How We Designed It.

  |  Branding & Design Strategy  |  Doug Sovonick

Deskey has been working hard on the branding work for Hamilton County’s major infant mortality initiative, Cradle Cincinnati. Although our part is just a small one, we thought it would be interesting to give people a glimpse of how we put this campaign together. This is part of a series of four articles that discusses how we named it, how we discovered our strategy, how we designed it, and how we got started in the first place.


One day, I was the only guy in a room crowded with pregnant women, and I said to myself, “There’s just no way.”

Here’s what I mean. Cradle Cincinnati is a countywide effort to help reduce infant mortality in Cincinnati, and it’s one of the most important health initiatives they’ve ever attempted. Infant mortality is a big problem here, far more than most of the rest of the country, and any attempt to help keep more babies more healthy is a good thing.

But back to me, because I was the only guy in a room full of pregnant women. My name is Doug Sovonick, and I am the chief creative officer at Deskey. We were doing some in-depth learning for Cradle Cincinnati, trying to see what spoke to them. In talking to these women about their backgrounds and histories, their challenges and their successes, I realized something that made me think.

There is no one reason for this problem. In fact, there are probably as many reasons as there are babies affected by it.

I’m a designer. I like nothing more than designing something that’s easy to understand, that forms a personal connection, and that says something real. That’s one of the marks of good design: universality. If you don’t understand it, the design isn’t doing its work. But how do you make a universal design for a problem that literally has a thousand different causes?

I’ve worked on baby brands and mom brands, and I know how to cut through the clutter, but most of the time I’m working with a defined strategy with clear goals and a tight target. Here, we needed to communicate to everyone, from expectant mothers to caregivers to city managers to corporate leaders – and everyone in between.

So my first thought: “There’s just no way.”

And my second: “Time to get to work.”

We tried a lot of directions. Many pixels died to bring you this logo. In the end, we decided to try a logo as simple and literal as we could craft, while leaving room for all of the possible reasons you might turn to this initiative in the first place.

The final result is our name being softly cradled in the universal sign for “comfort” — with a star perched above it. The star is what my eye keeps coming back to. It symbolizes something to reach for. The aspiration and hope that comes with every new life coming into the world. The opportunity to dream a little, no matter who you are and where you come from.

So I was wrong. There was a way, it turns out. It’s simple, it’s personal, and it’s true.

Doug Sovonick

Doug Sovonick

As Chief Creative with over 30 years of design and branding experience, Doug is the kind of creative director that clients love to work with. He loves his brands, is loyal to his people, and likes delivering creative that moves emotions and product in equal measure. He knows how to move consumers from browsers to buyers. Doug has helped lead the creative thinking for companies such as Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Georgia-Pacific, Sunbeam, Ferguson, Jack Links, The Sunny Delight Company, Johnson & Johnson and Newell Rubbermaid.