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Brand Identity Redesign Case Study (Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh)
Determining Value

Struggles with issues such as lack of awareness, loyalty, a recessive market position, or visual messaging that's confusing to users and/or 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 begin with the brand discovery workshop that distills any vague notions about who the business is down to a very concise understanding of its best attributes. With that, we establish a positioning statement.

How a business presents itself to potential users will elicit a gut reaction first, before they get to know the brand through its touchpoints. So instead of asking a series of questions that can be difficult to answer (as many agencies do), the workshop yields extensive lists of descriptors that are initially answered quickly and unselfconsciously.


The lists are then narrowed to the most accurate adjectives or phrases and compiled into a positioning statement that expresses who they are and serves as a foundation for the brand identity and its messaging.

The discovery workshop determined that Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh should be experienced as a compassionate part of the community, but also a trusted and authoritative organization that is the consolidation of two historic legacy rescue organizations in Pittsburgh. One established in 1909, and the other in 1874.

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Brand Positioning Statement
Brand Attributes Workshop Document
Phase I
Phase II: Strategy Visualized 

After the discovery phase, market research and look board compilations began.


I create a visual matrix to walk the client 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 currently sit in the market in relation to their competition. Then we establish where the goal should be.

This insight informs concept and aesthetic inspiration, which are presented as themed look boards.

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Competition/Logo Comparison Matrix
Look/Inspiration Boards
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Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase III: Concepting

Once the strategy is translated into an approved look board, logo concepts are presented. Prior to presenting initial concepts, I ask these three questions:

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The client was presented with two aesthetic concepts and three conceptual concepts. They include:


  1. Simple, playful graphic symbols representing their three departments (adoption, veterinary and wildlife).

  2. A lady nestled with a cat (painted to feel like urban community wall murals). 

  3. A shield which represents all three departments, plus a hypocycloid shape which represents both Pittsburgh and a North Star.

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They were presented three typographic styles that were:

  1. Friendly and playful

  2. Friendly, but with a more serious tone

  3. Distinctive

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The color palette was a very unique color combination that when used together feels fresh, modern, and distinctive.

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Phase IV: Finalizing

After several rounds of revisions, the logo, color palette, type styles,  photographic styles and style guide are finalized. 

The final  logo is a combination of the simple symbols, the shield and the painted "mural" style. All of these concepts and styles combined convey the sense of community through the mural affect, a sense of warmth, playfulness and happiness through the rendering of the symbols, and the inclusion of the shield helps the logo to feel symbolic of trust, legacy, protection and authority.


The logo files delivered included black and white versions, social, and a tagline logo. 


The photography style focuses on the interaction of the animals with volunteers, employees, donors and others in the community. The animals should always look happy and energetic, and when humans are present, the interaction is fun, organic and genuine. 

Our photos were shot in-house using real members and animals of the HARP community.


The Style Guide is a 28 page interactive guide that describes usage rules and contains links to all assets in the identity including photography, all logos, brush strokes for use in layouts, icons, examples of designed layouts, etc.

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Phase 4
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