We've just completed our rebrand of the City Girl Farm in Westport, Kansas City. We designed Sally's new logo mark to reflect her vision for a prosperous community of artisans creating together for the good of the world. Helping Sally determine her brand language (vision, mission, values etc) prior to designing the logo was an extremely rewarding journey, as it turns out we have similar values. Through her work and the involvement of her own community of people or 'chickeners' as she calls them (individuals who congregate to make these amazing footstools) each one gets to slow down, enjoy the 'making' moments and experience delight in working with their hands and in working with others. Check out her work. It's amazing what you can create when there's time for reflection, celebration and creativity!
When creating brands, we always think long term and help our clients develop marketing or communication solutions that help get their message out and get it out in ways that serve their audience, meet their needs and treat them like they are the hero of the story. For Matt Burk Music Studio we developed a writing and photo rubric that helps his staff shoot pictures of their students, telling their stories of struggle and success. Over time, this builds a vibrant community of hard work, creativity and innovation. Oh, and we wrote the bios of the teachers in the same way, telling their stories of struggle and success too. The rubrics and communication plan help the staff shoot and post on particular days so communication is built consistently and kept on brand point.
This month we're excited to be hosting another workshop with the Enterprise Center of Johnson County. They're situated in Fairway on the west side of the Plaza in Kansas City. MThis time we'll be looking at ways your brand can be more resilient in today's market place and because we're designers, we'll be looking at the design of your brand and specifically how it relates to your audience. Join us on Wednesday August 31st at 11am! You can register here.
"Everything on the page contributes to the visual identity. Every ingredient requires a conscious decision and should be infused with the essence and personality you wish to communicate to the audience." —Stefanie Weigler, Triboro
It's a common misunderstanding that a logo will communicate everything about the business or product and even worse, that the other pieces and part of the brand be it packaging, ads, motion graphics, signage, colors and fonts aren't connected in any way to the logo. As Stefanie points out in this brilliant quote, everything designed and put out by a company for a product or their business has a personality and it should all connect back to the same story or personality. Yes, fonts and colors do have personality!
Information Architecture is one of our favorite subjects: understanding how to use design to organize information in ways that appeal to and engage the user. It's a big subject and a complex one, especially when we're bombarded with so much information on a daily basis. How can design really help make things simple and informative but also create return interest and engagement? This class we're co teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute Graphic Design studio explores the above questions and seeks to answer them in the design of three projects: a website remake, a website showcasing a collection of collectables and the design of a mobile application for a museum.
We're excited for KC Design Week coming up April 7-16, 2016. It's always a great opportunity to see what's going on locally and nationally and what's new and upcoming in the world of design and creative thinking :) Woo hoo for Design Week in Kansas City!
Good brand identity, a vibrant brand culture and unique brand experience have the potential to stimulate and engage people in many different ways, and that's true for libraries too. On October 9th we're facilitating a Brand Experience Workshop with the Southwest Kansas Library System in Dodge City, KS to look at new ways to stimulate and engage a 21st century audience in the heart of America. More information here.
The story was compelling: kids walking to school in Rosedale, Kansas had no sidewalk on which to walk to get to school. The problem? How could design help? As a group we set out to find ways to highlight the issue which in turn put pressure on the local government. In 2012 city officials signed into being the beginnings of a multi million dollar sidewalk. It's amazing how a few well thought out concepts and the pressure of local people can bring to life something that would otherwise be totally out of reach of local residents.
As we've rebranded businesses over the years and been asked to overhaul their digital and analog marketing there's one major mistake that always shows up: the assets (website, brochures, animations etc) were never built on the company essence, brand position or even with the target market in mind. What we end up doing is going back to the beginning, streamlining all the company information in order to find the unique, compelling essence then begin design. The result? More compelling graphics and design that is unique and more meaningful. This is the process we use in creating brands:
It's easy to communicate to your customers with a cool image, a flashy animation or a fancy bit of verbiage. Problem is, in today's saturated market, images are in the billions, animations are too and text isn't read much anymore.
In our brand identity design process with Reconciliation Services we discovered their core concept was 'hidden and revealed.' These guys work hard on Troost Avenue in Kansas City with individuals needing emergency services and their belief is these people are not just affected by suffering and poverty, they actually have great dignity which RS empower them to see and live out. It is their inner strength which is waiting to be revealed.
Every piece we designed for RS embodies the concept of 'hidden and revealed'. Wether it is a brochure, sign, web page or business card, the public will be shown one thing, then something else will be revealed after that: 'hidden and revealed.' For their donor brochure, we chose a gatefold design which begins with their case statement, which then opens to their logo, vision and mission, and then opens to client stories of change.
In summary, the visual concept dictates the kind of asset needed to communicate the brand and what that asset should look and behave like. So design isn't, "oh I need a Wordpress site or an iPhone app, because that's where the money is," we are instead forced to ask why we will create a particular thing because we're looking to communicate a particular way. The RS concept is 'hidden and revealed' therefore all their communications pieces should convey hidden and revealed in the way their customers interact with them.
To see the full project go here.
With all the media outlets available to us today like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, print brochures, even reception signage, shirts and name tags, it’s easy to forget being consistent in your visual brand and your brand language (the words you’re putting out to your customers).
Common mistakes are: using additional colors, typefaces and sounds that aren’t in your kit, resizing your logo disproportionately to fit different spaces and adding workshops that have nothing to do with your mission statement.
Setting up a brand is one thing, it’s another thing entirely to keep it on track but if you get help to do this you won’t scare your customers with something they’re not prepared for, instead they’ll feel safe and secure and want to return because you’re consistent down to the fine detail. In the visual world, small changes mean a lot.
I met a lady yesterday who told me that she helps people turn their bad credit score into a good one. She gave me a card. On looking at it and hearing more the story of what she does, I immediately thought, “oh, she’s helping people who actually are terrible with money look good, when actually they aren’t!”
She proceeded to tell me that her brother-in-law said the exact same thing but then she went on to say that there are many people out there that because of divorce, businesses not making it or through losing a job, are affected by this problem—their credit will go bad wether they like it or not and often they have no idea how to get back on track.
Immediately I felt the compassionate side to her business. I said to her, “what would your business card and logo look like if you could capture some of that compassion in your visual image? What do you think that would do to prospective clients when you’re telling them what you do?” Her eyes lit up, “I’ve never looked at my brand that way before!” she said. “I just went to Vistaprint and ordered myself some generic cards!”
Shows what a little personalization can do for a brand.