Celebrating 365 Days of the New Maddock Douglas Brand

Celebrating 365 Days of the New Maddock Douglas Brand

August marks the one-year anniversary of our new brand here at Maddock Douglas. To celebrate, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the journey we took to get to this milestone.

Over the last decade, Maddock Douglas has matured as a business: New offerings like ForesightRx, technology, innovation program design and growth strategy have emerged and proved themselves to be effective ways to help organizations respond to changing market demands more rapidly. The time had come to reflect this change in our craft in the way we present ourselves to the world.

Setting clear goals

One of our starting points was a design thinking exercise (what else?) called a message architecture. Margot Bloomstein helped to popularize this exercise in her book “Content Strategy at Work,” where it’s recommended to help teams identify a set of tenets that are actionable and related to communication — often applied to website redesigns. We’ve adapted this approach to help clients answer many different types of forward-thinking questions by understanding the core of what they wanted to convey to their audience. It’s been successful at the start of communication campaigns, to set up website hierarchies and interface design and even as an input for ideations. And in this case it was especially fitting, since a website overhaul was a big part of the Maddock Douglas rebranding project. 

A quick summary of the exercise: It’s a simple card-sort. Assemble a list of about 100 adjectives (from global to local, serious to fun), then challenge your team to first sort them into three piles: “Who we are today,” “Who we want to be,” and “Who we’re not.” Then re-examine your adjectives in “Who we are today” with fresh eyes, asking yourselves: Which of these do we want to carry forward to the future (“Who we want to be”), and which do we want to leave behind? Lastly, group, ladder and sort your “Who we want to be” words into 5–7 meaningful categories. These are your central tenets.

The central tenets for the renewed Maddock Douglas are Authentic, Customer-Oriented, Thought Leaders, Strategic and Actionable. These became the filters that we used to set direction for the new website, logo, typography, imagery, tone and language. (And, although it didn’t quite make the Top 5 list, we also wanted to incorporate a sense of whimsy into the brand. Feedback we hear from many of our clients is that we’re not like the other consultants they’ve worked with before: “You roll up your sleeves, dig in and make it fun.”)

Growing pains

The next step was to design the new logo. With some hand-wringing, we landed on a new typesetting for “Maddock Douglas” using Margem, a font created by Fabio Haag. It felt contemporary, but with personality and energy that seemed to embody our tenets.

Maddock Douglas.png

But a problem arose when we tried to design the new logo and mark. We found ourselves in the conundrum we consult many of our clients about. Everyone working on the team, with the exception of one team member, had been at Maddock Douglas for over 8 years. When you’re too familiar with something, you become an expert and lose perspective of the wider universe of solutions — whether it be visual, a business process, how to meet evolving market trends or how to position your business. We were having trouble letting go of our past. 

Luckily, the newest team member on the project reminded us of our obligation to “get outside our own jar” and embrace the need for outside perspective. So we chose to pause our overthinking and find a partner. 

Aiming for the future

Studio Rubric (a digital design studio based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York) helped us immensely by embracing the work that we had done up to that point — as well as taking the time to understand who Maddock Douglas was as a firm — and helped us transform it into the logo and website we have today.


The logomark’s curves are inspired by the arcs in the letters making up the Maddock Douglas name.


It speaks to us because it evokes meaning at different levels of our business: The four arcs represent our four main service offerings, as well as our core mission of helping “aim” our clients at the right future opportunities to create new business value. They also add a nice dash of whimsy we enjoy — inspiring us to call our newsletter “The Noodle” and even our 2019 April Fool’s joke about creating our own mac and cheese noodles.

A rebrand always stirs up many emotions and questions, and we’re happy to have gone through the journey and come out the other side with an even stronger sense of self. We have appreciated all the positive feedback we’ve received from our community and business partners, and we’re looking forward to continuing the journey with a brand that supports our commitment to driving the right outcomes for ourselves and our clients. Cheers to a successful year!