Howies - A Deconstruction

Added on by James Cronin.

Analysing and deconstructing a pre-existing brand or company is a useful tool for professional development, as it allows you to work out whats working and what might not be. Your findings can then be applied to your own professional practice and the work that you produce. Howies Howies are a small active clothing company based in Wales, they make men's and women's clothing for sport and everyday wear.


  • Originally set by Clare & David Hieatt in 1995
  • Based in Cardigan (West coast of Wales)
  • Named derived from Clare's maiden name, 'Howells'
  • Eco-friendly - abide by ethically correct practices
  • Sell sports clothing / equipment to men & women
  • Range of sports include: mountain-biking, surfing, skateboarding and hiking
  • Main competitors include: Bamboo Rider, Yew Clothing and Levi
  • Have their own printshop
  • Clothing is made in China
  • The company is now run by Timberland
  • Don't have their own in-hourse design team
  • They commission freelance writers, designers, photographers and illustrators
  • They also include customer contributions to their publications
  • Host competitions and sponsor sporting events / teams


  • Howies have a small printed publication and website
  • The identity is an outdoor, sporty and environmentally friendly company
  • The lifestyle they promote is active and ecological
  • The language they use throughout their site and publications is friendly and informal
  • The graphic language used is a nice balance between computer and hand generated imagery
  • They use a mix of illustrations and photography
  • The typeface used on both the site and publication is sans serif
  • In terms of stock and material choices they have favour good quality which they believe will last longer
  • The materials are ethically sourced, an example is their organic cotton
  • The editorial is portrayed as a 'personal message' from Howies
  • Its a collection of articles and used as a form of interaction with the audience and their clients


  • They exist to sell environmentally friendly clothing and sports equipment
  • "we believe that making a product that lasts longer is better for the environment" -
  • They are not the first to sell clothing to this target audience but there views on ethically sourcing the materials are original


  • The Howies 'model' continues to work as they re-enforce the brand by sponsoring sporting teams
  • They adapt: A vegan pro skater informed Howies he was cutting off their organic jeans leather label so they made an animal free one in his honour
  • They are listed as one of the UK's most ethical brands
  • They believe designers should show benefits of eco-design and sustainability
  • Howies themselves admit they are green but could be greener
  • Timberland have taken over Howies and now produce four catalogues a year
  • 1% of all their income is donated to eco projects

What's working / What's not working?

  • The logotype is simple and clear - it can be used on any coloured background (dark or light)
  • However the blue colour is used inconsistently throughout the website and publication
  • No one in the class had heard of Howies, this maybe be because:

- we are, as students, the wrong target audience

- they rely on their strong relationship with existing customers and focus their attention on these customers returning

- it may be because they want to appear smaller and more personal