Practice develops a ‘less is more’ identity for new skincard brand Remedy

The New York branding agency has been working with skincare expert Dr Muneeb Shah to help disrupt an often confusing and fragmented market.

The ‘less is more’ concept is a powerful one in design. But when it comes to client work, it can sometimes be an uphill battle putting that into practice.

Corporate clients, in particular, may end up trying to cram multiple messages into one design; either to please all the competing parts of the business, or because they just lack focus concerning what their business is actully about.

When New York-based brand-building firm Practice teamed up with skincare expert Dr Muneeb Shah, though, they were pushing against an open door. In this case, the client wants to pursue a ‘less is more’ approach to disrupt the often confusing and fragmented skincare market.

Original idea

Dr Shah, who’s amassed an online audience of nearly 20 million followers under the moniker @DermDoctor, first approached Practice in 2022 with an idea.

Through years of clinical work as a dermatologist, helping countless patients solve their skin issues, he’d developed a deep understanding of the most common conditions. And more often than not, he found that the brands and products people were using to treat them weren’t all that effective.

In fact, they often sold customers empty promises instead of a reliable path to healthier skin. Convinced he could build something better, he reached out to Practice.

Practice, which specialises in building category-defining, mission-driven brands from end-to-end, only selects a small handful of client projects to work on every year. However, the team knew immediately that Dr Shah’s idea, though nascent, had massive potential and admired his dedication to democratising skin health.

As Michelle Mattar, founder and creative director at Practice, explains: “Dr Shah was uniquely positioned to fill this gap in the skincare industry. This wasn’t AI-scanning product reviews. This was someone who actively treated patients, received the biggest questions in skincare on a daily basis, had filtered through it all and asked, ‘How can we do better?'”

Brand concept

Each of Remedy’s products addresses a common skin condition and is formulated by Dr Shah himself. The brand’s formulations are 100% vegan and safe for sensitive skin, as well as being free of fragrances, common allergens and animal testing.

“One of the key differentiators is that each formula was built from the ground up with the intention to pack as many great things in there as possible,” explains Julia Ambrus, a 3D and graphic designer at Practice. “In contrast, market leaders often pick the route of adding the least possible amount of active ingredients to their products just to be able to list that they’re in it, so they can maximise their margins.”

In collaboration with Dr Shah, Practice ideated on and built out a twofold concept: a skincare brand with a less-is-more philosophy, which Practice later named Remedy, and a sub-brand called Skinpedia, an evergreen index making skincare knowledge and best practices accessible to all.

“This is a brand that believes you need less skincare – instead of having to purchase and layer on tons of different products, you can now rely on fewer products that are each stacked with the highest possible product efficacy,” explains Michelle. “These remedies are a more powerful, streamlined, and effective way to get healthy skin.”

“Remedy marches to the beat of its own drum,” adds Rohan Chaurasia, a designer at Practice. “It reflects Dr Shah’s joyful energy while still feeling trustworthy. It feels purposeful without being preachy and expert without being overly complicated.”

Brand name

When it came time to name the nascent skincare brand, Practice wanted to evoke Dr Shah’s clinical expertise as well as his warm personality. The team decided on the name Remedy: a bold embodiment of Dr Shah’s humanised yet solution-oriented approach to skin health.

“When you hear the name Remedy, you immediately understand that it’s good for your health; it’s a remedy for your skin,” says Brit Diamond, a senior designer at Practice. “The name conveys a level of emotion and authority while still evoking a human touch.”

Practice then developed a pragmatic naming structure for the brand’s products, labelling them ‘Remedy for; plus the specific skin condition each product was developed for, such as dark spots (Remedy for Dark Spots) and large pores (Remedy for Pore Size). “We wanted to cut through the noise of skincare by crafting product names that were clear, intuitive, and easy to remember,” explains Brit.

Brand strategy

Next, the team worked to develop a brand strategy that champions skin health and skin confidence. Underneath many skincare brands’ claims are the unspoken promise of ‘If you buy this, you’ll be beautiful’. In contrast, Practice carved out a contrasting strategy for Remedy that celebrates the inherent beauty of healthy skin.

Grounded in the brand strategy, Remedy’s visual and verbal identity followed suit, illuminating the brand’s core ethos with an approachable yet clinically-inspired visual system and powerful statements such as ‘Not a miracle. A remedy.’ and ‘Healthy skin is beautiful skin’.

There’s even a hidden meaning baked into the brand’s wordmark: Remedy’s secondary lock-up, Remedy Science, features a cursive-inspired ‘M’ and ‘S’. Emulating a doctor’s signature, these two hidden letters are the initials of Muneeb Shah, the brand’s founder.

Packaging and digital

To further bring Remedy’s brand system to life, Practice designed several core touchpoints, including the packaging system and the websites for both Remedy and Skinpedia and built out the brand’s content strategy and art direction.

As with the brand identity, thoughtful details were integrated into every part of the Remedy system. When designing the product packaging, the team intentionally selected a translucent frosted material to signal the transparency of the brand, which allowed the product to adopt a clinical appearance that felt grounded in science.

In the near future, the brand plans to start expanding its product line to address even more skin needs, as well as continually adding to Skinpedia’s repository of skincare knowledge.

The Practice team sees its sustained co-creation with Dr Shah not just as a meaningful partnership but also as an impactful step towards transforming the skincare industry for the better. “Dr Shah was uniquely positioned to fill this gap in the skincare industry,” says Michelle. “This wasn’t AI scanning product feedback or reviews: this was someone who actively treated patients, received the biggest questions in skincare on a daily basis, and filtered through it all and asked, ‘How can we do better?'”

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