a Branding Agency
Part II: A Peek Behind the Curtain of our Process
In Part I, we shared some of our company history and what led to us making the decision to update and refresh our brand. In this post, we’re going to elaborate on our personal experience and the strategic thinking that went into refreshing the Focal Point visual identity. Some choices were difficult, some were analytical, and others perhaps more instinctual. Read Part I Here.
This part was arguably the most fun, but also the scariest. We’d operated behind the same visual identity for a decade, so the goal was to develop a refreshed look that blended elements of our existing logo with a what the agency had evolved into. But what did that look like? Without making too drastic of a departure, what could we create that embodied our essence?
How ridiculous does that sound, huh? Our “essence,” really?
Yes, really. Here’s what it came down to:
1. IDENTIFYING KEY VISUAL INDICATORS
What that meant was defining some key visual indicators that we wanted audiences to associate our brand with. These indicators would be used to influence important design decisions that would result in the overall impact of the visual identity. The top descriptors we came up with were: What that meant was defining some key visual indicators that we wanted audiences to associate our brand with.
These indicators would be used to influence important design decisions that would result in the overall impact of the visual identity. The top descriptors we came up with were:
- sleek (because, obviously)
We combined staff feedback from multiple brainstorm sessions
2. Creating a Mark
Armed with the indicators we developed, we set out to bring them to life in a memorable icon or brand mark. Our previous logo didn’t really have a unique icon, instead leaning on the mirrored FP initials. This time around, we really wanted to have a unique icon as part of our brand kit. Taking the indicators quite literally, we used a multi-dimensional grid-based framework to assemble our FP initials in an unconventional way that was stylish and, dare we say, sleek?
Our new brand combined our monogram with a layered approach
3. RETOOLING THE LOGOTYPE
The original Focal Point logotype was comprised of Eurostile, a modern sans font aptly named for its European characteristics. We really liked what we had but needed the new logotype to better align with the new FP mark and our key indicators. Admittedly, this is my favorite part of the branding process: slicing and dicing fonts to create a new and unique logotype. I modified individual letters of our name to better align with the icon—staying true to the old brand while creating something new altogether.
Making the typeface one-of-a-kind
4. Inject some Personality
We never imagined needing an office mascot, nor was it part of our original rebranding plan. However, at some point during this process we took a moment to reflect on what nerds we truly are about design, branding, and all things creativity. In this moment of self-discovery, Focal Pointdexter was born. Dexter was created to pay homage to the nerdy alter ego in each of us. We geeked out with his features, giving him thick glasses, Converse (always classy) and a signature bow tie in Focal Point yellow. Lookin’ fly, Dex!
Meet Dex, the newest addition to our team
5. Putting it all Together
As we would do for any client going through brand development, we took all of the new pieces and built out a robust kit of visual assets. Every size, colorway, orientation and variation we would ever need. We brought back a couple of the legacy marks just for good measure, as well as created a new mark commemorating our 10-year anniversary. We took elements from our geometric FP icon to create a pattern and other supporting graphics that would round out our brand kit.
A variety of new brand offerings
With each passing year, we’ve hung our hat on adapting to new trends in the industry and reinventing ourselves through new and emerging media. Digital advertising, social media, SMS, CRM, the list goes on. Reinvention is a necessity in our line of work, but it takes an open mind and a willingness to push boundaries to successfully navigate this uncharted territory. Sure, it was uncomfortable at times. But we learned something new each time. We assimilated. What was unknown became like second nature. And much like our brand refresh – the process was never perfect, but it definitely delivered.
We’ve been thrilled with the results of our brand refresh and the positive response from our peers and community. Knowing full well this was going to be a challenge (after all, we were going to be particularly picky clients), it would have been predictable for us to nitpick every little detail, dragging the process on for months.
But we didn’t. We stuck to the plan and the process we lay out for our own clients – delivering a visual identity that we actively took part in, believed in, and nurtured every step of the way.
And that’s something to be proud of.
Now the brand has been integrated on everything from hats, tees and hoodies to stickers, badges and PowerPoints. It culminated with a new social media kit and the launch of our new website, which understandably took the longest to implement. Please check it out and let us know what you think (if you haven’t already). A big THANK YOU to all our friends, family and colleagues for taking part in our user test – your participation helped improve the usability and overall experience of the site.
This has been months, nay, years in the making and to be honest, it feels great to be done. But then again, we’re not really done, are we?
Nah, we’re just getting started.