nerd skincare — A brand strategy that accentuated the personality of an emerging skincare company.
To most, acne is an annoyance. But skincare products that treat acne shouldn’t harm your body or cause more problems than they solve. This was a belief held by NERD, an emerging skincare brand. In 2015, it created a lineup of new products that biologically activated the skin’s natural ability to clear acne without damaging skin.
For years, consumers were told they needed products full of chemicals like benzoyl peroxide or retinoid to improve their skin, resulting in a lack of innovative or viable solutions. To reframe this perception and position its brand as the healthy solution to acne, NERD asked us to help develop a new identity and direct-to-consumer strategy.
Because NERD did things differently in the skincare space, we built a brand that was able to stand out. We established a position that was distinguishable within a saturated category by complementing its brand with a quirky personality and expert voice.
To activate our refined strategy, we designed the brand to be comical, friendly, and empathetic using a relatable and expressive visual language. We applied this language to various touchpoints, including advertising, social, and eCommerce.
As we developed the brand, our goal was to establish a framework that could help NERD redefine the narrative surrounding skincare products and wellness.
To do this, we positioned NERD as the funny friend full of helpful advice. We brought a more human and empathetic tone to the brand’s messaging and developed a visual identity that was vibrant and lively.
Establishing a brand platform.
During our immersion phase, we found that people struggle with skincare issues and, at times, feel like they’re captive to their own skin. This tension helped inform how we positioned the brand.
Together with the NERD team, we rooted our strategy in a stress-free life, based on their products’ emotional benefits. This sentiment influenced our brand platform and, ultimately, the way we brought the brand to life.
We built a brand book to help NERD articulate its purpose and identity.
A confident and playful identity system.
Drawing inspiration from NERD’s mission of empowerment, we created a graphic language with rich illustrations, distortions, bold colors, patterns, and an ownable photography direction.
Each element of the identity represented both the science behind the brand and its perception among users.
Flexible components and identity guidelines.
As part of the new brand, we developed a versatile set of tools and visual assets to help the NERD team create new marketing materials.
Including an elaborate set of “NERD icons” and templates with built-in styling and distortion actions, our guidelines not only taught the team how to maintain brand standards but also enabled them to execute seamlessly across the system.
Custom icon library.
We designed a flexible library of 39 icons for NERD to use across its communications. These icons were provided in both filled and outlined formats.
Typography styling and special effects.
A large part of the visual system was based on distortion and text effects to let the brand’s personality shine. To form these stylistic distortions, we created a series of actions and tools that the client team could have easily used to execute without any design experience.
Branded textures and patterns.
To help bring character and depth to layouts, we created a series of branded textures and patterns to be used as background elements and signifiers across other touchpoints.
As part of the brand book, we created a robust set of identity guidelines to help the client team maintain consistency across touchpoints.
Because NERD was an emerging brand in a highly competitive category, our differentiation strategy was to focus its eCommerce experience on education in addition to conversion.
The site was built as a research tool and shopping destination to implement its direct-to-consumer approach.
A brand site that sells through storytelling and education.
Beyond a product site, the experience acted as a brand hub, research tool, and shopping utility. We devised an experience strategy tailored to meeting various use cases and ensured that the brand’s strong positioning was reflected throughout the conversion funnel.
Activating the brand strategy through experience design.
Every element of the web experience was designed to activate the brand strategy. Messaging highlighted the brand’s personality, the blog rallied customers to take control of their skin, and the education hub helped people fight acne through a research archive.
We added contextual product information to product listing pages as a way to show relevant offerings. The blog combined skincare tips, industry trends, and brand updates. We created a Fight Acne page dedicated to providing customers with product instructions.
Prompting engagement through education and entertainment.
The product pages showcased unique product attributes to drive consideration and conversion. Contextual education, skincare guides, and honest user reviews were also utilized for social proof and validation.
A robust knowledge base to deliver more value to users.
We created a support section to troubleshoot customers’ questions and assist them as they looked to learn more about the brand and its slate of products.