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Ascendant NY logo

A new brand to stem an epidemic


In the fall of 2017 we were given the opportunity to build a brand designed to save lives. A group of addiction specialists and investors came to us with a new concept to bring a medically supervised detox facility into the heart of Manhattan. Something that has never been done before.

In contrast to rehab facilities that require an extended stay, and hospitals that have rigid timelines and more sterile conditions, this detox facility was meant to be a comfortable, more convenient way to begin the tough process of recovery. The hope was that people would be more likely to seek treatment when the care is superior, the facility is local, and the surroundings are more akin to home.

DefinedLogic was tasked with building the brand from the ground up.


Brand Development Team

  • Brand Practice Lead
  • Analytics Specialist
  • Creative Director
  • Back End Developer
  • Designer
  • Front End Developer
  • Customer Experience Lead

Brand Toolkit

  1. Strategy
  2. Personas and Customer Journeys
  3. Naming, Identity and Design
  4. Go-to-Market Strategy
  5. Building a Web-Presence




From the start, we recognized this brand was extremely personal – more so than any other brand we have worked on before.

As we embarked on our competitive research into other detox and rehab facilities, we took a deep dive into the drug epidemic from broad statistical information to personal stories of addiction and recovery. Our early realization was how powerful and deeply personal the struggle with addiction is, and we wanted to honor that as we worked through how best to reach those in need.


Statistics and Analytics

  1. We gathered statistics about Manhattan and surrounding areas related to drug overdose deaths to focus our efforts on who was being impacted the most.
  2. We did search analytics research on how people were searching for addiction help online.


Additional Research and Discovery

  1. We watched documentaries, read first-person articles and medical publications to get a better understanding of who our brand would be engaging.
  2. We conducted discovery sessions to meet with the medical professionals who work directly with addiction patients.



Persona Cards for Sam & Alice

Personas and Customer Journeys

Feeling immersed in the insights gleaned from our research, we aimed to narrow our focus and create a picture of who a potential client might be. We created a proto persona, a representative figure of a client, who we could then follow through their journey from addiction to seeking help to recovery.

Through our conversations with addiction experts, we learned that often times the person suffering from addiction is not alone when they choose to act – that it is likely a spouse, loved-one or other influencer that helps drive the decision. With that in mind, we created the proto personas of Sam and his wife Alice. These were now our main characters as we crafted the journey toward recovery.

We use personas to understand the customers we are trying to reach. This persona is based on statistical data combined with subject-matter-expert interviews. Attaching a name and a backstory to our persona allows us, and our client, to better empathize with the potential end customer.

A key discovery for our team was that someone who has a drug addiction can often deny their problem for an extended period of time. Often it’s not until there is a confrontation, and importantly, a consequence, that “Sam” decides to seek help.

We created a Customer Journey to show how Sam goes from being a prescription painkiller addict in denial to having a confrontation with his wife Alice over his drug use to finally agreeing to speak with a doctor about treatment.

journey step 1 graphic


Using regulary, but not being confronted about use. People close to him may not be aware of his use, or don’t think it’s problematic.

journey step 2 graphic


There have been some “speed bumps” with his using. Alice tried to wake him for work on Thursday, but he couldn’t get up. She threatened to call Dr. Smith. Sam told her he just took too many pills for his knee early that morning.

journey step 3 graphic


Alice confronted Sam after he left their daughter at a concert. He was supposed to pick her up, but was too high to drive. Alice wants to leave unless he quits using.

journey step 4


Sam agreed to visit Dr. Smith for a consultation to keep Alice from doing anything drastic. Dr. Smith tells him he is a candidate for medically-assisted detox. He gives Sam a few options.

journey step 5


 Alice and Sam review the literature at home + look up information online.

journey step 6 graphic


Sam decides that Ascendant is his best option. Dr. Smith has placed a call on his behalf and they are expecting him for his initial interview tonight after work.


We plot the journey that our customer will likely take to seek out treatment. By envisioning their actions, thoughts and feelings, we can start to see the opportunities for how best to address their needs along the way.

journey emotions graphic


Want to learn how to create customer journeys that springboard change?

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Naming, Identity and Design

It was now time for us to decide how we would address Sam and Alice as a brand that will play a pivotal role in their lives.

Knowing Sam and Alice through our persona exercise, we created a naming framework to guide client collaboration. This structure helped to establish a set of criteria for aligning a company name, messaging and style. This construct was immensely helpful in creating a unifying idea as a springboard for strategy and design.


x mark circle graphicDescriptive

checkmark circle graphicEvocative

x mark circle graphicNew Age


New York






Ascendant NY

Zeroing-in on an evocative name that would hit all of the notes we defined with our client was a challenge, but knowing what our target was in advance helped to build focus and consensus.

By defining Ascendant’s character and tone, we started to craft language that balanced the seriousness of addiction with the trustworthy and thoughtful care that would be provided by Ascendant. We sought to create an identity that would be as accessible as possible.



During our identity exercises, we delivered:

Statements for:

Who We Are, What We Believe and the Brand Promise

Brand Pillars

Short, direct content that addresses the four key things that will define and differentiate Ascendant.

Character and Tone

Defining what words we want people to use to describe Ascendant and how we want our communications to sound.

Creating these word-pairings offered us the language guidance we needed to create brand-aligned content for online and print assets.


The visual manifestation of the Ascendant brand is its logo. Arriving at the perfect emblem of all we want Ascendant to exude involved research, lots of inspiration and ultimately, a hand-drawn “A”.

The ascending quality of the “A” draws on the class, optimism and bravery that we defined as foundational characteristics in our identity exercise. From there, we fleshed out the brand system from photography to color palette and full typography.


Ascendant NY logo, Typography, and Color Palette

Crafting a visual language to express the Ascendant brand, drawing on elements of strength, class and elegance.



Go-to-Market Strategy

Print, Social and Advertising – Timeline to Execution

Relying on market research and available digital analytics, we further defined how to reach our audiences through the proper channels. We wanted to reach potential clients, Sam and Alice, but also doctors who would be referring their patients to Ascendant. We contemplated how public outreach versus more individual communications would factor into a brand strategy that rested strongly on discretion and personalization. Our multi-channel strategy had to include robust print materials since this is still the primary way a lot of doctors share information about services. For digital channels, we used keyword search volumes to help target messaging where it would matter the most for Sam and Alice. We focused social efforts on engagement with NYC addiction professionals.

The centerpiece of our print solution manifested itself in a folder with interchangeable information cards. This turned out to be a practical and elegant solution for addressing different audiences without the need for creating a standalone print piece for each. Our social strategy relied on providing a positive voice in the discussion of addiction and the opioid epidemic. We also sought more intimate avenues for advertising to aid in delivering the message in a personal and accessible manner.

Social Post for

Wanting to stay true to the brand and avoid being too commercial in our pursuit to gain exposure, we stuck to paths that met business goals while being sensitive to the end-client’s need for privacy and discretion.



Building a Web Presence

As we worked through the identity for Ascendant, we began to craft a website that would showcase the quality of the staff and facility while answering the crucial questions of potential clients.

Using competitive analysis, user experience best practices and tight information architecture, the structure of began to take shape in wireframes. These wireframes, like blueprints for a home, became the foundation for the content architecture and design evolution of the site.

We presented the clients with options for the visual design of the website. Once we narrowed down the aesthetic, our development team constructed a custom WordPress theme with all elements that the client would need to manage the site. By utilizing WordPress, we were able to create a site that would be scalable and easy for our clients to maintain going forward. The flexibility it offered for them to edit and upload content and imagery made it a perfect choice.

The culmination of the copy, design and development is a website that is at once visually striking, easy to navigate and a pleasure to use. keeps the focus on getting potential clients the answers they need to take the next step of contacting Ascendant for treatment. The aesthetic of the site reinforces the brand identity and the smooth architecture ensures there are no barriers to getting the needed information.



Project Conclusion

With the print materials, website and ad campaigns complete, our clients have launched Ascendant New York and are looking forward to realizing the results of all that they and we have worked for.

This brand will mean a lot of things to a lot of people and, ultimately, we hope it means the start of a new life for some of them.


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