Coffee Bank: Brand Identity

It’s fair to say we love all the brands we create, however this one was special. Austin and Nicole are from the greater Seattle, Washington area and while they traveled the country in their earlier years together, spent an immense amount of time at various coffee shops. Prior to having a headquarters, coffee shops provided invaluable networking opportunities, somewhat reliable wifi, and inspiration to continue building their businesses. They always dreamed of the day they would get to work with a new coffee shop, an opportunity that (especially for a small town like Monterey) doesn’t come up very often.

When our clients approached us with their idea, they simply gave us their hopes and dreams, and entrusted our enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge about this particular industry to do the rest. This brand, along with everything else we’ve done and will continue to provide to this amazing company, became a true passion project for our agency.

The technical elements of the brand are actually quite simple. We needed a versatile and strong identity. The intention is to create such an icon in this area, the brand will be timeless and never require changing, only small updates to the associated elements. We knew the production cost for all the branded materials were going to be substantial, so to save on costs where we could (so they could be added back into the overall construction of the coffee shop itself!) so to keep the production easier and more cost effective, we opted to bring in the iconic brown kraft paper color (and texture) as it is a print standard and will save them thousands over the years, but will maintain efficiency by having a basic item be almost immediately on brand-message. The little elements like this are what we strive to bring into every identity we create, ensuring your business is armed with a thoroughly thought out, long term identity.

The goal of this brand was to be universally approachable. We removed the “the” from the name as it’s far stronger without it. We further minimized the print costs and color-matching hassles by creating outline icons in a monochrome colorscheme as the only related elements (aside from photography as far as marketing/digital production is concerned).

The Coffee Bank, which is set to open this summer in Carmel, has an amazing story. One that you’ll have to wait to hear about once their website launches and their marketing begins. However, their mission, their story, and their location all lead to the inception of this brand identity. The Monterey Peninsula has needed a cafe that serves delicious coffee, fresh food, and offers a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. It simply doesn’t exist here, especially for a younger demographic.

We have been so thrilled, and honored to get to work with them on nearly every last detail of their brand, their website, their marketing materials, the overarching business model, creative consultation, working with the architects, and especially helping finalize their menu offerings. We are so beyond thrilled for their launch this summer and are so excited to showcase the years of planning and design, upon launch. Stay tuned for more on Coffee Bank, this is one you won’t want to miss.

 

Updating Your Brand: Elements to Consider

Whether you’re simply refreshing, or rebranding your brand identity, it’s a huge undertaking.

So many clients come to us not knowing where to begin with their rebrand. Maybe you’ve had your brand for 40 years and are afraid to bring it into the 21st century, or maybe you’ve only had your brand a year, but it’s not generating the response you intended. Regardless of your reasoning, we have a handful of items to consider and prepare prior to starting this journey.

Refresh

A brand refresh is a makeover for your company. It can maintain some of the elements, while bringing in a refreshed typeface, colors, or complimentary elements to give a more updated look without entirely reinventing the wheel. A brand refresh maintains a strong connection to the existing brand identity’s appearance before the refresh, but simply brings it up to date and more applicable to younger audiences.

An immediate way to refresh a brand is by removing the outdated elements such as gradients, “fussy” elements that aren’t necessary, and especially typefaces.

We found a great example of the many brands that have refreshed over the decades via  Pinterest where we’ll show some of our favorites below.

As shown above, Apple, Shell and Volkswagen have all refreshed their brands over the past few decades and represent more modern, simple, applicable brand elements. This is an excellent showcase of how simply updating a few areas but maintaining the foundation is a strong way to move your brand forward without entirely rebranding a business.

 

Rebrand

A total rebrand takes things a step further. Sometimes, a rebrand is a result of a declining customer base, possibly a change of ownership, or simply just wanting to give a business a giant push in a new direction. Maybe you’re changing your services, merging with another company, or simply ready to shake things up. Regardless of your reasoning, a rebrand is a huge undertaking and should be thought out entirely, simply because it’s not something you’ll want to do again anytime in the near future. By rebranding frequently, customers may assume your messaging is ever changing, and lose trust in your product or service.

A rebrand is an excellent opportunity to critically think about your goals, your existing and target demographics, your competition, and the future of your company.

Five Tips for Updating Your Brand

These items to consider/tips for updating your brand will help identify whether you should consider a refresh or a complete rebrand.

1. Age

This is what we consider to be the very first and most obvious item to consider- when was the logo first designed, and when was it most recently updated? Your logo is just like any other marketing element of your business and needs to be revitalized after a certain period of time to stay relevant.

There is no “best fit timeline” on updating your logo or brand. Large brands like Coca-Cola make small updates every year, which help keep them continually relevant but to most consumers, the updates would be relatively unnoticeable. This is an excellent approach for companies who want to remain relevant and want to spend the time managing their brand in its entirety.

Other large companies like Google and apple opt to update their brand every five years or so. There are no specific rules on updating your brand, aside from avoiding massive changes, frequently. A company can make small changes frequently, to show the continued refinement of their brand, or make larger changes less frequently, all while maintaining consumer confidence. Having an agency create and manage your brand is the best way to ensure your brand identity and all associated assets stay on message, giving your business a more polished look, and an edge over the competition from the beginning.

2. Trends

Logos and brand elements go through trends over time. Today’s trends include hipster geometric assets and minimalist typefaces and crests being used frequently.

If your brand was designed with a trend, expect to update it more frequently, as new trends emerge so it will always look up to date. If you avoid a trend and simply go with a more modern approach to your refresh or redesign, you will have an updated brand that will last much longer. Our team always opts to integrate trendy brand elements (associated aspects that work well alongside your brand’s logo and modern typeface) while keeping your main brand identity modern yet timeless. This aids in your brand’s longevity, and will more likely allow your brand’s next update to be a simpler refresh than a complete redesign, saving you time, money, and saving potential confusion with customers. A business that is frequently rebranding can confuse customers and potentially convey that the business is unsure of it’s mission, and how it is representing itself.

3. Complexity

Logo complexity has been declining since most brands are adapting for primarily digital use. From websites to apps, you want your logo to maintain its credibility and its effectiveness across all mediums. Complex logos are frequently seen being updated throughout the past 5 years.

Designs including many small details or gradients don’t always translate well through all platforms (both online and offline). We always consider where your logo will be used when designing a brand – will it be seen on stationary and letterheads? Do you plan on printing on apparel? Do you expect to have an app in the foreseeable future? These are all questions we take into account when designing a brand that ensure your brand will be flexible enough to grow with your business.

If you’re updating your brand, these are all elements to consider when approaching your creative team and preparing for a rebrand. Spending extra time exploring and researching your target demographic, your competition, and your goals will ensure your rebrand is as effective as possible, setting you up for better success across the board.

4. Service Changes

If your company is changing it’s services or it’s structure all together, this is a great opportunity to rebrand your business or refresh your identity. From mergers to new products, new missions, or consumer feedback implementation, you want to show that your business invests in current design practices and is always moving forward. Refreshing your look will bring a revitalized energy to your company and marketing as you continue to move toward the future.

5. Growth

If you started as a small(er) company, you might not have spent the time and resources to really explore your entire brand identity. We’ve seen countless logos that have simply gotten the business through it’s launch phase, but doesn’t necessarily resonate with the customer. Providing a fresh perspective is often seen as a trust mark with consumers. By showing that you’ve grown, and you recognize this growth, your customers will be more likely to continue supporting your business as you continue to support your customer.

Your new brand has endless potential- it can say all the things your old logo didn’t, it can be approachable and versatile and represent your business in ways you may never have thought possible.

 

By updating your brand, you are able to explore new opportunities and refine that first impression your brand gives to customers. Your brand is the first impression, and the very core of your company. By spending the time finding the right design team, exploring your company’s mission thoroughly, and letting the creative process run its course, your business can have the refreshed brand identity it deserves.

 

Leisure By Design: Brand Identity, Web Development

The most successful projects are when the collaboration between our team and the client is open, thought out, and the creative process is respected. Leisure By Design is a kitchen and home design studio located in Seaside that wanted to showcase elegance and simplicity within their brand. Eventually, the goal was to have a recognizable logo mark that could be branded onto their own cabinet line. We explored a variety of logo concepts, typography combinations, and various color schemes, but continually came back to this bold, high contrast scheme of black, white and red. We knew this would allow the brand to stand out across all designs.

From the client’s needs, we established that they wanted to be a trend setter, and disrupt the industry with forward-thinking design concepts. We immediately found that high-contrast black and white imagery pairs perfectly with the brand, and would allow for various graphic elements to be used in tandem with the brand. Knowing their brand would evolve into many printed assets, the brand needed to work across multiple layouts, mediums, and incorporate the various brand elements (dots, leading lines, large drop caps, and dramatic color use).

 

Hermus Olive Oil: Website Development

 

We designed and developed this website and brand quite a while ago. In the age of technology, that means it’s essentially obsolete. There are so many myths about WordPress, and websites needing to be an expensive, difficult, time consuming venture, but this website is a testament to how that couldn’t be further from the truth.

While the live version may have a few things missing, a few changes, and look slightly less refined than what we are developing currently on websites, it has stayed live nearly two years (partially thanks to 1upCloud), solely being managed by the client himself. This website continues to reliably sell product and operate autonomously for the client with no additional assistance required by a developer.

When it comes to small businesses, and even larger corporations, we always strive to create an asset for your company, that you can actually utilize to it’s fullest potential. We never sell you a product you aren’t able to use yourself, we will never lock you into “required” maintenance contracts. We simply offer them to save you time and make your life easier. Your website is yours, and you should know how to use it.

If you’re interested in getting a site you can actually manage, or simply working with a company that has honest business practices in a modern industry, simply give us a call, we’d love to work with you.

Speaking of the functionality of this site, go over and buy a bottle while you’re at it. We’ve gone through 3 or 4 already and it’s quite delicious. Their standards of quality are bare none and the process in which they produce the oil is just so perfectly justified to the flavors. If you’re a foodie, you’ll have a hard time going back to generics, or even some of your higher-end favorites as well.

 

While this website is not one of our most recent websites, we are incredibly proud of the fact it’s been online exclusively by our client’s own maintenance, and still functions perfectly, is mobile friendly, and continues to sell product.

It is an excellent example of how your investment can pay off if you find the right team, and we encourage you to explore it live by clicking here

Considering a First Look

For elopements with just the couple, a first look is not much different than a traditional ceremony. For weddings with even a handful of guests, considering a first look is a great idea for a few reasons!

The main reason we love first looks is because it provides you a private environment where you can be real with each other without any external pressures.

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When to Plan Your Photos

This is the number one question our clients ask us and we are always so glad when they consider timeliness!

Planning for ideal photos is really quite simple!

For sessions, most photographers want to shoot within what is known as Golden Hour. This is the last, most gorgeous hour of light before sunset that provides usually idealistic shooting conditions.

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when you have a story to tell.