A Brand Case Study:
The Branding of Finesse
I had the pleasure of being brought in at the genesis of a Silicon Valley biotech startup. At a point that there were big ideas, but no physical products, there was an enormous amount of abstract information to absorb. In a competitive market of instruments and OS for measurement and control of bioprocessing systems, my client needed an identity that would stand out — and that would adapt to a quickly expanding company and vision.
A biotech consulting company evolved into a thriving daily newsletter and accompanying static website but lacked a cohesive identity. With aspirations for expansion, they needed direction and a brand that was professional yet approachable — a brand that would be taken seriously, but not threaten their current subscriber base. My challenge was to study and evaluate their needs then create and build a cohesive brand bridging all of their endeavors: Aspen Brook (consulting), Aspen Alert (newsletter), Aspen Xchange (biotech community site), Aspen Award (industry award) and so on.
The Brand Strategy:
The first step in the development of this new brand strategy, was to define their target audience, objectives and concerns through an extensive interview and branding exercises. Through those, a mission statement and brand values were developed. This process formed the foundation of all design and creative routes that were explored and presented.
The brand positioning was further resolved in a tagline, “Solutions for Life.” This worked on multiple levels: Solutions referred to (chemical) solutions as well as solutions in the sense of answers to problems. And life could be understood both as lifetime endurance/stability as well as of the industry of life sciences.
Building on their new positioning, a brand was developed consisting of a logo, palette of colors, typography treatments and image standards for all communications.
The concept behind this design was to combine the visual of a DNA strand with the letter “F” (for Finesse). A customized type treatment also used the letter “F” in communications.
Green was chosen as it represents life. It was also a color that stood out in a sea of red and blue-logos of the competitors.
The logotype was custom drawn. For all corporate communications, Tahoma was chosen both for its ease of use as well as its accessibility on company equipment.
Subsequent Individual Product logos
With a very fast pace and constant new product concepts, I devised a system for simple graphic product logos that I coded by shape and color per their intended usage. (System or Instrument)
Application of the Brand:
The first task of applying the brand was to hire a web designer to fulfill my vision for a corporate site that would grow with the new company.
My first task of applying the brand was to redesign the newsletter, including typographic hierarchy and the establishment of guidelines for charts and graphs which brought visuals to important survey results that had previously only been displayed as text. I also put together a coordinating placeholder website for the company while working hand-in-hand with developers to oversee my vision of the creation of an interactive daily site, The Aspen Xchange, which is rich with information and interactivity. The launch of the Xchange led to the introduction of an integrated series of sponsor portals, an all-inclusive industry-wide calendar of events and a plaform in place to to continue onto the hosting of online industry conferences (virtual trade shows) and podcasts and videos.
Aspen Award and Promotional Materials