Practicing what we preach—after 15 years, a new Chalkbox identity
Many of our clients come to us because their business has reached a milestone: Sometimes it’s a new location or a key achievement, but what often sparks the desire for updated branding is an anniversary. The client wants a brand identity that aligns with where the company is today (and where it’s going), but the one they have reflects the past.
We found ourselves in that very situation when Chalkbox Creative was approaching its 15th anniversary. The logo and branding hadn’t changed since our launch, and we figured it was about time we followed our own advice.
Does it really need to be ‘fixed’?
Our owner, Josh, was attached to the Chalkbox brand identity he created, but he wasn’t being unreasonable; it was still serviceable, and he didn’t want to rebrand just for the sake of rebranding. Any new identity for Chalkbox needed to be a true step forward, an evolution that made sense. It had to speak to our best clients, satisfy Josh’s design sensibilities, and ideally, be strong enough to hold up for another 15 years.
We started with the usual questions and discovery—a process that Josh found informative but a bit uncomfortable, because we’re usually the ones behind the scenes. As the work continued, we also identified potential new audiences, considered refinements to our messaging, and performed extensive research into competitors both in Seattle and beyond.
Good, but not elevated
The existing Chalkbox brand was holding its own, which is a testament to the staying power of quality design (if we do say so ourselves). However, several competitors had identities that framed their work and brand in a completely different way, lifting them into another tier. They focused on the work first. They highlighted their open, collaborative processes. And the digital presence of these firms was slick, modern, relevant.
We noted what we thought was interesting and effective, and got to sketching—holding onto the “good work for good people” ethos that has defined Chalkbox for many years. We are discerning in who we work for, and we wanted our identity to reflect that same level of consideration.
A look to the future, with a nod to the past.
The branding that resonated most with us, and with others we queried, is an isometric mark that combines two interlocking “C”s (for “Chalkbox Creative”). We like that it’s not immediately obvious, and we love that it forms an object that can be seen as a futuristic arrow pointing forward. Yet it also has a “constructed” look, something that feels tangible and real. It encourages closer investigation.
We feel it’s an excellent representation for Chalkbox as we move forward. It’s not too much, it’s not too little. It’s made with craft and precision. It’s exactly who we are today, while offering flexibility as we grow into tomorrow.
That’s the feeling we strive to provide for our clients as well, which is why we have paired our new brand identity with new messaging—most prominently, the “Let’s design your future” tagline. The people and organizations we work with are growing, thriving, reaching their goals, and then pushing ahead. Our mission is to help them maintain that trajectory.
What we learned
Rebranding Chalkbox was invaluable for the view it gave us into our process from the client side of things. We saw how emotionally attached someone can be to an existing brand, a bond that can be hard to fully grasp unless it’s your brand, as Josh discovered. We learned that even without that attachment, branding for yourself is hard. How hard? Our 15th anniversary was in January 2019, and we launched the new brand in 2020. That’s in part because it kept getting pushed back so we could serve our clients, but still.
Ultimately, however, the most important thing we learned is how much trust is needed to allow someone to take your brand into their hands. We’ve always been grateful for the trust clients place in us; now, having gone through the process ourselves, we find it truly remarkable.
Is it time for something new?
Whether you’ve been in business for one year or 20, the right branding can help you reach that next milestone. We’d love to help design your future. Feel free to get in touch anytime.