Useful Group

Building a brand with serious character.


Boldface Why, a nonprofit-focused marketing agency, came to me with a predicament: they thought their brand wasn’t attracting the right customers. In this project, I help them refocus their identity to serve them better.



Brand Strategy

Brand Discovery

Visual Identity

Icon Design

Asset 18.png

Brand Strategy

Heading in a New Direction

After some discussion, we determined they needed to change their brand if they were going to serve “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 then 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 new brand:








UG_Brand Discovery3-rev-banner.png


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.

Samuel Lee Miller_Portfolio_Useful Group_Visual Inspiration 01.png

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.




Visual Identity

Picking Useful Colors

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

Samuel Lee Miller_Portfolio_Useful Group_Brand Colors.png

Adding Icons

In addition to the logo and visual identity elements, I was also tasked with creating custom icons that outlined the Useful Group’s services.



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


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.


Next Project

Iconaday ↗︎

Helping a design brand thrive online