ClearSource Ethanol

Brand identity and packaging for a sustainability-focused ethanol manufacturing facility.

Project Overview

Western New York Energy (WNYE) was already known as one of the largest ethanol manufacturers in the United States. As WYNE began to solidify their place in the ethanol industry, they identified the need to brand this subset as its own entity. The ability to own a brand that was entirely ethanol focused, would allow them to break into new markets as a company with a more singular focus.

Services: naming, brand identity, tone & voice, packaging
Contributors: Jonathan Schoeck, Scott Cole, Andrew Scott

From the Brief

We started with a brand sprint which identified key differentiators within their product. Creating sustainability focused ethanol was baked into their decision making process at every turn. Further, they were proud of an entirely corn-based product that supported a region known for corn farmers. This meant that farmers and WNYE had a symbiotic relationship, supported each other, and in turn supported the local economy. Ethanol is more popularly known by its alias, alcohol which to my surprise has more than one use. We identified three primary audience groups; pharmaceutical, industrial, and beverage, all of which they wanted to appeal to equally, with the caveat that there was the most untapped business potential in the beverage industry.

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Naming + brand identity process for Clearsource ethanol.

We started with an exhaustive brand sprint, that is composed of exercises that are geared for our creative team to learn everything we will need for an ongoing relationship with the client. We learn audiences, values, goals, why/how/what, positioning + competitors, and compile them in on concise document.


We exhaust synonyms of values discovered in the brand sprint, dive into history + origin stories, and come up with abstractions of words. Relying on mind-mapping for naming allows for us to always tie names back to their reasoning + origin. This allows us to visually show our line of thinking. Then we need to check the name's availability.


Once we have picked a name, we begin exploring art directions. This is also guided by the brand sprint. Once a moodboard is finalized, they become our north star while creating anything visual. From a visual standpoint, our moodboard is just as important as the brand sprint. Moodboards can determine colors, typefaces, photography direction, and more. It is important to create a moodboard that is open to interpretation, but also specific enough to create a cohesive brand.

Logo concepts

Once we have a finalized moodboard as our north star, we begin creating logo concepts. We are always finding inspiration from the moodboard, and also testing anything we create directly against the moodboard to make sure it relates back to our art direction.

Fine tuning the concept

After a few rounds of logo exploration, we have usually honed in on a concept that we can begin to fine tune. Now we begin to find to find some solid geometry, semantics, and reasoning behind the logo.

Type explorations

A full type exploration is not always needed, but in this case we explored dozens of different typefaces and treatments. The client really wanted an all-caps treatment, however the final name "clearsource" was too long to go all-caps. With some straight forward reasoning, they were able to see how their logo with wordmark, was becoming cumbersome, and opted in to using mixed-case.

Final outcome

The final outcome was a logo that Clearsource was very happy with, and could see their company and values in. The green area signifies the leaf of a plant, which ties back to their emphasis on origin of product. The blue area signifies the horizon line, and pays homage to the farmers that make their product possible. And the star or north star is a nod to a company with ethics. The mark as a whole is also an abstraction of earth, showing they are a sustainability forward company.