddish and it wont be long-lasting.
LOGOS gives us work thats timeless.
Adds Sung Kang, marketing manager for General Mills Canada, after
praising the rms strong backbone of strategic thinking: I get
the sense that these three [leaders of LOGOSBRANDS] have read
their fair share of Nietzsche, Foucault and Chomsky. Not that theyre
intellectual snobs, but they seem keenly aware of the meanings and
power that are held in everyday objects. They get the fact that welldesigned things can say things to people and make them do things,
make them think new thoughts. Its my job to have that behavior
and thinking lead to a sale, and they know that this is what I need
them to do.


on the rm as an extension of its marketing force in

several different areas, whether its packaging design
or promotion or advertising. And crucial to the rms
approach is that all three of the principals have contacts with the company: Miziolek from a strategic perspective, Alexiou with the consumer research group,
and DiNardo with the brand managers and production
managers. For them, its about building relationships
beyond a client service rep.
The next stage of alliance-building was to partner with like-minded companies that offer servicesconsumer research, color specialization,
materials supplythat complement and add value
to what LOGOSBRANDS can do for clients. Called
FutureLook, the strategy allows the rm to offer potential clients a more complete package while sticking to
its own areas of expertise. We see companies that get
too diverse and try to own too much of the pie, Alexiou says. Theyre a package company that becomes a
web design company, or an industrial design company
that becomes a graphic design company. Were staying
true to what we know.
To maintain that expertise, however, especially in a
global market, a design rm has to be innovative. And
an emphasis on innovation means that the creative
output has to be idea-driven, not formula-driven. All
the projects we have going now are individual ideas,
Alexiou explains, not one idea spread over ve or six
different executions. And all the ideas have to match
up to the strategic objectives of the client.
Paradoxically, the forward movement of the company had to involve old-school design techniques,

9/16/08 3:55:42 PM

because the partners are concerned about the prevalence of young designers coming out of school so
handcuffed to the computer that they have no sketching and illustration skills. That, Alexiou suggests, is a
primary cause of uninspired, formulaic design work,
and the rms beliefyou may call it a gambleis that
clients are looking for designs that are fresh, not trendor template-driven.
As the three partners settled on their global focus, they
found some challenges with the business transition
closer to home. Namely, among the staff.
I guess it was a learning curve for us, Miziolek
says, but we made an incorrect assumption that the
people we had on board before the deal was done
would be the same people we had on board after the
deal was done.
In fact, the rm now has about 20 staff members,
roughly the same total as before, but only four of them
are the same people. Youve heard the analogy about
getting the right people on the bus, but Alexiou prefers
another metaphor.
A bus cant take you far enough, he says. Where
we needed to be to compete on a global level was on
a plane, and there were some people in the company
who were just afraid to y. There was nothing wrong
with them, but you have to be forward-thinking, looking not in your own backyard but at what trends and
ideas are coming from Asia or Africa or Australia.
That standard required both a high turnover for
LOGOSBRANDS and the implementation of more


careful hiring practices. If you decide to change the

direction of a company thats existed for 30 years,
DiNardo says, Id suggest you immediately have a
conversation with the staff and decide whos on board
and whos not. No easy task, for sure.
Alexiou adds that when you become an owner, the
owner mentality kicks in, which leads you to want to
just sit back and manage or to cultivate your strategic
vision. But that wont do. If you really want to change
the face and the voice of the company, you almost
have to get rid of that ownership hat and keep being
involved in projects and getting your hands dirtyeven
dirtier than they were before, he says. That was a
surprise for me, that Im actually doing more work and
harder work than when I was an employee.
That kind of owner involvement surely stems from
the fact that all three principals at LOGOSBRANDS
began as designers, and preserving that mentality as
the company grows is paramount to them. According
to these design-rm owners, too many of their peers
are spending their time taking clients out to lunch and
playing golf with themthink client service.
Were not interested in that, Miziolek says. The
point for us is that were always available and were
always engaged. Were part of every single piece of
work that leaves the studio. Thats not a function of
the companys size; its a philosophy well have whether
were 25 people or 100 people.


For the organic body-care

product company Fresh Body
developed a cutting-edge
packaging concept that
pushed far beyond whats
expected in the category (so
much so that the client opted
for a different direction).
Note the clever spreader that
tucks into the container for a
body cream.

Tom Zeit is a freelance writer and editor specializing

in the creative arts. www.tomzeit.com
LO G O S B RA N D S TO RO N TO www.logosbrands.com

9/16/08 3:55:59 PM



Rebranding a creative agency is hard, risky and very
time-consuming. Meet two principals who took the leap
this year, repositioning their rms for growth and longevity.
If youve ever contributed to a brand development or
relaunch project, you know how brain-draining and
time-consuming that work can be. Now imagine applying that work to your own creative agency. Rethinking
your position in the market. Shifting your client focus.
Choosing a new name. Palms sweating yet?
Theres a reason why rebranding is such a rarity among creative rmsseveral reasons, actually.
Rebranding is really hard work. More than simply
creating a nifty new logo, rebranding requires a discomforting level of introspection. Rebranding is scary,
especially if the rm abandons a longstanding identity


or shifts market focus. And it requires dedicated time

and attention that compete with the resources allocated to revenue-generating client work.
So why go through the pain? We posed that question to two creative agencies that launched new identities this yearEnrich (formerly Schisla Design
Studio) and Mth (formerly Morris Communication).
While their reasons for rebranding are quite different, the principals of those two studios pulled back
the curtain to reveal how they made the big change,
why it was time and what their expectations are for
the future.

8/30/12 4:57 PM


While designers might be eager to redesign their business cards, rebranding a creative agency involves more
strategic thinking than it does design work. Often, its
prompted by a challenging business circumstance
the loss of a major client that leads to a new market
focus, or the desire of a principal to exit the rm.
It requires introspection. Contemplating a change in
directionfocusing on a market niche, for example, or
expanding into a new client baseprompts an analysis
of whats been working for the rm ... and what hasnt.
The rebranding process asks tough questions: Have we
been going in the wrong direction? Does our portfolio
sync up with market demands (in other words, can we
make money doing the work we like best)? Do we need
to let go of some older clients to free up capacity to
pursue new work? Do we have the right people on the
team to move forward?
Its a pain in the neck. If you rename your business, youll need to retain an attorney to help with
the trademark search and ling. You also may need to
register a new DBA (doing business as) name with
your state or local government. If your city requires a
business license or permit, youll need to update that
paperwork, and likewise with federal, state and local
tax-collecting agencies. (For more information, visit
SBA.gov and search register small business.) Think of
other vendors and service providers you work with: the
bank, the phone company, payroll service, FedEx
youll need to alert all of them if you change your
agencys name so you can continue depositing checks,
paying employees and receiving packages.
Its risky. With any reinvention, theres a risk of losing equity built under the old identity. A name change
is particularly challenging, as clients and prospects
have previously identied with the old moniker. An
agency that shifts to new markets may worry about
alienating existing customers that dont fall into those
categories. Will clients change your contact info in
their databases or bookmark your new URL? Thats
why rebranding should go hand in hand with a careful
launch strategy that introduces the new identity.
It takes time away from client work. Both of the rms
featured here ran their rebranding project through the
usual strategic and creative processes they apply to
outside projects. Without that discipline, they say, the
work would never have been completed.

We were very careful about this, because we didnt want


Gretchen Schisla and Steven Morris decided to move
forward with rebranding their agencies, both with
more than a decades worth of equity built up. Why?
Because the rewards were greater than the risks.
It allows for reinvention. Schisla Design Studio
wanted to move from a generalist position to focus on
work in the food and wellness categories. The rms
new brand, Enrich, better suits the specialty and
expresses the teams passion and expertise.
It catches the identity up with the work. Morris rm
has evolved beyond strictly design work and into strategic consultation, becoming a hybrid of a traditional
design rm, digital agency and product incubator.


When Gretchen Schisla left a St. Louis corporate
communications rm in 2002 to establish her own
design agency, she needed to quickly get up and running. So putting her own name on the door was the
most expedient way to launch. Soon, she hired Kory
Waschick, a talented designer shed previously worked
with, and the small rm began to develop a broad portfolio of work for a diverse client base. Schisla Design
Studio focused on print and exhibit design, adding
web design capabilities over time.
For the rst ve or six years, business was steady.
Schisla says they didnt do much marketing, but
instead let the work ow in through existing clients


our current clients to feel awkward about the change. It

was important for them to understand the ne-tuning of
our niche without alienating them.

But with the words design, creative and communication in previous iterations of his companys name,
Morris felt the rms work was outpacing its identity.
It facilitates transition. When a designer launches a
creative business, the default is to choose an eponymous identity. But having your own name on the door
raises two challenges: First, clients assume theyll be
working directly with you, and not the amazing team
youve gathered. And second, when youre ready to
step out of the rm, selling it to new owners is much
more difcult.
Mindful of the challenges and payoffs, Schisla and
Morris took the plunge and introduced new identities
for their rms this year. Lets look at how each of them
did it.


When they set out to rebrand

their agency, the team at
Enrich (formerly Schisla
Design Studio, above) ran the
project through their typical
creative processwith an
added layer of introspection
and self-discovery. The rms
10th anniversary in 2012
proved an optimal time to
unveil a new image. The name
Enrich became a logical choice
following a dream time session where each of the four
staffers shared their interests
and motivations. From there,
they explored visual representations of the brand. Concepts
on the left side of the mood
board (opposite) show the
beginning of the new identity.

8/30/12 4:58 PM

and referrals. SDS built some strong and lasting relationships, which helped the rm hang in there through
economic ups and downs. Senior designer Bruce Sachs
joined the rm in 2006; Suzanne Duval dAdrian came
on board in 2009 to handle ofce support.
In 2007, SDS ran into a big hurdle thats common
for design rms: They lost a major client when their
key contact left the company. After not having spent
much energy on marketing, the rm was challenged
to bring in new work. At that point, Schisla realized
she had a positioning problem because they were too
similar to other rms with a horizontal market focus.
Our steadiness was an obstacle to growth, she says.
We felt good about the quality of our work and the
thinking behind it, but we couldnt articulate a unique
position for ourselves.
Schisla followed many of her fellow design agency
principals by hiring a salesperson in 2008 to drum
up new business. While the rep did drum up some
leads and network on the rms behalf, there were
a couple of downsides. The salesperson didnt have
deep enough expertise to talk strategy and possibilities
with a prospect, and the lengthy sales cycle meant
there wasnt a quick return on the cost of the salary
and commission. Schisla was looking for a better solution when a friend connected her with Peleg Top, a

business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Top opened

her mind to the possibility of rebranding and repositioning her rm.
Peleg encouraged me to approach this discovery
from a more personal, holistic viewpoint. It was so
refreshing to think about whats important to me, what
inspires me and how the company direction could support that. We were also aware that we have much more
potential to grow as a company and do more interesting work by establishing a niche, rather than continuing as generalists in branding and design.
With Tops guidance, Schisla and her team held
a series of dream sessions, where they explored
how their individual motivations, interests and desires
could translate to the rms work. They conducted a
client survey to understand how people outside the
agency perceived it. They researched potential market
categories and weeded out those that didnt have business potential. Through this process of discovery, common themes emerged: The team values wellness and
quality of life. They enjoy their work and want to contribute meaningfully to their community and clients.
Changing the rms name was important to Schisla
for a couple of reasons: One, she envisions stepping
away from the business eventually, so she wanted
a name that would outlive her role. And two, she
wanted to focus the identity on the team creating the
work. To come up with a new moniker, the group created mind maps and explored words and phrases that
would capture the emerging themes, ultimately landing on the word enrich. We hit on it early, Schisla
says, and we knew that it felt right.
With the name Enrich and a market focus on food
and wellness, the immediate next step was to snag the
URL Enrichcreative.com and apply for the registration
of the name Enrich. And Schisla engaged Andy Bartling, a positioning strategist, to help the team distill
the enrich concept into language that would resonate
with clients and prospects.


In creating a new visual identity, the Enrich

team started with the website and then
spun off printed collateral from there. Senior
designer Bruce Sachs developed the wireframe
and structure; creative director Kory Waschick
focused on color, type and imagery, while
principal Gretchen Schisla went to work on
messaging. The identity is built on a warm,
earthy color palette and a mix of photography
and delicate line illustrations.


9/6/12 2:43 PM

Rebranding isnt cheap, particularly when you consider studio time (which
you must). For Enrich, expenses included retaining a consultant and a
trademark attorney to register the name, hiring a web programmer and
printing for their business papers. Creative director Kory Waschick says
that during the height of the project, she and senior designer Bruce Sachs
spent 50% of their time on the rebranding. The team had a goal to average 20% to 30% of their time on the project, which jibes with their normal
marketing activity.
A new website was the rst visual expression of the Enrich brand. Sachs did
extensive work on the wireframe structure, Waschick focused on developing the design and Schisla concentrated on messaging. A new Enrichment
section, with articles and resources, proved the most time-consuming part
of the site.
The Enrich brand lends itself to a color palette of earth tones mixed with
soft gray and eggplant. Throughout the website and identity, photos and
vintage botanical illustrations are combined to convey a deeper meaning.
Says principal Gretchen Schisla of the Enrich rebranding: Its been so
much funit feels so natural to us because were doing something we
really believe in. I can see the relevancy to what were doing in so many
ways, and its going to continue to unfold. I dont know where all the pieces
will t, but it feels really good.

Then it was on to the fun stuff: designing the

identity, website and collateral. Creative director Kory
Waschick describes an intensely collaborative experience, with all four staffers researching, gathering and
developing mood boards: We were all in the lead; we
all contributed and collaborated, she says. Color,
type, illustration, imagerywe all discussed it.
A working session with Top nailed the creative
approach. We needed someone from the outside
to look at what we created and tell us it worked,
Waschick continues. Once we had that reassurance,
we pulled it all together.
Schisla says the team treated their own rebranding as a client project, which imposed the discipline
necessary to stay focused and hit deadlines. Still,
Waschick says it wasnt easy. The project was fun at
times because we allowed ourselves to explore. Thats
such a luxury these days. But with all of our exploration, we had a lot of ideas and they needed to be
reined in. That was difcult. It was honestly the most
challenging branding project weve ever worked on,
because it was really hard to make choices.
Both Waschick and Schisla acknowledge the
rebranding projects inherent risks. Would prospects
get it? Would clients feel left behind? Would it pay off?
With a huge investment of time and money [an outside consultant, trademark attorney and web programmer, plus all the billable time devoted to the project],


we wanted to make sure that wed do something with

our new brand when we nished it, Waschick says.
You want to get through it because youve put a lot
into itand then you need to use it. We wanted to end
up with something that we were proud to show off and
that people would instantly connect to.
Schisla crafted a strategy to keep clientsincluding Univar Food Ingredients, Noboleis Winery and
Cancer Support Community, informed of the process,
and she enlisted several of them to contribute to case
studies for the new website. We were very careful
about this, because we didnt want our current clients
to feel awkward about the change, she says. It was
important for them to understand the ne-tuning of
our niche without alienating them.
Four months after its February launch, Schisla says
she feels like the new identity is gaining traction, and
shes condent it will move the rm toward their projected annual revenue. With some clients, its business as usual, she says. Others are very positive. Its
prompted some of our clients to do more business with
us because it shows them how serious we are about
our mission. And were getting tremendous response to
our monthly newsletterits now more about education and information and less about our latest project.
The best thing, she continues, is that we can
now talk enthusiastically about ourselves and our
unique market position.


Perhaps the biggest change

to the rms website is a
series of articles, called
Enrichment, that demonstrates the teams thinking
and mission. All four Enrich
staffers contribute to the
series, writing about issues
related to food and wellness, like Suzanne Duval
dAdrians piece on authentic
business communication
and Waschicks article on
food-label confusion. Each
article is accompanied by a
graphic that rotates through
the homepage in a slideshow
(above left).

8/30/12 4:58 PM

Steven Morris pursued two different directions in developing a new brand
for his rm before landing on the name Mth. A play on the phrase Nth
Degree, it reects the rms willingness to go above and beyond in developing new ideas for clients. And its part of the teams DNA: Mth was
the name they established in 2007 for their program of pro-bono work for
nonprot clients.
Morris sat on the new brand concept for four years, waiting until he felt
the rm was ready for a big change. He shared the idea condentially
with a few outsiders, some of whom told him that changing the rms
name was a risky idea. Not all business decisions are going to be black
and white, he says, but if youre a good business leader, you go with
your gut and your heart as much as you go with the information thats
in front of you.


The evolution of Steven Morriss creative rm looks
like this: Steven Morris Design > Morris Creative >
Morris Communication > Morris.
As of August, his name is no longer on the door.
Like Schisla, Morris determined that choosing a new
identity that reected the worknot the person who
signs the paycheckswas a smart positioning move.
In 1994, Morris moved from Washington, DC,
where hed worked for a top design agency, to San
Diego, where he launched a solo practice. The rm hit
several growth spurts along the way and endured the
same slowdown post 9-11 that hit much of the design
eld (an episode that Morris says forced him to really
work on the business side). Today, the rm employs 20
full-time staff, another 20 independent contractors,
and is on the verge of outgrowing its quarters in San
Diegos Gaslamp District. Morris projects revenues at
$3 million for this year. The rms clients include Sony,
the newly relaunched United States Football League
(for which theyre creating the league branding plus
all of the team logos and uniforms), the San Diego
Chargers, Green Flash Brewing Co. and the San Diego
More important than its physical and nancial
growth, the rm has evolved its work and client
relationships. Morris says the rm has shifted away
from designing a single print piece or small campaign
toward developing comprehensive cross-media strategies for clients. The rm has acquired capabilities
along the way, often using their own marketing efforts
to test-drive new skills, like creating Flash animation
and building microsites. We dont really consider ourselves a design rm anymore, though thats certainly
part of the heritage that we come from, Morris says.
What were asked to do today is quite different from
what we were asked to do 10 years agotheres so
much more to it now.
Ive spent a lot of time thinking about the evolution of the design eld and the business model of a
design agency, he continues. People may disagree,
but I feel were in the business of looking out for our
clients, making their brands great and saving their
asses. We bring the objective thinking to the table that
theyre too busy, or too close to their brand, to have.


A gutsy name like Mth

calls for an equally bold
visual expression. The team
at the San Diego strategic
agency formerly known as
Morris chose no-nonsense
Helvetica Neue and a
super modern color palette
of cool blue and gray with
a pop of reddish orange
to communicate their
new brand. The agencys
reinvention stemmed from
evolution and growth; its
nearly outgrown its existing
ofce space.


8/30/12 4:59 PM


8/30/12 4:59 PM


Mth principal Steven Morris

says that rebranding a creative agency involves far more
than simply swapping out the
logo on business cards and
the website. Its an opportunity to reconsider and redesign
everything, including presentation materials like project
case studies (above), even
contracts and proposals.


Morris had been chewing on the idea of rebranding for several years, seeking a new name that would
better capture the rms current expertise. He notes
that agency names tend to fall into one of two camps:
1) the principals rst and/or last name, or 2) a clever
garage-band kind of name, like Green T-shirt or
Screaming Lizard. Morris wanted an identity that fell
into a third category, one thats unique and interesting, yet descriptive of the rms vision. Morris fully
explored one option before shifting focus toward a
moniker that was more distinguishing, one that his
rm could truly own.
That name, Mth, a play on the term Nth degree,
emerged from the teams efforts to go above and
beyond on behalf of their clients. And it was born out
of an internal pro-bono program of the same name that
Morris Creative had developed in 2007 to formalize
their process of serving nonprot clients. This year,
under the Mth program, the rm launched a new
name, identity and communication suite for a San
Diego autism-advocacy agency called Include Autism.
As part of the rebranding process, Morris shared
his thinking and invited other ideas from the team.
When he pitched the Mth name, he says, some of
the team embraced it right away, and others gave it
a, Huh. Thats interesting response. When Morris
crafted a new positioning message that tied the name
into the rms mission, Mth became the top choice.
Morris says the name leaves room for interpretation;
it allows the team to riff on what the letter M means.

While Mth may require a bit of up-front explanation,

it reects their approach to the work. Mth really
comes back to this concept of working without limits,
Morris says. And theres this aspect of creativity and
innovation. Creative agencies are constantly asked to
rise to the occasion and come up with new ideas. The
biggest value we bring to any client is objectivity and
forward thinking.
The team quickly got to work, divided the massive rebranding project among themselves, and managed to get everythingfrom the new wordmark to
a website to all new business papersdone in time
for an August launch. You have to be a little bit crazy
to want to do this for yourself in the midst of being
incredibly busy, Morris says. I give complete credit
to the team.
Like Enrich, Mth is an identity thats broad, yet
descriptive and exible enough to allow the rm to
change and grow. This is it for a long, long time,
Morris says. Were carving this relatively in stone. The
agency will continue to evolve, even into products or
systems or digital development, but the name/brand
can ex with that.
Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter focused on food, wellness and design. She is
HOWs former editor. www.brynmooth.com
E N R I C H ST. LO U I S www.enrichcreative.com
M T H S A N D I E G O www.theMthdegree.com

8/30/12 4:59 PM

b y terr y lee s to n e

Color in Brand
Identity Design
Ultimately, its the designers job to clearly communicate
with clients and colleagues, and to facilitate a common
understanding about colorand its role in a brands visual
Color is one of the most highly subjective aspects
of design. The human eye can distinguish the light
waves of varying wavelengths vibrating at different
speeds that produce the sensation of color in our
brains. But who knows if what one person sees is
exactly what another does? Sure, its in the ballpark;
blue will look blue to most of usbut do we all
perceive precisely the same blue?
Talking about color in identity design will always
be a challenge. (It is one of the most requested topics at the HOW Design Conference.) Beyond the
physiological issues of color perception, colors have
associations with emotional states, symbolism, and
cultural meanings. Add to these factors the whole
aspect of aesthetic preference. Color is a loaded subject, deeply personal and experientially specific to the
viewer. Yet color universally accepted as a critically
important aspect of any design. Why? Because color
attracts and holds attention, conveys information on
conscious and subconscious levels, and assists in mnemonics (or memorability).
Ultimately, its the designers job to clearly communicate with clients and colleagues, and to facilitate a

common understanding about colorand its role in a

brands visual expression.
Become a color expert with HOWs All About Color
Collection, which features the best-selling Color
Index books, an audio-visual presentation by Pantones Leatrice Eiseman, and more.
Color names are simply linguistic labels that people
attach to hues. Hues are determined by the physics of
light reflection. The most dominant visible wavelength
of light determines its name. Despite the complex
systems that determine a color, most colors are named
by associationeither its relative position on the color
wheel, as in blue-green, or by reference to some natural object of that hue, such as turquoise. Both terms
can be used to describe the same hue. Changes in
saturation can be expressed by adding a modifying
label to the name, as in vivid turquoise. To describe
changes in value, a reference to intensity is added, e.g.
dark blue-green. Special kinds of reflection provide
additional modification, like sparkling turquoise or
opalescent aqua.

Using standardized color systems, like Pantone

PMS numbers, provides technical nomenclature and
a shared language, especially for production conversations. But a number isnt exactly the most evocative or convincing way to express a colors resonance
and appropriateness for a brand, particularly when
youre talking with a client. Further in the design process, once the client has agreed to a particular color
scheme, using technical names or system numbers
makes excellent sense.
With all these variations in the language of color, perhaps a designers best strategy for discussing color, and
getting it approved, is to show it in context. Talk the
client through a color palette using names that link the
choices back to their desired objectivesfor example:
This handsome deep blue was chosen because it conveys a sense of tradition and strength, which is right
for a financial services company.
Too, designers should present their color choices as
a well-considered system. Show the client your entire
proposed color palette by applying it to various types of
materials; this shows the client how the colors interact
and provides confirmation that youve thought holistically about the color system. Always speak about how
your color choices meet the creative brief and therefore, the clients goals. If the clients direction is that
the brand should appear young and modern, explain
that the proposed color scheme is just that.
If a client objects to a color, try to get them to
address the problem exactly. If color is an overarching
issuefor example, the client hates blue and blue is
the cornerstone of the brandingyou need to know
why. Is it personal preference, or does the client actually believe that blue simply sends the wrong message?
Do they agree that blue should be the dominant color,
but they just dont like that particular blue? Tease out
the parameters of the clients objection so you can
either defend your choice or select another color.
Bottom line: Designers choose colors for a reason.
You need to effectively communicate your color selections to your client, and using an accurate and expressive color name will support that effort. If you can use
the project brief to support your color choices, theyll
seem less arbitrary to the clientand theyll be more
likely to meet with the clients approval.

Terry Lee Stone is a Los Angeles-based writer and

creative strategist. She has worked with top design
firms, teaches the business of design at Art Center
College of Design, and wrote the two-book series
called, Managing The Design Process.

by margaret hartwell

the connection between

brand and archetypes
Brand archetypes can reveal how a brand shows up in the
world, how it is motivated and what triggers it. Archetypes
can facilitate the understanding of a brand and why it
attracts certain customers.
As both a face and a function, brand archetypes can
reveal how a brand shows up in the world, how it is
motivated and what triggers it. Very simply, archetypes
can facilitate the understanding of a brand and why it
attracts certain customers. Consider Margaret Mark
and Carol Pearsons assertion in The Hero and the
Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the
Power of Archetypes: Archetypes are strange attractors of consciousness. You attract customers when
your brand is congruent with an archetype that is
either dominant or emerging in their consciousness.
An archetypal approach to branding will help
humanize the process of being in business in general,
and branding in particular, by enabling greater humanity within all stakeholder relationships.
While archetypal stories have enormous impact
in marketing and communications, there is also commensurate value in observing how archetypes function
within business and leadership style and, subsequently, how they affect the authenticity and trust of a
brand and its outreach efforts.
An expanded definition of archetypes
Going a bit deeper, we think its worth including some
of the experts definitions of archetype:

Archetype [r-k-tp]: a symbol, theme, setting, or

character-type that recurs in different times and places
in myth, literature, folklore, dreams, and rituals so frequently or prominently as to suggest (to certain speculative psychologists and critics) that it embodies some
essential element of universal human experience.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
An archetype is a universally familiar character or
situation that transcends time, place, culture, gender
and age. It represents an eternal truth.
Jon Howard-Spink

Forms or images of a collective nature which occur

practically all over the earth as constituents of myths
and at the same time as individual products of unconscious origin.
Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion
In Personality and Personal Growth, Robert
Frager and James Fadiman offer a mental map of how
archetypes organize our psychological material, stating
that archetypes are somewhat like dry stream beds
whose shapes determine the characteristics of a river
once water begins flowing through them. As carriers
of energy, when an archetype is activated, a flood of
experience is released. As for practical application of
archetypes, Frager and Fadiman also assert that all
creativity has an archetypal element.
Defining brand
With this foundation, brand enters the equation.
Consider Noah Hawleys description of brand that
appears on the June 2000 issue of Business 2.0: Part
art, part science, brand is the difference between a
bottle of soda and a bottle of Coke, the intangible yet
visceral impact of a persons subjective experience
with the productthe personal memories and cultural
associations that orbit around it.
To varying degrees and for various reasons, people
are in relationship with brands. In human relationships, people come to know who you are by how
you behave, not by how you say you behave. We are
evaluated and understood
by our actions, not necessarily by our intentions.
How people are in relationships feeds into part
of how Marty Neumeier,
author of The Brand
Gap defines brand: The
brand isnt what you say it
is. Its what they say it is.
Archetypes can facilitate

brand relationships by aligning what the brand says

it is, what it does and how it is perceived and known.
Beyond limitation
In partnering to meet various business challenges, we
often have to wade through traditional MBA-speak.
If were lucky, we receive brand pyramids and wheels
filled with relevant adjectives and other brand references, multipage documents on brand assets and
equity, spreadsheets of data on buying patterns, market research and segmentations. Sometimes we get
a business plan. Sometimes we just get questions:
Arent you supposed to define my brand? Isnt that
why we hired you? Have you looked at our website?
And sometimes we are called on to support a new
brand and business from scratch.
While business plans, websites and traditional marketing tools and research are all helpful, sometimes
they can also create limitations. Humanitys desire for
certainty leads us to categorize, analyze and box up
the components of a brand. But business, and brand
as its essence and culture, is actually an ever-changing organism within an ever-changing ecosystem that
refuses to be constrained. As an accounting balance
sheet is representative of a moment in time, so too are
brand definitions, marketing plans and demographics.
By their nature they are incomplete.
So how do we capture the organic, affecting and
affected, continuously learning and growing aspects
of a brand? How do we create or uncover brand meaning? What constitutes real meaning in a brand is very
similar to how we understand each other as human
beings. What do I feel as a result of an encounter with
you? How do I know what you are about? Are you
trustworthy? These questions and more are inherent
within archetypes.
Archetypes not stereotypes
Archetypes lack the dehumanizing factors of stereotypes, representing instead a full spectrum of characteristics that can manifest both positively and
negatively. Stereotypes limit choice while archetypes
empower choice. A stereotypical emotional experience
comes to mind. While we dont contest the genius of
Steven Spielbergs work and contribution to society,
were relieved he has lightened up on the stereotypical
music used in his early work to ensure the audience
felt what he wanted them to feel. His archetypal
stories have always been enough to elicit the audiences reaction without being cued to prescriptive
emotion. Or consider the mother who actively supports her childs participation in athletics. Describing
this woman archetypally as the Caregiver provokes an
entirely different visiona whole person with a full
spectrum of characteristicsthan does the stereotypic
label of soccer mom.
Stereotypes break down understanding, yet their
allure can be addictive because they provide quick
ways of making sense of our complicated world. They
are those speedy, generalized judgments that trivialize
the richness of our diversity and demean the individual. Where stereotypes are like cartoons that offer a

simplistic experience, archetypes are more like poems

that add depth and richness to experience.
I encourage you, therefore, to take the high road
and revel in your own discomfort in not having all the
answers, in not being in control, in not being certain.
Resist the desire to get prescriptive with archetypes,
and use them instead as compass points and guides.
Their power exists in the fabric that connects all of
humanity. They live on the emotional and intuitive
level; try to make them cognitive, or use them as
labels, and they become stereotypes. If you scoop
up two handfuls of sand at the beach, its amazing
how much you can contain when you hold the grains
loosely. Try to tighten them down and they slip through
your fingers.
Taking responsibility
Businesses, corporations and brands are not people.
But people comprise and create them. How the people
within a business are thinking, feeling, intending and
acting defines how the business behaves as a whole.
This is an important distinction in light of how much
brand work draws on psychology and personification
and it implies that using archetypes as a brand tool
comes with certain responsibilities.
Branding and all its related disciplinesmarketing, naming, advertising, designmust acknowledge
the responsibility of its enchanting tendencies. If we
accept that the archetypal landscape contains the
most broad and diverse stories shared by all of humanity, then the mandate for mindful application should
be self-evident. Archetypal stories ignite emotional
responses that run the full gamut. And so it follows
that the user of archetypes has a responsibility to hold
as paramount the greatest common good. It should be
remembered that using the rationalization of its just
business is tantamount to Cruella de Vils assistant
in 101 Dalmatians saying, What kind of sycophant
would you like me to be? If youre going to use archetypes to guide your business, develop your brand and
sell stuff, we urge you to keep your values close at
Authenticity not manipulation
We often attribute certain human characteristics to a
brand in order to understand and clarify how it affects
the relationship with its users, but a brand actually
represents the perception of the collective characteristics of all the people involved. A brand can be a natural
extension of the values (and archetypes) of the creators of its business, or it can behave disingenuously
to fulfill its own agenda regardless of true cost. It can
act as an adolescent and try to manipulate its customers and target audiences, or it can responsibly parse its
choices against the greater collective good.
Archetypes are a powerful tool that when accompanied by accountability and compassion can increase
the greater common good. As you apply them to your
business and brand, I encourage you to challenge your
assumptions of right and wrong, to consciously do no
harm and to honor a long-term, integrated bottom-line

by tim williams

7 steps to build
a better brand
Youre great at developing brands for your clients. But how
effective is your own? A business expert shares his tips.
Youre standing in the elevator with a prospective client who turns to you and says, Ive heard of you guys.
Tell me about your agency. Heres your chance to
describe what makes your firm interesting, compelling and different. Instead, what comes from your
lips is something like, Were a full-service integrated
marketing communications firm serving a wide variety
of clients.
Alas, youve just missed an opportunity.
Unless youve made the effort to define your agencys position in the market and to describe it in interesting, engaging language, youre likely to miss one
opportunity after another.
Heres another way to look at it: Can you describe
your agency positioning in a sentence, in a paragraph
and in a page? Youll need a version in each length to
use in applications like your website, your online brochure and your listings in agency directories. Follow
these steps to build your brand.


Many creative-agency professionals believe
everything in the universe can be branded
except one thing: their own agencies. They
preach differentiation but behave like commodities.
Theyre so eager to convince clients theyre full-service that they try to stand for everything.
But standing for everything is the same as standing
for nothing.
Its easy to define what you are. The hard part is
defining what you are not. Thats because agencies
want to be universally liked and appealing to everyone.
But the nature of positioning is sacrifice. The goal
of defining a strong agency brand isnt to appeal to a
larger number of clients, but fewer.
Imagine the credibility problem of a restaurant
claiming to specialize in French and Mexican and
Brazilian food. Ad agencies are no different. An agency
that puts everything on its menu might as well have no
menu at all.
Just because others have heard of your
firm doesnt mean you have a brand. Name
awareness and brand equity are only indirectly related. A lot of us have heard of agency names
but we have no idea who they are, what they do or
what they stand for.
These agencies have name awareness but no
brand equity.

Branding puts meat on the bones of simple awareness. Once a prospective client knows the answer to
the question, Who are those guys? the next question
he has is, What are those guys all about? Just like any
other product category, clients like to buy brands, not
generic products.
You dont define your brand as much as you
discover it. Its already there, deep inside
the companys soul, in the form of natural
strengths and core competencies. As a starting point,
consider what has made your firm successful up to this
point. Consider these questions:

What kind of clients have you been most successful

in attracting?
What types of assignments have you completed
over the years?
In what areas do you have superior knowledge
or expertise?
What do you do particularly well, perhaps better
than most agencies?
What do you most enjoy doing? What do you hate?
What target audiences have you come to know
and understand?
As a result of your experience with the clients
youve served, what distribution channels do you
know best?
What methods, approaches or philosophies is the
firm known for?
What qualifies as an effective agency positioning strategy? For starters, you have
to have a good answer to each of these
three questions:

What value do we provide?

Who do we deliver the value to?
How do we deliver it?
At the intersection of the answers to these three
questions lies a differentiating position: We offer
(your service) for (your market) by (your method).
This process is challenging because it involves sacrifice. It means giving something up. In branding your
firm, the goal is to be exclusive, not inclusive. Appeal
to somebody, but not everybody.
There are three critical criteria for a strong
agency positioning strategy:

Its authentic. The position is an honest reflection

of what the agency is capable of. It plays to the firms
strengths. It can have aspects that are aspirational,
but only if the agency has the knowledge, experience
and firepower to truly deliver what the positioning
Its exclusive. The position excludes as many
prospective clients as it includes. Its focused on what

the agency does best. It demonstrates a willingness

to sacrifice. It reflects an understanding that you
cant be known for everything, but you can be known
for something.
Its polarizing. The position is designed to appeal
only to a limited group of prospects. Some prospects will be attracted and some wont. Some will be
interested in what the agency has to sell and some
wont. It may even inspire controversy (kind of like
good advertising).
Now comes the really hard part: aligning your position with your practices. Its
through your practices that you bring your agencys
brand to life. Your positioning strategy points the way
to your destination. But your practices are how you
get there.
Ask the question What needs to change in our
organization in order for us to bring our brand to life
in everything we do? Its not just a matter of ordering
new letterhead, producing a new brochure and revising your website. Branding starts from the inside out.
Its reflected in five important areas of your business
(which, coincidently, all start with the letter P):

Your product
Your people
Your promotion
Your process
Your place of business
Socrates said, The way to gain a good reputation
is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. Said
another way, to be successful, we must align our practices with our position. When it comes down to it, the
real difference between truly outstanding agencies and
everybody else is that they not only talk the talk, they
actually walk the walk. They have a strong alignment
between what they say and what they do, between
their brands and their practices.
Finding a brilliant positioning strategy for
your own company is one of the most
important and rewarding experiences
a design-firm executive can have. Youve spent your
entire career working on other peoples brands. Now
heres a chance to work on your own.
As one agency executive remarked after leading his
firm through this positioning process, Why try to be
something to everybody when you can be everything
to somebody?

Tim Williams leads Ignition Consulting Group,

a consultancy that helps marketing organizations
create and capture more value. Hes the author of
the best-selling book Take a Stand for Your Brand:
Building a Great Agency from the Inside Out. www.

by tiffany myers

Crafting your firms identity is a massive, often painful,
project. This digital design studio reinvents its I.D. every
150 days. Are they crazy? Try strategic.
While a typical company might hold its breath and
launch a rebrand once or twice in its lifetimethen
live with the results for better or worseMinneapolis
interactive firm space150 undergoes identity overhauls
with unprecedented speed, devising an entirely new
logo, website, business cards and bevy of self-promotional swag every 150 days. At first blush, it seems the
off-the-wall hijinks of a free-spending startup without
a business plan. But space150 is not your typical
company, nor is its CEO/creative director, William
Jurewicz, a man without a plan.
In early 1999, Jurewiczcomputer whiz, astronomy junkie and entrepreneurbought a home. It
wasnt a nesting impulse. Rather, with a mortgage to
borrow $20,000 against, he launched space150 in
March 2000 just as the dot-com crash slammed into
the fragile bubble of the U.S. economy. Those were
the freaky-sweaty times, Jurewicz says. [I thought,]
I have nowhere to go now. Open a window, and
lets jump.
Jurewicz, whose father distributed video games
and electronics in the early 1980s, had grown up
on a steady diet of computers. By the late 90s, as a
copywriter at Minneapolis Fallon, Jurewicz saw the
potential of digital marketing when others dismissed

it. His mission in forming space150 was to debunk the

prevailing notion that the internet was merely a platform for repurposed television and print ads.
Jurewicz knew space150s edge would be its ability to respond to the continually morphing landscape
of the digital age. Software companies tend to issue
new versions every six months; using this timeline
as a cue, Jurewicz decided space150 would launch
an entirely new identity every five months, sending a
clear message that the company isnt merely in step
with technology, but one metaphorical month ahead
of the curve.
Even more daring, space150 often hands the
rebranding effort over to outside creatives. Jurewicz
approaches designers whose work he admires, often
people the agency has worked with, when hes ready to
assign a new identity. Its kind of like asking them to
the prom, he says.
While it might seem risky to put ones own identity
in the hands of an outsider, Jurewicz doesnt see it that
way. In a lot of ways, he says, youre your own worst
client, so if you outsource things that are usually internalized, you get better services. If you contract outside
designers, you get a fresher perspective and a better
spin off your creative brief.

Jurewicz likens the process to a band that brings in

other musicians to guest star on an album. We also
guarantee the designers work will be produced without traditional client restraints, says Jurewicz, so this
attracts creatives who want a showpiece.
To date, designers in New York City, Los Angeles,
San Francisco and Minneapolis, lured by the creative
freedom space150 offers and the industry awards that
follow almost as a matter of course, have devised
12 distinct identities on a pro-bono basis. The job
involves a new logo, letterhead and business cards,
note cards, note pads and website. Each is vastly
different from the one that came before, butin an
industry that espouses consistency of brandlinked
by way of message and material. Business cards are
screen-printed on plastic, while letterhead is produced
on the same paper stock each print run.
The resulting body of work is unlike most designfirm self-promotions, because people actually want to
keep it around. That includes the agency itself. It hurts
every time they do away with an identity. It is a little
bit masochistic, Jurewicz admits. But you never feel
bored, and boredom more than anything is the reason
creative starts to get bad. (To assuage their angst, the
staff hosts a launch party for each new I.D.)
Given the time and expense most companies pour
into a rebrand, the 150-day plan might seem prohibitively expensive and traumatic. On the contrary,
says space150s strategic director, Rohn Jay Miller.
Space150 devises each identity in no more than a
month. And because the stock remains the same for
each type of printed material, costs are similar to that
of ordering a new run of company letterhead. Our
creative just happens to change out, Jurewicz says.
Miller considers the rebrands to be the companys
central marketing exercise, both a public and private
expression of brand. Its an old way of thinking to say
that your brand is an outward presentation, and then
theres a private self that needs to be reconciled with
that, he says, If you live it, thats what you are, and
its something we prove not only to our clients, but to
ourselves every dayand every 150 days. It pulls us
into a proactive, ongoing process of looking at what
were doing.
Tiffany Meyers is a New York City-based freelance
writer. tiffanymeyers@verizon.net

by john parham

cult of personality
What lifestyle does your brand represent?
Theres a bit of a mythical aura around the term
lifestyle brand. Its something everyone seems to be
reaching for, but what does it mean, exactly? And how
can lifestyle status help your brand grow?
A true lifestyle brand is all about personality. It
helps consumers define who they are and how they
want to liveto themselves and others. And when
your brand represents a lifestyle, you often own a
distinct visual style that you can apply to products in a
wide range of categories.
This desirable look and feel represents a way of life,
and it might hint at everything from values and interests to a distinct culture. So what lifestyle does your
brand represent? It might be almost anything. Heres
what some successful lifestyle brands embody:

Southern Hospitality
Last Spring, Southern Living magazine partnered
with Ballard Designs to launch the Southern Living
Collection. It features dishes, glasses, napkins, silverware and other tabletop accessoriesall the stylish
things youd need to host a party that lives up the photos
and ideas shown in the magazine. Its a perfect extension for a brand that represents Southern style, charm
and entertaining.

Family and Nesting

In times of economic uncertainty, consumers revert
to nesting. My agency helped Better Homes and
Gardens capitalize on this renewed focus on family
life by extending its magazine brand to more than 550
products sold exclusively at Walmarteverything from
linens and furniture to cookware. The lines brand
promise? Fall in love with your home all over again.

Love of Learning
The Discovery Channel helps the intellectually curious discover new things. My agency helped them
leverage this learning lifestyle with brand extensions
that ranged from toys to digital voice recorders. Each
one helps consumers explore their world.

Luxury Experience
Originally built by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore
estate in Asheville, NC, represents a lavish lifestyle.
This sprawling historic home and estate lends its name
to a range of luxury products through licensing: wine,
gourmet food, landscaping, lighting and many others.
Rugged Work Ethic
Many brands represent the tradition of hard work.
Caterpillar, for instance, makes heavy construction
equipment, but theyve expanded into shoes, clothing, outdoor equipment and even toys. The Discovery
Channel licensed the name of its Dirty Jobs TV
show, where host Mike Rowe tries out the dirtiest jobs
around, for a line of cleaning products. These brand
extensions appeal to everyone from construction workers to weekend outdoorsmen.

Outdoor Lifestyle
Jeep represents the freedom of driving off-road, and to
capitalize on this perception, the brand has licensed its
name for a range of products: clothing, knives, tents,
bicycles, baby strollers and more.

Sports Fitness
Nikes founders observation, If you have a body,
you are an athlete, has set the tone and direction
for the brand. Originally a line of running shoes,
Nike-branded products now include athletic footwear,
apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety
of sports and fitness activities.
Does your brand represent one of these lifestyles?
Or a different one completely? It might be the best
way to extend your brand. And develop a cult-like
following among consumers who want to live your
brands lifestyle.

John Parham is President and Director of Branding

at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and

by john parham

playing to the fans

Four winning ways to Extend Your Brand.
Relationships matter. You may never be asked to
autograph that package design you just finished, but
chances are your brand has plenty of fans. These
enthusiasts show their support by purchasing products
instead of seeking autographs. And you can leverage
this customer base to extend your brand into new
product categories.
Its all about trading on your brands recognition
and reputation with customers. World Wrestling
Entertainment, for example, is a brand best known
for its over-the-top antics in televised professional
wrestling matches. But the brand capitalizes on every
opportunity to sell to its fan base by creating novelty
items, such as collectible action figures modeled after
its most popular characters.
Your brands fans probably dont congregate around
a ring. But who have you built up trust and good rapport with? Maybe your brand is adored by moms or a
favorite among pet lovers. Playing off the strength of
these customer relationships can lead to success in a
new product category.
Here are four winning ways to leverage your customer base and extend your brand:
1.) Tap Into Same-Store Sales
Its easier to leverage your existing customer base if
you can sell your brand extension at the same store as
your existing products. Moms happily buy Fisher-Price
toys for their babies and toddlers at Toys R Us, so it
isnt a stretch to pick up Fisher-Price Happy Days &
Nights diapers there, too.
2.) Offer More to Special Customers
Smith & Wesson is known for guns, but the company
sells those firearms to police departments and security

personnel as well as average consumers. To extend its

reach into these special customer bases, the brand
sells guard booths, barriers, fencing and even police
mountain bikes. Do you serve a special fan base? What
else do they need?
3.) Create Unique Offerings
Kids love to watch Nickelodeon. But the brand discovered a new way to reach this customer base when
it launched Nickelodeon Suites Resorts. This kidthemed resort is an unexpected product launch that
serves the same fanskids and parents.
4.) Sell to a Captive Audience
Motor Trend magazines subscribers, newsstand
readers and website visitors make up a captive audience of automotive fans. But when the publication
considered brand extensions, it needed to avoid categories with strong national brands that were advertisers (tires, motor oil, etc.). The brand wisely leveraged
its customer base with small accessories, such as car
phone chargers and hands-free headsets for drivers.
Who are you brands biggest fans? And how else
can you reach them?

John Parham is President and Director of Branding

at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and

by john parham

is your brand an expert?

How to tell and why it matters.
Normally, we think of people as being experts, but
brands can fall into that category, too. And, no, Im
not just talking about encyclopedia Britannica,
Jeopardy and The New York Times. You dont
have to be a know-it-all smarty-pants to qualify as an
expert brand.
Heres the simple test: Your brand is an expert if consumers look to it for trusted knowledge about a specific
topic. A brand might be an expert at just about anything: cooking, fitness, money, health, beauty or travel.
It just takes a deep, trusted knowledge about a specific
topic to qualify for expert status. So why does all this
matter? Being an expert gives your brand an edge.
Its a surefire way to launch successful brand extensionsnew products under the same brand name in
different categories.
Theres a simple principle at work here: An expert
brand succeeds in just about any product category
where consumers value that brands special knowledge. Starbucks tapped into its coffee expertise to
launch the Starbucks Verismo coffee brewer. The
America Red Cross leveraged its knowledge of
emergencies to sell first aid kits. And Golds Gym
drew on its fitness expertise to move into at-home
fitness equipment.
But the smartest expert brands dont stop at one
new category. The Food Network is synonymous with

great cooking, so my agency helped them launch a

line of cookware, utensils, kitchen textiles and other
cooking products at Kohls. Today Food Network is
dreaming even bigger. The brand just launched its first
Food Network Kitchen restaurant at Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport in South Florida. This
venture taps into the same special expertise for a
totally different business opportunity.
Other expert brands might take you by surprise.
Miss Universe, for example, is an expert in confident
beauty. And this fact is taking the organization from
the stage to store shelves. The iconic pageant brand
just announced plans to launch a new scent collection, and it will feature one perfume each based on
the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA
pageants. And were excited to see where the brand
hangs its crown next.
So what is your brands special expertise? And
where can it take you?
John Parham is President and Director of Branding
at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and

by john parham

red carpet brand extensions

Two ways to make celebrity sell.
Celebrity sells. Its almost as common a maxim in
branding and advertising circles as sex sells. And we
might as well add babies, puppies and funny cats to
the list, too. But even with a star on board, a brand
extension still requires a solid strategy to succeed.
Being famous doesnt mean you can put your name
on anything and expect it to fly off shelves. If an upand-coming starlet wants to extend her brand from
movies to a new product categorysay fashion or
perfumeshe needs to make sure its a good fit. So
how can she and her business partners do that? Start
with two proven ways to launch successful celebrity
brand extensions:
1. Leverage a Celebritys Expertise
Many stars are famous for more than their faces: A
celebrity might be seen as an expert at anything from
cooking to managing money. And this perceived expertise can help brand extensions in related categories
succeed at the product sales box office.
People view celebrity chef Bobby Flay as an expert
in grilling and cooking. This expert status allowed him
to move beyond TV shows and cookbooks to launch a
successful line of dinnerware, cookware and grilling
accessories at Kohls. Model Heidi Klums expertise?
Fashion and parenthood. This mom-of-four combined
these two areas to launch a line of baby and toddler
clothes at Babies R Us called Truly Scrumptious.

2. Leverage a Celebritys Lifestyle

Celebrities live glamorous, envy-worthy lives: fancy
clothes, big houses and successful careers. So its
no wonder that some consumers aspire to those star
trappings. When celebrities represent aspirational lifestyles, their brand names can extend successfully into
products related to that lifestyle. Many fashion and
beauty products succeed with this strategy, and celebrity lifestyle brands often have a design element thats
characteristic of the celebrity.
Singer and actress Jessica Simpsons lifestyle exemplifies flirty fashion and fun. For aspirational consumers, her brand offers up handbags, shoes, jeans, coats,
dresses, eyewear and more. Shoppers who aspire to
something a little edgier might turn to Rocawear, a
fashion line from Jay-Z that leverages his hip-hop style
and from the streets of Brooklyn persona. The brand
recently launched a flagship store at the Barclays
Center in Brooklyn, which also houses one of Jay-Zs
40/40 clubs. Its a one-stop shop for living a little bit
like Jay-Z.

John Parham is President and Director of Branding

at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and

by john parham

is your brand typecast?

How to change consumer perception of your brand.
Were all familiar with the idea of typecasting in Hollywood. An actor or actress starts playing one rolesay
the best friendin movie after movie. Eventually,
the budding star struggles to win roles as anything
else. But did you know the same thing can happen
to brands?
For a long time, the Clorox brand name was synonymous with bleach and only bleach. Its why the
brand had a false start when it introduced laundry
detergent in the early 90s. This new brand extension
failed because consumers were afraid that bleach
might harm their clothes.
Clorox needed to make a big play to break free of
this typecasting and earn a starring role in new product
categories. The answer: A brand extension strategy we
call sequential extensions. It involves carefully planning a series of new products that can be launched
in succession. Each one builds on the last and gives
consumers the chance to slowly widen and change the
way they think about a brand.
For Clorox, the first step meant understanding the
love-hate relationship most people have with bleach.
They love that bleach cleans and disinfects but worry
about it being toxic and damaging to surfaces. With
this in mind, it made the most sense for Clorox to
introduce a household sanitizing or cleaning product
first. This move jumped the brand out of the laundry room and into an arena where consumers value
bleachs germ-fighting power on tough surfaces.
By making the leap to the household cleaner
aisle, Clorox expanded the perception of the brand
and paved the way for later extensions. Today the
brands offerings include toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectant wipes, stain fighter and color booster, and

even cleaning tools ranging from mops and gloves

to towels.
Eventually, this strategy allowed Clorox to launch
a line of popular green cleaning products known as
Green Works. This highly successful line boasts plantand mineral-based ingredients and shakes off the idea
that Clorox is only about bleach once and for all. Its
like the breakout role that finally earns that formerly
typecast actor an Oscar nod.
Sometimes brand extensions prompt a bit of a costume change, too. With Green Works, Clorox evolved
its brand architecturewith Clorox moving from a
prominent master brand to an endorser brand. Take a
look at any Green Works package, and youll notice the
bright green and yellow Green Works logo well before
the subordinate Clorox logo.
With this approach, the familiar red and blue Clorox mark serves as a trusted seal of approval that
endorses the sub brand. This design also frees up
important front-of-package real estate to deliver important visual cues to consumers, such as the green waves
and fresh flowers. These help communicate the at
least 95 percent naturally derived ingredients claim
and create a whole new design execution for Clorox.
Is your brand typecast? If so, what do consumers
think about it thats holding you back?
John Parham is President and Director of Branding
at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and

by john parham

How to Start Mastering One

of the Most Misunderstood
Techniques in Branding
Winning brand extensions are built on strategy, and you
cant create a solid strategy without knowing the three basic
building blocks of brand extensions.
Youre probably under more pressure than ever to
deliver real business results for clients. Luckily, theres
a powerful technique you can start mastering to give
the companies you work with an unfair advantage
something you always want in marketingwhen it
comes to expanding profits, name recognition and
distribution. In fact, its a term youve probably heard
before: brand extension.
It also happens to be one of the most misunderstood terms in branding. First, let me offer a simple
definition: A brand extension leverages a well known
brand name in one product category to launch a new
product in a different category. You might associate the
Arm & Hammer name with baking soda, for example,
but the brand racked up sales in a host of other categories when it introduced everything from cat litter
to deodorant.
Brand extensions always mean new packaging, but
success relies on substance more than style. Winning
brand extensions are built on strategy, and you cant
create a solid strategy without knowing the three basic
building blocks of brand extensions:
1. It isnt a brand extension unless its a new
product. This sounds obvious, but its something even
high level executives get wrong.You cant just change
the product name and/or packaging and call it a
brand extension.
2. The brand name should be famous (or
almost famous). Its a bit like cheating! But you cant
launch a successful brand extension unless people
already know your brands name. Everyone knows Arm
& Hammer, but the start-up fashion label with mod-

est sales? It probably doesnt have enough recognition

to extend.
3. The brand needs leverage in the new category. There needs to be an extendable equity. Thats
a fancy word for an unfair advantage that no other
brand has and that consumers want. It can be a benefit, an ingredient, a lifestyle . . . something that is concrete or easily communicated that you extend to the
new category. Without this leverage, a brand extension
will bomb. You can probably guess, for example, the
extendable equity of Snickers: a familiar taste people
love. This taste profile was transferred to another form
with the launch of Snickers ice cream bars, a new
product that appeals to both ice cream lovers and
Snickers candy bar fans. Its a very clear and compelling new product offering that you can find on the
shelf today.
Ultimately, making the leap into a new category
is always risky. Why should anyone switch to a new
and untested product? Thats why a brand extension
(like any other new product) must provide a strong
reason why the consumer should prefer your clients
new product to what they buy now. But knowing what
a brand extension isand isntoffers a solid step
toward success.
John Parham is President and Director of Branding
at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency.
He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his clients branding, licensing and
seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham
Santanas Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and