Beyond Business as Usual: The Story of Branding Trepwise

Beyond Business as Usual: The Story of Branding Trepwise

The truth is, a lot of professional services firms are pretty similar.

Sure, they offer different services or target niche audiences. But they face a lot of the same challenges. Like tough competition—and how to stand apart from the field.

Trepwise faced those challenges, too.

A strategic consulting firm headquartered in New Orleans, the company came to us for branding after a few years of trying to create the brand themselves.

Past Trepwise collateral showing the old brand

The old Trepwise logo and logo mark

The Trepwise brand when their team approached Atomicdust

Putting things together for yourself, and getting people to agree on it, can be one of the toughest things a business can do.

A lot of times, we’re hired for our outside perspective, free of bias, and our willingness to listen, absorb, and reflect back on what we hear with ideas on how to make it all work.

It’s a little like therapy, and a lot like what a good agency does.


Some truths about business

I’m a big business book nerd, and after you’ve read about 100, and talked to clients about their challenges for the last 20+ years, you start to realize that most businesses and organizations (not just professional services firms) have the same problems. Namely, not knowing exactly where they are headed and fear of failure.

Trepwise helps clients facing those problems—companies, nonprofits, foundations, public sector organizations and more—to make a plan and put it into action.

The Atomicdust team discusses Trepwise branding

We learned a lot about the Trepwise culture, spoke with their bright and brilliant team, and really got to know their values. What drives them. How they see the world.

John Jay talks about this approach in this video you should check out.

Combining the truth of Trepwise’s culture and their audiences’ pain points of fear of failure and not knowing the right path, we created this language.


First and foremost, we believe in people.

We believe in their passion, their perspectives, and their drive.

Every day, people are what steer an organization to wherever it’s heading—towards success, stagnation, or failure.

But no matter what direction it’s going, an organization is always in motion.

We exist to get people moving in the right direction. To unite and inspire them. To turn their ideas into action, and individual efforts into powerful communities that thrive.

Because when we bring people together, we move their vision forward and power their purpose.

Power Your Purpose


It reflected what I’ve learned from reading, listening and running my own business. The idea that business is organic, and always moving—you can steer it or not—was such a simple idea that could apply to all businesses, and have a lot of hope and just a little fear backed in.

We showed our idea to the client. We talked about it. We debated. We dissected. We refined. We presented it again.

And in the end, the client truly saw themselves and the value they deliver in the language. It clicked with them, and gave them direction for their own moving, growing, organic business.


Iterations of the evolving Trepwise logo

Iterations of the Trepwise logo during the brand development process

Colors, typefaces and graphic devices in the new Trepwise brand identity

Photo treatments in the new Trepwise brand

From here, we went on to create a modern, warm and sharp visual identity for the brand.

The Trepwise brand applied to marketing materialsThe Trepwise brand identity in social mediaTrepwise business cards and t-shirts with the new brand identity



Making it easy online

To help roll out the new brand, we built a new marketing website on WordPress to inform, inspire and reassure clients and prospects that Trepwise understands their challenges and has a culture of perspective that can guide them to where they want to go.

Trepwise consulting firm website pages

The new Trepwise site feels easy—like the experience of getting help from a guide who really cares about your situation and is well equipped to help. In both copy and design, it’s straightforward and clear, with friendly pops of personality.

Trepwise website design on a laptop


That’s about it. I just wanted to end with telling you that the people at Trepwise are incredibly smart, and care deeply about clients, culture and the world around them. They don’t make compromises. The project combined so much emotion, culture and business intelligence that it will always stand out to me as work that I’m extremely proud of.



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Mike Spakowski

Mike Spakowski

Mike Spakowski is Principal / Creative Director of Atomicdust and is involved with the day-to-day design strategy, art direction and studio management.

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