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PROFESSIONAL DESIGN THOUGHTS

Design Blog

How Design Helped PherDal make it to South by Southwest's Pitch Competition

Over the past six months, I’ve had the chance to help a mom-founded business on a mission to help people build their families.


PherDal Fertility Science, founded by Dr. Jennifer (Jenn) Hintzsche, Ph.D., is a small business on a mission to offer an alternative to expensive assisted reproductive technology for those struggling to conceive. PherDal has developed the first FDA-cleared, sterile, patent-pending at-home intracervical insemination (ICI) kit. The at-home fertility treatment was designed by Jenn, a scientist with a Ph.D. in bioinformatics, and her husband Ryan, an engineer, after they struggled with their infertility diagnosis.


I first met Jenn through a networking community, and we clicked immediately. In part because of my own fertility struggles, her business's mission really resonated with me. She needed a new box design for PherDal that complied with FDA requirements. I said I'd be glad to help. We determined that updating her visual brand identity before redesigning her packaging was also a smart move, so that was where we began back in the fall of 2022.


Small changes; big impact


PherDal’s original logo and color palette were mostly DIYed with the help of a marketing person. The branding had a lot of great elements but needed some tweaks to take things to the next level.


Here’s a look at the original branding:

Pherdal Before Branding

And this is the updated face of PherDal:


Pherdal After Branding

You'll see that while the adjustments were subtle, they made a significant impact.


Brighter Colors

By using more saturated tones, we increased the vibrancy.


Better Kerning

We increased the spacing between the letters in the brand name for legibility.


Custom Pattern Design

We developed a bold, branded pattern to use across various digital and print assets.


Neater Graphic Spacing

We fixed the spacing and angle of the DNA strand that forms the line of the letter “D” in PherDal.


Applying the New Branding to Packaging Design

With the updated brand design locked in, it was time to redesign the box. We knew that PherDal’s packaging needed to:

  • Meet FDA requirements by including specific information

  • Incorporate the updated branding using 2-color printing for cost-savings

  • Be made of the heaviest weight (Level B) cardboard to protect the medical equipment inside

  • Limit all branding to the inside of the box for discrete shipping


This is the original shipping box:

Pherdal Box Before

And this is the updated box:


Pherdal Box Before
Images Copyright Pherdal Science

We incorporated the new branding, updated the typography for consistency, and even included a QR code to access video instructions for how to use the device.


Developing a Deck that Opened a Door—to SXSW!

After these initial projects, I’ve been pleased to continue partnering with PherDal as they grow. For instance, Jenn knew she needed to update her pitch deck with the new branding, and with a big investor meeting around the corner, she reached out in January 2023.


Here are a few slides from her original deck on the left, and the updates on the right:

Pherdal Slides Before & After

Updating colors, fonts, and logos were obvious to-do items, but my process for this deck was also about ensuring the information was communicated as powerfully as possible. Here are a few of the changes I made to achieve this goal:


  • Increasing white space and brightening the background make the slides easier on the eyes

  • Adding headings and subheadings to guide audience members more easily through the content and tightening up dense text

  • Creating or updating infographics to capture complex ideas impactfully

  • Creating typographical hierarchies so that the eye knew what information was most important and where to look first


“I thought I had done a great job with my pitch deck, and I had . . . from a content perspective. All of the critical components were there to communicate my problem, solution, and business model. However, based on Stephanie's previous work for PherDal, I knew that she would be able to give our deck the extra dose of professionalism it needed. She didn't just give our deck a little additional wow factor—instead, she turned it into a masterpiece,” shared Jenn. “Everyone from our board to our investors was blown away by her presentation of the content in a unique, beautiful, and convincing fashion. Thanks to Stephanie, I successfully pitched and was selected to the famous and prestigious South by Southwest ® (SXSW) Pitch Competition, where I can't wait to show off her designs to thousands of people. I know the return on this investment will be several hundredfold. Stephanie took my vision and turned it into a beautiful reality.”

Remember, design isn't just for beauty. It can be a powerful tool to get your message into the world. In PherDal's case, it helped engage investors and open up the door to a huge opportunity. The SXSW Pitch Competition showcases innovative technology to high-profile media professionals, industry experts, venture capital investors, and angel investors. Only forty companies are selected to present, and in 2023 PherDal will be among them.


Growing Brand; Evolving Needs

It has been so satisfying to watch PherDal apply its new branding in a variety of ways—with my help and on their own. There is real power in a strong, holistic approach to brand design, and I love helping businesses like PherDal reach more people and grow by putting forth a sharp, professional image.


For instance, I updated PherDal’s free ovulation tracker (get yours here if you're trying to build your family!) and plan to update the design for instructions accompanying the device. PherDal has also been using its Brand Identity Guide to create on-brand social media graphics, update the look of its website, and more.


Are you wondering if your business might benefit from a rebrand?



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