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Brand Strategy, Design Strategy, Space Design

Wildlife awareness and wildlife conservation are key to developing a sustainable future.

In honour of World Wildlife Day which is this Sunday, Zeitgeist would like to shed the spotlight on Kaav Safari Lodge. Located at the southern border of the Nagarhole National Park, Kaav integrates wildlife awareness into its luxury safari lodge, while at the same time ensuring that the footprint left behind from their business operations is as minimal as possible.

It can be tricky to incorporate luxury and sustainability into a venture’s design, but Kaav weaves the two seamlessly into its business model.

Here are 3 things we appreciate about this eco-friendly resort:


Starting with its minimal brand logo, every design aspect of the Kaav brand represents an unobtrusive but sophisticated ethos. The typography of the logo subtly hints at the outdoors and nature, through its use of alphabets that look like camping tents.

Offering plush rooms with private balconies and glamorous tents with their own private decks, the accomodation at Kaav leaves no stone unturned when it comes to offering clients a luxurious experience. But it also blends into the location’s natural, wildlife setting, through the use of carefully chosen natural materials and employment of climate responsive architecture. Kaav’s architecture and interior design beautifully complement all aspects of the the business’s ethos.

The same goes for the common lounge, dining room and swimming pool. The infinity pool feels more like a pristine, untouched, natural water body one would chance upon in a remote jungle, than it does a man made pool.

The well thought out property design is the foundation upon which Kaav is able to present guests with a unique value proposition.


Kaav takes sustainability seriously. Its actions are not limited to supporting a ‘crowd pleasing’ cause or a one-off CSR initiative. Rather, sustainability is integrated into the processes of all its key activities.

This eco-friendly lodge uses renewable energy wherever possible, recharges groundwater tables and employs a reverse osmosis system that provides potable water at low-energy expenditure. For all the cooking done here, naturally obtained methane is used, extracted from a bio gas plant that employs the lodge’s own kitchen waste.

Further, Kaav engages with the local community to annually plant endemic flora, essential to maintaining biodiversity in the area. Guests also have the opportunity to participate in this activity.


Kaav promises ‘untamed luxury’. And it stays true to this promise, by allowing one to experience wildlife in all its glory, with the comfort of high end hospitality.

Located in one of India’s best places to sight wildlife, Kaav promotes wildlife awareness through a number of activities that allow guests the opportunity to explore and understand nature and its relation to the broader ecosystem within which it exists. Some of the activities include nature walks, spider walks, boat safaris, coracle rides, birdwatching and kayaking. The lodge has a knowledgeable resident naturalist, who is able to answer every question pertaining to the flora and fauna of the area.

What makes the Kaav brand truly authentic is the attention it pays to the small details; the details that reveal the brand’s commitment to wildlife awareness, sustainability and creating meaningful and unforgettable experiences.

Little things like the bespoke Christmas tree made entirely out of natural materials, the thoughtful riverside tea break after the morning’s nature walk, or the Tiny Safaris which are dedicated to exploring spiders, ants, beetles or fireflies are what make Kaav an authentic brand that stays true to its promise.

All images: and


Brand Strategy

Ferrari was just ranked as the world’s strongest brand (not to be confused with the world’s most valuable brand, which is Amazon) in Brand Finance’s annual report on the world’s most valuable brands.

While several factors make up a strong brand, today we’ll focus on one element – the role a brand promise plays in building a strong brand. A brand promise has been defined in various ways, but in essence it is what a brand commits to deliver, every single time, via every interaction with the brand.

So which brands have got it right? Let’s take a look at 3 examples:


Ferrari has always been clear about why they do what they do. Their mission states “We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track. Unique creations that fuel the Prancing Horse legend and generate a “World of Dreams and Emotions.”

The clarity they have on why the company exists, is translated into all that they do, be it developing the latest technology to win in Formula One racing, incorporating the sleekest designs and ultimate driving pleasure into their customised on-road cars or ensuring an unparalleled exhilarating experience when one visits the Ferrari Museum at Maranello.

With every brand interaction the customer experiences uncompromised excellence. It is the reason millions of motorsports enthusiasts who will never drive a Ferrari feel emotionally connected to the brand.


Nike’s mission is “bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” with the annotation “if you have a body, you’re an athlete”

Nike’s messaging through its ad campaigns has always focused on attitude, rather than a person’s ability or achievements. Most of their ads feature ordinary people, who are fuelled by a passion to ‘Just Do It’; the message is to overcome laziness and obstacles and reach for the stars.

The two ads below, one from 1988 and one from 2017 are excellent examples of how the company has stayed true to its brand promise over the years:

NIKE advertisement, 1988

NIKE advertisement, 2017

Nike stays true to its brand promise (bringing inspiration and innovation) through its messaging, as well as through the innovative technology it incorporates into its products and experiences associated with them. Whether it’s the recently launched Nike Adapt BB , its Flyleather technology or the company’s first Nike House of Innovation at Shanghai , the company continuously delivers cutting edge innovation.


How is it that a carbonated drink that contains undesirable amounts of sugar ranks amongst the world’s 10 strongest brands? It is in huge part because of consistent brand messaging that ties back to a clear brand promise. Coke’s brand promise, “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift”, is all about bringing family and friends together, sharing and happiness.

The company has shifted the focus away from the product itself and moved it to the brand, staying consistent in its messaging over the years. 1971 saw the iconic ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke’ ad, which featured a cast from over 20 countries and portrayed the drink as “not only a refresher but a way to connect with people you love, people that have the same taste for Coca-Cola.” It also touched upon diversity.

Read about the interesting story behind this ad campaign here

Nearly 50 years later, the Share a Coke campaign sticks to the same brand promise, but has moved with the times and is more relevant to today’s youth, the brand’s main target market.


1. Simply defining a brand promise isn’t enough. A brand must be able to deliver on that promise – every single time. Companies that fail to do so run the risk of there being a misalignment between the user’s expectations and what they actually get, eventually leading to the weakening of the brand.

2. A brand promise should serve as a guiding star for everyone working in an organisation, helping them to understand their role in achieving a bigger purpose.

3. A brand promise, whether explicitly stated or subtly incorporated into a company’s products, services and interactions, gives the customer clarity on what to expect from a company and what makes that company different from other players. It is the reason McDonald’s – a fast food chain considered unhealthy by many – has a market in Paris, one of the best ‘food cities’ in the world! It may not be the healthiest food, it may not be the ‘tastiest’ food, but you know exactly what to expect from the brand in any of their outlets in any part of the world. The brand promise is consistently delivered through every interaction, building customer loyalty. It is the reason McDonald’s ranks No. 5 on Brand Finance’s Top 10 Strongest Brands of 2019.

Does your brand have a brand promise? Zeitgeist can help you discover it. Reach out to us for help with your Brand Strategy.


Brand Strategy, Design Strategy, Trends

The end of the year is always a good time to take a look at trends that dominated the year gone by. While 2018 has been an exciting year in graphic design, 2019 promises to be even more so, with new technology and digital platforms opening up possibilities like never before. It also poses the question of what new skills graphic designers will have to hone to keep up in the coming years.

In the last article for this calendar year, Zeitgeist shares 5 of its favourite graphic design trends of the year and throws light on what we feel will be big in 2019. Creativity only gets better with shared ideas, so do share your thoughts in the comments below and reach out to us for collaboration. We’re waiting to hear from you!

What Was Big in 2018?


While experimenting with typography is not new to the graphic design world, 2018 saw several design agencies take things to the next level, with cropped typography, chaotic typography and negative space typography dominating much of the scene.

While designing the identity for the Bauhaus Archiv, the team at Pentagram has created no less than nearly 600 glyphs! This image shows a mere 42 of them, used on the cover of Printed Pages’ AW18 edition (also designed by Pentagram) which celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus and is available in 3 vibrant colours.

In fact, a visit to Pentagram’s Instagram account reveals that using interesting typography has been a big trend with the firm throughout 2018. They’ve used it in their work for the London Design Festival 2018, the September 2018 cover of Poetry Magazine, Droit and the Institute of Contemporary Arts/Boston to name just a few examples.

The trend was also popular at Frog:


If 2018 is anything to go by, using gradients in graphic design, a trend made popular by iTunes way back in 2015, isn’t going anywhere. If anything, designers are taking things up a notch by experimenting with more complex versions, such as radial gradients and multi-starting-point gradients, resulting in mesmerising visuals.

Landor used it in their rebranding of Ceconomy, creating vibrant, attractive visuals across various collateral.

Frog’s redesign of the TV experience for British Telecom subscribers saw the use of gradients as well:

Sagmeister and Walsh on the other hand, combined not one, but three cool trends, using gradients, trippy typography and duotones in their work for Zumtobel lights.


Using duotones is a great way for brands to incorporate a brand language across their collateral spectrum. Made popular by Spotify a few years ago, 2018 saw other brands create their own versions that make their brand immediately recognisable.

Jones Knowles Ritchie really upped the ante on brand recognition and the ‘cool’ factor with their 2018 rebrand for the Social Mobility Foundation, by using striking duotone filters in their work, and also incorporated a clever moving ‘O’ into the logo.

Pentagram’s work for the Atlantic Theatre Company’s 2018-19 campaign also features duotones and gradients, creating an immediate association with the brand.


While 2017 had its fair share of customised illustrations across brand campaigns, including one of our personal favourites – the AMVBBDO commissioned Mariana Rodrigues’ illustrations for Bombay Sapphire’s campaign featuring the 10 sustainable ingredients they use to make their gin, 2018 saw a continuation of the trend, with big names from the New York Times to Slack using the work of illustrators to give their brands unique one of a kind visuals and stand out amongst the competition.

Mailchimp’s 2018 rebrand as an anti-tech company by Collins and R/GA, featured the work of a series of illustrators, resulting in the new bright and catchy, mainly yellow, black and white graphics.

Evernote’s 2018 rebrand by DesignStudio also saw eye-catching graphic illustrations that built on the original vibrant green of the brand’s logo.

The trend even found its way to fashion houses, with both Givenchy and Dior using illustrations in their Zodiac series and Toile de Jouy Dior book tote designs respectively.


Brands have been paying more attention than ever before to the fact that today’s consumers greatly value authenticity. One of the ways this has filtered through to graphic design is by using authentic photography in design. This works particularly well when sending a strong message through a campaign, such as in the Social Mobility Foundation’s imagery (see above) and the You’re Already Rich campaign by Young & Rubicam, Santiago for Loto.

2019 and Beyond: What’s in Store?


Global trends in technology, innovation and social changes directly influence graphic design and advertising trends. Zeitgeist feels that 2019 will bring a lot more futuristic looking designs, in keeping with the way our world in general is moving – think IoT, blockchain technology, AR, VR, and MR – and using graphics that look like they’re out of a Star Wars movie feels like a perfect fit. BBC 2’s recent rebrand – its first in 20 years – is one of the best examples of this upcoming trend for the new year.


Graphics that incorporate movement is another big way graphic design is heading. Visit the Ceconomy website and you’re greeted with a swirly background inviting you to read their quarterly statement – it draws you right in! The same goes for graphics used by brands on Instagram and other forms of social media. Vogue Magazine released its first ever digital cover on Instagram, featuring a sparkling, red Vogue logo.

As already mentioned, the Social Mobility Foundation also saw movement in its rebrand:


Nearly all the examples we explored are ‘future ready’, designed not only for print, but also for all forms of digital media and the next generation of technology. For example, the Pentagram designed Printed Pages cover artwork mentioned above comes to life when viewed with the Artivive app.


Zeitgeist also predicts that graphic design will become more inclusive in 2019. What does this mean? Think Section 377, the #MeToo and equal pay movements that gained traction across the world this year. As society begins to take a stand against inequality and discrimination, it is bound to be reflected in the brand communications, so whether it’s using authentic photography, imaginative typography or designing in a futuristic context or one that is more inclusive of the disabled, graphic design will begin to reflect this trend too. We end this article with a great example of this – McCann’s work with MGM Resorts – reimagined love songs for the LGBTQ community, entitled Universal Love.


Brand Strategy

A few weeks ago, we featured an article that highlighted 3 excellent examples of brands that had been redesigned for enhanced impact.

In the same vein, today we’d like to share a branding project that Zeitgeist recently worked on that is also aimed at enhanced social impact.

As an entry for the How International Design Awards, Zeitgeist extended its work on a brand awareness campaign entitled “The Invisible Blue”, which was developed in collaboration with Parinaam Foundation, a Bangalore based non-profit organisation that cares for “the needs of urban and semi-urban economically underprivileged women.”

One of the programmes that Parinaam runs is the Academic Adoption Programme (AAP), whose aim is to “transform the lives of desperately poor children by providing them access to high quality education in the English medium through academic scholarships.” This is facilitated through sponsorship from patrons, and is the only way, Parinaam believes, the vicious cycle of generational poverty can sustainably be broken.

The Invisible Blue campaign was created to draw focus to the vast segments of our population that go unnoticed and uncared for in our urban context – the bulk of them live in slums and shanty towns, most recognisable by the extensive use of blue tarpaulin, a makeshift protection against the vagaries of nature.

For the HOW competition, which was framed around the idea that “Design speaks to each of us in a universal language. No matter your native tongue, excellence in design can intrigue, inspire and stir one’s emotion”, Zeitgeist designed 3 posters, each anchoring down to a separate hashtag developed as evocative and progressive calls to action. The target audience for this particular campaign was working professionals.

1. #canyouseeme

This hashtag and poster were developed to create awareness.

It features a white-collar professional, against the backdrop of corporate India, juxtaposed with an inverted, muted reflection of an underprivileged young boy against the backdrop of a slum.

The Premise:

How often do professionals, sitting in their high rise offices notice or think about those that were not as fortunate as themselves to receive a good education? What would the less fortunate achieve, were they given an opportunity? In many of our urban cities, such offices exist in proximity to such slums, but the question is – #canyouseeme

2. #canyoufreeme

This hashtag and poster were developed to elicit empathy.

It attempts to take the viewpoint of an underprivileged, uneducated child, looking out from inside his home – a shabby blue tent, onto urban, corporate India.

The Premise:

Does education not free us all in a way, by opening up new opportunities and new possibilities? Underprivileged children do not get these same opportunities and are thus denied the possibility of freeing themselves from the vicious cycle of generational poverty. By asking the question #canyoufreeme, it suggests that the viewer has the ability and the power to do something about the gross inequality a helpless child has been unwittingly and unfairly subjected to.

3. #canyouteachme

This hashtag and poster were developed to prompt action.

It features a curious young boy peeping out of a notebook, that could so easily be his blue tarpaulin tent – the choice is really up to the viewer.

The Premise:

Often people don’t realise that they can do something about a prevailing social problem. The question #canyouteachme nudges the viewer towards the realisation that he/she actually can do something about this particular social problem, via the initiative provided by Parinaam, and most importantly, at a cost that would not make much of a difference to the lifestyle of the majority of corporate India.

The campaign creates bridges of awareness, compassion and purpose between privileged India and urban underprivileged Indian children – the future of our country, who deserve an equal chance at education, empowerment and a better India.


Brand Strategy

The goal of Design Thinking is to develop solutions that create value within a given context.

As science advances, perceptions change and progress takes place, the requirement of the end user changes as well.

Isn’t it pertinent then to regularly re-evaluate the relevance of an existing design in its current context? Especially if it is one that has been around for a while?

This is what ignites the flame of innovation. Here are three examples of re-branding done intelligently and that spark a deep connect with their respective audiences.

Towards Inclusivity – The International Symbol for Access (ISA)

As the ISA – a white figure in a wheelchair against a blue background – celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, McCann London has launched its Visibility93 campaign to address the sign’s relevance in today’s context.

Over the past 50 years, advances in science and people’s perceptions have led to us as a society slowly recognising that a person in a wheelchair is not necessarily indicative of someone with a disability. From physical disabilities like arthritis to mental ones such as schizophrenia, ‘invisible’ disabilities can often be overlooked and suitable access denied. The Visibility93 campaign was launched by McCann to shed light on this and to reimagine the sign as one that is more inclusive.

The Visability93 campaign includes a suite of custom typeface that can be freely downloaded from the campaign website, as can a free poster, to raise awareness of the same.

Why the number 93? According to Sport England, 93% of the people living with disabilities do not in fact use a wheelchair. McCann wanted to draw focus to this eye-opening statistic.

The original disability sign, designed by Danish student Susanne Koefoed in 1968 played a huge role in raising awareness and promoting empathy, acceptance and a change in perception. But even the best of designs must take heed of the zeitgeist and readapt itself to become meaningful and relevant in its current context.

Making Growth Fun – Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation in England, is a charity that works towards improving the lives of young people from low income and minority sections of society, by helping them gain an entry into good universities and on to the career paths of their choice.

Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR), which worked on the project for free, has rebranded the organisation to be more in tune with the target audience – a young, Internet savvy, always-online community. The new identity is playful and inclusive.

Keeping in mind that online platforms are a big marketing channel for the organisation, JKR developed animated branding, which you can see below – it’s playful, attractive, clever and representative of upward mobility. The missing ‘o’ concept was extended to promotional and marketing material.

The firm was also cleverly able to transfer the missing ‘o’ concept into static print material, such as posters, brochures and t-shirts.

While developing the redesign, JKR worked within certain constraints. For example, it didn’t alter the existing identity to an extent that it would no longer be recognisable as that of the organisation’s. It made subtle tweaks instead, such as retaining the original colour palette of pink, purple and white, but opting for slightly brighter shades. It also kept in mind that running costs across brand extensions should be kept to a minimum to make it a viable proposition for the charity. So a free typeface that is readily available on Apple and Microsoft systems was chosen, while existing photographs from the charity’s own vast database were used for impactful imagery.

Depicting the Role of Women in 2018 – Girl Guides, UK

The role of women in today’s society is vastly different from what it was a 109 years ago, when the concept of Girlguiding was born. For over 100 years, the organisation has been encouraging girls and women between the ages of 15 to 25 to “learn new skills, work as part of a team or as a leader, and complete projects for social or charitable causes.” The Guides are split into 4 categories based on age (plus the Senior section for those aged 14 to 25). Guides can earn accomplishment badges in a skill or an area of interest by completing certain (age appropriate) challenges. The brand’s redesign which was developed by Red Studio, focused on a new look and feel for the badges and the corresponding award books and handbooks. It also incorporates the addition of new skills to the Guides’ repertoire, such as Coding, Inventing, Human Rights and Festival Go-ing.

The badges are current, appealing and appropriate to all the Guide age groups. One of the main outcomes of this re-design is that the new badges have a more “permanent” feel to them – they can be sewn onto jackets, caps, blankets etc. as keepsakes, evoking the feelings of achievement and belonging, as well as nostalgia in the years to come.

While the colour palette for for all the age groups is the same, the books for the two younger groups focus more on the colours and contain illustrations; the use of colour in the books for the two older groups is more pared down and photographs instead of illustrations are used.

The examples highlighted here have added value to existing designs by making them relevant to their current audience, in their current context, without taking away from the core of what each brand has stood for over many years.

Design Thinking focuses on human-centered design that truly adds value to the end user. Do you have a brand identity that needs re-imagining for today’s world? Using the framework of Design Thinking, Zeitgeist can help you design and develop a Brand Strategy that can take your business to the next level. Reach out today!

Gitanjali Singh Cherian
Marketing Manager

Image and information source:


Brand Strategy, Design Strategy

Human beings are built on connections. Think about how many connections the human body alone has!. And then think about how human beings cannot survive alone. We are built on methods of communication – within and without; millions and millions of them. And without them we wouldn’t be able to process anything.

Now think about food. What does it really take for us to wholly enjoy the process of eating food? Once again, millions of connections. But where do these connections start?

For us it began with Sanctuary Architects reaching out to us to collaborate on developing the Brand for a restaurant they were designing for a top notch Client. This came to us as a pleasant surprise. Weaving brands and spaces was home to Zeitgeist, but now we had the opportunity to showcase our talent alongside Anshul Chodha, principal at Sanctuary – and this was more than appetizing!

Digestion is the process of breaking down food for the body to use as nourishment – this is not far removed from the process of collaboration, for healthy design.

THE EYES – The Visual Appetizer

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘we eat with our eyes’? Perhaps you are starving, perhaps you’re not; but your eyes are the first impulse driver for you to want to devour good food. For a designer, the same can be said of well crafted design.

On a massive floor plate sitting atop one of Bangalore’s most prestigious buildings, Anshul’s design direction for the restaurant was reflective of the expansive cityscape that lay ahead. Magically lit gabion walls exuded strength in connection, and his well conceived travelling walls spoke of a global Pan-Asian story. Though it is usually the other way around, the space lay the foundation for Zeitgeist to visualize the brand at break-neck speed. It set the direction for the Brand’s name and visual identity. It also helped us immensely as we created photorealistic renders as imagery for the final output for the space. There was so much to absorb, just with our eyes.

THE MOUTH – The Provocative Main

Did you know that way before food even enters your mouth, its aromas create a saliva producing reaction to enable the breaking down of it upon entry? The chewing then takes care of the rest. This too is the tale of powerful design collaboration before market entry. Just like the body’s preemptive intelligence to break down food, design intelligence comes from multiple communication exercises and touchpoints through the design process, before its final output.

As Sanctuary began to weave design language to invite the market into a powerful spatial experience, Zeitgeist worked toward expressing the brand to reflect the importance of it. What were the languages, expressions and words we could use to express the combination of this luxurious business and its spectacular design direction?

Multiple conversations with the Client brought us to the point where we understood that the brand name needed to be simple enough to pronounce in a multicultural context, without losing its positioning in the market. As we ingested more and more information about the Client and the collaborative process that lay before us we began to lay out structured steps to arrive at an integrated solution for the Client and our Design Collaborators.

THE STOMACH – The Sweet Satiation

The stomach does two things:
1. It acts as a holding station for food
2. It also facilitates the breakdown of food for the body to absorb nutrients

In the same way, Sanctuary created a holding station for the Client and we drove the nutritional breakdown of its offerings. The interiors express urban Pan-Asian luxury through its use of materials and large expansive openings. The interesting and carefully designed seating nudges a sense of grandeur, while the well defined spaces offer privacy based on mood and function. The brand’s design and development aimed to tie the interior expression into the Client’s vision for the business – an upmarket, luxury pan-asian restaurant. Together with the Client, Zeitgeist decided on the name Kaze – meaning ‘wind’ in Japanese – and developed its visual identity with airbrushed swirls of purple and gold to evoke the feeling of royalty, gently moving in the breeze. The menus were adapted along the same color palette, with added graphics to distinguish the bar menu from the food menu, and content was reorganized to enhance user-friendliness.

Just like the body processes food, together we imagined an experience that would be enjoyable to digest – one built on cohesion, collaboration and connection.

Madhuri Rao
Founder & Chief – Design Strategy


Brand Strategy

Here’s a new word people are warming up to in the graphic design industry – Stylescapes – and this blog is going to talk about how they are used as part of our branding process at Zeitgeist.

Clients often don’t know how to respond when attacked with a board full of pictures and random alphabets, aka Moodboards; mostly because they’re not sure how to read or interpret them. But it is still crucial to go through this step because it lays the foundation stone for the logo.

Enter saviour: Stylescapes!

These are just nuanced, more ‘finished’ versions of the above. It makes it much easier for the client to visualise and choose the future of their brand and saves a lot of avoidable back and forth time.

This step provides a good check-in point for both parties to agree on two things:

1. If the designers have clearly understood the client’s description of their concept.

2. The design direction the client is choosing to head with.

Decoding The Board

Stylescapes are made huge in size to scale up the ‘real-feel’ of the brand.

They list out the brand promise, the brand pillars, typeface and fonts, the colour palette. They also contain sample photographs of different users of the product/service. Elements of brand language such as textures, grids, photography style, illustration style, web and print mockups etc. Depending on their process, some designers also choose to put in initial logo iterations as well.

The key to choosing the right design direction is by picking a stylescape that hits the ‘feel’ of your brand just right. That being said, remember, the elements on the board are always up for play and further refinement.

It is far more efficient to tweak a stylescape in the right direction than redo a logo headed in the wrong direction!

Here is an example to understand what a styleboard looks like and how a design brief can be given different visual takes. Different typography, colours, photographs and adjectives have been used here to create 3 separate brand identities ranging from conservative to bold.

‘Cue’ is a brand designed by Blind with Hudson Pacific Properties.


Brand Strategy, Business Tips & How To's, Design Strategy, Space Design

At Zeitgeist, we design experiences for people.

The best way to do this we feel, is to design a space keeping its “soul” in mind.

For a private project, this “soul” may be reflective of an individual’s (or group’s) aspirations, personality or achievements. For a commercial project, it should be reflective of the venture’s brand. In both cases the experience is designed keeping the end user in mind.

The best opportunity to do this arises when a concept is born, but its personality (brand) has not yet been developed.

One of the instances where Zeitgeist had the opportunity to develop a brand and then give it life via a space and brand extensions was when a client presented us with their idea of developing an authentic Italian pizzeria in Whitefield, Bangalore.

Understanding The Personality

The project proposed by the client was for their flagship restaurant, which they had plans to expand into a chain in the future. Upon immersing ourselves into a Brand Development Workshop with the client, it was clear that their USP was to be an authentic Italian pizzeria.

As part of the Brand Audit process, we conducted in depth research into our target market – expatriates – using Focus Groups as our methodology for this particular project. We chose this method, since we were given a very clearly defined market segment. (You can read more about the relevance of Focus Groups in the brand development process in an earlier article of ours.)

From this we understood that the target market would respond well to a homely “mamas and papas” pizzeria – the kind you’d find in a quaint alley in Naples.

Further expanding on what our research revealed, we used the framework of design thinking to design the entire experience for the end user.

Once we were clear on the brand’s personality and had ensured that it represented a match between the client’s vision and the market’s desires and expectations, we set about the Brand Development process, beginning with ideating for names, logo direction, fonts and colour palettes we thought would work.

Now that the Brand Language we needed to develop was clear, we also began to work on integrating it into the design of the space.

The proposed site for the pizzeria was an abandoned 8000 sq. ft. industrial warehouse that had previously been used to manufacture aeronautical parts.

Speaking the Language

The finalised Brand Name, Affettato – Italian for “sliced”, represents authenticity, while alluding directly to the product.

Staying true to being authentic, we proposed retaining the feel of the old warehouse and developed a Space Design that would tie in nicely with the Industrial look trending across the globe. The idea was to give the customer the feeling that he could be at a trendy, hip restaurant in any part of the world.

Nothing says ‘authentic’ like inviting a customer into the process, and so we developed a plan wherein the kitchen wall would be conceptualised as the window to good Italian street food. In the same vein, we also designed a large, open pizza bar, allowing for a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces, while simultaneously working this idea into the design of the logo as well.

The Logo is framed by a large cutout, just like the bar – open and authentic; the triangles represent slices of pizza, while the sans serif font is in harmony with the trendy, industrial vibe of the brand and space.

Finally, we set about extending the brand language to the Brand Collateral – including the menu and branded merchandise like pasta sauce and wine bottles.

Tying It All Together

The benefit of interweaving the brand development process with the design of a space, is that it puts us in the advantageous position of first understanding the market we are designing for.

Once we understand the end user it becomes easier to design a brand and a space that speak to each other and to the end user, and does not end up being a disjointed, unsatisfactory experience – something that benefits neither the end user nor our client.

Do you have an innovative idea or a new venture just about to take off? Using the framework of design thinking, Zeitgeist can help you develop your brand’s personality, give it a unique voice and translate it into an experience of value to your customer.

Get in touch today.


Brand Strategy, Business Tips & How To's

If your company were a human being, its brand is the element that would be most reflective of its soul.

It is this ‘soul’ that presents your company with the opportunity to stand apart from the rest. It is this ‘soul’ that forms the basis of all that your company stands for and wishes to portray to its customers. It must shine through.

Executing this is not a simple task and often the best way to go about it is to hire an expert in the field – a brand consultant – to help you develop the identity of your company and then communicate it.

But how do you choose a brand consultant? How do you find one that is a good fit for your particular company? This article gives you some points to consider.

Background and Ways of Working

Do some research to determine the background of the consultants you are considering. What are the kinds of brands they have worked with in the past? Do you feel that those brands represent similar values and design aesthetic as your own? What can you learn about their ways of working? Do they seem flexible or does it appear that they are driving a core design intent across all the brands they service? Do each of the brands they service stand apart in their own right? Reviewing a few of the brands they have already worked with will help you to quickly determine this.

What are the processes they employ to help you with your brand’s development? A visit to their website is likely to provide you with those details. Check to see if important practices like brand development workshops, where the client is invited to participate in a transparent process, a brand audit and industry R & D form a part of their ways of working.

Your Brand’s Requirements

Are you a startup? Or are you at the stage where you’re looking at expanding your brand globally? Perhaps you’re considering rebranding after your company has been in existence for a few years. Your brand’s requirements should also play in role in choosing a consultant. For example, a boutique firm might be able to offer you niche services either in terms of expertise or geography, while a global MNC would be better to help with the development of your brand at a global level. Does the agency offer a brand audit so that you can jointly make an accurate assessment of where the brand is positioned today, before determining the direction it needs to go in?


Most brand consultancies were started by people who have come to be known for some aspect. What’s the agency you’re considering best known for? Is it their networking ability? Their expertise in one particular industry? Do they mostly work with the branding of consumer goods or B2B clients? Such questions can help narrow down your options. What are their existing clients saying about their services? A good place to start your research would be social media sites, especially LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and Google Business listing, where clients’ ratings and comments would be available. Of course, there is nothing like having a chat with a client who has already worked with them.

Stage of Brand Development

If you’re looking at developing a new brand strategy or revamping an old one, perhaps looking at going with one of the big guns of the industry may make sense as a one time investment for strategy.

On the other hand, if your strategy is in place and it’s execution you’re looking for, which you can drive yourself, choosing an upcoming firm with a good reputation may make more economic sense. In either case, do make sure you meet the people you will actually be working with, not just a representative of the firm.

In a nutshell, choosing a brand consultant really boils down to matching what your brand’s particular requirements at this stage in its life cycle are with what the various firms can best offer you.

Branding services form a part of Zeitgeist’s holistic approach to designing and managing innovative ideas from inception to execution. You can see some of our work, including brands we have worked with, here.

Gitanjali Singh Cherian
Marketing Manager


Brand Strategy

A brand is not just its logo. It is an identity; a personality. A ‘brand’ is what makes a consumer your customer. It is an experience that needs to be designed. But how does a design agency take it all the way there?

Imagine a really complex game of Pictionary mixed with Taboo… I think that would be a good way to describe the process that takes place between a designer and a client while developing a brand.


One of the first things designers need to do while developing a brand is to understand their client’s vision – by asking questions.

How well a designer is able to assimilate their client’s vision lies in their ability to ask well-crafted questions and to be a good listener.

With reference to the comparison drawn before, a client meeting could sometimes be that part of the game where all the right words you want them to say are taboo. The only way you can guess is by drawing them out for your client and the only way they can respond is with more non-taboo words!

That can get irksome.

So, here are some ideas on how to ask questions while developing a brand’s identity. The Internet of course is everyone’s resource-base, but this article will help you make those questions smarter and more tactful. 


1. Human beings are storytelling creatures. We are drawn to memorable personal narratives, which always makes it a good idea to start with your client’s story. How was their business born? What motivated or inspired them?

This will give you a real insight into their earnestness for their project. It will also open your client’s heart to trusting your process and sharing with you uninhibitedly, throughout.

2. Not every client may have exemplary imaginativeness; therefore it is up to your questionnaire to give them the platform to communicate their thoughts effectively.

Situation questions are the most fun, brilliant way of doing this. Here are some question examples:

   –  Do your customers belong to certain a age/demographic?

   –  How would you describe these people?

   –  Where are they consuming your product?

   –  SIf you were to overhear someone describe your brand to another person, what do you imagine they’d be saying?

   –  In what setting did you picture these two people talking?

   –  What words do you never want associated with your brand?

   –  Situation questions are the most fun, brilliant way of doing this. Here are some question examples:

   –  If you had to choose an actor/actress to play the character of your brand, who would it be? Why?

   –  Imagine your brand were a period in time; what would it be and why?

3. Questionnaires can sometimes sound like exams that incite a feeling to answer ‘correctly’— and that’s not very useful. This typically happens in a casual conversation: ‘But don’t you think…’ or ‘You want it to look… right?’ To reiterate, asking leading questions is a bad idea.

4. But on the other hand, do keep in mind the subtle difference between leading and clarifying questions. The latter is a good practice when reinforcing important points spoken about earlier. So make sure you establish the intent of your asking.

5. While it is valuable to ask for preferences in colour or motifs and such, make sure to ask your client to not get too fixated on them. Since the actual making of the logo happens much later in the process, a designer wouldn’t want to feel restrained by things like colours.

6. Be conscious of what you assume. If your client owns a business for progressive farming techniques, they may or may not want to use the colour green or have a leaf in their logo. It’s good practice to always crosscheck.

7. It is important to know when it’s pertinent to use either an open-ended or a close-ended question. Here’s a personal example: I’d asked, ‘Do you have any thoughts for your company tagline?’ and all I got was a flat ‘No’. It might have been more helpful for me to have put it this way: ‘What feelings would you like your company tagline to provoke in a customer?’ and then followed by ‘Do you have any existing ideas for one?’

8. A section of the questionnaire should just be devoted to juicing out adjectives and as many descriptive phrases as possible. Sitting together and jotting down an expansive pool of words that can be ascribed to the brand is a remarkable exercise for getting those creative juices flowing!

9. One might not always feel the same passion they felt when they were first struck with their idea. Hence, asking your client to answer your questionnaire in a certain setting can be a great way to bring that feeling of passion back to them!

You could suggest an isolated cubicle in their busy office or answering it right after they’ve come back from a vegetable store (for example, if their business is about organic greens).

To make things more stimulating, you could conduct your interview in the place where the client first came up with their idea or any environment where they feel most zealous about their brainchild.

10. Finally, leave scope for things you might not have been able to predict you wanted: ‘Is there anything else that came to your mind while answering this questionnaire?’ is a great way to end.

Remember, the right answer might just be the right question away!

Pahi Gangwar
Graphic Designer