How Brand Design Impacts Business

Hamish Campbell’s HOW Design Live session is one of 23 hand-picked by our knowledgeable staff as the cream of the crop from HDL. It’s not too late to experience it: HOW Design Live Online has been extended to June 29!


Conference presenter Hamish Campbell joined us for a live chat as part of HOW Design Live Online, sharing his insights on designing some of the world’s most recognizable brands.

Hamish is Creative Director of Pearlfisher‘s New York studio, leading and inspiring the design team by setting the creative standard – continually encouraging their designers to demonstrate brilliant conceptual thinking and strong design craftsmanship. He brings his excitingly diverse international experience across brand design, packaging, retail and print design to the studio. Prior to moving Stateside, Hamish worked with some of London’s leading design consultancies, fast developing a strong track record for innovative design, including award-winning work for iconic brands such as Johnnie Walker, Bacardi, Ferrero and Nike.

At HOW Design Live, Hamish presented a session with David Hartman, Senior Creative Manager at Target, discussing the role of design for brands big and small and how design can make a positive impact on business. Watch the session at HOW Design Live Online—extended to June 29!

Check out what Hamish had to say in this excerpt from the chat session, and register for HOW Design Live Online to catch more sessions with your favorite conference presenters.

Hamish Campbell: How Brand Design Impacts Business

Hamish Campbell: Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed my talk, feel free to ask me any questions.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 10.09.40 AM

Jamie: Hello Hamish. I’m a freelancer who is trying to approach/work with larger clients. How do you handle the pressure of being a creative director and under the spotlight at Pearlfisher?

Hamish Campbell: Hi Jaime, I think the important thing to remember is confidence; it doesn’t matter if you are an individual or a large agency, great design is about great ideas. If you believe in the designs that you are creating, you can let the spotlight be on your work.

Steve: Hi Hamish! Thank you for chatting today. The HDL session addressed the connections among investment, brand loyalty and consumer engagement. Do you know of any particular ways to help build brand loyalty via social media platforms?  

Hamish Campbell: Hi Steve. While it’s not my forte, I know that social media is an excellent place to build brand loyalty. As with any brand touch point, it’s essential to maintain a consistent tone of voice. Brands must ensure their consumers equal experiences from store to packaging to social media. If your tone of voice changes from platform to platform, you run the risk of alienating your consumers. Twitter is an especially good place to build loyalty by beginning conversations with your consumers.

Umnitsa_02Annie: Hi Hamish! I loved your work with Umnitsa on the Russian baby food branding; the use of color in particular was excellent. Can you share a bit about the process that went into creating that brand?

Hamish Campbell: Hi Annie. Thanks so much! Sami-s-Usami is a really interesting brand that our London team helped create. Specifically, the color palette draws inspiration from the natural ingredients the products are made of and communicate taste in a bold and vibrant way. Overall, the brand uses the concept of wisdom at all ages to stand out on the shelf in the Russian market. The Russian market especially is a challenge as its primarily dominated with iconic brands from other countries, so our goal with this brand was to differentiate the work from other offers, allowing Russian consumers to develop love for a local brand that was doing things differently.

Jamie: Great point. Confidence is a big part of believing in what you’re doing. What’s your best advice for building a career in design?

Hamish Campbell: Hi Jaime, I think the best way to grow within the industry is to make sure you always you’re your own design. When I’m looking to bring new designers in to my team, I look for big ideas and for someone who goes beyond a brief and surprises me.

Steve: That’s a great point about alienating consumers. I understand it’s important to unify that “voice” across all platforms. I work with a large team, and we often have diverging voices. What are some ways I can keep my team on track and keep that voice more consistent?

Hamish Campbell: Steve, that’s a challenge a lot of teams run into. I think the most important first step for any team, whether design, strategy or social media is to align internally before doing anything consumer facing. Develop a strategy for your team, outline what your tone of voice is, how it communicates, how you express the brand, and how the brand behaves visually and verbally. That helps prevent any inconsistencies.

Sarah: Hi Hamish, Target is an incredibly iconic brand and one that many agencies strive to work with. How did you go about landing this project with such an amazing brand design?

Hamish Campbell: Hey Sarah, Target is a brand we had wanted to work with for a while and we had many conversations with them about our design philosophy our perspective on iconic brands. Ultimately, it really came down to the right job at the right time and a good fit between teams. As David and I discussed in our talk, a vital part of our partnership with Target was the strength of our relationship. And of course, a key element is to make sure that you don’t change your views just to land a job. Both Target and Pearlfisher have strong design beliefs, which ultimately resulted in an even stronger partnership.

Annie: That’s fantastic! When you were designing the Sami-s-Usami, did you need to hire designers familiar with the other languages in order to make the typography and designs look right?      

Hamish Campbell: Hi Annie, typography is an integral part of the identity and design process so we would never look at it in isolation to the overarching process. When designing typography it is key to ensure it sits comfortably with the rest of the design and graphic elements of the packaging and brings to life the name of the brand in an impactful way. Our designers are well versed in designing for global brands, though certainly, should the project require it, we would bring in external experts to ensure that the messaging was spot on for the market in question, or even if it’s just to spell check our Russian!!

Jamie: Going off of Sarah’s comment, how difficult was it to work with Target once you got the job. Did you have less creative input or leeway than you might have with a lesser-known brand design?

Hamish Campbell: Jaime, the great thing with Target is they are incredible creative themselves and when they want to bring outside agencies in, it is to leverage our design thinking to take them to a new level. They gave us lots of creative freedom, and the best way to get great results was to make sure it was a partnership and to bring Target along for the journey.

Jamie: That’s good to hear. Sometimes there are horror stories of work with these types of companies. What was the biggest challenge of working with another huge creative team? What was the best part?

Hamish Campbell: Working with another large creative team can sometimes mean lots of different opinions being thrown into the mix. The best way combat this is to make sure it is collaborative between client and agency and that everyone is on board with your thinking. We invest in immersions with external teams to understand the brand and get to know them. Then, throughout the creative process we kept Target involved so they felt comfortable about making such a big change. This allowed all of us the flexibility to have a fearless approach when rebranding Simply Balanced.

120_HDLOnline1For more information from Hamish, you can watch his session at HOW Design Live Online.

Chat with other HOW Design Live speakers at HOW Design Live Online and watch 23 hours of video from the conference! Register with code HOWLIVE14 to get $100 off registration!

Live Chat Schedule:

  • Monday, June 9 at 3 pm ET: Corwin Hiebert
  • Tuesday, June 10 at 2 pm ET: Marcia Hoeck and Ed Roach
  • Wednesday, June 11 at 1 pm ET: Robin Landa
  • Wednesday, June 11 at 2 pm ET: Hamish Campbell
  • Thursday, June 12 at 2 pm ET: Matthew Richmond
  • Friday, June 13 at 1 pm ET: Andy Epstein
  • Friday, June 13 at 2 pm ET: Nancye Green
  • Monday, June 16 at 2 pm ET: Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  • Tuesday, June 17 at 2 pm ET: Justin Knecht
  • Wednesday, June 18 at 2pm ET: Chris Converse
  • Thursday, June 19 at 2 pm ET: Allan Haley
  • Friday, June 20 at 1 pm ET: Douglas Davis

Learn more and register here.

If you were a Big Ticket attendee at this year’s HOW Design Live please contact us at to receive access to all conference videos.