Branding & Strategy

“Where do your ideas come from?”

That’s a question that comes up frequently from both clients and friends. Concepts and ideas come from a variety of places and everyone has a different way of developing or processing them. This is just one example of a thought process behind an idea.

About a year and a half ago at  Herring, we began to re-evaluate our identity and brand. One of the elements that kept coming to the surface was the idea of “Lead & Follow”. This is our philosophy of working in a collaborative way with our clients. In any relationship there will be times you need to lead and other times when it’s best to follow. Over the course of 40-plus years Herring has learned to identify when best to do either. HRNG_leadfollow

Once we embraced the idea we decided to have a little fun with it. We started mixing up type and image. As you can see here, we had just started using our new signature color (yellow) but hadn’t quite figured out if we wanted to use an “&”, “/”, or “and” with Lead & Follow.

I’ve been carrying my camera around more and more and have enjoyed taking candid shots of people and the idea to mix people with Lead & Follow seemed to make sense. Typically when you think of those words you have a person or persons involved. Plus, at Herring we want you to get to know the people. One example of this was using a photograph of I had taken of Katya (one of the few I have where she’s not giving me a dirty look for taking her picture – seriously, I have half a dozen images of her giving me a look with one cocked eyebrow). I liked the image below because it showed some of Katya’s personality. HRNG_kvassilyeva

I tried to recreate that feeling with this next one but failed because I tried to stage it. The idea was there but my execution was horrible. Needless to say, Chad was not a fan of the photo and it came down rather quickly.HRNG_cstanley

It was after this set back that I began to rethink my approach. Showing personality through the photo was only a piece of what would make it better. And to keep using the same phrase over and over again would get tiring for both me and the viewer.

A bit later, Herring had an open house and I had my camera with me again and I snapped off some photos. One photo in particular made me smile. It was at the end of the night and a good time was had by all but one of us still had on their dancing shoes. I decided to have a little fun and add some humor to the image. HRNG_leadfollowdance

Just by adding the word “Dance” the dynamic of “Lead & Follow” changed for me. I started to think about other words I could use and maybe it was the “&” that would be the visual anchor for the banners.

It was after I took a photo of Chris that it all came together. Chis is an amazing illustrator, and when I saw the photo two words came to mind: “Imagine” and “Illustrate”. To me, this is what Chris does. He works with our clients to bring to life a visual representation of a message, technology, service, or whatever the case may be. HRNG_clockwood

From there, I asked a few others if they had a couple of words that they felt represented them and what they did at Herring. The idea was to combine words that showed personality and, if possible, a sense of action. The next two were Jon and Stephen (although the original idea of using a yellow as the primary color on some of the images was abandoned):

HRNG_jthompson HRNG_sstarr

We’ve continued to develop the idea and if you go to our LinkedIn page you’ll see that we’ve been busy putting up new ones for everyone. We’re almost done but there are always a few stragglers that either don’t like their photo or aren’t sure which words to use. I’m one of those stragglers.

There you have it. The updated Herring brand was simple enough that it allowed us to build around it and take it in a direction not originally considered. Like a good concept, a brand should be able to adapt and grow.