Hessian – A Brand-as-Product Project


“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind” – thus spake eighteenth writer and poet Walter Savage Landor. Presumably, Landor’s words were intended as another of his famous, melodramatic musings on modern life, not as part of an ultracool, blue-skies thinking pitch. Yet, this is exactly the function they’ve come to serve as part of Massachussetts designer Ben Pieratt’s brand new branding project, Hessian; a ready-made brand identity to be sold off to the highest bidder.


“Hessian is an invader, an ode, a brand in waiting, a pitch to the market.” So claims Hessian’s big, bold website. “As a newborn idea, Hessian is aggressive and experimental. Its only conduit the working mind of designer , it fights for life by building meme-hooks through studies in contrasts, nostalgia, repetition and confusion.” Hessian is offering the branding equivalent of Ikea flatpack furniture, to be attached to “a restaurant, a start-up, a clothing brand or more”, and for just $18 000, a happy customer can expect to get:


  • A name
  • An URL
  • A Twitter account
  • A Tumblr account
  • 20+ logo & other designs
  • 10+ t-shirt designs
  • 8 repeating patterns
  • A website theme
  • An app user interface theme
  • 5 app icons
  • A brand book w/ guiding principles
  • 30 hours of custom design time (for transitioning the brand to the happy customer’s needs)



Pieratt claims that Hessian is an experiment, testing the mettle of the conventional branding process of product-before-brand (or so it can be assumed, Pieratt put it a bit more abstrusely with the buzzword-laden zinger, “Hessian is a marketing stunt for a mentality”). There’s a divide, Pieratt claims, between beauty and business brains: the people that make the pretties aren’t so good at the baseline day-to-days. On his blog, Pieratt posts that designers:

“have concepts that we know are valid and worthwhile, and not only that but we instinctually know how they should be launched, how they should look, how they should work, and who their target audience should be. HOWEVER, as anyone who has tried building something knows, the actual production and launch of a great idea is incredibly difficult… is an entirely different skill set than most designers have or want to have or should be expected to have. Inversely, there are oceans of MBAs, Managers and Entrepreneurs out there who are passionate and talented at the actual building and leading of companies, but may not actually be great at identifying worthwhile problem/solutions in the market.”

As with any experiment, there’s the potential for unexpected findings, and Hessian’s have been particularly ironic. The problem, it seems, with this brand-as-product project, is that when a brand becomes a product, the product in its own way becomes a brand. The gaggle of attention that the ad world is giving to Hessian means that the brand has come to be known in its own right as an experiment, and due to this its potential as an effective brand for the buyer’s proposed product may well be compromised. Only time will tell is Hessian takes off; in the meantime, the advertising industry will be keeping a close eye of Pieratt’s brainchild, which may come to show potential for a vastly different (and probably, much easier) method of branding.