This year, I taught a graduate class on branding called Nature of Identity at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Caitlin McLeod was one of my graduate students this spring. She decided to work with a dead brand from the transportation space, Pullman. Founded by George Pullman, this company has a rich history in the American railroad transportation.

During the first month of the course, students are tasked with uncovering the essence of the brand they chose. To find out what makes their brand unique in the marketplace, they are asked to research the company history, its mission and values, targeted and potential customer profiles, who the competitors are, as well as to map out brand attributes through brand grids.

Through the research Caitlin uncovered that Pullman did its best to control all aspects of the travel experience to bring to its passengers the most comfortable ride. The Pullman customer experience was one of comfort, even luxury.

Since the company has long ceased to operate, Caitlin decided that the best way to bring them back would be as a consultancy firm whose expertise would be helping others provide comfortable travel experiences. The consultancy firm could, at the same time, sell its own related products.

The next two months of the semester are devoted to visualizing the newly defined brand strategy. It begins with a logo exploration, which in Caitlin’s case culminated in the wordmark seen above: a blend of heritage and modernity. The logo and its guidelines are explored and presented in a brand book, with various examples of applications. The examples below illustrate how the new Pullman&Co. brand would act as a new consultancy firm devoted to enhancing the experience of comfort.