THE BLOG

14
Aug

The Secret to Rebranding Success: Stay Confident!

In light of my recent hair chop, I thought it was only right to continue on the ‘makeover’ topic from my previous post…

hair chop

You could say I’ve just went through my own personal rebrand, and I know first hand that the way to work it is to stay confident!

Adjustments, compliments and the dreaded backlash all come hand in hand with going through a change in appearance. Thankfully I haven’t had any backlash myself! But for big companies, it’s a given. Everyone has an opinion and when your brand is known worldwide.. that’s a lot of opinions.

One company that is met with a lot of undesirable opinions on their rebranding efforts is Pepsi.
Go on to any blog or forum that includes their most recent branding and you will scroll through a lot of objectionable reactions.

My favourite…

pepsi fat guy

You’ll never be able to see anything but that fat guy now whilst browsing the soft drinks aisle.

Personally, I prefer this new logo to their previous offering.

pepsi rebrand

It’s a lot cleaner, fresher and friendly. Not so PEPSI in your face as the last one.
 I think the designers took it on the right path, in keeping the recognisable red and blue circular mark, but making slight changes to the white central panel and removing those questionable highlights. The ‘flowing’ language is emphasised here and also introduced nicely into the new slimline font.

This current logo has been around since 2008, 6 years later and still going strong – the onslaught of negativity hasn’t bashed their confidence… and good on ‘em!

When it comes to a rebrand, you’re never going to please everybody. There will always be differing opinions. It’s important to take notice of every reaction – I’m not telling anybody to be deluded and ignore all negativity while reaping in the positives – but if you are confident enough in how you are portraying yourself and your company isn’t sliding down the slippery slope of ruin,  then rock that new look!

 

Ruth

 

14
Aug

Branding Makes Glasgow

Good morning! (afternoon or evening, depending on what time you’re reading this). Jamie McLean here. As I’m sure you’re already familiar with the other members of The Loft’s design team, I thought I’d quickly introduce myself. Here’s what you need to know. I’m 23 years old, my favourite colour is red and I’m a dog person. Now that we’ve got the awkward formalities out the road we can begin. This is my introductory blog post on city branding and over the next few weeks I’ll be looking into some of the more successful examples of city branding, and the interesting ways in which cities are exploring their brands. Brace yourself.

People Make Glasgow. A phrase that has been extremely important to Glasgow over the last couple of months. In particular, during the XX Commonwealth Games. Now, the stadiums may have emptied,  and the glorious summer we’ve had is drawing to a close, but we are only beginning to reap the benefits of Glasgow’s re-brand. You’ve most likely came into contact with various incarnations of the brand in your day to day life, whether that’s in the form of a hot pink badge pinned to the lapel of a serious looking businessman, or perhaps you’ve been left slightly dazed as a bright pink blur whooshes past you in the form of one of the many ‘People Make Glasgow’ bikes? Regardless, you’ve most likely, at some point, seen the behemoth ‘People Makes Glasgow’ vinyl sticker that plasters the side of the City of Glasgow College building towering over George Square. With Scottish pride at an all time high, the people of Glasgow couldn’t be happier to let you know the self-admiration they feel for their home town. I mean, I’m from Stirling and even I feel slightly privileged to be living here.

People Make Glasgow blog

For me the brand exploded quickly into popularity with a variety of campaigns, one of which I’ll go into briefly for you now (you’re welcome). Perhaps one of my favourite campaigns over the last few weeks has been ‘Nextbike’. Just ahead of the Commonwealth Games Glasgow launched Scotland’s first major cycle hire scheme. Awesome, right? I think so. By downloading the companion app people are able to see the locations of all the bikes near them, as well as how many bikes are at certain docks. Plus all the bikes will be carrying the eye-catching ‘People Make Glasgow’ branding for the first year so you’ll be extremely hard to miss. Plus you’ll look all heathy and eco-friendly cutting about on one of these bad boys. Once again, you’re welcome.

Bikes blog

The promotion of ‘People Make Glasgow’ has definitely been one of strong points of the brand. The interaction between the ‘people’ and the brand is what makes it great. A notable example of this is how George Square was renovated during the games, and no, I’m not talking about the big Greggs refurbishment…

George Square blog
During the games, George Square became the cultural hub of the city. With a Commonwealth superstore providing tourists and native weegie’s alike with all their commonwealth needs, a ticket collection centre for the games and a glorious view of the COGC building proudly displaying the ‘People Makes Glasgow’ slogan in plain sight. However, if you happen to miss the gargantuan pink obelisk you should probably spend less time on your phone…

COCG Building blog
Another attraction I found hard to miss was the Glasgow 2014 ‘G’ as I’ve come to call it (open to debate). The statue generates massive impact visually, not just in scale but colour as well, it certainly captures your attention. The statue quickly gathered a lot of interest from the people of Glasgow and was a massive hit with the tourists (I’m sure you seen the queue to get a photograph taken with it…). This gave people the chance to interact with the brand itself by taking photographs with the ‘G’ and it also gave people the opportunity to upload their photos to be seen on screen. The signature ‘People Make Glasgow’ circled the base of the statue and it’s surrounded with a beautiful floral arrangement, a lovely sight on a hot summer’s day. It’s there for the foreseeable future as far as I’m aware, so if you haven’t already it’s defiantly worth a look.

Glasgow G blog

The key objective of a brand is to project a company’s values onto a desired set of consumers. However, Glasgow has a slightly broader audience in mind. Glasgow wants to project itself to the world, and it doesn’t care who knows it! All things having been said and with all eyes on Glasgow, one thing is for certain; the next Commonwealth host has a lot to live up to.

Well, that’s all he wrote on that one (me). Look forward to further blog posts in the future as I delve deeper into the world of city branding. I was hoping that my first blog post wasn’t going to be so focused around the colour pink… It really messes with the bad boy persona I was going for, oh well. Peace.

Jamie

jamie blog post

13
Aug

Introducing Jamie Mclean

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It’s that time again where we get to welcome outrageously talented new design staff to the loft.

This time we are delighted to have #DesignSuperstarNo4 Jamie McLean join us to replace Alejandro.

A man with rockstar good looks and with the guitar to match, we are sure that Jamie will add some real personality to the party…

Find out a bit more about Jamie below…

Name? Jamie McLean

Date of Birth? 18/06/1991

College/Uni? City of Glasgow

Favourite Piece of Loft Work? We real should stop asking that….

Favourite Designer and why? “I love the work of Graphical House for its simplicity.”

Favourite Design Tool? “I like my gridded patterns and keeping everything neat and tidy.”

Favourite Font? He really didn’t want to say this but we coaxed “Helvetica” from Jamie. We believe he thinks it’s “a timeless classic.”

Tea or Coffee? “Partial to both, but prefer coffee”

Favourite Studio Music? “Bit of a mix – Blues, Rock and Roll, Funk and soul music likes Otis Redding…”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “I want, one day, to be the CEO of a big design firm in New York.”

Another tall one joining the team. We love people who want to reach for the stars and Jamie is definitely one of those people. In his short stint he has already met a NASA astronaut has shown us some of his outrageous talent with his work on the front cover of the new E-Book ‘Your Brand Squared.”

Your Brand Squared Front Cover

07
Aug

‘The Water of Life’ — Karuizawa 1960

Whilst looking at the whisky market, with exception to a select few, it’s became apparent that world whiskies tend to be more progressive with their packaging. That’s why in this week’s edition of ‘The Water of Life’ we’re journeying to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ and looking closer at Japan’s Karuizawa 1960.

karuizawa_bottle1

Karuizawa was founded in 1955 as a traditional Japanese distillery using imported Scottish ingredients. When Karuizawa – Japan’s smallest distillery – closed in 2000 its stock of 364 casks was sold to the Number One Drinks Co. In 2006, they began to release single cask bottlings which not only won awards but also a cult following for Karuizawa. So when a single cask laid down in 1960 was discovered, interest from the whisky world was electric. Cask No. 5627 yielded a precious 41 bottles of the oldest and rarest Japanese whisky in the world.

At £12,500 per bottle, (that’s right, the price of a fully kitted Fiat 500,) the packaging solution was required to embody the spirit of the malt for market with the respect, authenticity and individuality that would befit a spirit of such remarkable character and quality.

Following closely to the heritage of this rare spirit, creative articulation pays homage to the language, art and culture of East and West. The reason why there are two labels is to reflect the two cultures that have come together to create the whisky. This story is reflected in the production methods for both bottle and box, where the skills of craftsmen from both Japan and the UK have been blended to create a solution truly unique within the industry. Each bottle and box has been brought to life, testament to considered layers of Eastern and Western artistry.

Karuizawa_detail_3

Starting with the fusion of cultures on the bottle labels — the washi paper used was handmade in Japan by Norito Hasegawa — a third generation papermaker, leaving a deckled edge to highlight the composition of the material and an authentic finish.

The Japanese calligraphy on the left is the work of award-winning calligrapher Soji Nishimoto, drafted in to create every label personally. On the right, an effective contrast of print techniques — a letterpress studio from Glasgow has complimented the hand calligraphy with subtle, tactile print finishes. Starting with the embossing for the distillery’s name and finishing with a subtle flourish of hot-foil gold to highlight each specific bottle’s ‘Netsuke.’

Karuizawa60bANONJATTA

What is a ‘Netsuke?’ I hear you ask. Don’t worry, I needed to do a bit of digging myself to find out exactly.

A Netsuke is a miniature sculpture, invented in 17th century Japan which evolved over time into expressions of extraordinary craftsmanship and great artistic merit. As there were only 41 bottles yielded from Cask 5627, the obvious (and boring) choice would’ve been to number them 1-41, but in careful consideration to the whisky’s story, each bottle was decorated with — and named after — its own unique netsuke sourced and selected from a specialist London dealer. This simple consideration to the ‘trivial’ aspect of distinguishing each bottle became a unique selling point for the whisky’s character.

Putting the traditional cherry on the top — the bottle was finished off with a dip in hot, black wax to seal in the cork then wrapped in traditional Japanese cloth

What would be worthy in housing such a rare and fantastic bottle? …a traditional Japanese puzzle box, of coarse.

karuizawa_box2

The box was modelled on traditional Japanese puzzle boxes but handmade in England, again fusing east and west. The exterior of the box is made in a lighter wood, the interior in a darker wood: to mirror the cask. Ash for the outer box, because of the detail in the grain – and for the inner box — Wenge, which is naturally dark and gives the impression of a flamed cask. The most special aspect of the box, for me, is that the front of the box is inlaid with actual pieces of the cask  head — which held the whisky in it’s maturation. Another interesting print technique utilised was the hot metal branding used for the Karuizawa kanji, and English translation.

_w3m6925

When it comes to whisky, the packaging finishes (as we’ve been discussing) are extremely important and no more so than when you’re dealing with a malt of such opulence. It would be the accepted norm to just throw the full gamut of expensive finishes at the bottle and call it a day, but what we have here in Karuizawa is an extremely rare and special whisky, framed in an exceptionally considered and successful fashion, only serving to further the whisky’s own unique and special story.

The result of an exceptionally considered packaging solution? …All 41 bottles were sold in advance.

Until next time …

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EAMON CAMERON

designer

A lover of all things print, Eamon brings so much knowledge and creativity to the loft as a designer. He’s at his happiest when sketching away with his favoured 2H pencil and flicking through some paper samples. Not short of a hobby or two, he’s a keen traveller and boasts a full screen printing set-up in his bedroom.

06
Aug

Radical makeover or just a nip & tuck?

One of the biggest considerations in a rebrand is how drastic to go with it. 
Rebranding doesn’t always mean you need to create a new name, logo, message.. fire some staff..  buy a new stapler.. or whatever else you can think of to change that working environment of yours. Sometimes just a little tweak here and there can be enough.

Many brands have revitalised themselves with only simple changes. Take Apple for example, one of the best known brands in the world. They began their life in 1976 known as Apple Computer Co. but as they evolved into new lines of business beyond computers, that name became restrictive. The solution? A quick snip to the nonessential words and the simplicity of Apple was ready for growth.
Not a drastic change – but a significant one.

They have, however, also had their radical makeover…

Please don’t fall off your chair when I show you this.

 

apple original

 

This original, too complex logo was scrapped less than a year later. Can you imagine how differently we might view their brand today with this logo? But anyway, that’s a whole new blog post in itself.

 

apple logos

 

They then moved on to the lovely apple with the bite missing – with some brash colours to boot, and thankfully in 1998 on to the monochrome versions that we know and love today.

A big makeover is always a risk for any company, but even more so when that company is well-known and well-loved. The timing of Apple’s makeover was perfect – right at the beginning before they were fully established. Just think of the outrage they would cause with a rebrand of a similar level nowadays! A few die hard fans might smash instead of bite that apple.

So Apple have been through the works in the world of rebranding…

A full makeover to kick things off, some polishing of the features, a quick snip of the unwanted and a little wardrobe change to finish.

 

So, what’ll it be for you? Radical makeover or nip & tuck?

… we can send you a catalogue.

 

Ruth

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04
Aug

Your Brand Squared – Planning Map

We’ve been busy bees here recently at the loft looking for ways to help our clients plan their design/marketing/brand activities. A lot of the time our clients ask us where is the best place to start? We always say that no brand is perfect and trying to get everything perfect at the same time shouldn’t be your aim. Best to focus on the areas that are most important to help you grow your business…

So we’ve created this map, which precedes our new E-Book ‘Your Brand Squared…’

YOUR BRAND SQUARED BRAND PLANNING MAP

As a rule, we’ve brought it down to 7 easy steps…

1. State your COMMERCIAL GOALS
2. Fill in the BIG IDEA at the heart of your brand.
3. Define the PEOPLE and Relationships that you wish to attract to your brand.
4. Select the best CHANNELS to reach them.
5. Break down the effectiveness of the ELEMENTS of each channel.
6. List those important ACTIVITIES and get going.
7. Don’t forget to MEASURE and hone every activity.

You can download it from…

http://theloft.co/YOUR-BRAND-SQUARED-PLANNING-MAP.pdf

Have fun…

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.

‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.

He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder and Creative Director of the loft, a branding consultancy in Glasgow.

He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.