Branding Fun

“That’s work?” is something we hear a lot as we post snippets from our days. It’s undeniable that we get to do some pretty fun stuff in pursuit of the shot.

Putting a face on things is something we love—that can be places, products, or even events. Is it luck or strategy that so much of we get to brand are activities we love? It’s both. Combining work and play means that the passion we have will translate to the mark that’s created. This isn’t to say that non-playful projects get less passion, in fact, it means that our satisfaction keeps us alert, hungry, and game to push concepts to make them stronger, whether it’s an annual report or an ad campaign.

Here are a few identities we’ve created for activities that take you from bike seat to chair lift, from river rapids to mountain peak (on foot, Jeep, or wheels), and maybe—when you’re all done—to a nice hammock.

Over the Top—a new 10k Mountain Bike and 5k Trail Run at West Mountain.

Over The Top

The New Country of Saratoga 5K Race and Obstacle Course was also on West Mountain. Over snow, above icy water, alongside fire, and through a good deal of ice, runners and to hoof, crawl, leap, and tube their way to the finish line.

New Country
We have some major cycle nuts on staff, this has always been a mark we wanted to take a swat at. The Black Fly Challenge—a 40 mile cycling event from Indian Lake to Inlet (or Inlet to Indian Lake depending on the year)

BlackFly

The mind behind Brant Lake Bike Park asked us to help him create an identity to match his vision—A project to create single track trails across 200 acres of beautiful Adirondack terrain.

Brant Lake Bike Park

For their 5th anniversary the Lake George Land Conservancy wanted an updated mark for the  Hike-a-Thon—A day with 17+ hikes to choose from in the Lake George Area.

Hike-A-Thon

Kaatskillz—A pro-Am event at Hunter Mountain with skate park inspired features including hips, bowls, and rails. Making this was as fun as taking to the slopes.

Kaatskillz

Some jobs just fall in your lap. John Duncan, the genius behind SOC, strolled into a coffee shop 12 years ago. He liked the branding, asked who did it, and then came knocking. We’ve been working together ever since.

SOC

Turns out you can do more than ski at Hunter Mountain. They asked us to build upon the icon system we’d created for other events.

4x4

Our work with Hunter expanded to work with Wildcat, Crotched, and Attitash. This Alpine Slide icon is for the feature at Attitash, which, for authenticity’s sake we just had to try.

Alpine Slide

A new twist was to introduce some of our favorite places to a foreign audience. Go North is a brand, an invitation, and an itinerary to take travelers through our part of the state, produced for The Wild Center in collaboration with the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, Warren County Tourism, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau , and I Love NY.

Go North

 

Branding is fun. Maybe we can work together…or should we say play?

 

Draplinspiration

Good designers know that there is always more to learn. It’s an interesting industry to be a part of, like a log rolling contest. The rules and methods are constantly changing, and designers are systematically challenging the status quo. You have to keep shifting your feet to keep up, otherwise you’ll end up in the drink.

One of the ways we do that is to learn from fellow designers. On Monday, four of our designers attended an intensive logo workshop at SUNY Adirondack with one of the greats, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company.

We filed into a tightly-packed classroom filled with computers, and waved hello to a few friendly designer colleagues and students who we recognized. The room buzzed with excited anticipation, wondering how many swear words and pearls of wisdom Mr. Draplin would bestow upon us.

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

Dressed in one of his signature trucker caps, full beard and sweat pants (he is a rockstar on the road, after all), he absorbed the energy in the room and began the workshop. He whizzed through Illustrator quick keys and stories about past clients as we fervently scribbled notes and sketches in our books. He told the story behind his work for President Obama and opened up his working files to show us how he works on a daily basis. “Don’t tweet this!” he’d proclaim, followed by “Keys to the kingdom!”

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

One of the most interesting anecdotes he shared was his journey from Michigan to Portland, Oregon. (He and Staci later shared a moment when they talked after the workshop and discovered that his mom hails from the same hometown that she does: Livonia, Michigan.)

Draplin's hand drawn map of Michigan.

After the workshop, the entire team sat in on his presentation—filled with the same heartwarming, hilarious and inspiring design stories, more swear words, and insight into the design industry.

Our team came away feeling inspired and refreshed, excited to have touched base with a designer we all admire. We laughed and shared, and came to work the next day with the tips we’d learned fresh in our minds.

Design is all about evolving, listening to the world, and moving people with the art we create. And when we learn and get inspired together, we benefit as a team. You see it in the work we produce. As he stated when he closed out the workshop, “I know this is going to sound really ‘Bob Ross-y’, but inspiration is infinite. Catalog those things around you.”

Draplin puts Rob in a headlock.

Joy-of-painting-Bob-Ross

6 Ways to Turn Data Into Content

Last week Derek sent me a link to an AdAge article about consulting companies like Deloitte entering the industry, armed with data, determined to compete with math. Hiring someone to run numbers for you is a great idea, and can provide insight into who cares about your organization. Consultants are a great lens to view a given marketplace through, but that perspective doesn’t matter much without execution.

Accurate research can certainly inform your message, targeting individual segments. The AdAge article seems to take for granted that concepts will simply present themselves when the numbers have been crunched. I think there’s a lot of daylight between agencies on this point.

Rock-solid data doesn’t guarantee that the needle will move, as referenced by this article on Millennial preferences online. Campaigns need to have staying power, based on the research that digital advertising isn’t a transactional experience, it’s often a long-game. We’re all looking for something to share, an affirmation, or a way to define what is important.

When it comes to communication, the best ideas win. Concepts that make people consider a point, 30-second football spots that are so well done that they bring people to tears…these are what we talk about. Comedy, whether it’s slapstick or storytelling, unites a room with a laugh—and builds the rapport that we’re all in search of.

> Audience reaction, applause.

Someone wrote that joke or choreographed a pratfall, and it’s that work that’s easily overlooked or overpowered by big data. Ideas are subjective and therefore their effectiveness isn’t easily quantified. Having said that, everyone seems to recognize a good one.

This is all terribly self-serving, a blog post about the importance of creativity on an agency website. Probably a bunch of graphic design snobs in love with their own ideas.

…True.

There are other ways that we tackle a problem that have little to do with design. Decisions we make, as a group, to determine what the best course of action will be. Ultimately there is a visual component, but there are a lot of decisions (based on data) that inform what the best course of action will be. Here are six different approaches that we stand by.

1. Customized Messaging.
Create something unique and specific to an audience that reinforces a brand, even on a local level. Don’t rely on stock content, which can be terrible to begin with. What makes you different? Does a free typeface or a system font really work to communicate that?

Custom

^ The crew at Hunter Mountain are creating a 70’s skateboard-themed event at Empire Parks. Inspiration came in the form of Steely Dan tracks with a sprinkle of Hall & Oats. We named the event for the locale, and for the competitors—who will be judged on style points.

It’s very specific, it won’t work for another mountain, and that’s the point.

 

2. Consistency.
Keep things familiar at each brand touchpoint with the public.

Consistency

^ Big Slide Brewery & Public House contracted Trampoline to create a logo for the restaurant, some help with an exterior sign design, and a sticker. I wish they’d used us for more, but the reality is that we provided a flexible system of artwork that they’ve been able to use in their own executions from neon to socks. They have stayed true to the artwork, and have built a successful suite of repeat impressions.

 

3. Positioning, relation.
Aligning your brand with similar, successful entities. This falls into the category of Use What You Have.

^ Peak Resorts knows (data) that the strongest brand in their northeast portfolio of properties is Carinthia. The size and features available, content in its own right, puts the terrain park at the top of the list for skiers and riders in the east. Our strategy was to build on that brand equity and extend the imagery and color palette—black on black on black—to other mountains. The decision was a communication response to Peak’s assessment that terrain was the area that represented the most growth from a strategy standpoint. There was no need to reinvent the wheel, and ultimately it was an image pivot that embraced existing success.

 

4. Editing.
Classic less-is-more. Be selective and segment messaging.

editing

^ How quickly can you make a point? What is necessary and what is just noise? Druthers’ culinary chops are showcased here. Briefly.

 

5. Information Architecture.
Be clear and concise in delivery.Information

^ Design decisions certainly do factor into this category, but figuring out what goes where and how elements can be arranged to make communication easy and effective has to happen before layout. Understanding typography and how a [Western] eye accesses information on a screen or a page makes a difference to the success of a piece. Iconography, groupings, visual breaks, color coding. Decisions. Revisions.

 

6. Timing.
Be nimble with your messaging and you’re already relevant.

Timing

^ Communication built around events, or current events, can be some of the easiest to relate to or participate in. Real-time responses and interaction can convert fans faster than the most strategic media buy, or the wittiest headline. These events for the Lake George area are specific (see #1 above) customized communication that creates a sense of importance and helps to establish immediate demand.

We have a healthy respect for data, and have been actively measuring the effectiveness of our own work, to make our subjective industry a little more certain, particularly for clients new to Trampoline. Research is crucial to getting the creative right.

We’ll dig in ourselves or partner with great organizations like Schireson in New York City or Mt. Auburn Associates in Boston to make sure we understand our challenge. Follow-up, interaction, A/B testing, responsive design all matter and improve the customer experience, but they’re nothing without a concept.

Drinkin’ on the Job

Recently, the Trampoline crew set off on several photo shoots at breweries across the north country. The crew found themselves calling barrooms “offices” and adding “taste tester” to their job descriptions. These are their stories.

TUESDAY | Big Slide Brewery | Lake Placid, New York

9:00 AM – We arrive at the brewery bright and early to meet spunky brewmaster Kevin Litchfield (a Paul Smith’s alum, to boot!) He takes us on a tour among the gleaming tanks and kegs emblazoned with the branding we created earlier this year (pretty darn cool). They even turned our custom type into a neon sign.

Kevin Litchfield

11:15 AM – Kevin fields questions from the crew. Our resident beer geek and home brewer, Staci is eager to tap into the Brewmaster’s knowledge and expertise. His pride in craft is infectious and inspiring.

Staci Oswald

1:00 PM – Kevin seems impressed by our interest in craft beer and shares the not-yet-released Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ubu Ale. It would be rude not to sample the offerings after hearing about all the hard work and dedication that went into each beer. *Hiccup*

WEDNESDAY | Druthers Brewing Company | Saratoga Springs, New York

patio_polaroid_v1

9:30 AM – With cards purged and batteries charged, we pack up for another full day of shooting at Druthers Brewing Company in Saratoga. It’s the day after the election; a chilly, drizzly hump day that has us all feeling emotionally hungover. Spending the day in a warm, cheery brew pub turns out to be the perfect remedy. Sampling the goods doesn’t hurt, either.

cheers_polaroid_v1

12:00 PM – We fight off the sobering election results with liquid courage and prepare for the next interview. Brian Van Derlofske, Saratoga’s Head Brewer, tells us what sets the brewing process apart at Druthers. We honor his devotion to the craft with a cheers, or two.

brian_polaroid_v1

4:30 PM – As the bar fills up, we breakdown the set and toast to another suss- sucsess- successful day of shooting!

THURSDAY | Druthers Brewing Company | Albany, New York

10:00 AM – After a couple of coconut waters and some strong coffee, we embark for the capital and Druthers’ newest brewpub.

albany_polaroid_v1

11:15 AM – We start by setting up shots at the bar. Wait. Let me rephrase that. We stage the bar area to begin taking photos. Yea, that sounds better.

shots_polaroid_v1

2:30 PM – It’s time for George De Piro’s closeup. Druthers’ Brewmaster General shows us around the gleaming facility and even teaches us some neat forklift tricks. It is made clear that we are not allowed to operate heavy machinery. Probably a good call.

george_polaroid_v1

5:45 PM – We’re sooooo HAppy with the res- *hiccup* results from our uh, camera thing. It’s gonna be like sooo good. You don,t even know. OMG we can’t wait to st art editing!!!! Wait…where/s my phoen? HAbe you seen it?! Ok. BYE.

beers_polaroid_v1

Editor’s note: The Trampoline crew successfully made it through their bar crawl of a week. Rest assured they were safe and responsible throughout. Cheers!

Sunscreens

What did you do over summer vacation?

That’s the question our kids are answering during their first week of school. For our part, the change in season has produced a bumper crop of online offerings, with more launches planned. Here’s a look at some of the sites of summer, 2016.eldorWe planted this shiny little nugget back in April over beers at Bale Breaker Brewing Co. in Moxee Washington. The CLS Farms creation, gold in color, citrawesome in flavor, is so sought-after that Eric Desmarais and family had to contract farmers in Washington State and Idaho to grow the variety and meet ElDorado demands.

breathinglightsBreathing Lights is illuminating areas in the Capital Region where vacant buildings stand, unused. The project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is intended to start conversations and provoke questions—like any good art installation. The creative use of space is also the foundation for a full season of programming: workshops on how to rehab an older home, events with music and speakers that will showcase the importance of neighborhoods, communities and homes. WMHT and Mannix Marketing both made bright contributions to the launch of this site!

meyerfullerA law firm with no online presence? Objection, your honor: speculative. Meyer & Fuller raised the Bar with their new site. Mx on the dev.hhhn
Hudson Headwaters Health Network took their healthy connections online with a comprehensive site overhaul. Service lines, locations, doctor profiles and patient portal information can now be easily accessed from any device. Mannix Marketing turned out to be the perfect prescription for development.


psc
Fresh off a communications overhaul and a new rebrand, Paul Smith’s College released its Annual Giving Results online. Green, in more ways than one.
morcon-coming-soonEven though the team is all wiped-out from a summer of web work, we’re excited to announce the conversion of another new online presence. The redesigned Morcon, Inc. website will go live in advance of ISSA in Chicago, this October. It will be beautiful and you’ll wish you had tissues.

Paul Smith’s College, Illustrated

campusmap-mockup_v3

When Paul Smith’s College approached us about a reboot of their campus map earlier this year, the designers here instantly got excited. Maps are a specialty for Trampoline, with styles ranging from illustrative to informative. For a designer, it’s a fun challenge to create a map that is memorable and achieves the goal of being simple to use.

Which designer gets to work on a map usually comes down to workload; understanding that a map project —especially an illustrated map — is inherently time-consuming. In this case, workload was such that I was able to take on the project.

In choosing a style, we turned to Shannon Oborne, Paul Smith’s Chief Marketing Officer, for guidance. We presented her with samples of maps we’d created in the past and Shannon kept coming back to the illustrative approach. While it’s a challenge for a designer, an illustrated map can result in something distinct and impossible to overlook.

psc_campusmap_detail2_snapseedWill and Cara made a trip to Paul Smith’s on an unseasonably cold March day to take reference photos. The trip yielded hundreds of photos of campus buildings, walkways and other details that would need to be illustrated. Capturing the beauty of the college’s setting — on the shores of shimmering Lower St. Regis Lake and surrounded by rugged Adirondack peaks — wouldn’t be hard to do.

Next it was time to establish the map’s perspective. Would it be a 2-D birds-eye-view or a 3-D illustration? After some exploratory design work and an office roundtable we decided that a three-quarter, or isometric, perspective would be the best perspective to fit all of the buildings on the sprawling campus as well as the surrounding environment.

With Shannon’s solid direction, I began creating a base layer that would be the campus footprint, including roads, walkways, lakes and surrounding mountains. I relied on Google Earth and the college’s existing campus maps for accuracy.

Then came the task of illustrating the campus’ 35+ buildings in a consistent isometric perspective. This was the most time-consuming of all the steps but made all the difference in the end, adding a level of rich detail and dimension.

The final steps included adding in trees and smaller details like canoes, kayaks, lampposts, a stagecoach, and Woodsmen’s Arena. Least time consuming but by no means least important, was the map key. In creating the key, I had to be careful not to distract from the map’s detail while also having the 2-D numbers and corresponding text pop off of the page.

Shannon and the Paul Smith’s team are pleased with the end result — as are we. We’ll add it to the growing list of maps we’ve created and look forward to including the map in an upcoming Paul Smith’s trifold brochure.

psc_campusmap-layers

Fly the coop!

Chicken Shack Window Mockup

We’ve been huge fans of Russell Porreca’s cooking for years (our last office was next door to the original Raúl’s location). Way back when we created packaging for his homemade sauces and dressings and even some custom posters for his walls. We may have even enjoyed a beverage or two there on Margarita night.

This winter, Raúl’s moved to the (much larger) space next door, leaving the original restaurant space open. You can read more about that in this week’s Chronicle. While we loved the intimacy of the original location, we were excited to see what Russell was going to cook up next. After toying with other ideas, he landed on chicken & waffles. That really buttered our biscuits…ba-dum-ching!

We quickly started working on branding, signage and menus. After lots of sketches, comps and revisions, we landed on the final mark.

Chicken Shack Branding Sketches

Chicken Shack Logo

The savory color palette reflects the redesigned interior, which features corrugated tin roofs, barn wood and retro furnishings.

We had our friends at FastSigns in Saratoga help us with window graphics.

For the menu, we wanted to build on the “homestyle” theme of the cuisine. The sign painter typeface and gingham texture lends a down home feel that pairs well with Russell’s comfort food.

20160722_ChickenShack_Menu_Mockup_v2

Chicken Shack Menu

While the restaurant is still a hatchling, it’s quickly become a popular lunch and dinner destination. We can’t wait to push the brand even further with apparel and maybe even some custom artwork for the walls! Stay tuned.

Releasing Millennials into the W!ld

Entitled. Broke. Lazy. Glued to their phones. That’s us. Who wants that? Millennials tend to have a bad rap. But we’re also sharers, we prefer experiences over things, some of us are parents, and there are billions of us.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 11.54.18 AM

So how do we convince our own demographic to choose the Adirondacks as a place to spend time and money?

The W!ld Center hired Schireson Associates in New York City to do a study on millennials and the Adirondacks. They approached Trampoline to interpret that data and asked if we could take the study and create a guidebook with strategies that would help businesses, organizations and TPAs reach millennials and get them to the Adirondacks. It was an exciting opportunity for all of us, and for the owners it was a convergence of all the things they aimed to do when they founded Trampoline 13 years ago.

To be honest (TBH), there was a small panic between millennial staffers at first. I hadn’t posted to Instagram in a year, Kelli hadn’t logged into Facebook in months, John had trouble wrapping his brain around the fact that some people don’t want to spend a week in the woods. But that wasn’t the point, there are stronger themes that are the core of this project.

The end result covers more ground than we could ever have imagined. And it’s not just the book itself, it’s the re-emergence of the information and solutions it holds for businesses in the Adirondacks and beyond.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.52.27 AM

The guidebook addresses some obstacles that exist in the Adirondacks and offers communication strategies to overcome each of them. We used a variety of already existing businesses and organizations within the Adirondacks to show how these suggestions could work to combat issues identified in the Schireson data. Wild1Wild2To celebrate the wrap of the guidebook the Tramp millennials, Matt (millennial at heart) and friends hiked up Noonmark Mountain in Keene. It was also National Trails Day, so why not? #NationalTrailsDay

Group

GUIDEBOOK SPOILER: Everyone’s seen the stereotypical beautiful mountain top shot and sunrise shot from the kayak. It stirs interest, but it’s not getting people to the Adirondacks and it’s not getting people to spend money here. We need to appeal to the “indoorsy”.

It was a great day and only enforced a lot of the main issues we addressed:

Connectivity: We lost service in Keene Valley and one of the cars got lost. (I was driving, I own up to the fact that I have zero sense of direction and mostly rely on my phone and Google Maps to get me places, typical Millennial.)

Food & Beverage: Food and beverage is an experience for us. One guy in the group would have traveled all the way to Keene just to go to the Adirondack Cafe for their really fresh and locally sourced food. One car stopped at a food truck on the way back (side note: Food Trucks are awesome and we want more in the Adirondacks). We also talked about heading up to the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery for a couple brews but the need for showers and naps triumphed.

Overwhelmed: “This is a high peak right? No. Seriously?” Being a 46er is not going to be in all our futures.

Options: We were super thankful that we were in a place with options that day. We originally planned to hike to Rainbow Falls but had a dog (FYI, no dogs allowed on that trail) with us and had to switch plans last minute. There were a lot of trail heads in the area but I got very nervous that a couple of us would have to stay behind with the dog and wouldn’t have anything to do. And that would mean separating from the group in a place that doesn’t have cell service. Also, my body is still tired from that hike but I want to take advantage of the Adirondacks and all it has to offer since it’s in my backyard. What else in the Adirondacks is worth the hour or two drive for the day or weekend that isn’t a big hike or camping trip?

Endorsements: We chose this hike based on a recommendation from a friend. Then we talked to other friends and ended up with a group of nine. Afterward, photos of our trip ended up all over Facebook, Instagram, blogs, Twitter and Flickr.

Amenities: We were pretty concerned about finding a milkshake. We ended up driving back to Glens Falls before we got one but if we knew about a shake place on the way back we would have stopped. We’re also all familiar with the Adirondacks so we made sure we had Motrin, bug spray, plenty of water and food with us but a group of millennials not from here may not have been as prepared.

Vastness: Just look at this. How do we combat the sheer vastness of the Adirondacks?

FullSizeRender 3

We also address lodging and worth in the guidebook. A compilation of issues and solutions for all generations in the end. The only difference is that millennials demand (maybe feel entitled?) while other generations want.

Kelli spearheaded the design of the toolkit, her thoughts summed up:

There has been a lack of understanding about all the Adirondacks has to offer… if we can all work together to frame the Adirondacks as an accessible, shareable, exciting place to be we can build a promising future. Not just for Millennials, but for generations to come.

 

X marks the spot

We all want to have a better understanding of our surroundings. What’s the landscape? What am I looking at here?

That’s probably why we design a lot of maps. It’s helpful to be able to show, at a glance, where everything is. In the same way that users hope to be able to navigate a communications piece based on photo captions alone, quick references and labels deliver information in an efficient way.

It’s a process we enjoy as a team, determining which orientation will work the best: isometric? Bird’s eye? Three-quarter? Creating custom illustrations and working through coloring issues are elements that we tackle together and the results are often award-winning standalone works.

Beyond function, a map of any given location can go a long way toward defining the experience and shaping expectations of the public. An example of this can be see on our recent approach to mapping High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, NY, when compared to previous versions. 1

The first map depicts the property, trail system, and activity centers properly, but does little to create a sense of place.
2

The second iteration makes good use of iconography and color coding, and is user-friendly.

We made the decision to redesign this component of the experience, in order to incorporate illustration. The goal was to bring in depth that communicates the excitement of the natural landscape. Branded elements and iconography help to build the newly redesigned High Falls Gorge look with color palette and signal art.
3

As a member of IAAPA and a destination needing to compete with amusement parks and larger diversions for tourist attention, our hope was to position the Gorge as a worthwhile activity that delivers on thrills and has amenities that matter to travelers.

4

We deconstruct our own on-property representations, too. Here’s a map for the Sacandaga Outdoor Center, circa 2008. Back then, the goal was to place SOC regionally, and let rafters know which river they’d be navigating.

SOCmap

Now that the Outfitter is firmly established in the Lake George, Saratoga and Capital region (outdoor, advertising, collateral, online listings) our focus in 2016 was similar to the goals for High Falls Gorge: position the rafting trip as more than just a float down the river.

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Whether we’re updating artwork for college campuses, museums, ski mountains or municipalities, our goal is always to make the experience easier for a newcomer.

Opinion-stagram

By now you’ve seen the mid-May rollout of a new look for Instagram. Icons automatically updated themselves on devices and screens, causing worldwide panic and confusion. Immediate and severe feedback filled up the internet like design hate-speech. Instagram released this video to illustrate their process, but soon had to fend off parodies and video rants from designers and whackos alike—many delivered on Instagram’s own platform, criticism so meta it doesn’t need a filter.

As an agency producing visual content on a daily basis, I’m sure the team here has opinions on the new look, but to be honest, we haven’t discussed it. One quick search revealed that the redesign had become a target online. The vitriol surrounding the brand update was surprisingly personal, with commenters presenting their opinion as belief. Others Monday-morning-quarterbacked their own versions: here’s how it should have been done.  Maybe that’s a reflection of our political climate in this election year, but I see it as a trend. One that will have a significant impact on our industry.

instahack

Probably sounds like sour grapes coming from a designer, after all, we’re all entitled to our unique perspective. I can remember when AIRBNB updated recently.

“That’s…anatomical.” was my response. Still, I didn’t take to the twitterverse with hellfire and damnation. Who knows? Maybe body parts was what they were going for?

By and large, the opinions of anyone who wasn’t directly involved in the process can be written off as an amateur assessment. Someone without an understanding of trends or projections, or knowledge of design theory can certainly pass judgement on something that’s been created, but many times it is simply a reaction, with no consideration.

This public display of rejection as we call it, can make it difficult for an organization or a business to consider a rebrand. Change is tough. Customers are particular, donors fickle. What about the years of established brand equity? As a creative group, we’re careful in our consideration of whether or not an organization needs something new.

The company logo is like your favorite shirt. It’s well-worn, familiar, and you look great in it. Eventually though, that shirt will start to lose its shape. Or it might fall out of style. Trying on something new can be intimidating. It’s a risk, and a process—but a new outfit can mean a big boost in the confidence department.

Here are five examples of recent logo updates by Trampoline that embrace the past, or products represented, and still move forward visually.PSC_LogocompPaul Smith’s College, in the Adirondacks, wanted to differentiate themselves in the higher-ed space. Collegiate mergers and shutdowns nationwide are evidence of a competitive marketplace where experiences are as important as bookwork. Location, extracurriculars and the feel of a place are elements that factor heavily in 17 year-old decision making—and are shaped by design choices and brand impressions. In the case of PSC (heretofore never referred to as PSC—another update in acceptable representation) their tried-and-true, Times New Roman approach to communication had grown stale, and enrollment reflected a flatline in outreach.

PSC_brandid
Our approach embraced the iconic leaning pine, and incorporated the surrounding adirondack beauty in a figurative drawing with interplay between positive and negative spaces. The intent was to capture the feeling of a destination, since the campus is located on the site of a historic hotel, owned and operated by Paul and Lydia Smith. The result is a very heroic, American approach to collegiate branding, that makes use of existing imagery in a new way.

HFG_LogocompHigh Falls Gorge, in Wilmington, NY has everything a tourist could hope for: natural beauty, the power of nature on display, souvenirs, burgers and beer. As the destination continues to grow, with new offerings every year, it was time for a new logo. Bold type and sharp edges represent the sheer force of these falls and the sharp twists and turns help to position the Gorge as an exciting Adirondack destination.

MockupOur approach to update the appearance was to embrace both the history of the attraction, and the actual physical representation of the falls themselves. The mark opened the door for angular signal art and a family of marks and mascots that created additional offerings for different age groups and interests.

 

HHHN_Logocomp

Hudson Headwaters Health Network had handled marketing internally for 33 years before involving an agency in a rebranding effort. The result of a repositioning attempt was that the team at Hudson Headwaters had an emotional attachment to their letter cross. The organization abandoned the chunky Rockwell Bold face for something sleeker, and the team at Trampoline scrubbed-in for an emergency serifectomy.

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By removing a single serif in their existing logo, we created a conversation bubble. This type of negative space play can offer a number of options for communication, and create an aha! moment for those interacting with the brand. It’s letting the public in on the joke, a wink and a smile. And, in this case, it offers access and options for healthcare conversations to begin.

 

MOR_LogocompNearly $40 million annually means that a lot of paper was being converted at the Morcon plants in upstate New York and South Carolina. New ownership meant updates in infrastructure, specialized equipment, additional staff and an identity conversion. While the end result is markedly different from the old Morcon look, it stays true to the product in a completely new, but still representative way.

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This new identity, with an advance tagline that builds upon the business name, set the tone for sub-brands that create a family of products with a consumer bent. The entire process has influenced sales and how the product is positioned, presented, packaged and photographed.

 

 

FSO_LogocompAfter 5 years in a very challenging retail market for bricks-and-mortar sellers, Fountain Square Outfitters was ready for an update to their image. Their original mark, set in Friz Quadrata, featured a male hiker in a circle. The proprietors wanted to elevate the FSO look for use in private-label merchandise, and build on their market share as more established retailers like Eastern Mountain Sports were in decline.

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The strategy for redesign began with research. After discovering that 70% of their transactions were completed by women, we understood that the consumer wasn’t really represented in the Fountain Square branding, and revised the original male hiker with a female form. Extensions of the FSO update helped segment their marketplace and offerings by activity, and created an interchangeable family of marks that could be used at specific adventure events or help to build partnerships with other retailers like Grey Ghost Bicycles or Rocksport Climbing Gym.

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Are these revised logos better than their originals?

We certainly hope so, that’s the point after all.

Is there a debate to take place? We’ll always debate design, as long as those engaged in the debate are doing so to move things forward.

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