Mapping the mind for Headstrong
Headstrong is a global company with offices in North America, Europe, Philippines and other parts of Asia Pacific and India. They identified Lopez Design and their brief to us was to reinterpret their brand and make it relate to users across countries. Here, the challenge for us was to bridge cultures with a unified approach. We explored semiotics for a global environment, identifying a language of signs that could engage universally. Most importantly, our direction took shape to make people smile.
We engaged in a spectrum of branding from “direct” to “indirect” through motion graphics, signage systems, poster schemes, room graphics and super graphics. The imagery related to “headstrong” came from our exploring a “strong mind” to reveal the brilliance of the human brain – its engineering, multifaceted capacity and complex working. In this way, we showcased the brand, creating ambience and imagery, which reflected the company ethos as “the empire of the mind”.
The way finding system played on iconic images to add life and a human touch to an otherwise mechanical environment. A comprehensive search for a graphic language led us to signage as “mental maps” for way finding. Built on an existing signage schematic, we derived a unique brand connection for Headstrong by placing these intuitive maps into the physical environment.
The average age at Headstrong is 25: bringing joy and a sense of playfulness into the work atmosphere was perhaps the turning point. We zeroed in on Superman – the superhuman symbol, The Sumo Wrestler – the physical challenger and The Yogi – the spiritual quotient.
The idea was to dissipate tension in the highly charged atmosphere by introducing aspects that were light-hearted but had deeper sources of strength. They were symbols of heroes and role models with an element of fun.
The Room signage took on these free form characteristics to free the brand imagery and to bring characters to life. “Meet Talk Elevate” for Meeting Room and “Super PM” for Project Manager were lively concepts that connected with their immediate presence.
The Poster Scheme was built to motivate people by making them stop and introspect and connect with intangible values. Graphics in black are superimposed on a mirror surface reflecting people and the office space with themes as “Stop Look Think” and “The Essential is the Invisible.” The play of self-image with graphics and typography becomes a conversation rather than a distant message to define qualities such as openness, teamwork, leadership and excellence.
Room Graphics were designed to give energy to a space by visuals that relieved the monotony of the interior. Derived from the corporate values, they are attentive to personalization and individuality steering by their visual properties to innovation, teamwork, customer focus, openness and excellence. These were extended into pillar posters as well.
With Super Graphics, large-scale wall graphics activated the space with evocative imagery that created a special environmental ambience. Exploring spaces between the extremes of busy, large and crowded to organized, uniform and quiet, we found an interesting arena of “in transit” within which we evolved the “blue themes.” The overall success of the project was in capturing value systems in the form of imagery to play out in the environment. We came up with a simple system of symbols with which people could easily identify. By bridging conventional notions of design with revolutionary thinking we found an interface to communicate easily and invigorate the work atmosphere. The mapping of the human mind allowed us to create a unique system that was also common to many cultures. We had arrived at an extraordinary design solution enhanced by devices that appear ordinary.