Author Archive

Sep 6 2017

HydroWorxx

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Challenge. Communicate effective and natural pest control solutions to hydroponic growers in a saturated shelf ennironment

Solution. HydroWorxx has been launched by a German company with over 150 years of experience creating effective solutions for successful gardening. With a family of environmentally friendly and organic products, they saw an opportunity to target pests that are hard to control in the hydroponics environment. HydroWorxx was created to appeal to the mostly male cannabis grower. The use of dark green bottles says natural and helps tie products together on-shelf, while the hit of bold color and use of black and white pest imagery helps to differentiate products at a glance. A bright red stamp logo is a cue to communicate effectiveness.


If we asked you to name the building blocks of your brand, what would make your list?

Many would start — and end — with a logo. But a logo is just one easy-to-spot manifestation of a brand. It’s like the desktop icon that launches a program, not the program itself.

Your brand is the conglomeration of everything you, your customers, and anyone who has ever heard of you brings to mind when they think of your company. When you build a brand, you deliberately set out to direct those emotional connections so that the appealing things that differentiate you from your competition come to mind quickly.

How About an Example or Two?

Think about Lyft and Uber. Both companies provide essentially the same service. You might expect them to be more or less indistinguishable. But they’re not. They feel completely distinct. That’s branding.

They use all the tools of branding to project their strategically crafted personalities. And whether you come across an ad for either, or read an article about them in a newspaper, or actually catch a ride home with one of their drivers, each of those experiences builds your impression of the company. Those impressions — coupled with everyone else’s impressions — is their brand.

 

So to build a brand, what building blocks do you need to develop?

Branding usually starts as an in-depth process through which we consider what makes your company — and the value it offers — unique. We call this ‘brand positioning.’ Then we begin to develop the design, content, and personality elements that establish and reinforce your brand over time. Each element you produce and each action you take should be ‘on brand.’

 

DESIGN

Logo  Check out Lyft and Uber’s logos.  Lyft looks extroverted and fun and Uber comes across as sleek and high-tech. By combining a few simple but well-considered elements, each provides a shorthand version of all the companies aim to project.

Color Scheme  Companies associate themselves with specific colors, repeated across all mediums. These colors help audiences cue in to messaging and mood. Uber primarily uses black and white, reminiscent of high-end car companies and personal bodyguards. Uber supplementals their monochromatic colors with a series of cool colors for an urban feel. Lyft, on the other hand, chose an electric pink and deep purple — an in-your-face, impossible-to-take-too-seriously combination.

Fonts  Picking the font(s) that suit your brand is another way you can establish personality and reinforce your brand ideas. Lyft’s logo font is flowing, full of rounded swoops, and it feels jovial. In its other materials, they use Gotham, a sans-serif choice that leaves other design elements to express personality. Uber’s font is FF Clan, chosen to be easily recognized at a distance. It’s a stylish font that feels cybernetic and modern.

     

Materials  You wouldn’t give someone an engagement ring in a Ziploc bag and you wouldn’t store a sandwich in a red velvet clamshell case. Doing either would be miscommunication. Packaging materials literally build an expectation around the products contained inside. That expectation is — you guessed it — part of brand. While Lyft and Uber sell services and not products, they do produce items, such as welcome kits for drivers. Watching YouTube videos of Lyft and Uber drivers opening these kits demonstrates how their materials choices help to carry their brand messages.

Websites  The way your website looks, the way its user interface (UI) is designed to create user experience (UX), even the speed with which it loads — these factors all contribute to the experience of interacting with your company. It doesn’t matter if you sell real estate or suntan lotion; the way you present yourself allows customers and prospective customers to know who you are on your terms. Comparing Uber and Lyft’s websites, you’ll see not dissimilar web design and architecture, but each still feels different. Lyft’s site stays true to their brand while Uber’s site seems aimed at a different audience — one less interested in the exclusivity they’ve promoted until recently.

(Other design elements that contribute to brand include trade show booths, printed materials, mascots, uniforms, banner ads, and much much more.)

 

CONTENT

Naming  The name you choose is a hook on which your audiences can hang other associations. When you hear the name Uber, for example, the word’s German meaning, ‘over’ or ‘above’ comes to mind — as in übermensch. This fits with their elite brand. The coinage Lyft, on the other hand, connotes rising and elation. One thinks of ‘grabbing a lift,’ which is a low-stress convenience and the opposite of elite. While companies can and do build associations on top of existing names, choosing the right name from the start can significantly speed your branding efforts.

Messaging  While design elements evoke ideas and emotions, words spell them out. Direct, clear messaging asserts the key facets of your brand. It gives internal and external audiences the bullet points of who you are and why. Messaging includes everything from tag-lines to mission statements and elevator pitches.

“A ride whenever you need one” – Lyft
 “Be your own boss” – UBER

(Other content elements that contribute to brand include instruction manuals, web copy, speeches, and what your staff says when they answer the phone. All of these words give you opportunity to reinforce your brand.)

 

PERSONALITY

The personality components of brand cover the actions that your company, your representatives, and even your fans take. Do you sponsor the local Little League team? Does your customer service team make it easy or hard to get in touch? Do you allow employees to bring their dogs to work? All of these things become part of your brand, whether you intend them to or not. For rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, personality frequently comes across in driver interactions. Driver interactions are guided — as much as possible — by manuals and by management and corporate atmosphere.  

 

Because an established brand relies on so many different building blocks, it’s important to stay on brand when and where you can. At Double Six Design, we’re geared up to guide you through this process — from initial brand exploration workshops to brand development and maintenance.

Being so prepared, and being warmly welcoming when you reach out, is part of our brand.


In addition to the launch of the newly re-branded Umpqua Oats website, Umpqua Oats just launched their new brand videos. We had such a great time art directing these videos, in collaboration with Wildly Simple Productions of Sonoma, Ca! Together, we spent a day shooting footage with Sheri and Mandy, the founders of Umpqua Oats. Here are the brand story video and a shorter product-focused video to announce the launch of their latest Insane Grains cereal.


Mar 22 2017

Mooala goes bananas!

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Mooala launched last year with their AlmondMilks, and momentum is quickly picking up steam. They’ve made a quick expansion to their newest plant-based beverage with BananaMilks in Original and Chocolate flavor.

Aside from their retail packaging we also designed the Mooala website.

Communicating a cohesive & professional brand doesn’t stop with consumers. Presentations to retailers and distributers are just as important, if not more so, if you are trying to launch a new product into retail. We’ve continued work with Mooala this year, creating product sales sheets, retailer slide presentations and a 10 foot trade show booth.

Communicating at trade show scale is different then communicating on shelf, but none-the-less a clear communication hierarchy that allows a quick understanding of your brand and product is still paramount. Just because you have tons of space, doesn’t mean you should fill it up. When you are aiming for high level communication, simplicity is necessary when you are trying to provide a place for the on-looker’s eye to rest on the most important details.

A careful selection of a few character components — for Mooala these consist of a reclaimed wood console table, rustic beverage dispensers and faux wood flooring — helps complete the brand aesthetic in a seamless way.

Mooala_TradeShow_lowres

 

 


Your company’s name is the focal point of your brand. It is the entryway to all that your company is and hopes to be.

Think about the associations you have when you hear a company’s name. Take, for example, Apple, or Ben & Jerry’s, or Clinique. Each brings associations to mind, and each of those associations is cumulative. Each time you interact with a company, its products, or any of its marketing materials, you’re hanging another association onto its name.

You’re building brand.  

This means that choosing the right name for your company — either from the get-go or as part of a rebranding process — isn’t something to take lightly. You’re making a long-term, valuable investment. So while your cousin Phyllis may suggest a good name or two, you should take more than her opinion of names into consideration.

Nothing against, Phyllis, of course.

So how does one go about choosing an appropriate, engaging, rewarding company name? At Double Six Design, naming begins as an extensive creative process. Then, when we have our best contenders queued up, we run all those prospects past a handful of evaluative factors.

Complexity

The expression is ‘short and sweet’ for a reason. There can only be one IBM and only one Eggo — and both names are beautifully simple to remember and spell. If you opt for a longer name, such as Mercedes-Benz or The Royal Horticultural Society of East Hampstead Heath, then you’re more likely to run into issues of complexity.

Complex isn’t ideal for a few reasons.

  • Longer names take longer to type, write, and say.
  • Longer names mean longer URLs, bigger wordmarks, and all kinds of other space-stretching issues.
  • People are more likely to misspell or misremember complex names.

Pronunciation

Is the name you’re assessing easy to pronounce? What if you consider regional accents or foreign ones?

Having a name that’s frequently mispronounced doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker (think of Nike or Porsche). In this age of online engagement, however, mispronunciation can lead to misspelling and misspelling can lead to websites that aren’t yours. That equals frustrated or lost customers. That frustration — like it or not — becomes part of your brand.

Mouthfeel

Some words are fun to say. Others aren’t. We call how comfortable a word is to pronounce its ‘mouthfeel’.

When choosing a name, think about how often your key audiences will be saying the name out loud and in what contexts. Having your CEO get tongue-tied trying to pronounce her company’s name is bad form. On the flip side, you can take a name with a deliberately provocative mouthfeel (such as Fuddruckers) and turn that into a brand element that works for you.

Own-ability

If you want your company to grow beyond your neighborhood, you’ll need to consider whether the name is ownable in the legal sense. We’re talking about establishing a trademark — something that’s increasingly difficult to to do.

As the world gets smaller, more brands compete more widely with each other for the same turf.

To run your own quick ownability test, type your prospective name into a search engine and see what comes up. If there are established companies using that name already, you can anticipate legal challenges and web search conflicts. Both mean trouble, so proceed with your eyes open.

At Double Six Design, we also always search the United States Patent and Trademark Office database for a non-definitive look at what’s trademarked in America. We then run domain name searches to discover which URLs based on each name are available.

Just because something isn’t trademarked doesn’t mean you can buy {that.name.com} for $12 a year. Domain squatters may try to charge you a small fortune to relinquish the internet real estate you need.

Regardless of your plans for growth and which tests you’ve run, you don’t want to be surprised to find you’re competing for possession of a name after you’ve announced. We recommend conferring with an attorney before you flip the switch.

Meaning

It’s more or less guaranteed; as soon as you broadcast your new name, someone will ask, “why did you choose that?”

The story behind your name is something that you can leverage for branding, marketing, and more. It’s also something that you can leave mysterious and still do fine.

Look around you and think about the company names behind the first few products you see. How many of those names do you associate with a story? Take Virgin America, for example. That name goes all the way back to when owner Richard Branson had his first record shop in London — Virgin Records and Tapes. His shop was so named because he and his partners were all new in business.

Which goes to show just how far a good story can take you; in Richard Branson’s case, all the way to the moon. Not bad for a guy who started out selling cassettes!

 

When the Double Six Design team undertakes a naming challenge, we start by brainstorming lists of names. Then we rank our best ideas against the above factors, plus a few others. Sometimes a name will score highly in all categories but one. Other times, a name will do poorly in many but work supremely well in the rest. Because of this, we recommend ranking the factors you’re considering in order of priority before you begin your naming process.

We also recommend that you let cousin Phyllis’ opinion be just one of many you consider.

 


Feb 2 2017

Umpqua Oats

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Challenge. Disrupt an oatmeal aisle that has been dominated by Quaker Oatmeal for over 100 years

Solution. Umpqua Oats has the product to compete against the mushy instant oatmeal competition. With whole rolled oats, real ingredients and none of those added fillers Quaker uses to save costs, Umpqua Oats is exactly what Millennials are looking for. Hitting the oatmeal aisle with bright white and a bold use of black and bright colors instantly attracts attention in a sea of beige. An image with appetite appeal is easy to execute because their product is REAL. Connecting consumers to the history of Umpqua Oats and co-founders, Sheri and Mandy, right on the back of the carton helps build trust that real people are behind their breakfast.


Aug 1 2016

MOOALA

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Challenge. Create a new brand for a line of dairy-free beverages that stands out in the dairy case, communicates cleaner and higher-quality ingredients then mass market competitors, and justifies a higher price point

Solution. The current dairy-case is filled with standard milk cartons, even for non-dairy beverages, so a custom HDPE bottle helps instantly differentiate Mooala from the masses. The custom bottle design is reminiscent of vintage glass milk bottles to help create that “fresh from the farm” perception. A koala with cow spots becomes the iconic persona behind the Mooala brand and adds a hit of whimsy. Clean typography relays the premium quality, and a splash of imagery adds ingredient-focused appetite appeal.


We had the opportunity to partner with BBDO San Francisco to help launch a campaign for Cesar Dog Food. Cesar’s Feed the Friendship campaign involved engaging consumers through social networking to guess what breeds their dogs were. Users would send in photos of their dogs, and the Cesar Feed the Friendship App would guess what kind of breed their dog was. A select group of app users would receive a DNA kit in the mail to find out what breeds actually were locked inside their little furry friends.

Double Six partnered with the BBDO San Francisco team on the structural design of the kit packaging. The package had to hold up through shipping, be fun and engaging, hold the DNA kit and Cesar food samples, and also feature a free gift. Together with the BBDO team, we ideated over what the free gift should be. We considered a variety of stock doggy gifts, from lunch boxes to dog tags, however nothing really felt proprietary enough to create a big impact on the user. Inspired by seeing videos of dogs eating the Cesar food with the Cesar trays sliding all over the floor, BBDO and Double Six Design team’s collaboratively came up with the idea of a placemat that would hold the Cesar food trays in place. Silicone would provide a food-safe material and have natural anti-slip properties. The shape of the bowl would be customized to the Cesar food tray, but could later be filled with water or a different food.

From design to fabriation, we were responsible for creating the design of this placemat and overseeing the production of the end resulting product and kit packaging. We brought in our trusted partners at Savvy Print Solutions to execute the final components: from the custom silicone placemat to printing all printed components to managing fulfillment of the final kits with all components.

BBDO Cesar Opening Carton

BBDO Cesar Inner CartonBBDO Cesar Placemat

BBDO Cesar CADBBDO Cesar Placemat


We are settling into our new studio in Oakland’s Jack London neighborhood. Named after author Jack London, the neighborhood sits between the Oakland Estuary and the 880 Highway. It includes the waterfront area as well as the Oakland Produce Terminal, and is walking distance to Old Oakland, Oakland’s Chinatown, Downtown, and Lake Merritt.

The team immediately utilized our proximity to public transportation — the trifecta of BART, ferry and train are all within blocks. This wasn’t the only reason for our move. We’ve also added many things to do, see, eat, and drink right outside our door! This neighborhood has had a large residence of artists and other creatives for decades, and in recent years has brought an influx of restaurants, coffee roasters, breweries, and wine tasting rooms. A Jack London public market, the likes of the San Francisco Ferry Building is in the works — planned to open later this year.

Needless to say, we’ve been enjoying our new hood. Here’s a small glimpse:

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Yes To has finally announced their new product line, made just for men! We’ve patiently waited to share it with everyone. This is the first brand extension we’ve partnered with Yes To that has a significantly different target consumer then it’s base, as it needed to appeal specifically to men. It loses it’s usual hero-ingredient. A bigger use of typography paired with a bold but natural palette helps it stand out next to other men’s products on shelf. We also added more punch to the voice to appeal to those manly types.

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