120 Design Studio launched on March 28, 2017. As you may have read in our first blog post, 2017 Wins and Losses, we've learned a lot in the short 9 months since our launch.
Last month as we looked at the year, I realized it was the perfect time to recover, regroup, recalibrate, revamp, and relaunch.
Read on to find out what's changed... and why.
Part I: ALL NEW CLIENT EXPERIENCE
As I looked at our opportunities for improvement last year, I knew that I could improve the client experience, from inquiry to project delivery. Much of our process was based on what I learned from my short time as a freelancer, but not everything is effective for running a firm.
CLIENT PORTALS (YAY!!)
We've implemented client portals that serve as a hub for everything related to the project. From the contract, to the questionnaires, proofs and invoice. Now, our clients don't have to sift through emails to find their project documents (and neither do we).
We now include welcome packets for our larger projects with lengthier production schedules. These packets include a welcome letter, overview of their project, detailed breakdown of our process and production schedule. This keeps all parties aware of what's going on and when.
PROOF FEEDBACK & REVISION PROCESS
We've implemented an improved feedback and revision process. Instead of sending the comps via email, we now include them in the client's portal. You can now review and make comments within the portal. When working on a website, the client can make comments directly on the site like a digital whiteboard of sorts.
We now include style guides with our branding projects. Style guides include the fonts, colors, and configurations of the logo. We include the appropriate color codes to make sure that however the logo is used and whoever uses it can get an exact color match on whatever they're working on for you.
We now include an extensive list of logo file types for both web and print. Too often, clients come to us with logos that aren't high enough quality to effectively use on their projects. To avoid creating that issue for future designers, we make sure the client has all of the file types they should ever need for whatever reason. We also keep their files easily accessible in the event they misplace their files or need them on the fly. Since our goal is to create a timeless logo that won't need to be replaced in a year or two, it would be unrealistic (and quite arrogant) to think that we'd be the only designers our clients will ever use. We've created a "Logo Instructions" document that gives an overview of the files and directs them to the most commonly used files that they may already be familiar with and ready to use.
PART II: THE REBRAND
I wouldn't necessarily call it a rebrand, it's more of a refresh. When we formed 120 last year, we got right to work without giving any significant attention to our own brand. It was something that just got put on the "I'll get to it someday" list. We chose to put all of our time, energy, and efforts into crafting and growing our clients' brands. Even though this is an issue that plagues many design agencies, I realized that now would be the perfect time to make the change.
We've grown and evolved as a company. I decided it's time to take the training wheels off and step out of the shadow of our parent company's massive brand. We're all grown up now.
What's been done?
Changed the logo color scheme from red | black | white to burgundy | navy | grey
Removed overt references to our parent company, Eric Thomas and Associates (ETA)
Established a simple, clear design language across our social media messaging and collateral
We removed the words "DESIGN STUDIO" from the logo for two reasons: 1. to declutter the space and 2: the 120 icon is strong enough to stand on its own. The goal was to have a logo that is strong yet doesn't call too much attention to itself. Removing the words and switching to a more reserved color scheme helps us accomplish this goal.
Why those colors?
Burgundy is more sophisticated, luxurious and reserved. It represents the coming of age of 120 Design Studio from childhood to adulthood. It also serves as a stamp on the first iteration of 120 Design Studio, officially closing that chapter.
We are introverted and reserved. We are not loud and in-your face. Even in our design philosophy: Simple, Memorable and Timeless. We let the clients do most of the driving while letting our experience and skill steer the ship. We value individuality, quality, and attention to detail.
According to color psychology, navy blue conveys creativity, safety, serenity, intelligence, trust, and loyalty. It also conveys lack of emotion. That sounds bad but hear me out. We don't (read: try not to) get emotionally attached to our projects. It makes for an unbiased approach to design. Our own personal tastes take a back seat to the target audience's tastes. All design decisions are based on what would most quickly and effectively resonate with the client's target audience. There's nothing worse than having a design you love but doesn't connect with your audience. And if it doesn't accomplish the goals you set out to accomplish, you're just throwing your money in the toilet. It's not about making a nice logo or website. It's about doing it in a way that speaks to your market and subsequently increases credibility, exposure, and sales.
You may have noticed this design language carry over to our Instagram account. Overall, it has a lighter, fresher, and more consistent look and feel. It's also an example of how can create a unique look for our clients.
The plan is simple...
This refresh was executed to help us stand separately from our parent company and stand out from others in our space. I wanted to remove the clutter and bulkiness of our previous design language so we can place more emphasis on our clients and their brands. With an brand new client experience and an emphasis on adding value to our community, a refresh proved to be right on time.
So what do YOU think about our new look?? Let me know in the comments below.
Is your brand about due for a refresh? Send me a note and we can make it happen. Even if it's just to ask for feedback on your current logo and designs. Shoot me an email here and I'll give you a piece of my mind :)
Thanks for reading this far. Really. I appreciate it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marshall is a graphic designer and brand consultant that helps authors, speakers, coaches and solopreneurs transform their brand identities and online presence. His keen sense of design and attention to detail helps his clients increase brand awareness, credibility and sales. When Marshall isn't sipping coffee and obsessing over color palettes, he's spending time with his wife and three children.