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  • Jessica Plant

Behind-the-Brand | Frontier Landscapes

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

One of the things we love most about designing a new or rebranded identity is the power it has to help our clients reach their full potential. Strategic branding is transformative and empowering.


We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do.


Enter Frontier Landscapes a small, yet mighty family owned and operated design + build landscaping firm with an unparalleled foundation of integrity, value, and service. With over 20 years of experience when it comes to building outdoor spaces there is not too much these guys haven’t seen or done. They develop practical outdoor living environments with pride and every space gets their well-crafted stamp of approval.


We were delighted with the results of Frontier Landscapes’ rebrand. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the identity was curated.



ONE (1) | DISCOVERY


Since clients really know their business best, they have a valuable role to play in the design process. The initial step includes the completion of a discovery consultation questionnaire, so we can get to know the business inside and out, before beginning any strategy and design development.


Frontier Landscapes, owner Joe Bontekoe, reached out to us with the feeling that his dated company image and a clunky website was holding him back from securing his ideal clients - the young professionals and empty nesters. Compounded with Joe’s son due to enter the family business soon, it was the perfect time for a rebrand, to make the identity successful for the next generation.


TWO (2) | STRATEGY


Our branding approach is built by combining strategy + creativity. We listen first and then learn what makes our clients idiomatic, diving deeply into their industry, studying the challenges and nuances of how companies in their sector grow. We learn about their competition, research what makes them ambitious and how we can build a strategy that stands out above them. In the end, we use all this information to curate and carefully blend together our client's strengths and what makes their business unique.


Next, we create a written brand strategy to define how we communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.


Within Joe’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of adjectives that best describes his brand. He answered with the following:


  • Integrity

  • Value

  • Service

  • Practical

  • Craftsmanship


Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the brand strategy for Frontier Landscapes rebranded identity.


So, what makes them stand out? Simply, Well-Crafted Landscapes.


Next, the mood board and colour palette (shown below) was curated to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the proposed brand identity and very importantly, ensures our thoughts are parallel with our clients. We must be in agreement on visual direction before proceeding to the concept stage.



The strategy focused on the ‘Well-Crafted’ tradition of the business, with an eclectic blend of influences derived from solid craftsmanship, art history, colour theory, and architecture.


We recommended the style be of heritage with modern appeal, capitalizing on the interests and style of their ideal customer. Being small and focused, there is a level of authority and confidence that came with Joe’s experience. It was important to highlight the 'family-owned' and 'years in business' aspects as both were to be distinctive parts of the rebranded identity.


Colours are strong brand identifiers. The nature-inspired palette was cultivated from the company’s primary landscaping materials of stone, wood, and the element of water.

We chose to refine the deep brown (from the existing logo) to copper brown, as it evokes the feeling of energy and vitality while maintaining a friendly appeal. The hue connects back to the business objectives by being warm, earthy, energetic and confident.


We softened the goldenrod to medium tan, as it relates to quality, being hard-working, industrious, and reliable. Tan has a manly, rugged appeal, it's also wholesome, woodsy and a true outdoor colour. It is described as genuine, dependable, and honest -- adjectives the brand ethos was built upon.


We also planned on introducing modern cool tones like shades of blue and grey. This would harmoniously balance the warmer tones and inject a pop of colour that Joe indicated wanting to have. Blue is the colour of trust and is thought to induce calm and convey serenity and peace. As blue is widely liked by men and women, the palette would appeal to the fairer sex, subconsciously and without the complication more feminine tones. This was a major bonus for Joe, as females tend to be the first point of contact.


The shades of blue, instil confidence and inspire feelings of loyalty, integrity, and responsibility; all characteristics of this brand’s mission. The grey would act as their foundation colour, a nod to slate and stone. It’s perceived as sleek, mature, authoritative and acts as a modern neutral to round out the colour story.


The patterns pay homage to craftsmanship and geometrics, particularly the Art Deco stained glass motif of Joe’s favourite architect, the famed Frank Lloyd Wright. The use of shapes tie back to the business' fundamentals with the circle representing community and unity, the squares, a nod to balance and professionalism, and triangles resonate with masculinity, power, and stability.


THREE (3) | CONCEPTS


After defining the visual brand direction, it was time to begin developing the logo concepts – our favourite part of the process! Our strengths lie in creating brand identities that translate our clients' vision and bring their message to life in a visual way.


The greatest challenge of creating a logo is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.


We had several considerations in mind during this stage, including:


  • Keeping the design versatile and functional

  • Showing Joe’s honesty / integrity-driven approach

  • Giving a rugged manly like look, yet still appealing to women

  • Strengthening the brand image, so Joe would not lose out to his competition


As always we start by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas. From there the ideas with the most potential are refined.


Since design is subjective, we provide clients with a choice, by presenting two (2) completely different concepts that we confidently believe answer the directive.


However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system. It will add depth and personality to the brand, giving our clients the confidence to implement and grow.


As part of the concept presentation, we also deliver a brand storyboard that includes other design elements – secondary logo, submark, colour palette, typography, patterns and social signatures. In addition, digital in use renderings are developed to showcase how each logo concept could appear in a real-life situation.


CONCEPT 1 - The Craftsman Monogram


This design was indicative of clean, straight edges and solid craftsmanship. Rightly so, the monogram is the focal point of the concept; the "F" crafted from stone (pavers) and the "L" carved from wood, it's all about precision, balance, and professionalism. The nods to heritage are seen in the brand elements' use of weathered arrows, touches of serif typography, and texture. The feelings of quality, reliability, and honesty transcend the confident, wholesome and rugged colour scheme. We thought Frontier Landscapes was on solid ground with this concept.



CONCEPT 2 - The Landscape Emblem


This design was inspired by the company’s (at the time) current logo but added a well-crafted twist. The materials of stone, wood, and element of water recreate the rugged frontier landscape. Ironically, the addition of the new tree rings icon is a symbolic representation of the company's growth and legacy. The colour palette played a pivotal role, reconnecting the identity with their ideal customer. The shades of blue; instil confidence and trust; inspiring feelings of loyalty, integrity, and responsibility; all characteristics of the brand. The blue is balanced with warm rugged tones of copper and tan that evoke the feeling of energy and vitality while maintaining a friendly appeal. We felt Joe would be ready to take on the next leg of his entrepreneur journey with this concept.



Both concepts were meaningful branding options. However, Joe really was taken by the strategy of the strong and powerful presence of the FL monogram; making the first option the stand-out choice. Often the simplest ideas are the ones that work the best.


FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD


The only revision the chosen concept required was the addition of a ‘Well Crafted’ stamp of approval that incorporated Joe’s signature and a frontier rock graphic tying the past logo to the present identity (see below). Due to the considered design approach, we usually have minimal or no design refinements.


Next, we built out the print, digital and social collateral. To put it simply, that is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the new brand identity.


For this rebrand we created the following:




FIVE (5) | LAUNCH


Altogether, this process took 8-weeks. The client launch package always includes a plethora of logo files for both print and web use; including all the brand elements, patterns and typography (font files).

Thanks to the brand storyboard, Joe understands how to use his new brand identity going forward. We also provide a step-by-step web tutorial to enable clients to make simple updates whenever needed.


For all our brand identity clients, we offer an ongoing design service to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.



THE TAKEAWAY


Joe’s consistently styled visuals now match the well-crafted quality of his skilled work.


This rebrand was a rock-solid success; not only does it look the part, but the visual identity and website also enhance Frontier Landscapes professional image, help a wider audience see Joe’s work and clearly demonstrates his expertise.


Joe is now creating the right impression – his branding has taken him to the next level and effectively communicates the value of what he does.


Don’t just take our word for it. See what Joe had to say:


“Thank you for all your creativity and expertise. Great job listening to us, learning about who we are and designing our new look.” -- JOE BONTEKOE, FRONTIER LANDSCAPES



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