Useful Group

Crafting a brand with serious character.



Building a brand with serious character.


Brand Strategy
Visual Identity
Brand Guidelines
Web Design




A Bold Predicament

Boldface Why, a marketing agency, came to me with a predicament: they thought that they were being too bold and were turning away potential clients.


Brand Strategy

Heading in a New Direction

After some discussion, we determined they needed to change their brand if they were going to service “Missions that Matter.” Taking the brand in a new direction meant having a new, approachable name: The Useful Group.


Useful Discoveries

After we determined that the Useful Group would be the new company name, I then headed up a branding discovery phase that played an integral role for the visual components of the brand. We brainstormed words that resonated with the Vision and Mission for the Useful Group. Finally, we narrowed it down to 5 key words that embodied the brand.

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Visual research

Finding A Balance

Discovering more about how the Useful Group identifies themselves was helpful, but as I explored visual directions I felt a tension between paying homage to Boldface Why or taking a more conservative approach. In the end, I believe I found a balance between energetic and trusted.

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Visual identity

Bringing Ideas Together

Beginning to brainstorm, I thought about the simple question: what does it mean to be useful? Multiple concepts came to mind, but the one that made the most sense was a paper clip. It brings ideas together.

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Picking Useful Colors

Establishing a color palette that fit Useful Group's bold, yet principled personality was a fun challenge.

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web design

Entering the Useful World

Through several conversations with the Useful Group team, we began to explore how they'd want to present themselves (and their work) online. We brainstormed a lot and finally landed on a theme: taking people into a game, the Useful Group world.

Exploring Useful Illustrations

After I created the initial wireframes for the website, we determined that having illustrations throughout the website would be a nice touch to add a little flair. I began with sketching out a conceptual city (below) and used an isometric approach.

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Be On the Lookout

Stay tuned for the next phase of that will implement this new branding, strategy, and overall awesomeness.



A Brand with Serious Character

The new visual identity system, which plays off of a paper clip motif, provides an effective and versatile look with serious character.



James Kinnard, Founder

“Sam is exceptionally gifted at brand strategy, messaging, and design. It’s an honor to partner with someone so talented who is willing to make our projects his own, and to get after it with excellence. I highly recommend his work!"