In this video, learn some facts about the small business ,and then take a closer look at the current branding to better understand the problem and design challenges faced.
- [Instructor] Design in any context is carried out best from an informed perspective. Simply put, you cannot design from a vacuum of information. As Saul Bass so wisely stated, design is thinking made visual. In order to think through a brand redesign, we need to take in a lot of information so we can then think through and problem solve effectively. So one of the first things I do in a brand redesign is to audit the company's existing brand identity so I can fully understand who they are, what they have done in the past and what they're currently doing.
In this movie, we'll audit this small business and begin to identify both negative and positive attributes that'll help guide our creative efforts. So when we approach this business, it's a small business, the name of the business is DFC Mechanical. Now we'll talk more about that name moving forward, it was founded in 2007 so it's been around for a while. The company is a plumbing, electrical and heating company, their location is in the Chicago area, they have six employees and they have three vehicles currently.
Now the client's reason for taking on a brand redesign is they don't like their current brand identity they have. They're not happy with the previous attempt to rebrand and they've had problems using their current design and obviously the client wants to improve his overall marketing. So those are all great reasons to do a rebrand. Now the first thing I want to jump into is their effort to try to rebrand through a different methodology and that is crowd sourcing.
They had gone to this site, 99designs, if you're not familiar with it, there's plenty of these sites out there where essentially, a whole group of designers, in this case you have 62 designers as shown here, have submitted a total of 269 design directions and there was one winner. This was the winning direction that this client had tried to attempt to do through this service. This is what they got here, is the winner, he accepted this one. But notice how the D creates this little chimney in the roof here? By the way, this is just a horrible design (laughing) we'll address that in more detail moving forward but I just wanted to point that out because they had a lot of other designs to choose from but remember that chimney detail, we're going to come back to that.
Here are other designs, other people submitted just overall, just really poor quality design without any kind of conceptual thinking, none of this is communicating with the audience anything about what they do, so you can look at this and assume I dunno, maybe they build homes, you know? It's hard to communicate, it's not well crafted and that's what you get when you go with a crowdsourced service like that. So this was the design they ended up with but notice that D that makes the chimney is no longer there because they weren't even happy with the final one they got, they refined it to this, what you see, just DFC, now this is kind of meaningless this mark, okay yes I can see a house in there.
What exactly is this frame? Not really sure. DFC, what does that stand for? Well the owner's name is Dan Foss, that's what D and F stand for but what's C? I'm not sure what C is you know, I had to ask what does C mean? It means company. Okay, but what's that have to do with the name down here? The name is far too long, it's a paragraph, it's not a brand name, let's just get that straight right off the top. Home remodeling and mechanical services. Okay, what does that have to say about electrical plumbing? I know that's part of the whole, let's build a house thing but is it communicating properly? Well, they didn't even like their name because they ended up even changing it more by changing it to this name which is completely problematic when it comes to communication.
Anybody sees this, they're going to have to guess what this company does. They might get it right, they'll see a roof and go something to do with houses, I have no idea what DFC even stands for and mechanical, like, I dunno is that the products within the house? It's very confusing communications wise is what I want to point out. Lot of other problems with this logo such as you have transparency on these shapes, 50 percent, you can see the roof through it, you do not use transparency on a logo.
I'm sorry, maybe you can get away with it in some contexts, maybe it's a completely online thing then yes, you can probably get away with it but not in this context, it's inappropriate, it's not going to work well and it's going to be hard using that logo moving forward. So auditing this business more, this is the logo they started out with, they didn't even like it to the point of the name so they changed the name, this is still problematic, they moved it forward, carried it down on uniforms, didn't work that well, it's not going to hold up well.
On their vehicles, they put it on the back of their vehicles, there's no graphics on the side so the benefit you get on vehicle graphics is not going to carry forward here or help their marketing efforts because first off, their name is problematic. Everybody is going to be hung up on the name trying to figure out, what do these guys do? It's very forgettable and not a memorable brand which is what you want and the sides of the van aren't going to communicate at all so you don't get any of that kind of marketing on a daily basis that you would otherwise.
Their business cards just compound the problem with their overall brand identity is not designed very well and it actually has an element of fear to it, which I'm going to touch on later which is never a good thing when you're marketing a business. So a lot of areas can be improved and their visual identity. We're going to address all of this moving forward but the positive aspect about this business which is a great characteristic is even though they have a bad logo, they have good company, meaning their ratings are off the chart, great.
So they get five star Yelp! ratings, they have won awards by Angie's list and they're Better Business Bureau highest rating. So they do really good service and this is great for a rebrand because a rebrand is only going to facilitate their company to grow even more, it's a lot harder if the company provides bad service and they have a bad logo, they're probably going to fail, that's why a lot of small businesses fail.
But this business, this position to be successful, they just need a little help with their identity to make it on par with the service they provide. Their logo doesn't say quality, their service does, we want to match those two things together and that's what we're going to do through this brand redesign. So the audit results and the terms of negatives are their brand identity is poorly designed, the company name is confusing and meaningless, I totally agree with that and we're going to touch on that more moving forward.
The brand identity doesn't communicate well, the brand identity is fragmented and it lacks that brand continuity that is really needed to market successfully. The company lacks brand management, it's hard for them to promote and advertise themselves because they have a fragmented brand, the owner is frustrated with the design community, he did not like the crowdsourcing and one thing I will point out is when they approached me, I told them to go back to 99designs and ask for a refund and then I agreed to do his rebranding using that same budget so he wasn't out any money and that's how we handled that.
The positives of this company, and they're great ones is the company is financially successful, the haven't been hurt by their brand because they do such great service so that's a good thing. The company has great customer reviews, off the charts. The company is eager to improve its brand identity, that's a great thing because not all business owners want to spend the time and dedicate themselves to rebranding so it's nice to have them on board and encouraged to do so. The owner is a really nice guy.
So an audit can be an uncomfortable reality for a business. Many established businesses have brand identities that are endeared by their owners like a first-born child so this process of auditing a business needs to be handled very diplomatically when disclosing your findings with the company. That said, you don't want to pull any punches at this stage, that's not going to help anyone. So hold fast to your design convictions and communicate your concerns sincerely with the client's best interest in mind.
Join Von Glitschka, illustrative design guru, for this hands-on project that demonstrates what successful rebranding involves from the designer and the client. He takes the existing brand for a small plumbing and electrical company and asks questions to get a deeper understanding of their goals. He maps the answers to a new name and develops a logo that better represents the brand values. He solicits and incorporates feedback from the client, and then presents the final brand assets. Last, he reviews the uniforms, vehicle wraps, asset library, and advertising campaigns that were developed to complement the new direction.