‘Spruce’ Is Calm, Simple, Timeless
H&R Block, known for its tax filing services, approached Public Address (PA) to develop a design system for Spruce, a new platform that aims to provide financial guidance and support for its customers year-round – especially those who are struggling with finances and living paycheck to paycheck. The Public Address team envisioned a brand identity that paid homage to the trusted H&R Block brand and felt cohesive within the H&R Block brand family, but also established itself as its own distinct and approachable offering.
From naming to color palette to typography, the new visual identity is meant to create a connective tissue across the entire brand ecosystem, while still allowing Spruce to speak to a whole new audience and set of customer needs. Design studio and client collaborated to develop Spruce as a strategic name untied to a specific feature or function but, rather, that focuses on the feelings the brand should evoke: calm, simplicity, and timelessness. At the same time, Spruce offers a subtle reference back to the iconic green of the H&R Block brand; new shades of green create a color palette that is both calming and energizing.
The logo and headline typography utilize Garamond – a typeface with roots in books and storytelling – to establish a conversational tone, while Graphik is used for information and data. Graphik, along with the icons, are design elements that are shared across the parent company’s ecosystem. The photographic style is honest and relatable, but also a bit aspirational — customers should be able to see themselves as they are now, but also envision themselves in the kind of lives they are working to create. The illustrations were concepted by Public Affairs and executed by an external partner.