PalbergWERX Creative Direction got a call from a young entrepreneur about to hard launch his business in asphalt painting. He was looking for a Vancouver design agency to build his logo and he found me online and liked the way I differentiated myself from the competition. He had been in the construction sector for a number of years and, as you might imagine, he was direct and to the point. He asked, 'Why do you offer service X for this dollar amount, I called a number of Vancouver creative and design agencies that are asking much, much more, etc.'
Well, I offer a specific 'budget logo' option that is separate from my main business. This is a no frills and limited service I am currently providing to attract new customers. My freelance business is new (really not so new, it's just been dormant for the past 15 years while I worked for a variety of corporate gigs) and I now operate out of my home and therefore don't have a number of over-head costs that a brick and mortar agency will have. I still charge my normal advertised hourly rate, but I also clearly spell out that the specific product is limited and how it is limited. Before moving forward, I also take the time to determine if it makes sense for a specific client not to take advantage of a full package involving market research, trademark, copyright or legal searches or full branding assets across multiple vehicles and channels, etc.
I had a lengthy conversation with the owner and we created a rapport, so I expected him to call me back, he did and a few days later we met. I have a prepared list of questions that I let my client review before our initial discovery meeting so he could begin thinking about his business and how to inform me as well.
A large part of the value that PalbergWERX brings, beyond 25 years experience, is taking the time to understand my client's business. I spend time asking questions about both how he is different from his competitors and how he perceives his company, questions he may never have had to articulate before, and it is insightful for both of us. In this case, he was unique in that all his competitors are family businesses and he wanted to project an image of exceptional quality service and products as well as the ability to do unique custom jobs. Also, I noted that his customers would be large corporations or professional managers - so, trendy or nostalgic designs would not be appropriate.
The initial steps in any identity effort is to do the appropriate research and in this case I watched a lot of YouTube videos on how the process of asphalt striping was done, the equipment used as well any peripheral information that I could glean that might help set the tone or mood of this specific industry.
The client had a couple of business name choices which we discussed at length and indicated that he was also open to small changes to his name. The company was to be called 'We Stripe Parking Lots LTD'.
Like many creatives, I start with my sketch book and began just writing the company title out, looking for connections to the words themselves as well as keeping in mind the research I had already done. I realized that his business was more than the striping of parking lots, as he planned to also include lane ways, gymnasiums and other custom work. I choose to highlight the 'We Stripe' over the 'Parking Lots LTD'. and even took the time to see if ''westripe.ca' was available - it was. I then presented this point to my client explaining that the shortened name would be easier for new customers to remember and cause less errors in communications such as email. There would be nothing more frustrating than losing a $10,000 dollar job because your customer thinks you won't reply to their emails, when in fact they may have never reached you due to a simple typographical error!
After a couple of pages of sketches, I had a few ideas that i thought would be strong iconic images for his business and I began fleshing them out on the computer. I rejected the idea of using a specific painter's tool such as a brush or roller because they were cliche and because both I and my client were concerned that there should be no confusion between his asphalt painting service and other painting services which use similar technical terms or iconography.
I designed the W below to be semi transparent where they overlapped. The idea here was to indicate the first coat of paint and the transparent nature when the second coat is applied. I didn't like this as it could also signal a poor quality or unfinished job by this firm.
Below I've worked both the W and the S letters to give the impression that you are looking down at them - as if standing in a parking lot and seeing the painted lines represented by the two letters. I thought I was onto something here, but again...
...continuing the same theme of representing the actual painted stripes in the logo as viewed from above, I further abstracted the letters.
I was on the right path now and continued with numerous variations, shown below, however they were too evocative of military language.
I was interested in an icon that spoke to the democratization of the roads, parking lots and the asphalt itself. I finalized a design that I felt no longer hinted at other military or other industrial sectors and I think it was universal enough in it's iconography to be called democratic. The design evokes both the defined physical parking lot as well as the painted lines or striping guiding the end user's journey. I've used a tall X Height for the text so that it would be very readable at all sizes. As mentioned earlier, I've also reduced the weight of the lower line to place emphasis on the We Stripe - as both the client and I felt that it was possible in the future to remove the parking lots text entirely when he had enough market penetration and it would no longer be necessary to distance himself from other 'painters' from different construction sectors.
The final cards use a satin varnish plus foil for the logo itself to elevate it from the surface, much as paint does both physically as well as symbolically. The cards are a strong representation of the construction sector as well both the logo and name will be easy to remember when viewed on vehicle signage or used anywhere else.
Having a professional, polished image has allowed the We Stripe to close contracts on the two largest general contractors within the Greater Vancouver area. Here is what he had to say:
"I contacted PalbergWERX for a logo and left with a complete company brand. It is just amazing the difference an experienced Creative Director can do for a new company like mine. I had ideas of what I wanted to accomplish and Richard turned them into reality. My brand now helps me solicit the type of clientele that I envisioned when I began my company. My brand now makes the difference between a single $1,000 job and a $50,000 contract. This is so much more than I expected and I can't recommend Richard's company, PalbergWERX, enough!"
Kyle Laroque, We Stripe Parking Lots Inc.
That is a real success story in my opinion and I was delighted to be a small part of that success. You can see my website design for this business here: www.westripe.ca
You can read more about how I created the We Stripe's website design here: Designing the value proposition directly into commercial property line painting company website: Phase One
The image below is a standard mockup for my clients to envision how their logo would be presented.
If you would like to take your design to the next level,
call PalbergWERX Creative Direction
at 604-356-1144 or email me at PBWX@outlook.com
I can help you undertand your ideal customers and build your brand to take advantage of how you want to portray your image to engage with your customers - increasing your marketing investment!