We Craft Brand & Content

Rugged Coastal is a brand-centric, independently owned, creative studio with offices in Portland, ME and Boston, MA. Through research and strategy we establish creative direction and with intelligent, engaging design we bring visual messaging to life. We work with clients on both a local and national scale on everything from brand development to website/app design to product design and sourcing.

We are a team of graphic designers, developers and producers who all share a love for good clean design. Whether we're crafting a logotype, coding a new website, or assembling a line list for apparel production we consistently sweat the details. Our team is highly collaborative and believes strongly in the research process as a way of bypassing subjectivity. When everyone is on the same page, and believes in the work they are doing, great things happen. Regardless of whether we're working on a one-off project or we have an ongoing consulting partnership, the studio works to develop an aligned vision with our clients and takes a singular approach to all the work that we do.

 
$5,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2015
Show all +
Portland, ME
headquarters
  • 52 Center Street (Suite 2)
    Portland , ME 04101
    United States
other locations
  • 129 Newbury Street
    Boston, MA 02116
    United States

Reviews

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Rebranding & Website Development & Design

"They weren't afraid to be creative and challenge our ideas to make sure we were providing the best services possible.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2018 - May 2019
Project summary: 

Rugged Coastal assisted with a rebrand of the company, creating a new name, logo, and color scheme. They also built a new WordPress site from scratch, creating a public-facing portion and private portal.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Darien, Connecticut
Managing Partner, Financial Services Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Rugged Coastal is a relatively small firm but provides specialized attention and access to their senior team. They work hard to meet goals and proactively suggests areas for improvement. The team’s size can impact deadlines, so planning and flexibility are key.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a managing partner at a financial services company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rugged Coastal?

We needed a creative partner to refresh and rebrand our company, including redoing the website and other collateral.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our first project was a rebranding exercise to solidify what we wanted out of the new brand. We then turned all our attention to the WordPress website, which Rugged Coastal built from scratch.  Along with the new site, Rugged Coastal also redesigned the logo, company name, and color scheme.

The site has both a public facing part and private portal, each with different levels of information. The public facing part provides general information about our company and the services we offer. The private portal contains much more information that we didn’t want to share broadly with the general public. Once we validate a new client and get them set up with login credentials, they can then access the private portal and get more information about our services.

What is the team composition?

We have two main points of contact, one of them being the company’s owner, designer, and creative director, and the other a user experience designer and developer.

How did you come to work with Rugged Coastal?

A company providing other services to us recommended them. We’d worked with a different branding partner when we started the firm but felt we needed a change, so we hired Rugged Coastal.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent under $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We partnered in November 2018, and the work was completed in May 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’ve received positive feedback on the public facing part of the website, and we’ve just launched the private portal. We sent an email blast out about the new site, and we’ve seen an increase in emails being opened and time spent on the site, which is encouraging.

How did Rugged Coastal perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re a small firm, which gives us direct access to their senior team. We worked with their team almost on a daily basis; they had good project management skills and were very communicative about timing.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Our team is highly experienced in our field, and we have a clearly defined view of what we wanted. However, Rugged Coastal was willing to challenge our thinking and push back to provide an objective outsider’s perspective when they thought we could be doing something better. They weren't afraid to be creative and challenge our ideas to make sure we were providing the best services possible.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Because they’re small, their resources can sometimes be spread too thin across numerous clients. That’s resulted in moving some deadlines, but it hasn’t been anything too difficult and hasn't affected the overall delivery.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

They’re fair in their pricing and the type and timing of work they provide and are expert at. If possible, maintain communication so that the relationship can be as productive and transparent as possible.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd be willing to refer them.

Website Redesign and Packaging for Professional Services Firm

"They were big enough to handle our project and small enough to give us a high level of attention."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2017 - Feb. 2018
Project summary: 

Rugged Coastal provided branding and web design consultation. They helped to develop a new website and packaging and conducted strategy sessions.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Partner, Professional Services Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their perspective brought helpful new ideas to the design project. Rugged Coastal follows an effective process and engages thoroughly with the specifics of their customer’s brand. They’re good listeners and they follow through on their promises.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am a partner at a mid-sized professional services firm.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Rugged Coastal?

While we have our own internal designers, we wanted a fresh perspective on both our brand and web design. This work also extended into some print materials.

What were your goals for this project?

Our ultimate goal was a refreshed website and custom packaging.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We chose them because of the high-quality talent they offered.

Describe the project in detail.

They helped us develop a new website and packaging. This included strategy sessions through delivery. We initially asked them to reimagine our logo design, but ultimately, we decided not to refresh our branding.

What was the team composition?

Their team included three designers.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

As a firm that does similar work, it was helpful having an external party come in with fresh thinking and none of our baggage. We were too emotionally involved and too close to our materials. Their impartial advice helped to navigate the way forward and their suggestions were useful.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The workflow was fantastic. They were big enough to handle our project and small enough to give us a high level of attention during the process.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

When selecting a vendor, beyond the quality of work, you want to feel that they listen well and will deliver on their word. Rugged did all of that and more.

Are there any areas for improvement?

They felt strongly that we should refresh our brand and ultimately, we did not have the appetite to do a full refresh. With the benefit of hindsight, Rugged was probably too patient with us. We spent a lot of time jointly exploring directions and we both should have realized that we just were not going to change the logo.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They offer great value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Our project could not have gone better.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website Dev & Branding for Healthcare Nonprofit

"Rugged Coastal has gone above and beyond with the time they’ve put into our project."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rugged Coastal designed a website and did marketing to support a larger branding campaign.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Falmouth, Maine
Susan Viets
Assistant Executive Director, Konbit Sante
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The site and branded content have received positive feedback. Development improvements will likely enhance web navigation going forward. Throughout the partnership, Rugged Coastal demonstrated knowledge, patience, and an innovative approach.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the assistant executive director of Konbit Sante, an NGO that supports the management, operations, and facilities of our four healthcare organization partners.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Rugged Coastal?

We engaged Rugged Coastal to provide branding and marketing services.

What were your goals for this project?

As an established and reputable non-profit, we sought to reach out with an upgraded look that spoke to the professionalism of our organization. We hoped to engage donors, grant makers, and volunteers using the branding in a wider arena and through social media.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

One of our volunteers—who is also a professional photographer—recommended Rugged Coastal. The team had a fresh look as well as the in-house capacity to provide web design and development services.

Describe the scope of their work in detail.

During the initial meetings, Rugged Coastal acquainted themselves with our mission, values, and targeted audience. We then mapped a new site and produced a framework; Rugged Coastal did the design. Final edits, launch support, and marketing completed the process.

What was the team composition?

We work with two developers and a coder Rugged Coastal has outsourced.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

We’ve received positive feedback from our contacts and donors. It should now be easier to make donations, post events, and find information—especially with our planned migration from Drupal to WordPress.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

We often met with their team to go over form, content, updates, and questions. Anything that arose during a week is addressed quickly via email. Our communications coordinator worked with copy content and final editing details. They made fantastic suggestions based on their deep experience with marketing and branding. The team has taken all of our changes in stride with patience and good humor.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Rugged Coastal has gone above and beyond with the time they’ve put into our project. They have been fantastic to work with: cutting-edge, easy-going and very flexible. The team makes insightful recommendations with a high level of detail and reasoning.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Since our server is located abroad, the time difference resulted in a few challenges with the website transfer.

4.5
Overall Score Their flexibility makes for a great partnership.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The team is enthusiastic and readily available.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We changed scope details due to the budget.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They are great people to work with.

Social Media Campaign Dev for Healthy Lifestyle Company

“We saw incredible engagement, especially in the first couple of weeks.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Apr. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rugged Coastal provides social media campaign development services. They built and updated a filter feature that members can use to edit their own photos, download, and share.

The Reviewer
 
1,001-10,000 Employees
 
New York, New York
Marketing Associate, Healthy Lifestyle Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The results of the social media campaign were excellent, with high levels of engagement. Though this experienced a gradual decline, it was improved with seasonally-relevant updates. The team was dedicated, met all deadlines, and more than exceeded all performance expectations.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a marketing associate at a healthy lifestyle company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rugged Coastal?

We needed help with the development of social media campaigns.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I worked with them on a social media filter to support our summer campaign. It’s based on the idea that our program fits into the member’s life and they can make it into what they need it to be. On first visiting the site, members are greeted with a rotating GIF showcasing a variety of different styles. At the end, it says, “show us your style.” The filter then allows the member to upload their picture and add a word into the blank space to articulate their style. They can then download it or share it on social media.

One of the capabilities that we requested, and they implemented, was a blocker for certain words, such as curse words. They integrated a system where a member wouldn’t be able to submit a photo unless it passed a blacklisted word check.

There’s also a library of curated images that Rugged created from a pool of our master content. People can see the different ways they could use the filter, resize the word, or changing the color, etc. In the library of images, we have marketing content buckets, where certain images link to relevant content.

The site is currently paused because we’re rebranding and working on updating it. That concerns our font, colors, and general brand guide. This campaign has ended, and we will move toward our winter campaign to activate our new brand.

What is the team composition?

Our sole point of contact is RJ (Designer & Owner, Rugged Coastal).

How did you come to work with Rugged Coastal?

We had worked with another vendor last year on a similar filter, but they were unable to take us on this year due to the tight timeline. They provided Rugged Coastal as a recommendation and connected us to them because they knew their work was solid and reliable.

How much have you invested with them?

Our brand contracted Rugged for a high number of hours, so the cost came to a little under $50,000.

We shared this capability with our global partners and Rugged was contracted to create two additional features; one for Germany and one for the U.K. Each of those countries paid $12,000 to put them on retainer to create and manage their sites.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in April 2018 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We saw incredible engagement, especially in the first couple of weeks—people were really excited about it and there were a lot of shares. There was massive participation both internally and externally, and it was well received by our member base. The KPI for us is downloads and shares, and we exceeded our previous campaigns and our expectations by four or five-fold.

The performance leveled off to the point where we could see a distinct pattern. It would go from X number of downloads every day for about two weeks, then drop off to around half of that and then to half of that. As a result, we used smaller marketing tactics to push the filter by putting it in our newsletter or promo emails.

We also addressed the drop off by asking Rugged to update the filter on a seasonal basis. We see increased performance whenever we articulate to our members that there’s a new way to participate in the filter.

How did Rugged Coastal perform from a project management standpoint?

RJ is fantastic. We speak all the time, even on nights and weekends. He’s quick to give me a call, answer my emails, or at the very least acknowledge the email. The communication is excellent.

There was a bit of a disconnect with their tracking system at the beginning as they use Amazon, and I initially found it difficult to see the downloads accurately. The system provided a rounded number. It would have been nicer to have something that showed exact metrics to provide to upper management.

Everything was delivered on time and impeccably, in the sense of how we asked for it to be. I appreciated their availability, attention to detail, and the general working relationship.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re very knowledgeable about UX and backend aspects. I have no technical background, so I let them take the reins and execute, which is very helpful. They did a great job managing expectations while providing expertize on what they’ve seen work well in the past.

Are there any areas they could improve?

The tracking capabilities could be a lot better if they implemented something like Google Analytics.

Also, there were a few moments where their judgment was clouded by their expertize. For example, if we asked them to make an edit and they didn’t agree with it, they wouldn’t hesitate to push back. I understand they want to guide us to the best possible solution, but there were times when I articulated that something was non-negotiable due to our upper management and we still received pushback.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Make sure the tracking metrics are in order so as not to miss out on any data.

5.0
Overall Score It wasn’t the most seamless experience, but they were among the easiest of our vendors to work with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    When I shared the price with the social media manager, they thought it was more than fair.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Full Service Digital Services for Sun & Fishing Product Company

“With a diligent and honest work ethic, they always deliver high-quality products.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jun. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rugged Coastal provides full-service print advertising and web design services. They work on a range of visual and written content for multiple outreach channels, creating a cohesive brand identity.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Portland, Maine
Steve Stracqualursi
Partner/Product Line Director, Twelve Weight
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With their web and marketing expertise, Rugged Coastal has helped us double our business and increase our digital presence. The dedicated team consistently exceeds expectations but stays within the established budget. Their approach mixes new and proven strategies, generating unique deliverables.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the product line director for Twelve Weight. We’re a small, artisanal apparel and accessory brand that focuses on sun-protective clothing. Our current target audience is the fly-fishing market.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rugged Coastal?

We started as a print-focused retailer, but as our company expanded, we decided to implement a more direct marketing campaign. We still maintain our print presence but needed an agency to work on our digital visibility and e-commerce site.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Rugged Coastal helps us design, build, and implement advertisements that align with our strategies and schedules while staying within our minimal marketing budget. Their services span print and digital channels, creating content for each that reflects our core brand. Additionally, they provide new ideas and suggestions to help us stay ahead of our competition.

Near the start of the engagement, the team helped us move our site from a local template provider to a new platform, which gave us more digital horsepower. The updated shop has enhanced shopping cart and credit card processing features. Rugged Coastal shoots all of our products featured on the site, helping us catalog and display our available inventory. They’ve also assisted with copywriting, header designs, blog posts, and much more.

Currently, we’re collaborating to keep up with our advertising strategy, publishing content on our website every two weeks. The content describes fishing trips, tells our products’ story, or explains how our technology works. They’re also helping us design graphics for our new apparel and products and are working on a visual project. They’re producing a video that illustrates our company’s origin story.

What is the team composition?

Initially, our main point of contact was RJ (Designer/Owner, Rugged Coastal). Over the years, he added members to the team and expanded the relationship, so now we interact with their whole team.

How did you come to work with Rugged Coastal?

RJ reached out to our company following a recommendation from his brother, who had heard of us locally. RJ was in the process of relocating to Portland, Maine, and, being a fisherman himself, he understood our market and was interested in starting a partnership. At that point, we were still a small business, so we weren’t really looking for a marketing partner, but we kept in touch. When the time was right, we re-engaged and ultimately agreed to work together.

How much have you invested with them?

We have a monthly retainer with Rugged Coastal, but they also help with additional projects that range in size and cost.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in June 2015, and it’s an ongoing partnership.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

All of their work reflects our brand, which creates a cohesive presence when our products are featured in magazines, gear guides, or awards listings. We credit a lot of our success to Rugged Coastal because their design and advertising strategies help us create effective content. They’ve really helped our audiences understand our business, our products, and our values.

Specifically looking at the website, we’ve doubled our business, and our online exposure continues to grow. So far, Rugged Coastal has been a valuable partner, and we’re excited to be working with them.

How did Rugged Coastal perform from a project management standpoint?

Over the course of our engagement, Rugged Coastal has established a level of familiarity with our company and how we operate. They understand the scope of each project, creating reasonable and accurate estimates. They’re mindful of our budget, which we appreciate. With a diligent and honest work ethic, they always deliver high-quality products. If we ever disagree, they listen to the differing viewpoints and suggest a solution that pleases both sides.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re still a young and evolving company, but it’s truly one of their key strengths. The team is aware of new practices and technologies, but they’re still open to more conventional points of view. They can balance the ideas of more youthful generations with established advertising strategies.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can’t think of anything. They’re in the process of gaining experience and are getting some traction in the field. They’re expanding their portfolio of offered services, so it’s clear that they're confident in their skills. From my perspective, their future looks promising.

Any advice for potential customers?

Clients should have faith in Rugged Coastal’s abilities; they can produce really interesting content. Lay out the vision as clearly as possible, then go through their team’s process. They have a lot of potential and are very respectful of their client’s time and budget, but there has to be a little bit of give-and-take.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Perfection is hard to achieve, but we’re very pleased. They’re nimble, with the approach of a small and evolving business.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer