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High Output: Shaping Our Visual Identity

Steve Schlafman
Steve Schlafman
5 min read
High Output: Shaping Our Visual Identity

Earlier this year, my friend Chris Muscarella pushed me to think about investing in a visual identity for High Output. He made a compelling argument this would lay the foundation for a brand and provide more legitimacy.

Nearly four months later, I'm excited to finally unveil our new website and visual identity for High Output.

I collaborated with Regan Johnson of Poly Studio. He's a Portland-based designer who previously worked at Pentagram. I chose to work with Regan because I was drawn to his ability to pair geometric shapes and patterns with unique type fonts. He was also very reasonable from a cost perspective which was a huge bonus.

We kicked off the project in June and just wrapped up a few weeks ago. I'm so happy with the finished product. High Output is finally coming to life.

Here's an inside peak into our process and the evolution of the identity.  

Phase 1: Initial Concepts

Regan proposed three concepts based on our initial discussions. Here are some of the words I used to describe what I was hoping to achieve: connection, movement, multiplication, upward momentum, multiplication, leverage, evolution, impact.

In our second session, Regan presented a variety of symbols to get my reaction and gather feedback.

Phase 2: Symbol Mark Selection

Following several rounds of feedback, we arrived at four distinct directions.

We ultimately went with Direction 1 over Direction 4. This symbol mark spoke to me for a variety of reasons.  First, it depicts a single point of impact with radiating output. Second, it shows the power of leverage. Finally, I'm a big believer that a small action or impact can lead to big outcomes. I felt this mark articulated that.

Impact & Radiating Output

We spent a session exploring some adaptations to the symbol mark. Here were some of the ideas Regan presented. We stuck with the original. While I liked them, they felt too playful.

Phase 4: Colors

These were some of the colors that Regan proposed.

I quickly fell in love with the combination of dark space gray and purple. I felt this was a unique and powerful combo. I was especially drawn to the purple, which is often associated with nobility, power, ambition, creativity, wisdom, mystery, independence, and magic.

Phase 5: Fonts

We explored a variety of fonts for both the wordmark and typography.

We ended up choosing 'Sharp Grotesk" as the single font for the initial identity. I loved the Lexicon Roman for the typography but wasn't convinced combining a serif and a sans serif was the way to go.

Phase 6: Tying It Together

Here's the final "Visual Identity Guide" that Regan presented to me. This identity is just the first version. It will no doubt adapt and evolve over time, but I'm thrilled with how it came out.

Steve Schlafman Twitter

Exec coach. Writer. Student of Change.