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Thoughts, musings and ramblings

Why didn’t British Steel do a Co-op?

Why didn’t British Steel do a Co-op?

Co-op’s decision to go back to an old logo is a brave one that I think should be applauded.

The old-now-new logo was-is an excellent piece of design that still works in a contemporary setting. And, as they say, if it ain’t broke… It also takes a section of consumers back to the days when the Co-op’s reputation was rather better than it is today – a pillar of the community as opposed to just another chain as it is today.

I think it’s also worth applauding North who eschewed the publicity of a very visible redesign (for it’s own benefit) for a return (albeit tweaked) to somebody else’s work as this was deemed better for the client. And this is surely what design is all about – it’s all about the client’s needs and what works for them and their customers.

We recently did a similar thing at Rusyn Design. We were tasked with rebranding local business Route 39 which was well known and respected within its fields. Following a brand and market analysis we recommended sticking with the current logo (with some minor typographic tweaks) as it had a good deal of brand equity already. The logo was fit for purpose and it would have been very risky to attempt to change it. Instead, we embarked on a complete visual identity based on the existing logo and company ethos. It’s had an excellent response and the client is very happy indeed.

I wonder if Ruddocks ever considered going back to David Gentleman’s original iconic British Steel logo and creating a new visual identity around it with new fonts, lock-ups and other visual elements. If this approach was explored and discounted by the client then fair enough – it would interesting to hear the reasons and the rationale.

Instead we have a shiny new brand. As a stand-alone piece of work it works well. They’ve followed Gentleman’s approach of abstracting the initials ‘B’ and ’S’, but have ended up with a icon that has little relevance to steel-making where-as the original has a real ’steel-ness’ to it. It lacks the weight I’d expect from British Steel.

An interesting aside is whether this would even be a discussion if North and the Co-op had not done what they have…

We shall never know.

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What’s wrong with the Queen’s English? Part 01

First of all, I’d like to state that my English isn’t perfect. I admit that I have ‘who’d’ when I should have ‘whom’d’ and that occasionally I’ve had enough of a brain fade to have to check a spelling online.

But, my English is good enough to know the basics. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask for copywriters, designers and content creators to know the same.

The first part of my language gripe is the humble apostrophe. Or rather the quickly becoming endangered apostrophe. The thing here is, that this is such a simple rule. But it’s one that has been flouted for years.

An example. Kings Cross is London. It’s named after the King of England, not a random group of Kings whose paths happened to cross east of Euston. It should, of course, be King’s Cross, but the apostrophe was dropped from street signs because the apostrophe ruined the look… A dangerous precedent.

It happens a lot these days – if it’s good enough for the King…

Luckily, there are small oases still clinging to correct grammar. Thank you ‘Bubbles’ World of Play’ in New Brighton, Wallasey – a world of play brought to us by Bubbles. God bless them.

Don’t get me started on yours and your’s or your and you’re.

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Brand vibrance after the greyness of the recession

In troubled times marketing and advertising are often seen as unaffordable luxuries which are quickly pared back or scrapped altogether. Just when they need to shout loudest, reminding customers why their products and services are still worth buying, too many companies disappear from view, cowering in the shadows in the vain hope enough of their existing customers will both remain loyal and have the resources available to keep spending. It’s a forlorn hope for all but the luckiest. For everyone else the money saved from cut marketing budgets is soon eaten away and the stark reality of failure looms. The grim reaper sees into the shadows and he takes those he came for.

The answer, as already mentioned, is to stand in the sun and shout, loudly. This is the only way to remain front of mind with existing clients and to be noticed by potential new customers. What is shouted depends upon the company and it’s offering and is tailored to the target market and brand proposition. Business to business communications have a different focus to business to consumer. Both, however, have common ground, the most critical of which is trust. When money is tight trust that a service or product will be delivered on time and to specification will make or break a deal. Most of us would rather spend a little more on something we know will deliver rather than take a risk on losing money on an unreliable alternative. A polished, thoroughly executed brand suggests a successful and thriving business. A thriving business has loyal customers. Such peer recommendations are powerful and build the trust we all look for. A weak ‘thrown together in Word’ brand or mistakes in its implementation suggests unprofessionalism and/or a lack of resources from dwindling sales, which suggest a poor product/service. This creates dis-trust. And pushes potential customers towards competitors.

A well considered and executed brand creates trust as it communicates success through the confidence to invest in the brand as well as professionalism through the awareness of the value of the brand. It also builds a personality which customers can identify with and aspire to.

A brand has power in its long arms, which stretch far beyond logotype, look and feel and tone of voice. It embraces every member of staff and colours the way they feel and interact, not only with each other, but also with customers and suppliers. Every brand is ultimately experiential. Every touchpoint plays its part – website, literature, packaging, advert, stationery, service… Even the ‘hello’ when the phone is answered. A positive experience builds acceptance of, openness to and identification with the brand. This leads to trust which leads to the hallowed ground of loyalty and repeat custom.

These are grey days in dour times, which makes this the perfect time to add some colour and energy to your brand, the perfect time to get out there and shout at everyone! Engagement is key. A constant and evolving process it encompasses everything, from a memorable logo, through a joyful website to clever advertising and happy, smiling service.

It does require investment, but it does bring rewards.

#ChangeIsGood

Change is good for the soul.

It’s also good for the business…

Every business needs to grow, adapt and evolve in order to be successful.
So many things change along the way, and we have to be flexible enough to move with them, change with the times.

Sometimes, the decisions can be difficult. Running a business requires bravery, and enough honesty to admit things need to change.

It could be as simple as a shop front, or more complex like a new marketing strategy or a complete start again.
This is the decision we faced recently. And, in all honesty, we decided we needed not just a rebrand, but a renaming followed by a rebrand.

‘space+room’ just wasn’t hacking it.

It has been difficult to break the emotional attachments to a six year old name, but break them we did, with a thank you and a doff of the hat!

Now, we’re reborn as Rusyn Design, newly named and crafted for where we want to get to.

We hope you like it.

We love it.