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10. Clean air

Coming off a couple weeks of the worst air quality we have ever experienced here as a result of the nearby “Camp Fire” in Paradise, Ca., we must start our list here. Last week the news’ daily reports continued to compare our air with international cities we were surpassing each day as the worst air quality. At the height, we hit the #1 slot — for only 1 day. We are extremely fortunate to have clean air here in the San Francisco Bay Area most of the year, and we are thankful that a little bit of rain and wind finally brought our air quality back to our normal levels.

9. Where we live

We work very hard to keep on living here in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Living near the bay, but being able to be in the mountains, in the ocean, in a lake, in the woods, on a farm in just a short drive gives us all so much inspiration to create. This also gives us a drive to protect the Earth’s valuable resources, so we can make sustainable decisions in the work we do.

8. Where we work

Our creative, urban environment in Oakland is a wonderful place to have a branding studio — surrounded by other creatives and easy access to amazing talent and experienced vendor partners, really makes working here fun and fulfilling. It doesn’t hurt that our studio is surrounded by tons of delicious restaurants, breweries and wine tasting rooms either!

7. Having a dog in the studio

The Double Six studio dog, Buca, does spend most of her day sleeping, but she reminds us all to take a break sometimes. Whether its to rest our eyes and play a little tug-a-war or it’s to get out of the studio for a little walk around the neighborhood, she is a valuable member of the team.

6. Not getting in a car

Okay, so not everyone of us has this luxury, but our location allows us to bike, walk or take public transportation each day. This includes getting to work, grabbing lunch and even going to client meetings. Trust us, its a much better perspective, and you see things you wouldn’t see in a car — architecture, graffiti, cool signs, people, and even nature.

5. Amazing clients

Okay, we know this sounds totally expected, but we really are so fortunate to work with an amazing group of clients who keep us inspired. Many of our clients we have had for more than 5 years, and we build new partnerships each year. Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!

4. Better-for-you products

It’s always amazing that the clients we connect with are one’s that fit with our teams’ own values and shopping tendencies — real food, no artificial junk, sustainably-focused, consciously-sourced, organically grown. If your product align with these values, call us!

3. Our partners

Sorry, clients, but we have to put our partners higher on the list than you because without these guys, we couldn’t do what we do. They take our small core team, and make Double Six capable of accomplishing anything. We consider our partners just as much a part of our team as those that sit here in the studio — and this expanded team gives Double Six more flexibility, allows us to work more efficiently and produces more targeted results for each client than a big stagnate in-house team can. Thanks to all our photographers, food stylists, illustrators, printers, copy writers, developers, SEO experts, product designers, 3D renders and more!

mickjonesstudio.com
randymon.com
lucierice.com
jenvaughnart.com
savvyprint.com

2. Our families

More important than our Double Six family, are the people we come home to each evening. They are the ones that support us, nurture our passions, listen to us complain, make us laugh and play, and accept us for who we are.

1. Loving to come to work each day!


When presented with the challenge of naming and branding of a cannabis company, Double Six was all in. When approached in 2017, we knew California was in the process of switching to full recreational sale by the end of the year. The previously medicinal cannabis market was saturated with brands who were either super pharmaceutical or home spun farmers supplying bulk product to medical dispensaries. That was all about to change, and we were in a race against the flood of consumer driven cannabis brands ready and waiting to launch.

During the naming and branding process, we were inspired by the partnership between 5 business partners who had years of experience in the cannabis category. The team, led by an cannabis farmer who had already been selling bulk to dispensaries for years, had build trust with dispensaries, but not with consumers.

We started with establishing brand adjectives and communication goals that would drive the entire branding process. We had four communication goals that we targeted through out the branding process: transparency, premium, knowledgable, urban. Hundreds of names were considered during our process, but Crown Public rose to the top of the the pack, embodied by visuals of warmth, premium textures and social inclusivity.

(Disclaimer: This is an early concept moodboard for Crown Public cannabis which includes images torn from magazines. Images do not belong to Crown Public and reference sources are not available.)

The name “Crown Public” drove the brand aesthetic to great heights. An in-depth concept ideation explored brand concepts that ranged from edgy & urban to sophisticated & refined. The selected brand aesthetic was built around a “CP” monogram made of smokey gold swirls. A clean use of white, warm gold tones, elegant line details and refined typography achieves a high-end look that will instantly create trust with consumers.

Crown Public Cannabis Vape Pen and Package DesignCrown Public Cannabis Pouch Packaging DesignCrown Public Cannabis Logo Design


Aug 7 2018

EasiYo

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Challenge. EasiYo gives moms an easy way to make fresh yogurt at home, but how do you communicate “fresh” when it comes in a pouch and lives on a pantry shelf?

Solution. Mom is busy juggling work and kids, but there is still a pride in making something wholesome for her family. A top down perspective provides a glimpse onto the kitchen table that feels personal and approachable. Authentic photography is a strong communication tool. Fresh fruit and yogurt quickly convey freshness and clean ingredients, while also creating appetite appeal. Fruit, napkin color and flavor violator color allow a flexible system for flavor differentiation that can span across around 30 different formula and flavor variations. EasiYo needed an overhaul on their communication — the new hierarchy is streamlined in quantity but actually says more with less effort.


Jun 7 2018

Oakland Dust

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Challenge. Oakland Dust was doing well in local Bay Area markets with their initial four Spice Rubs, but with the expansion to BBQ sauces and additional rub blends, they had a plan to push Oakland Dust into wider retail distribution and focus on growing their eCommerce. It was time to look at the product category and make sure Oakland Dust wasn’t being left in the dust.

Solution. We started on the hunt to find a BBQ sauce bottle that would match the cool-factor on shelf next to their existing Spice Rub tins. A wide, round shouldered, glass bottle was the perfect pairing. Saturating the color palette and bumping up the contrast with a rich black and bright colors allows products to pop on shelf. We introduced big typography along side clean icons for a modern and bold aesthetic.


Apr 7 2018

Nirvana Bar

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Challenge. Bars — this is one of the most saturated categories in the grocery store. From granola bars to energy bars, protein bars to diet bars, it’s almost overwhelming walking down the aisle.

Solution. Nirvana Bars brings something different. It’s a bar full of real fruit, nut and herbal ingredients, and each ingredient was carefully selected with one goal in mind — to quell inflammation. As a dietary supplement, Nirvana Bars can be merchandised separate from other energy bars, and deliver active anti-inflammation benefits in a bar format. The shield logo enhances the perception of efficacy and health, while a warm color palette relays the product’s warm, soothing properties. Flavor differentiation and appetite appeal are achieved through ingredient photography more typical of chocolate than on a dietary supplement.


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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Mooala4plantmilks_lowres

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.