A Branding Case Study: Part I

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Paruresis is a condition that affects more than 2 million Americans, and the International Paruresis Association is the only organization in the country that supports those who suffer from it. Yet membership and support were dwindling, they had an ineffective visual brand and their website was old fashioned and poorly designed. They needed help.

You can see a screenshot of their old website here:


Their logo wasn’t really a logo, just a type font with no distinctiveness or character. On top of that they had an old fashioned horrible website which did not grab the eye and direct it to the important messaging, they had no brand, no flavor, no identity to speak of, and they did not look anywhere near on a par with who we might think of as the credible, authoritative “biggies” in the field – the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, etc.

How were they going to grow if they looked like a bunch of amateurs? How were they going to increase donations if their internet presence did not do justice to their cause?


The first step was to “research the competition” (for the IPA, really just the credible organizations in their field) and create a logo that was on a par with those others. Color, font, symbolism and layout of other logos were all studied, and then a logo created which was not only on a par, but which contained what most people don’t even see unless they look closely: a drop inside the “I”.

We didn’t want to push that drop in anyone’s face so it was made more or less subliminal, but we chose a “solid” and “reliable” looking font (which was what we wanted to portray the Association as to its potential new members and donors), added a couple of strokes, put in the drop and turned the font into something distinctive, creating a logo that stood up well against those of the large organizations in the field.


In the next article we’ll continue with how we developed the emotional message and chose the imaging for the brand.

Interested in finding out how you can use branding to reach more people and become more successful? Email us at hello@21thirteen.com or call us at 646 808 0249 to find out more.