Behind the design; Focus’ rebrand

By Jason Riley / Behind the design , Creative , Focus / 08th January 2019

With our fresh out of the box brand identity launched, we sat down with Creative Director Jason to talk all things Focus, including the theory behind the new logo and the bold fluorescent red.

We’re loving the new look! What was the reason behind the fresh re-brand?

Two reasons actually.

The first was the need to update the brand and align it with our personality as an agency. Our previous incarnation had started to age and was a reminder of a need for corporate solidarity in a post-recession era. The robust, monochrome and hard-edged style was no longer befitting of the agency, which has evolved into a place that puts emphasis on great creativity being powered by great people. So, we wanted a more user-friendly look, a brand colour that showed our energetic, creative approach, and a new tone of voice that emulated our character.

"a trio of companies which gives us the ability to offer a full-service marketing solution to our clients from start to finish."

The second reason was driven by a business objective to incorporate our sister agency Navigation (Navigation Property Marketing Suites in full) into the same umbrella ‘group’ brand to strengthen our position in the market. Now known as Focus Experiential, they join our start-up media agency, Focus on Media, to complete a trio of companies which gives us the ability to offer a full-service marketing solution to our clients from start to finish.

When did you decide it was time to rebrand and how long did the whole process take?

At the start of the year. It had been on the horizon since the back-end of 2017 and we planned for probably mid-2018. It was originally set to just be a rebrand for Focus (as we were), but with the business deciding to incorporate the two additional companies, not to mention last year being an extremely busy year, it took a little longer than expected, as always with internal projects because client work comes first.

What was the inspiration behind the new look?

I don’t think there was one particular design inspiration behind it all. It was just about soul-searching and understanding who we had become as an agency and then designing an identity which reflected us properly. We narrowed our thought process to 3 brand values that we felt summed us up: Creative; Dynamic; and Personable, and then used those to measure everything against. We also wanted to showcase that we’re experts in marketing communications, so simplicity and clarity were key factors in everything we created.

Let’s talk about the logo! Does it have a meaning behind it and what inspired the design?

[laughs] I could go ‘full designer’ with this answer, couldn’t I! There was actually a fair amount of theory behind how it ended up looking. Ultimately the main goal was simplicity. We wanted to create a simple, clean wordmark that easily transferred across offline and digital media and always offered strong legibility. Beyond that, we also tried to tie-in the three brand values in some way, (even if subtle) so it needed to have a sense of creativity, dynamism and a personable nature. The cascading letter sizes brought a sense of energy and flair whilst the rounded edges gave it a softness and friendly feel.

Colour inspiration?

We experimented with a few colours actually, but we just wanted to go bold and make an impact. We’d been monochrome for too long, so we wanted to choose a colour that we could really commit to and take ownership of. We actually had our own unique colour ink made in the end which is used across our printed collateral.

 

 

Did you come across any hurdles along the way?

Colour matching! The unique colour we created was a fluorescent mix, so trying to effectively match that across the digital spectrum proved a nightmare. But we have accepted that we were never going to match it consistently across everything and devised a system that uses variants of that colour to adapt to the application.

Favourite moment throughout the re-brand?

The initial creative process was fun. The team threw themselves into the “journey of discovery” to understand who we are and what we wanted to achieve. That was a great team effort! But getting the new business cards out of the box or seeing the logo installed on the front of the office building was pretty special too!

 

What’s the one piece of advice you would give companies or brands who are thinking of changing their image?

Take time to get it right! There’s no point rushing it or cutting corners to ‘get it done’, if what you put out there is not a true reflection of who you are.

Who you are as a company, what do you stand for, what are your objectives are and who you are trying to appeal too, are all questions to ask and understand the answer to. Once you know these, you can start building the brand visually and from a tone voice perspective

"understand who you are as a company, what you stand for and what your objectives are"

Have you had a positive response so far?

Absolutely. Internally it’s been received well and created a buzz, but also externally we have been complimented by many on how it looks, how well it translates and many have said “what a great colour” when they’ve seen our business cards!

I think it’s already opened up a few doors too, as we are now being perceived in the way we’ve wanted for a long time. I’m excited to see where it takes us!

Feeling inspired? If your brand is in need of an overhaul, get in touch and let us work our magic!

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Written by

Jason Riley

Creative Director Jason has been part of Focus for nearly 10 years, where he nurtures the creative talent and output for us and our clients. If he isn’t in the studio scoping out new exciting creative projects, you might find him in the trees searching for wayward golf balls or attempting to resurrect his football career on the 5-a-side pitch!