A Brand Identity Redesign Case Study (Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh)
A brand that struggles with issues such as lack of awareness, lack of customer loyalty, a recessive market position, or who are using visual messaging that's confusing to users and/or company culture, could benefit significantly by developing a comprehensive identity system. But It's not always the case that a premium brand identity design (or redesign) is materially valuable to a brand. Before partnering with a business, I help them to determine whether it's likely or not to be a valuable investment rather than an unnecessary expense.
Phase I: Discovery
We began with my brand discovery workshop (which my clients always find to be surprisingly revealing). The workshop distills any vague notions about who the business is down to a very concise understanding of the brand, which results in a clear positioning statement.
Instead of asking a series of questions that can be difficult to answer (as many agencies do), we workshopped extensive lists of descriptors that are initially answered unselfconsciously through intuition, rather than overthinking. After all, how your business presents itself to potential users will elicit a gut reaction from them first, before they get to know the brand through its touchpoints. The lists are then narrowed to the most accurate adjectives and compiled into the formation of a positioning statement that expresses who they are and serves as the foundation for the brand identity and its messaging.
Depending on the project, we will sometimes also create user/customer/audience profiles. My philosophy about user profiles is that a brand tells its audience who it is, not the other way around. Basic demographics usually suffice unless the brand is a consumer product.
The discovery workshop brought to light the necessity of Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh to be experienced as a compassionate part of the community, but also a trusted and authoritative organization that is the legacy of the two historic rescue organizations it emerged from. One established in 1909, and the other in 1874.
Brand Positioning Statement
Brand Attributes Workshop Document
Phase II: Strategy Visualized
After the discovery phase, market research and look board compilations began.
I create a visual matrix to walk my clients through where they fall amongst their competition in regards to two of the most important categories relating to their product/services as determined by the discovery workshop doc. In this case, the two categories were "Friendly/Loving/Social" and "Authoritative". By setting up a matrix with these two categories in mind, we were able to visualize where they are currently, and where their competition is (logo-wise). Then we establish where their goal should be.
This insight informs concept and aesthetic inspiration, which are presented as themed look boards.
Competition/Logo Comparison Matrix
Phase III: Concepting
Using the most appropriate looks for the identity (based on the strategy information), logo concepts are presented. Prior to finalizing initial concepts, I ask these three questions:
They were presented with two aesthetic concepts and three intellectual concepts. They include:
Super simple, playful graphic symbols representing their three departments (adoption, veterinary and wildlife).
A painted lady holding a cat in a very loving way (painted to feel like urban community wall murals).
A shield which represents all three departments, plus a hypocycloid shape which represents both Pittsburgh and a North Star.
They were presented three typographic styles that were:
Friendly and playful
Friendly, but a bit more serious