So many digital companies will promise cutting-edge technology solutions and added value experiences, so how do we help clients to stand out as “winner brands”, differentiating them from all the other also-rans? Through detailed and structured analysis of needs, wants, preferences, values and other important attributes that shape the creative briefing.
This is exactly how we helped our client Brickson, a Dutch digital agency in Den Bosch.
Tell me the colour of your underwear and I will tell you who you are
We always ask our customers to look deep inside their own organisation, their assets and skills, services attributes and qualities, even before we start talking about their preferred visual language.
Some of them are intimidated by our inquisitive questions.
Once, a client told us "I think, once we finish answering your questions, the only thing left to know is the colour of our underwear!”. We laughed: "If it helps us understand why and what makes your company different, why not?"
Branding is often confused with designing stunning advertising campaigns or refined corporate identity. Luckily for us, Babs Gösgens and Ronald Willems, founders of Brickson, knew that building a brand involves taking a strategic point of view. They came to us with their homework done: a comprehensive document containing an internal audit, detailed explanations of what their company stands for, who they are and why they do what they do.
It’s no surprise that such a successful digital agency has a clear Mission, Vision and direction and it was exciting to work with them.
Find the right personality
Brickson is male - masculine but refined.
Brickson may be a new reality, but their founders are highly experienced, talented, diehard professionals in the digital field.
For them, digital is a means of non-conformist and radical creative thinking, an opportunity to identify relationships that traditional marketing may miss. A way to provoke and challenge themselves and their customers.
From their audit, we came out with some interesting associations of images that better visualise the personality of the company.
This game gave us the possibility to understand the character of Brickson, and so we were able to build our values chart and our colour wheel.
Mastering the metaphors: the face of Brickson
The most challenging part of our work is creating a persuasive "face" for a well-defined personality.
There are different ways we can approach the design of a brand's visual identity.
For Brickson, we unexpectedly found inspiration in the history of industrial design, and in specific, from the first decades of the 19th century, between the Second Industrial Revolution (1910), the Roaring Twenties (1920) and the Art Deco (1930).
That period of the history was marked by the introduction of electrical power and telephones (major innovation comparable to the internet of our days), but also diffused with automobiles, motion pictures and radios. People and businesses of that time understood the benefits of globalisation: an international flow of goods, money, ideas and cultures all over the world!
For their bold, direct approach and their continuous research into digital solutions that add more value to their customers, we felt that Brickson could have been a pioneering company of the early 19th Century.
So the mood board we created included historical posters, shop signs and architecture, mostly inspired by the artistic movement of the Art Deco, that could represent Brickson as projected into that era.
The designs were inspired by new materials and technologies: stylised, geometric forms that better serve function. The materials employed at that time were often expensive and robust reflections of modernisation: aluminium, copper and iron were largely used in cars, furniture and buildings, resulting in extremely intricate designs.
Perception starts with the eye: the brandmark
Inspired by our historical research, we created a symbol of Brickson that could represent the company and its people, starting a conversation with their customers over many channels.
Only a bold, authentic and eye-catching brandmark could represent their entire aspirations and values. Monograms were quite common in the early 19th century to identify company's name, especially in metallic badges and seals.
We designed dozens of possible variations to find the right combination of shapes and explore some of the many ways we could stylise the letter “B”.
The final idea is as if it’s being moulded by the experienced hands of a craftsman. The sophisticated and smooth lines of the letter B are the "DNA of the company”, packed with meanings and symbols.
After defining the symbol, our goal was to communicate Brickson as a trustworthy and reliable company through its own name.
In more than one meeting, the people at Brickson shared with us their distinctive Vision: they want to be a part of digital developments that matter, enabling tangible results and valuing long-term relationships with their clients.
Their Vision is based on their wide experience in different subjects, such as Digital Leadership, AgileX Development, Atomic Design and Open Source Technologies.
The logotype needed to represent their philosophical outlook. We opted for an elegantly simple, bespoke, geometric typeface to match the rounded and sophisticated monogram.
At Brickson, everyone is proud of their ability to make their clients happy, through having impressively embraced and mastered the new digital solutions. The font used captures this approach too: its thick strokes and a wide kerning add to the signature a confident yet friendly look.
The final touch
Besides the logo and its variation, the identity for Brickson included a series of trial applications to illustrate how the brand should communicate in print and digital use.
Supplementary graphic elements in a form of "stamps" were created to differentiate the different areas of competence without overusing the logotype.
Each competence has its own colour theme, but all feature the distinctive Brickson monogram. In this way, the signature and each visual element join and create an even stronger dialogue.
Each element of creating the branding identity has its own processes and checks. This approach prevents inconsistent representation of the company and incorrect interpretation of messages and intentions. This is how we overcome challenges every time we design a new brand.
Our work for Brickson created a flexible solution that ensures the brand is always presented in the strongest and most appropriate way. Mission accomplished!