Dog Guard’s Evolving Brand
Respecting a legacy while redesigning a brand
For more than 35 years, Dog Guard has given dogs the freedom to roam while providing owners with peace of mind, thanks to underground and electronic “fencing” systems work that create boundaries both indoors and out. The company offers national reach with personal service, selling its products through a network of independent local dealerships throughout the country.
The Chalkbox connection with Dog Guard stretches back to 2012, when Josh Huisenga (our founder) met Dean Watkins (the son of the company’s founder). Dean took the helm a few years later, and knew he needed to update the brand identity.
Change came in small increments, as is sometimes the case when working with an existing brand identity—especially one for a family company. However, while many second- or third-generation business owners don’t want to feel as if they’re erasing the legacy of those who came before them, Dean was more concerned about how the company’s dealers would respond: He wanted to build some credibility as the new owner before making any substantial changes. And because Dog Guard dealers spend their own money on things such as vehicle wraps and signage, it was vital to avoid the kind of abrupt logo transformation that would render existing materials obsolete overnight.
First, a brand system—and slight refinements
Our work began in 2016 with a brand system (seen in the pieces above). This included very subtle changes to the logo—but more important, it addressed everything around the logo. Between 2016 and 2022, we unified the Dog Guard experience across the corporate and dealer websites, brochures, packaging, and other collateral. This meant standardizing color, type, imagery, graphic elements, and language, which had become a bit scattered over the years due to different designers (and in some cases, the individual marketing efforts of dealers).
Taking the next step
In 2022, Dog Guard was ready to continue its brand evolution—creating something that honors the company’s legacy while truly positioning it for the future.
Although our longstanding relationship and prior work with Dog Guard provided a solid foundation for this next phase, we still performed a substantial amount of category and competitor research. We found that large, established national competitors often had inconsistent branding, while newer competitors feature contemporary identities that better fit the technology of these products. And the branding of smaller competitors varies widely.
There was a clear opportunity to move Dog Guard into a brand identity that speaks to both reliability (very important in the pet space) and innovation. But the branding needed to work for three distinct audiences: First, of course, were customers. Then, potential dealers, as Dog Guard was (and is) looking to grow its dealership network. And third, the new branding needed to maintain some continuity for existing dealers.
Keeping the iconic collie
We sketched extensively, focusing primarily on the aforementioned dog head (which afforded us an opportunity to refresh the logo while keeping that continuity). We needed to make it obvious the dog was still the same breed of collie that has always been in use, even though we were moving away from the woodcut aesthetic. Close collaboration with Dean, the company owner, helped us get it just right—we discussed everything from the angle of the ears to the position of the mouth.
The evolved identity features an updated dog image that feels contemporary; it has just enough detail to identify as a collie, but not so much that it feels like the prior logo, which had an old-fashioned appearance. It is much more scalable, readable at small sizes, and iconic. The typography has been stepped forward into a typeface that is newer, more welcoming, and still substantial.
At the same time, we aligned supporting elements using simple color fills and smooth arcs so the visual focus remains on the key identity components—including the dog head and photographs of dogs enjoying freedom in their yard (all thanks to Dog Guard, naturally).
The new branding is accessible and sturdy. It feels solid, reliable, and well-made—you know the people that work for this company care about you and your pet.
"I #$@&% LOVE the new logo and branding! So, thank you!!!"
Dean is VERY pleased with the new branding, as the snippet above shows. We were thrilled to partner with Dog Guard, and look forward to watching (and helping) the company evolve and thrive in the future.
Brand transformations aren’t always fast
Your brand identity can evolve over time—not everything has to change dramatically all at once. But it does need to evolve: While Dean doesn’t regret the slower speed of his brand transition, he says, “Ideally, I’d want to address it sooner and on a shorter timeline.”
If you’ve taken the reins of your family business, or bought a business in the last year or two, we can help you make the right changes for today, while keeping an eye on what’s ahead.