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August 15th, 2017

Purpose-Driven Design Creates Breakthrough Brands

As consumers, we’re constantly approached with a never-ending parade of brands, each promising to make our lives more enjoyable. But there’s a shift taking place among consumers. We want more transparency, more truth. It’s no longer enough to simply have a beautiful website, identity, and color palette, or the trendiest product or packaging. We need more substance, more authenticity, and the brands that embody this authenticity through their visual and verbal identities are the ones that will break through to the other side. (Thanks, Jim Morrison)

At BOLTGROUP, we’re advocates for promoting truth and purpose in brands. And as a creative director it’s my job to make sure the entire design team truly understands a brand’s foundation. That’s the only way we can successfully filter it through the visual identity. It’s a creative process that goes beyond basic aesthetics to a comprehensive grasp of the pillars of the brand. I like to think of this as purpose-driven design. It’s what separates design from art. It empowers us to make conscious decisions based on what’s best for the brand, ultimately communicating at a higher level to the customer. And believe me, this is a proven truth from small startup to industry giant.

So, just how does one evidence something such as youthful vitality with a passion for productivity? Slack is one facilitator. This cloud-based set of team collaboration tools and services makes daily office communication easier and even more enjoyable. Our team relies on it daily. The visual identity of the Slack brand is colorful and a bit organic to inspire collaboration. The service itself supports their brand’s commitment to productivity by keeping open lines of communication with their user base, listening and learning new ways to refine and grow the platform. It’s a win-win situation, and just one reason the brand is quickly gaining momentum.

At BOLTGROUP, we took a similar approach with Little Burros, a family-run startup, making wheelbarrow caddies for the lawn and garden market. We created a fun, spirited brand that still knows how to work. The visual identity carries an approachable, illustrative feel to capture the attitude and vitality of the brand. We were inspired by an organic palette that leans modern, using a lime green to support the brand’s unique offering in the market space. The products carry a simple visual design language that evidences the brand’s commitment to making people’s lives easier through unique innovation. Because each touchpoint reflects the brand’s core beliefs, there’s a sense of purpose and truth in the design. View the full case study and product videos here.

FOX Rehabilitation, another longtime client, is an excellent example of truth in branding on a larger scale. They are the largest private practice of physical, occupational, and speech therapists in the country, specializing in geriatric care house calls. The FOX brand is built on the uncommon practice of treating clients in their homes, face-to-face, and giving their clinicians the autonomy to manage the therapy as they feel necessary. We used photography and video as a powerful tool to showcase this. Never debilitating, always empowering—that was the goal for the visuals.  Capturing clinician and client, in their own space, interacting one-on-one. Central to the brand was a belief in the strength of people. Therefore, the visuals were always upbeat and empowering, conveying a message of strength and achievement.

Part of successfully filtering a brand’s foundation through its visual identity is to go back to those core beliefs and ask if what you’re doing supports those beliefs. Does this video tie back to the brand’s pillars? Is this color palette or iconography true to the brand? If the answer is yes, you’ll begin to see your breakthrough brand emerge.

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