Introducing & Farinella
It’s time, red dot. It’s time.
It’s not you. It’s us. We were great together for a long time. Twelve years.
Breaking up is hard to do, especially when saying goodbye to something that was with you during some fantastic times and some rough days. We’ve got to grow up, though, and move forward. “I’m always moving,” one rock and roll star said a long time ago. “I’m like a shark.”
We’re not claiming to be the carnivores of the creative communications industry. No, but we like to think that we’re looking forward at all times. Not just about what we look like, but how we work with clients, the services we offer, and our brand promise.
Twelve years ago, when the red dot F came to life, the only thing we were thinking was that it looked different and fresh. It was strong. It made a statement. And it worked for a long time.
So, why change?
We were new to branding twelve years ago and made the very rookie mistake of thinking that branding equaled the logo. Many of you might be thinking that, too. It makes sense. But, as we’ve learned, branding is as much about who we are and how we talk as it is how we look. When done right, branding is a holistic expression of a company. (We explained that when answering the “Why does a company need a brand?” question.)
Taking inventory is an excellent way to see where you are as a company and where you want to go. We started that process about six months ago, thinking about client engagements throughout the 2010s and where we wanted to go in the 2020s. We asked past and current clients what they liked and didn’t like about working with us. (We took some lumps. We heard some good things. You can read all about it in the Adios 2010s. What’s Up 2020s? post.)
Beyond asking for client feedback, we went through an exercise that we take clients through at the beginning of a project. It can be time-consuming, but it’s always informative. Here are some of the questions:
What are the challenges we’re facing?
What are we trying to accomplish?
What does success look like?
Who is our target audience?
What are their behaviors and mindsets?
What’s the main message?
What are the supporting points?
Our story pivoted when we answered that last question.
One of the things that came clear during this internal process was that our most successful engagements came when it felt like the client and the agency was on the same team. The idea of _______ (client) and Farinella started to crystalize. It was a story that we believed in and a concept that we wanted to explore.
Building messaging around that narrative was relatively easy. We had been trying to operate that way since our early days without coming right out and saying it. Evolving to a “client-first agency” and proclaiming that loudly felt natural.
How do we deliver that? Well, in many ways. We ask questions. We listen. We don’t make a recommendation before we learn about the client, the industry, and hear about goals. We don’t have a package that we’re trying to sell independently of who the client is and what they need. Finally, we work with a consortium of big thinkers and ass-kickers. Our people are driven to change how our clients’ businesses are seen and heard, and how those businesses engage with their clients.
That’s all well and good, but just how do we visualize that? Early explorations were all around plus signs. You know, Farinella+. And then damn near every entertainment company launched a “+” brand. It meant an extension of the leading brand. That’s not what we wanted to express.
It wasn’t a huge leap to go from a plus sign to an ampersand, and Dave Devencenzi did a great job coming up with a combination that worked. What was more important from a visual point of view was putting the ‘f’ in the second position. After all, if we were going to be client first, then the client should come first. Duh.
Designers like to tweak on things. You gotta let ‘em sometimes. They are not always right, but more often than not, they deliver something crazy and new. Dave customized the fonts used in our logo and wordmark, providing something clean and unique.
All in all, the new logo introduced the “client-first” concept without us saying a word.
We’ve been talking around the shop about the concept of dynamic logos, which gives a brand more flexibility in terms of color and, at times, logo marks. We loved the idea of using many colors to express the new Farinella look. Our new website, which you’re presumably reading this on, features all of our brand colors. They’re complimentary, of course, but we’re not declaring one color or combination of colors as the singular expression of our brand. Maybe not a major thing, but we love the flexibility.
Okay. Concept and execution. Done and done. While maintaining the look and read of things is essential, it’s more vital to ensure that we continue to use “client first” language in everything we put out. Let us know if we slip up!
Goodbye, red dot. Hello & Farinella.