Hessian. A Brand for Sale.

It’s quite common to hear about a business idea or product without a brand. But what about a brand without a product?

Ben Pieratt, the same guy who brought us, has created a brand with the sole purpose of selling it.

It raises the curious question, can the design come first? Can a brand create the product?

This is very new to me, and I’m not sure if I 100% agree with the concept. It’s innovative, for sure, and it’s creating quite a conversation, but is it misunderstanding the relationship between a brand and it’s product? Or, is it potentially opening up exciting new opportunities for graphic designers worldwide?

What do you think?


  1. The key here is the distinction between a visual identity and a brand.

    It’s quite common for an organisation to create a product and then approach a design agency to develop the visual identity to go along with it. In this case, the visual identity can be an independent element that doesn’t necessarily affect the product offering and could take any one of many forms. So yes, it’s absolutely possible (and probably relatively common) for the visual identitiy to be developed independently of the product.

    A brand, however, is the complete representation of the entire marketing mix (product, place, price, promotion, etc.) as well as the internal environment (staff, culture, policies, procedures etc.) – every element says something about the brand and establishes what it stands for. So it would be impossible to create a brand without the product itself being a core part of the process.

    Example: eBay recently changed their logo, but it didn’t affect the way they operate or the service they offer, so the overall impact on their brand was minimal. However, if they closed the website tomorrow and opened a chain of cheap n’ greasy burger stores, you would think very differently of them as a brand. eBurger anyone?

  2. Such an interesting idea! And of course the answer is yes, it can be done. For example, even in our line of work agency ‘brands’ can be bought and sold even though there is no physical product. However the difference here is that when selling a ‘brand’ you are selling the equity, reputation and image that the brand has built up over a period of time.

    I think that ‘Hessian’ is not selling a brand, but a design identity. And the purpose of doing so is shining a light on the concept that beautiful design can perhaps be retrospectively fitted against a product. And as much as beautiful design, such as Hessian, appeals my aesthetic eye – without a strong, symbiotic connection to its product it will almost always fail.

    But let’s say I wanted to start up a … publishing company and the identity positioning of Hessian mirrored that of my own then sure, this might be a cheap and easy way to tick a few boxes.

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