Beyond the Surface: Building Brands Using Wit

Our world is a noisy place to be. As soon as we wake up, turn on our phones, and step outside, we are instantly bombarded by information.

So, how do brands break through the noise? Enter ‘witty thinking,’ the driving force behind our ideas. It drives our strategy, underpins our designs, and encompasses our approach. We take joy in crafting designs that are engaging, impactful, and memorable. By embracing this intentional playfulness, we help forge powerful connections between brands, creating a design that meaningfully engages with audiences and occupies much-needed space in their brains.

Think of the FedEx logo–have you ever noticed the arrow between ‘E’ and ‘X’? If you didn’t notice before, you’ll never be able to forget it now. How about the famous ‘I Love NY’ campaign? Designed by Milton Glaser in the 1970s, the simple yet prominent design has become a fixture of New York City.

FedEx by Landor Associates, 1996



Ever grasped a plot twist in a film or had a random, brilliant shower thought? These moments of clarity are  incredibly satisfying – and you don’t have to be in a bathtub yelling “eureka!” to experience one. “Wit” isn’t directly humour, although it can elicit laughter. Wit is the physical manifestation of cleverness, and it underpins everything we do. At Buddy Creative, ideas are all about intelligence and understanding.

It’s All in Your Head

We’re not neurosurgeons, but we can confidently say this “lightbulb moment” is part of human nature. Think of the last time you solved your daily Wordle in one try. Satisfaction, joy, and pleasure come to mind (not to mention the delight of winning against your friends and family). Clever thinking provokes audiences to feel something, leading to long-lasting, truly emotional connections with the brand. This goes beyond aesthetics to connect with proven brain chemisty.

Raising Eyebrows–in a Good Way

Intelligence is arresting. When done right, can stop people in their tracks. People are naturally curious, and when they are “tricked” into solving a puzzle, most will stick with it until it finally clicks. In our noisy world, this extra time is precious, whether a few seconds or a few minutes.

Humans have short attention spans. Think about the last time you used your phone to distract yourself while in a queue or waiting for the lift. As clever ideas are usually subtle, people tend to move onto the next thing pretty quickly. Intelligent thinking gets under this guard, imploring people to pause and absorb. People are the ultimate pleasure-seekers, and once they experience the “click,” they are instantly moved into a relaxed, warm frame of mind. Emotional association is a powerful tool. Creative thinking makes them more open and attentive to the message.

Playfulness is a Two-Way Street

We take great joy in the ideation process. The studio is our open forum where we bounce ideas back and forth, digging deep into what will occupy mind space.

When Butter Bike, formerly ‘Cliptop Kitchen,’ approached us, we honed in on a unique brand attribute: hand-delivered peanut butter via bike. The result was packaging with wit: different tyre treads indicating various flavours and textures; heavy treads for crunchy, light treads for smooth. With product and packaging working in tandem, Butter Bike’s witty design was ready to pedal into audience’s memories.

With Roam & Relish, an organic free-range charcuterie brand based here in Devon, we let our designs wander. With “roam” front and centre, the hindquarters of happy animals disappear off the front of each pack, as if sauntering away.

With Madrí Excepcional, a Madrid-centric lager, we said “hats on” and made a match. The Chulapo, an iconic Madrid neighbourhood figure, and the bottle’s top, both wear houndstooth caps.

These are just a few examples that demonstrate how creative thinking is integral in our design process.

Are you looking to leave a long lasting impression for your brand? Let’s talk branding!

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