Monday, February 4, 2013

Hessian - A Brand In Search Of A Product

Here's a really fascinating idea from identity and product designer, Ben Pieratt.  He begins with the Walter Landor quote 'Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.'  Typically a brand is inextricably intertwined with an actual product.  Even if the portfolio has expanded far beyond the original product, the brand DNA is often anchored in that original product (eg. Nike).  In many cases there's reference to some sort of origin story for the brand or it's component elements (eg. the Nike swoosh).

Pieratt's fascinating idea is the complete opposite of the typical brand story.  He's created a complete brand identity, Hessian, that's essentially a tabula rasa for whatever company is willing to purchase the brand identity and associated assets.  In short, he is selling the brand completely independently of any product.  He's created what could be a compelling brand for any number of products, be it a store, an apparel line, a restaurant, a service, etc.  As he explains:

The core thought with is that, as designers, we naturally see solutions to problems/opportunities we can’t help but notice in the market. We have concepts that we know are valid and worthwhile, and not only that but we instinctually know how they should be launched, how they should look, how they should work, and who their target audience should be.

HOWEVER, as anyone who has tried building something knows, the actual production and launch of a great idea is incredibly difficult. Not only that, but, as Svpply taught me, launching, leading, growing and managing a product is an entirely different skill set than most designers have or want to have or should be expected to have.

Inversely, there are oceans of MBAs, Managers and Entrepreneurs out there who are passionate and talented at the actual building and leading of companies, but may not actually be great at identifying worthwhile problem/solutions in the market.

It's a genius idea and I'm anxious to see how it progresses. Check out more at

hat tip: Kottke