A few years ago I passed by a store that had the Woolrich logo on display in the window. I grabbed a picture of it (since lost) because I loved how they used the red and black check pattern for their logo, and combined it with a really modern sans-serif signature.
I’ve been quietly obsessed with it since. I even have plans to do a vehicle wrap with the pattern in the next year.
Anyways, this weekend I was back in that town and picked up a couple of Woolrich shirts. I’ve been on a flannel kick lately, so why not go with the classics?
Pictured above is the tag from one of the shirts. Digging around on their site and social media, I see they’re making great use of the pattern, balancing a fine line between classic/heritage and modern/relevant. This gallery from their Instagram has some great examples of how they balance the two.
The final picture in the gallery — the building exterior — is just what I’m thinking.
While going through some underused reference materials I found this reference to the Danish Design Centre’s four levels of commitment that clients have to design.
Design is inconspicuous and performed by untrained/non-professional staff. User’s needs and points of view are not considered. This is decoration by amateurs.
Design is Styling
Design is only considered for the final product. It may be completed by designers, but non-professionals are primarily responsible for the direction of the project. “Let’s give this to a graphic artist to make it pretty.”
Design as Process
Design is viewed as a work method, and design principles/approaches are employed from the earliest stages. Solutions are driven by end-user requirements.
Design as Innovation
The designer collaborates with client executives in adopting innovative approaches to substantial parts of their business. Design processes are used to articulate the company’s vision to impact all aspects of the client’s products or services. Experience branding.
Typejockeys has a writeup on their blog of their work to re-work this logo for a large Austrian waste management company. I like this as a great example of work you can do cleaning up a logo. Often when we think of conducting a branding exercise, people think a new logo is going to be implemented, but it doesn’t have to work like that. Many times the better idea is to polish up the existing logo: refine the design into something more appropriate to the brand’s objectives.
South Africa’s Kulula Airlines does what I wish more brands would do – develop a distinct character. It’s a shame that more organizations aren’t as willing to have as much fun with their customers. There was a time that WestJet maintained a similar (if not as explicit) attitude, and that was a time that people loved WestJet. Unfortunately that attitude seems to have been replaced with a more bland communications strategy.
As an exercise in the visual language I asked my self “What if Anonymous went corporate!?” With the group being more and more in the media they could need to button up and streamline their appearance to appear more professional whilst unifying the brand experience.