Branding shouldn’t be a puzzle: But 1,000 jigsaw pieces can reveal the method to a stronger brand

Sarah Fry

Design Director

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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As a creative, I am constantly searching for meaningful inspiration. When I came across the Clemens Habicht Color Puzzles, in which each jigsaw piece is an individual color that must be placed exactly in relation to every other color, I thought it would make a perfect collaborative challenge for the Intrinzic design team. After all, putting together the pieces of a brand is like putting together the pieces of a complex puzzle. It takes the ability to fuse science and method with creativity and innovation, with the goal of communicating and visualizing a strategic and compelling point of view.

Our mission at Intrinzic everyday is to create meaningful connections between people and brands that inspire conversation, create community and build lasting bonds. No matter the challenge, our step-by-step process and approach provides a framework for us to navigate our clients’ unique situations and create relevant solutions. Just like in a puzzle, each individual piece of the brand has its own importance, but the most crucial aspect is how they connect together form the final, impactful expression.

So, with the puzzle delivered, we dumped its 1,000 colored pieces onto a table. In that moment, the task of connecting each of the pieces to create one continuous color spectrum seemed impossible and daunting.

Step 1: Collect

The first phase of our design thinking process, which applies to any branding or design challenge, is what we call the Collect Phase. This is where we dig, probe and find meaningful insights that surround a brand.

Here we dumped out all the pieces of the puzzle on top of a studio table and took stock of what we had to work with. We needed to determine the best way to work this complex challenge.

Step 2: Curate

In the second phase, we don’t just report back our findings, we seek to find unique associations and connections that provide inspiration and context to the brand we are building. Here we are building the foundation and structure for what the brand will become. Tools such as attributes, mentor brands and brand worlds are created to bind everything together.

We jumped right in and started sorting and grouping each piece into color groups. We then pulled out all the edge and corner pieces to begin assembling the frame of the puzzle, which served as the foundation for all the pieces to come.

Step 3: Craft

This phase is where we start pulling all the pieces together and constructing the individual elements that will eventually become the finished brand. Brand pathways are the key tool we use at this phase to design color palettes, iconography, photography style, key visuals, typography and more. At this phase our clients begin to see how all the pieces come together to tell one, cohesive story about who they are what they do.

When we build a brand we build it from the inside out. Our puzzle was no exception, we began putting pieces together and connecting them to our outside edge. You can see how we created several small groups of connections that started to get put together.

Step 4: Build

This last phase is where all the established visual and verbal tools for the brand come together to create a final product. This could be in the form of a website, a messaging strategy, a social media or CRM campaign, signage, or any kind of marketing application. Everything is brought to realization. In this case, our puzzle was finally complete!

After several people and many days of focus and determination, we finally put the last piece of our puzzle in place and admired our finished product.

Process makes perfect

As we worked through each detailed step and broke it down together, solving the puzzle very quickly became an act of intuition. Guided by those principles we’ve tested over dozens of branding projects – Collect, Curate, Craft and Build – our methodical approach took those 1,000 scattered pieces and brought them together to create a beautiful and complex image within a few days time. It illuminated our process for new team members and reconnected our seasoned designers to the fundamental truths in our method. And, most importantly, we had a blast tackling the challenge together!

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