Stand out.

Work we’ve done

Hark Ideas has worked with a range of clients to help them create, evolve, and adapt their brands to changes in business strategy and the competitive environment. In some instances the best solution may be primarily strategic, in others a combination of strategy and designed expression – verbal, visual, or both – forms the foundation of an entirely new or vibrantly refreshed brand identity.

Acorn Packaging

Shifting perceptions into alignment with reality

Acorn Packaging

Shifting perceptions into alignment with reality

Acorn Packaging delivers state-of-the-art integrated flexible packaging solutions to major North American consumer packaged goods companies and retailers.

Following a change in ownership, we worked with them to reposition their brand, helping to overcome entrenched out-of-date perceptions of the company and clearly differentiate Acorn from the competition.

An audit of Acorn’s competitors’ websites, combined with customer interviews and group work sessions, provided insight to the business that helped guide the brand and design strategies and execution. The new brand strategy was expressed through an entirely new logo and visual identity system and executed though all touchpoints.

Bridgeport Ventures

Standing out in a large crowd

Bridgeport Ventures

Standing out in a large crowd

Bridgeport Ventures Inc. was (since acquired) a junior mining company primarily exploring for gold and copper-gold deposits in the Americas.

The company had experienced management and technical teams and a long track record of successful exploration, discovery, and development. Their key difference was using advanced 3D modeling technology to find valuable deposits where others couldn’t. While that was working for them, their existing brand identity wasn’t. It didn’t capture and convey the unique value of their brand.

We collaborated with Bridgeport to create an all-new, credible and differentiated logo and visual identity system, a clear positioning definition, and consistently branded communications so they would stand out in a crowded, competitive environment.

TD payment card design system

Strengthening an undervalued touchpoint

TD payment card design system

Strengthening an undervalued touchpoint

Payment cards (credit, debit, prepaid, and others) are key brand touchpoints for the issuer that provide an opportunity for brand reinforcement through thousands of daily impressions. Unfortunately, they’re seldom handled that way, and as a result, often aren’t planned and executed with brand considerations top-of-mind.

However, with the thoroughly considered and documented card design system we developed for TD – from card type and value category to image creation and detailed specifications – the bank has a ready blueprint and process for rapid development of new cards and for refreshing existing ones.

We’ve continued to work with TD – Canada’s largest credit card issuer – to implement the design system on all new card products, resulting in a portfolio that’s unique, differentiated, understandable, brand-consistent, and mobile-ready. The system has been successful in streamlining the development process and providing the flexibility to be adapted to new product lines.

TD mobile app icon design strategy

Expanding the brand footprint

TD mobile app icon design strategy

Expanding the brand footprint

For many brands, it’s hard enough to make the leap to mobile, but what if you’ve already done it and now need a plan for expanding to a broader suite of specialized apps?

We worked with TD to create a system that would bring design consistency and coherency to their icons as they prepared for the growth of their mobile app family.

Not only did we express the corporate brand identify and clearly differentiate an open-ended number of offerings within multiple categories, we did so within a space where our “thumbnail” sketches were literally larger than life.

OLG

Managing perceptions of major change

OLG

Managing perceptions of major change

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, a Crown corporation responsible for Ontario’s lotteries; commercial, charity, and Aboriginal casinos; and slot machines at horse-racing tracks; began an ambitious modernization initiative in 2012, recognizing a future of changing demographics and business imperatives.

We helped OLG redefine their corporate brand positioning and messaging to communicate a major change that would affect how they are perceived by their stakeholders: players, the general public, the media, various levels of government, and employees.

Brand drivers were identified through interview sessions with senior leadership and public focus groups to aid in creating new this positioning. We crafted the content and expressive language of key messages to guide public communications initiatives, clarify the brand image, and communicate a positive message of comprehensive change.

OLG PlaySmart

Creating broader and deeper relevance

OLG PlaySmart

Creating broader and deeper relevance

OLG’s Responsible Gambling team approached us with an intriguing and open mandate: How can we do more good for our players? The usual, broadly accepted approach had essentially been to try to use logic to counter a belief in luck, but that hadn't yielded the desired results and wasn’t likely to in the future.

We conducted a thorough analysis of OLG’s situation, industry data, the various inputs and resources available to players at every stage of their engagement, and interviewed key OLG and public health-related stakeholders (e.g., CAMH, Responsible Gambling Council). The result was the creation of a comprehensive, tiered player education strategy. Further it was to be named and branded as a distinct flanker sub-brand of OLG. This offered a number of strategic benefits. It would bring distinct focus to the new program, help allay possible concerns about mixed mandates for the seller/educator, and to make it “ready” if at some point the brand was to be applied in conjunction with the identities of gaming operators other than OLG.

MBNA

Adding life and excitement to a brand identity

MBNA

Adding life and excitement to a brand identity

When TD acquired the MBNA brand and credit card business in Canada, renewal of all facets of Canada’s largest Mastercard issuer’s brand identity was called for.

It was decided their simple and recognizable logo would remain, serving as the anchor for a completely new and comprehensive look and feel brand system. The branding put the customer front and centre with the product in a fresh and effective way – exciting, distinctive, flexible – yet visually leveraging a familiar presence adaptable to all media.

The MBNA-branded credit card portfolio was completely redesigned and rationalized to align with and reinforce the new visual identity, and elevate perception to more effectively serve its flanker-brand positioning. As well, we developed an extended design system to provide coherence through MBNA’s extensive and diverse affinity co-branded credit card suite.

Newport Private Wealth

Making the telling match the story

Newport Private Wealth

Making the telling match the story

Newport Private Wealth is a wealth management firm serving high-net-worth individuals and families across Canada. Their website is a key point of contact for developing relationships with new and existing clients.

Their site has to hit all the marks in telling a story that’s compelling and thorough enough to persuade a discerning audience to take that next step. Unfortunately, it hadn’t kept pace with the evolution of the brand or with competing online brand communications. The way their story was being told no longer did it justice.

We developed a new site structure (in collaboration with web specialist Office/Bureau) to tell the Newport story in a simpler, linear fashion, while allowing the user to navigate as they please without getting lost in nested links. We also created key messaging for the main sections and consulted on the conceptual and script development of the featured video.

Lonsdale Portfolios

Renovating brand architecture

Lonsdale Portfolios

Renovating brand architecture

Newport Private Wealth is a wealth management firm serving high-net-worth individuals and families across Canada. They had launched a sub-brand – Lonsdale Wealth Partners, aimed at mass affluent clients with third-party advisor relationships – but found that it didn’t so much expand the perception of the parent brand as create what appeared to be a parallel brand, with similarities between go-to-market strategies and verbal and visual identity expressions that had the potential to confuse clients.

To differentiate the two, we first needed to focus the brand messaging for the Newport parent brand so that we could appropriately and distinctly position the Lonsdale sub-brand relative to it. We proposed a new name – Lonsdale Portfolios – as a more direct indication of a product offering, and added an endorsement statement to ensure its hierarchical relationship with the ultimate source of brand value was clear. We adapted the graphic language of Newport to create a new visual identity to stake a premium positioning for Lonsdale relative to the competition, while simultaneously leveraging the close association with, and protecting and enhancing the more exclusive and fulsome Newport Private Wealth offering.

Livingston International

Defining a position on a big new playing field

Livingston International

Defining a position on a big new playing field

Livingston International is – as it has been for many years – Canada’s foremost customs brokerage and compliance brand. To meet its growth targets, Livingston set upon an aggressive growth strategy of acquisition.

The U.S. presented the best opportunity, but Livingston was not well known there. They needed a strategic repositioning of their brand that would enable an aggressive “challenger brand” stance against firmly established players, like FedEx and UPS, but preserve the long-standing equity of the brand with a committed client base in Canada. The brand positioning and expression had to appeal equally, and credibly, to potential clients and potential acquisitions.

After a series of internal workshops, and following external insights derived from customer research, the result was a new brand positioning expressed through an evolved brand identity program. It comprised refreshed visual and verbal assets that included a fresh tagline, an image library, a refined colour palette, and updated typographic style. This was broadcasted by expansive use of print, digital, and social media targeting their highest-value audiences. (In collaboration with Profis.)

N8 Identity

Streamlining complexity

N8 Identity

Streamlining complexity

Canada’s largest dedicated identity and access management (IAM) solution provider, N8 Identity has an impressive roster of clients. Yet, while being respected leaders in the industry, they were not well known to potential clients.

Their offerings are technically complex, long-lead-time selling to high-level executives in different functional groups of large companies. Our brand audit of the company and its competitors, combined with one-on-one and group work sessions, uncovered insights about the business that helped guide the design strategy and execution.

Based on our recommendations, the brand identity was refreshed to present more credibly and to differentiate N8 Identity from their competitors; a new, future-ready website was designed, structured, and written to tell the N8 Identity story more effectively – simplified and streamlined – with new features and CMS functionality; and new document and marcom templates were deployed, along with updated business stationery.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

A check-up for a major health brand

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

A check-up for a major health brand

Sunnybrook was anticipating a merger with a smaller, specialized care provider and were concerned the merger had the potential to test the credible stretch capacity of their existing brand positioning, their visual and verbal identity, and the brand architecture that expressed these coherently. Despite having gone through a rebranding process over the previous five years, they realized they still lacked a comprehensive road map for their brand that anticipated the future evolution of the organization.

Our work encompassed an in-depth review and evaluation of the positioning and visual identity of both entities, a top-level audit of their immediate competitors, and a survey of brand practices in the wider healthcare sector. We uncovered information that illuminated the key issues contributing to their concerns.

Armed with new insights, we developed recommendations for targeted changes to help future-proof the brand and provide the assurance they could move forward with confidence in the short term.

UGO Wallet

Creating a dynamic balance

UGO Wallet

Creating a dynamic balance

With UGO Wallet (a joint venture of TD and PC Financial), consumers can pay, earn, and redeem loyalty points with a single tap on a smartphone. This innovative solution offers functionality that could ultimately eliminate the need to carry an actual wallet.

Following extensive research into this highly competitive and quickly evolving product space, we developed the name, logo, and visual identity system for the app and the joint-venture entity. Key elements of the challenge were that the name, colourways, and overall brand identity had to be distinctive in the broad Canadian financial services and grocery retail sectors, and function equally well in each. The brand mark was purpose-built to register strongly at the reduced scale of mobile media.

After the initial product launch, we were brought back to continue the initiative with the design of more consistent, brand-centric iconography and to further develop the UGO Wallet visual identity and brand/product architecture system.

What we are

Hark Ideas is an independent brand design and strategy consultancy working to create, evolve and communicate successful stand-out brands. We collaborate with enterprises large and small, established and start-up, to help build authentic, differentiated brands that resonate with stakeholders through inspired strategy, graphic design, and messaging. Our focus is always fixed on the results, not the process.

Who we are

We bring you extensive experience working together and with other firms, solving brand design and communications issues for clients – locally, nationally, and around the world – through strategic solutions executed in print, digital, and environmental media.