We don’t like to toot our horn that much, we prefer to do that for our clients – but this is one we’re pretty stoked about, so we wanted to share! Last Thursday, Dirigo Collective was recognized from the Boston Ad Club’s Hatch Awards for our own agency’s identity and branding system that we have developed over the last year. Since many people who have seen this evolve are intrigued by what the heck it all stands for, we thought this would be a good opportunity to dive into our own story.
As many of you know, developing a true brand position is difficult, but 100% necessary to create effective change. Every institution, establishment, organization, industry and generation needs disruption; it’s the only way to prevent stagnation and to pursue progress, efficiency and innovation. Dirigo Collective is an agency that was founded on the idea, and with the intent of doing things differently. From the clients and partners we work with, to our process, we are laser-focused on being that voice in the marketing and ad world.
When we initially asked our fearless creative leader Jon Novak to help take this on, the path he set us down was a tough one. Not to sound too cheesy, but he pushed us to really invest the time and energy to do some pretty serious soul-searching. The identity and branding for the company is inspired by the renegade attitude of its founders, and the people who have picked up the Dirigo Collective torch. The name, wordmark and icon all derive their meaning from the past and the agency’s roots, while looking forward to where we want it to go, and what we want it to stand for.
It’s funny how, sometimes, what you’re looking for ended up being right in front of you the whole time. Being from Maine myself – and many of the founders finding their way here from travels that took them around the world – it’s our deep ties to the state of Maine that brought out elements to play on its history. We love working with clients from across the country and sharing Maine’s heritage by way of our own brand. ‘Dirigo’ is the state’s motto, which is latin for ‘I lead;’ bringing in ‘Collective’ completes the idea of “collaboration with purpose;” and the tree and star call back to Maine’s first state flag. The style and tone through the brand visuals and language – from our website to our office – are heavily inspired by the democracy, irreverence, and low-fi techniques of social movements and revolutions.
Imagery plays a huge role in the brand and are as much a part of the visual language as the wordmark and icon. Collage and found imagery create surreal scenarios that are able to either support content or exist as the content itself. We also have developed a space-heavy theme which we strongly unstudied with because of our inner nerd while also supporting the idea of the pioneer and exploring the unknown.
Our story has layers, much like the people our work connects with every day. From the manifesto in our company’s poster, to the photos that hang on the wall in our conference room, and visuals expressed above – some visiting might never understand or even notice these nuances, and that’s ok. Much of our brand is personal to who we are. Our deep sense of purpose is as much of our own team’s North Star as it is for the world.