When You Leave The Room.

Christopher Doyle
3 min readAug 6, 2023
Naming and Brand Identity for Huch

The following text was taken from our 2023 studio publication, Nothing I Know Belongs To Me, published by Formist.

For an industry focused on helping to define and clarify businesses, we have a never-ending list of definitions for branding. When our studio talks to clients about what we mean by brand, we try to do it as simply as possible. We believe that brand is how a business, product, or person, looks, sounds, moves, and feels. It’s fairly easy to explain the visual and verbal elements of a brand, along with the process of how we get to them. Movement is usually easy to explain too. The trickier bit is how it all feels.

I was working at Interbrand when I first heard the quote ‘brand is what people say about you when you leave the room’. I loved it immediately. It manages to capture so clearly the intangible aspects of brand. The power of impression, consistency, and reputation. And the idea that a brand is the culmination of multiple inputs, many of which are difficult to identify in isolation. But all of which come together to convey a feeling.

I have always found branding challenging. It was a core offer in every studio I worked in before setting up my own. And at every studio, the process was managed differently. Not rightly or wrongly, just differently. Some studios had firm, immovable views on what a brand needed to comprise and how to build them, whereas others had more flexible, organic approaches. The common thread was, well, common threads. The thinking that a brand needs a core idea. A way of looking, sounding, moving, and feeling that all stem from one core idea. Starting the studio was an opportunity to define our approach to the process of having those ideas. But rather than settle into an approach and a set of tools that get wheeled out on every project, we have instead found ourselves constantly refining how we do it.

For a long time, our designers were tasked with contributing ‘whole’ concepts for internal review. Solutions for core ideas, logos, type systems, colour palettes and copy ideas. It’s how I had always worked in studios. But it’s a lot. Especially for less experienced designers. A few years ago we rethought the approach. Now we break up the core components and divide them amongst everyone for exploration. Someone might work purely on type research, someone else on colour theory and copy. And then we swap over. The results are shared so everything is on the table for remixing. It gives us combinations we don’t expect and it means there is less pressure to solve everything alone and simultaneously.

Still, no matter how we do it, it’s always hard. I have always been jealous and suspicious of relaxed designers. How are they doing it? I need design to feel hard. Or, as Julian once put it to me, you need ‘a manageable level of anxiety’. It’s a feeling I have learned to love. It tells me we are still looking for new ways to do what we do. It tells me we are still trying.