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VOL. 128 | NO. 161 | Monday, August 19, 2013

Hieroglyph Hitting Stride at One-Year Mark

By Andy Meek

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A few months ago, the Levitt Shell, which recently unveiled its fall season lineup, got an updated website and brand.


(Bob Bayne)

The firm behind that task was Hieroglyph, a full-service creative company housed at EmergeMemphis that launched one year ago this month and which has been trying to do things a little differently than the competition.

As the name reflects – a hieroglyph is an image that stands as a symbol of something – the firm’s big focus is branding.

“We can do everything else – a lot of people just want something like a website – but we try to start the conversation a lot earlier than that,” said Hieroglyph principal Josh Horton. “We work primarily with nonprofits and small businesses, and they’re coming to us with limited budgets a lot of times for one thing. So we try to slow the process down a little bit and kind of cast a wider net so we can tackle all the things that need to be tackled.”

One of the first projects Hieroglyph undertook was helping the Urban Child Institute spread the word about its “Baby Small” campaign, which underscored the importance of promoting an understanding of brain development in the first years of a child’s life. Hieroglyph helped spread the word through the Web and social media.

Hieroglyph this year also updated the Levitt Shell’s logo and brands, including helping produce a new website and print material.

“I’d done a few brand campaigns in the past on my own, and that’s the groove I want to be in,” Horton said, referring to previous work for clients that include the Overton Park Conservancy and ArtsMemphis. “I’m about helping people communicate a movement and idea.

“When people come to me saying, ‘I just need a website’ – well, you need to be saying something. So let’s deal with your brand copy. Let’s deal with your logo. Let’s deal with other things that also need to be tackled so your brand can be trusted.”

His firm’s own brand includes a love of Memphis and of echoes of its past, especially those from childhood years that Horton remembers fondly. To that end, the firm recently produced a group of T-shirts, not unlike the way plenty of creative firms distribute branded items to clients and prospective clients to get the word out.

However, Horton didn’t want to put the Hieroglyph logo on a T-shirt – he went instead with things he grew up with. So he chose representations of three haunts from his younger years – Adventure River, Skateland and Libertyland.

Those T-shirts are available at www.hieroglyph.co/shop and start at $20.

Meanwhile, Horton’s goal for within the next year is to bring on a couple of people to help with creative needs and project management needs. Right now, Horton is the creative director and is shying away intentionally from taking on big accounts.

“I don’t want to get so big I can’t service my clients, and I don’t want to take on jobs just to take on jobs,” he said. “Right now we’ve got plenty of irons in the fire.”

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