Kevin Spence Architect
A more personal brand for a professional milestone
Kevin Spence | Architect (KSA) provides thoughtful, tailored design solutions by working to gain a deep understanding of each client’s needs, desires, and style—along with the essence of the building site and the constraints of the project. It’s an approach that leads to lasting relationships in addition to work that stands the test of time.
As the Seattle firm neared its 20-year anniversary, the owner wanted to elevate its brand, a multi-stage process that began with the logo. KSA’s work speaks for itself, but that high quality needed to shine through in the brand identity as well.
Chalkbox was introduced to KSA by an executive coach who was working with the firm (the excellent Nora Ludviksen of The Table).
A variety of audiences—and competitors
KSA wanted its branding to appeal to three main audiences: homeowners interested in sustainable living and design; contractors and consultants; and skilled architects who might fit as potential employees of the firm. Additionally, the client wanted to incorporate a fingerprint, which was a component of his previous brand. Fortunately, this element was fitting—it can represent a personal touch, while hinting at nature and adding texture.
The work Kevin and Nora had done prior to our involvement made the discovery process very smooth. Their material, along with insights from our conversations, allowed us to establish a solid creative brief for the project. We defined the audiences, key messages, and other factors that would inform the design, including the following differentiators:
- Clients have direct access to Kevin—KSA is small and accessible.
- Much of the firm’s work comes through referrals from happy clients.
- KSA seeks to truly understand the needs of clients.
- The firm values durability and strives to design spaces that will endure life’s changes.
- KSA’s work is sustainable and eco-friendly.
When we looked at KSA’s regional and national competitors, we were a bit surprised—for an industry that incorporates design principles into much of its work, a large percentage of architectural firms simply don’t have compelling branding. Even those that do have a contemporary look typically opt for minimalist designs that sometimes feel cold and impersonal.
This presented an opportunity for KSA to stand apart as accessible and familiar in addition to its other attributes. Ideally, the firm’s new identity would give audiences a sense of what it would be like to work with (or for) KSA.
Sketching and refining
Our first sketches explored an array of abstract, architectural forms as a focal point; we thought the modularity could be a good way to tie in the ideas of a personalized approach, accessibility, and thoughtful design. We also played around quite a bit with the form of the letter “K,” which held some promise with its straight lines and sharp angles.
However, the work found its way back to the fingerprint, which just felt right. It also served the design, because visually, fingerprints are more flexible than you might expect—the pattern can appear as something completely different, such as the rings of a tree, waves in sand, the topography of a space.
As the only graphical element in our final branding, which is largely typographic, the fingerprint has prominence without being overwhelming. Its scale allows for interpretation beyond the obvious. And it is paired with a modern, angular serif typeface for Kevin’s name, as well as a sleek sans-serif counterpart for “Architect.”
Fittingly, the components are modular, which allows them to be assembled in different ways to meet the needs of each specific situation. This identity is refined, enduring, and personal—just like KSA and its work.
Is your branding built to last?
An outdated logo can send the wrong message to your clients, potential clients, and even prospective employees. Is your branding out of touch with today’s sensibilities? Chalkbox can help get your brand out of the past—by working with you to design your future.