The canine world is an enduring source of inspiration for creatives, as seen with everything from The Gourmand’s annual calendar Dog Eat Dog, in which dogs named after food are photographed with their namesakes, to Jean Jullien’s playful take on man’s pesky best friend in illustrated card game Dodgy Dogs.
As a studio full of dog lovers, getting the opportunity to build a pooch-focused brand from scratch was a dream project for New York based ThoughtMatter – which is exactly what happened when pet care company Kinship approached the team to launch Witzig, a lifestyle brand and community designed for daschund lovers.
Witzig’s site features a range of products and merch for sausage dogs and their owners, which sits alongside content such as helpful how-to guides and personal stories. ThoughtMatter was brought in to create the brand identity and strategy, logo and illustrations, and worked with digital agency Markacy on the website.
“Dachshunds are known for their big personalities as they are usually very smart, clever, and lively,” says ThoughtMatter design director Wednesday Krus. “Everything we heard about dachshunds seemed like they are witty creatures too, so the name Witzig (which means ‘witty’ in German) came to be. It also has a fun, lively sound to it, which felt right for the brand and breed.”
Taking cues from dachshunds’ unique sausage-like body shapes, the identity aims to reflect the more unusual aspects of the breed. The logo is based on a warped font, and has a dachshund illustration hidden in the letterforms. The studio also used a range of illustration, photography styles and colour palettes.
“With this execution we really wanted to convey that the brand understands the unique qualities of dachshunds, their owners, and both of their needs. People see their pets as more than companions, as true family members, so our work had to show that connection,” says ThoughtMatter design director Sam Barbagiovanni.
“To do this, we used an expressive illustration style that showed dachshund owners as reflections of their pets – including long legs, short legs, odd hair, and more – to connect them to the weird shape of dachshunds. We also used an unusual colour palette, pairing brown with bright purple and yellow, and adding cool blues to bring an element of unexpected brightness to the brand.”
Witzig hosted a series of pre-launch events in LA, Houston, and New York City for dachshund owners to meet up, learn about the brand, and have professional photos of their dachshunds taken. The photos were then used to create a sausage dog-themed coffee table book, which is also available on Witzig’s site.