Designed with the team at ExpandTheRoom.
We all know that brands are more than just a logo—brands need to scale across channels: from web to social media to physical environments. Collaborating with organizations large and small, I strive to create compelling brand identities that build awareness, drive results, and make lasting impressions in the minds of customers.
As Design Director at ExpandTheRoom, I work with many organizations at varying stages of their brand identity development. In this case study, I’ll cover four of the most common scenarios and how we successfully tackle the unique challenges of each.
The New York Harbor Foundation engages students in environmental programs to restore New York Harbor. The New York Harbor Foundation has several programs in service of their mission, including fundraising events and a charter school on Governors Island where students learn diving, ocean engineering, and marine biology. The challenge was to create a brand for the New York Harbor Foundation that would sit atop their various programs.
As we began to explore concepts for logos, color, and typography, our goal was to capture the New York Harbor Foundation’s commitment to restoration while conveying the authority of an established organization. An efficient round of concepting resulted in the development of an brand-new identity system that included a logo, visual style guide, and website. To find out more about the Harbor Foundation, watch this short feature on PBS News Hour.
Business Insider and ETR are longtime partners having working together on many projects over years, including a rebrand and redesign for Business Insider, the creation of new products (Insider, Markets Insider, and Tech Insider), the creation of their new, umbrella brand, Insider, Inc., and the identity for their event series, Ignition. After years of success, Business Insider again enlisted ETR when they were creating their first weekly business news video series, “The Bottom Line” featuring editor-in-chief and CEO Henry Blodget. Our challenge was to create a fresh look appropriate for video content that also aligned with our past successes on the Insider and Business Insider identities.
To match the hard-hitting yet optimistic tone of the series, we began a round of concepting to define the stylistic benchmarks for a logo, motion graphics, and set design. Once we had the overall direction in place, ETR began designing logo concepts while animators created motion graphics and industrial designers fabricated the set. The efficient, collaborative process resulted in a logo and visual style that captured the innovative spirit of Henry Blodget and the Bottom Line.
Establishing a new brand is not an easy thing to do. It’s even harder when you consider that most of the time, the new business or product is still being figured out. It’s no small challenge to define how you want to present yourself to the world, when you're still trying to understand yourself.
Move Systems was in this position when they came to ETR. They had a great idea, aimed at disrupting and modernizing the food cart/truck industry. They wanted to clean up all aspects of the industry, from noise and air pollution to better tax collection and government regulation compliance. They also wanted to support Veterans and develop a new advertising network.
We worked with them to build a brand that would speak to the multiple different audiences they had. From non-english speakers to state and city government, Move’s brand had to be clear, simple, and represent the positive change they were trying to make.
We started our process by talking to stakeholders in all areas of the industry, helping to introduce the concept/company and validate their business model. From there, we parallel-pathed logo creation alongside website design, so we could feel brand come to life in real application. Once understood, the brand was transferred to all areas of the company, including the industrial design of their patented MRV vehicles.
RethinkEd provides technology and training for professionals working with individuals with learning disabilities. RethinkEd came to ETR with a well established brand and successful business. They had experienced rapid growth early on, added new products and quickly evolved into something larger and better, however, in the process, essentially outgrew their brand. They now needed to evolve their brand to better represent what the company had become -- but this had to happen in a way that wouldn’t sacrifice any of the brand equity that was built up over the years.
With our branding foundation in place, we worked with the RethinkEd marketing and internal development team to redesign their web experience. The results were an improved web experience and a visual identity aligned with RethinkEd's mission of empowerment and inspiration.