When you need a new item of clothing, what are your options?
You might buy one off the rack at a budget retailer for less than £10, or at the other end of the spectrum, you might seek a craftsperson to specially prepare the clothing to fit your exact needs.
Which is best?
Well, a budget item would be the cheapest option, quick — the shirt could be hung in his wardrobe in a few hours – but yet it would be made from cheap materials and in most cases will not last very long. It would come in “standard” sizes; if none of those sizes fitted properly then the item might be uncomfortable or look scruffy.
What if you invested in a tailored item instead?
It would certainly be more expensive, but he’d get a bespoke piece of clothing made from high-quality material that outlasted several budget pieces combined. Most importantly: it would be exactly what you needed. The tailor would have taken the time to ask the right questions, take the necessary unique measurements, and give you a choice of materials and styles from a refined choice based on his experience.
At the end of the process, you would have a comfortable, high-quality and long-lasting piece of clothing.
What does this have to to with the Kameleon rebrand?
Since Kameleon was established in 2007, the barrier to entry for website development has been lowering. The floodgates have opened for off-the-shelf service providers — the budget retailers of the digital marketing world.
In addition to this, there is the ever pervasive ‘freelancer’. The kind of person who can get you a load of clothes off the back of a lorry for a fraction of the cost…
There is (arguably) a place for quick and cheap websites… yet they can often lead to problems in the longer-term. We often hear from prospective clients who bought an off-the-shelf website, experienced operational problems, and later decided to invest in a more tailored solution. Nobody warned them the cheaper option would end up being more expensive.
Which is why, to protect our clients, we only offer made-to-measure solutions. Like a tailor, we ask lots of questions, take measurements, and develop a digital asset which helps the organisation reach their goals.
We’ve made some changes to align the Kameleon brand with this made-to-measure approach we’ve adopted over time. So in the coming months, you may notice a change in our communications.
The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of what branding is, and a little insight into our process, to give you a little insight into our organisational values and how we developed a visual identity to reflect them.
What is a brand?
Before we dive into the details, we think it would be beneficial to define what a brand actually is? Let’s use the concept of restaurants as an example.
What determines our experience of a restaurant – if you had to put your finger on a single factor, could you?
You might instinctively say, “food”. However, consider further, it’s not just the quality of the food; we’re also affected by the attitude of the waiting staff, the ambience, the furniture, the lighting, the cost, the glassware, the length of the menu, the condition of the WCs, the ease of booking, the customers…
You see, there are many more attributes to a restaurant than just the food; all of these factors are disparate but cumulate in the overall feeling you have when you consider the restaurant.
Think of a well known fast-food restaurant.
Low cost, sweet, fast; bright lights, saturated colours, popular music; parties, businessmen; a place for people from all walks of life looking for a quick and easy solution. But you often feel hungry again soon after.
On the flip side, what comes to mind when you think about a haute cuisine? Massive plates, tiny portions, unusual flavour combinations. Probably a lot of glamour and panache – perhaps a bit of showboating?
Is there a middle ground? A gastropub perhaps? A place where you can ask the waiter to make something a little off menu?
What we are trying to convey is that even within these styles of restaurant there is variety and difference. Each restaurant has to curate the overall experience in order to deliver on the customer expectation. Branding is the method through which you attempt to convey your organisational values, to create a shorthand or symbolism for the feeling people could or would have when interacting with your organisation.
Our rebranding process
Our most successful client projects all start with research and planning before moving on to design, production and analysis.
Treating ourselves as a client, we began the rebranding process by defining our organisational ethos; through a series of exercises we established a set of values — our “organisational ethos” — and used this to guide our decision-making.
Following that we then worked on developing a visual identity that would reflect those values, creating document templates and business collateral, updating our website and signage.
The final and ongoing step(s) being our ongoing services, marketing and communications.
Made in England
Historically British invention, engineering, manufacture and craftsmanship were illustrious, in terms of computing we could easily claim this to be a singularly British invention and still reserve the right to pronounce ourselves as being at the forefront of computer sciences. Our digital heritage is something to be hailed and honoured; from Charles Babbage to Alan Turing and subsequently the development of early internet technology that lead us to Tim Berners-Lee’s world wide web and beyond.
Quick history lesson
In 1958, Chinese Communist Dictator Mao Zedong aimed to overtake Britain as a world-leading steel producer. Unskilled peasants used backyard furnaces to produce as much steel as possible, as quickly as possible.
It was a disaster.
Taking resources out of agriculture led to a massive famine which killed millions To add insult to injury, China produced only a tiny amount of shoddy steel.
This is intended to illustrate that being enabled to do something doesn’t equate to being capable; off the shelf solutions, or inexperienced developers, can lead you into problems that you cannot foresee. A real quality item like a piece of craftsman’s furniture, or a piece of tailored clothing is an asset, an item whose value will increase over time.
Made to Measure
With over 10 years of trading as Kameleon, and with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team of specialists, our whole approach is to understand our clients’ unique organisational processes and practices and, to provide made to measure solutions.
We’re keen to work with organisations of all sizes, those who understand and appreciate our values as much as we appreciate theirs and, who are excited about working together to achieve the results they need.
An organisation’s visual identity is everything you interact with visually: like typefaces, logos, signs, print materials and online documents, signs and so on.
The Kameleon Logomark
Our maker’s mark “the stamp” is a simplified, textured, minimal silhouette of a Chameleon that is inspired by the heritage of a craftsmen’s mark. A signifier of quality, it is an emblem of our approach to our work as providers of high-quality tailored, digital marketing services.
The history of maker’s marks is part of our cultural heritage. In all industries and crafts, from tailoring and ceramics, through to the heyday of steel production and more, we’ve found that the highest level of quality manufacturing comes with a symbol or emblem, an icon of their qualities, imbued with the experience of their clients when using their product or service.
Think of tailored suits, or the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge; using industry standard tools refined and handled in a unique way by our experienced and highly knowledgeable team, to offer a unique and improved end product, distinct from off-the-shelf solutions, that will keep your organisations digital system(s) secure and available, to a significantly higher level than other providers can with one-size-fits-all products.
We opted for the textured, stamp effect as a way to hint at the production methods of our heritage, to remind us that, although our digital products may feel intangible, they are always intended to have effects in the physical space – through the user.
We wanted to evoke the symbolism and refinement of skilled manufacturers and traditional craftwork that Britain is renowned for, from steelwork to tailoring, from tailoring to computing.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘typeface’, here’s a brief background…
A typeface, also known as a “font-family”, is a set of one or more fonts that share common design features. An example of a typeface is ‘Times New Roman’. Each font of a typeface has a specific weight, style, width, etc. ‘Times New Roman Bold’, ‘Times New Roman Italic’ and ‘Times New Roman Regular’ are all fonts in the ‘Times New Roman’ typeface.
When choosing typefaces for Kameleon, we didn’t want to diminish the impact of our visual identity by using the same as everybody else. But font licensing can be very expensive and there was a risk of going over-budget. So in the end, we decided to select from Adobe Fonts, which we already had access to and gave us plenty of options.
Our typefaces were selected for several reasons, though, primarily, our focus was to ensure legibility; we knew that we wanted to be both bold and clear in our communications. We were looking to combine a functional, yet alternative, Sans-Serif, with a credible and somewhat scholarly Serif.
From Adobe Fonts we chose ‘Interstate’ and ‘Freight Text’ typefaces. Both fonts help us communicate with clarity and transparency and knowledgeable authority, without seeming aggressive.
Interstate is a sans-serif font that was initially developed for road signs. And road signs are designed to convey information rapidly — making Interstate perfect for bold headings and effective communication.
Combining two sans-serif typefaces can have a negative visual impact, so we chose a serif typeface to use alongside Interstate.
Freight Text is intended to give our articles and longer-form communications some authority and gravitas.
We settled on a yellow as our primary colour for its association with spring, sunlight, joy and optimism. The specific yellow we chose feels full, fresh, and has a 100% yellow tone with a 10% dash of Magenta for warmth.
We’re also using a slate grey and an off-white colour for written communications. Both provide a stark contrast to yellow and are less harsh than pure white and pure black.
For the front page of our documents, and the back of our printed materials, we’re using a flooded yellow. We’re hoping the bold colours will help customers locate our print communications.
Finally, to keep our graphics elements harmonious, we’re using secondary colours that are tonally-related to yellow.
Yes, we’re technically a digital marketing agency…
…but print materials are important assets in the branding arsenal; physical objects that can jolt a memory or invoke a feeling.
Storm Press were very diligent in helping us achieve the end result we were looking for, and we’re proud of our partnership. British businesses working and growing together is something we wholeheartedly support.
Future & Communications
As we have said, this visual identity is only a part of our brand – the rest is somewhat more ethereal – we’re currently working on reviewing and updating our entire range of services to ensure we’re offering our customers the value they need. Going forward we’ll be working to develop resources for our clients and prospects to get up to speed on the various considerations involved in digital marketing.
Thinking of rebranding?
If you are considering rebranding and would like to discuss your project, then click here, complete the form, and we’ll be in touch.