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Rebranding a men's haircare product

Art Direction
UX Design
Shopify Development

Modern Mammals is a men’s hair care product, which is a healthier alternative to shampoo. The team at Modern Mammals reached out to us at Forge after their first year in business and their first several thousand customers.

Customers raved about their product and it was clear that it resonated with men. With early signs of product-market fit, the team at Modern Mammals approached us to do an end-to-end rebrand. Over several months we created a new brand identity, led art direction, and designed and implemented a new website.

Brand Identity

When we start working with a new company, we go deep to understand the brand and the customer. We dive into customer feedback and reviews to get a sense of what’s valuable and differentiates the product. We scour the landscape to understand competitors, differences in positioning, and uncover what we like and dislike.

With Modern Mammals we wanted to stand out from other shampoo products. Modern Mammals is the anti-shampoo. The belief is that shampoo is bad for your hair and that you shouldn’t use it daily, so we needed a bold, expressive, and distinct way of representing the brand so that it didn’t fall into the category of “men’s shampoo.”

We also wanted to stay away from the traditional branding that accompanies men’s care products, which tend to be designed with overly masculine aesthetics and colors.

Along with the Modern Mammals team, we decided that we wanted to be accessible for the average guy who wants to maintain clean and natural feeling hair.

After these initial conversations we spent a week coming up with a few different conceptual directions. We work backwards from “the big idea” — what’s the two second takeaway of this brand? What’s the one-liner people say when they tell friends? How is that idea expressed in print and digital?

We’re fast and loose with aesthetics at this stage, but we involve them to express what the “big idea” can look like when applied to the brand. Here’s what that looks like.

Our first big idea was “It’s not shampoo” — a bold, in-your-face idea meant to intrigue. What is it then?

Our second idea was “Stay Wooly.” The name Modern Mammals was strong and we wanted to see what it felt like to lean into pre-historic mammals, evolution, and a more naturalistic bent.

Our third idea captured the “reformed” guy who is learning about hair care and realizes he’s been f’ing it up with shampoo all of these years.

After evaluating each of these ideas, we went with “Its Not Shampoo” as the big idea. It represented the bold, direct, and attention-grabbing message Modern Mammals needed.


We then moved into packaging and explored various visual directions for the bottle. We start here, rather than by selecting type, colors, etc. in the abstract, because we think the brand needs to be seen in its application. From there we extrapolate the full brand (wordmark, type selection, color palette, copy, etc.)

We explored a number of different directions with the packaging, trying concepts from naturalistic, to wild and playful, to leaning into natural ingredients.

Ultimately we arrived at this for the packaging.

The shapes are organic, natural feeling, and a bit abstract. We wanted something that stood out in a hair-care aisle, so we leaned into saturated, bright colors. It also felt masculine, without traditional blacks, silvers, and military-grade fonts.

Art Direction + Photography

With the brand identity in place we moved onto art direction and photography. We cast models who showed a range of expressive hairstyles and attitudes. Generally we were looking to capture clean, fun, and light-hearted shots, and wanted to stay away from overly masculine, fitness-enthusiasts in the photography.


Our aim with the website was to keep it clean, credible, modern and bring in brand elements to make it feel distinct. We focused on light, playful, and direct copy that highlighted the value props of using Modern Mammals.

Forge combines focus and out of the box creativity to deliver incredible consumer experiences. They are an analytical and open-minded team, one that will contribute their own ideas as well as help you assess yours. They were our brand partner as we launched, and continue to deliver insights on product and positioning decisions.

Joe Moriarty


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