Highland Solutions was founded in 1999 to offer human-centered technology solutions to small businesses and community organizations. In other words, this small team wanted to provide smart and effective solutions for the people behind those businesses and organizations. Over the last two decades, Highland has evolved into a digital experience design agency that focuses on mission-driven companies and the end goal? Still all about the people — namely, helping them thrive.
But 20+ years of growth can do funny things to a brand’s identity and sometimes, even its very essence. So, in April 2019, Highland reached out to us to help them gain a better understanding of who they’d become and what they were offering to their clients. Basically, they were looking for that almighty je ne sais quoi generator: brand alignment. (Hey, turns out we do know quoi.)
We started by digging into Highland’s DNA to get a clear picture of the company’s brand narrative, positioning, and personality — all the while, examining what felt right and what felt off. Our qualitative research helped us to gain a better understanding of who Highland wants to be and how to communicate that with the world at large: verbally, visually, and in small changes to the company’s modus operandi. We were then able to offer actionable alignment and strategy recommendations that touched on messaging, the brand’s visual identity, and even Highland’s name. The company had evolved into a digital experience agency and experiences are not something that you need to create solutions for. So, we suggested that they drop the “Solutions.”
Six months after we completed this initial alignment project, Highland invited us to design a visual identity that better reflected the present-day company. Internally, Highland had taken our recommendations and worked as a team to redefine the core description of the company, developing a strong, succinct, and inspiring brand personality statement that fit the company’s updated ethos. We looked to this document and again thought about everything that we had previously analyzed — the Highland culture, values, and mission — as we embarked on the journey to uncover Highland’s new visual identity.
Ultimately, we created a complete brand identity, including a new logo and accompanying brand assets, that visually communicates Highland’s personality. We met our goals of strengthening the Highland brand and setting the company apart from competitors. Our work wrapped up in May 2020 and Highland launched its new brand in September of the same year.
A company that always says “Hi”
Highland is committed to being the kind of company that always says “Hi.” The digital experience design agency always has — and always will be — human-centered, which means that they think of their clients as people, and their clients’ customers as people, and design accordingly. We crafted a secondary “Hi” word mark, which reflects this small but important aspect of the brand personality and company culture.
A typeface that marries human and digital
Highland’s former logo was cast in a slab serif font and though we explored a wide variety of font families as we sought out the right one for the digital experience design agency’s updated identity, we ultimately circled back to a slab serif typeface. We did, however, customize it with circular serifs and rounded descenders and terminals for more playful and distinctive headlines.
From tech solutions to digital experiences
Highland’s original purpose was to offer technology solutions to small businesses, but over the years, the company has grown into an experience design agency. What’s remained the same is its intent to “give a damn” (a core tenet). We recommended dropping “Solutions” from the agency’s name and created a fresh brand that reflects Highland’s new direction.