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  • Jessica Plant

Behind-the-Brand | HomeShare Alliance

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.


Introducing HomeShare Alliance, at the forefront a lifestyle-driven business who is creating a cultural shift in the real estate and housing markets, one that shines a light on the benefits of sharing rather than selling a home. They are committed to guiding householders through the process of sharing their home, which means finding not just any housemate, but the right one for their unique lifestyle.


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



ONE (1) | DISCOVERY


Since clients truly 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.


HomeShare Alliance’s, owner Tara McEwen, reached out to us to create a consistent brand that could be easily identifiable and appeal to the untapped Canadian homesharing market.


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 direct and indirect 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 to communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.


Within Tara’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of adjectives that she felt best described the brand.


She answered with the following:

  • Lifestyle

  • Financial

  • Social

  • Community

  • Housing


Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the brand strategy for HomeShare Alliance’s rebranded identity.


Next, a 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 'Living the Lifestyle' idea, centring around the people, HomeShare Alliance’s ideal clients -- the boomers, empty nesters, and young professionals. We explored the mutually beneficial lifestyle that a successful shared-living arrangement can provide. Whether Tara’s clients are looking to cast out loneliness, achieve financial security or want a reliable social network; it would all be possible with HomeShare Alliance.


Typography was a big part of the design style, to reinforce the emphasis on credibility and trustworthiness. We suggested pairing a sleek, 1970s-inspired sans-serif display typeface with a clean, light square/slab serif, to inject life, personality, and friendliness to the identity.


In this largely untapped market, we crafted tailored language like; 'Happiness shared' and buzzwords like; 'rethink', 'reignite', 'reinvest', 'refuel', 'recharge' and 'reconnect' to help educate and illustrate the personality behind the home share match-making culture.


These action words would evolve into taglines, like 'Rethink' Shared Living, ‘Reignite’ the Conversation, ‘Reinvest’ in the Future, ‘Refuel' and 'Recharge' the Mind/Spirit and ‘Reconnect’ with a Community. The vision was to use these powerful narratives, as mini-mission statements to further develop the culture of the HomeShare Alliance rebranded identity.


Colours are strong brand identifiers.

The colour palette emphasized cool tones and clean lines to convey a strong and modern aesthetic. By introducing shades of blue; specifically navy and turquoise with a slice of sunny yellow; the brand would speak volumes in a fraction of a second. Instantly, setting a mood of professionalism, with an approachable and friendly quality that inspires the target market to take action.


The navy blue instils confidence and inspires feelings of loyalty, integrity, and responsibility; all characteristics of this brand’s mission. The shades of turquoise level out the dominance of navy, by communicating compassion with aside of feminine sophistication. It shows that the brand has a calming effect and can be trusted. Yellow, as an accent was designed to inject the 'pop of bright’ as it is characteristically the colour of happiness, joy, and intellect. Yellow grabs attention and stimulates the mind, showing that HomeShare Alliance is a bold, optimistic and confident brand.


Shapes play an important role as well, they were used to tie back to the business' fundamentals. The circles represent community and unity and the variation of squares/rectangles, are a nod to security and professionalism. The inclusion of the knot symbol reinforced the idea of companionship and even friendship is possible with the systematic approach taken by HomeShare Alliance.


The proposed photography style will primarily be large, brightly lit, active lifestyle imagery that reflects the sense of community, social and economic benefits the professional service provides.


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 client's 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

  • Differentiating from the non-profit sector

  • Raising awareness that shared living can provide a great lifestyle

  • Creating a broader appeal to secure untapped markets


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 real-life application.


CONCEPT 1 - The “Rethink” Wordmark


This design was indicative of clean, straight edges and had a friendly appeal. The company name takes centre stage, rightfully so in this wordmark design. The stylized “Re” ligature with the extended “R” descender supports the letter “e,” drawing parallels to the HomeShare Alliance services of search, find, vet and support.


The “e” is highlighted to represent that a shared living arrangement can be for everyone, at any stage in life. The “Re” becomes a prevalent icon, extending into the tagline, "Rethink Shared Living" and the basis of messaging for the concept’s mini-mission statements. You can: Reignite the conversation, Reinvest in the future, Refuel the mind, Reconnect with the community and Recharge the spirit - anything is possible, with a successfully shared living arrangement.





CONCEPT 2 - The Abstract “Matchmaker” Logomark


This design was derived from the philosophy behind the saying, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Simply put, the concept showcases HomeShare Alliance’s services as a matchmaker, the systematic approach of pairing peoples lifestyles and needs for the common goal of co-living matches that work.


The "M," letterform was transformed into an abstract representation of bringing parties together; the joining of forces, the of pooling resources and the sharing of a space. The idea of connection and unity is further depicted with the extended "E" to "S." The letterforms are also linking the words, "Home" to "Share." The abstract "M" logomark extends throughout the concept to strategically represent how the sharing economy can provide a fulfilling life of happiness.





Both concepts were strong branding options. However, Tara had no hesitation choosing her preference, she was immediately drawn to Concept 1 as it gave her a feeling of inspiration for change. This is what she wanted, people to think differently with the desire to change their circumstances.


She absolutely loved the words, Reinvest, Reconnect, Refuel, Reignite, Recharge, noting the positivity and felt the narrative provided an attitude for change that the organization was looking to achieve by having people Rethink Shared Living.


FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD


No revisions were necessary. Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal or no design refinements. This can really speed projects up!


Next, was to build 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:


  • Tagline Development

  • Brand Style Guide

  • Business Cards

  • ‘For Share With Owner’ Lawn Sign

  • Presentation Slides

  • Sell Sheets

  • Photography Direction

  • Website

  • Social Media Banners

  • Instagram Grid Strategy



FIVE (5) | LAUNCH


Altogether, this process took 12-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).


For this particular collateral build, we created a Brand Style Guide; an essential piece to any marketing launch for the following reasons:


  • Establishes how the brand’s distinct look is achieved

  • Sets rules how the logo should be applied

  • Governs the individual components that visually represent the business

  • Ensures visual communications are consistent

  • Is a reference for other designers or associates for the future


Between the brand storyboard and style guide, Tara understands how to use her 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


HomeShare Alliance’s consistently styled visuals now match their professional service.


This rebrand was a home run; not only does it look the part, the visual identity, print, but social and website also enhance HomeShare Alliance’s professional image, it helps a wider audience learn about the benefits of the sharing a home, allowing Tara to continue to define the culture of the single living community.


Tara is now creating the right impression – her branding has taken HomeShare Alliance to the next level and effectively communicates the value of service they provide.


Don’t just take our words for it. See what Tara had to say:


“You have been instrumental in bringing our brand to life and creating an exciting tidal wave for the concept of homesharing.” -- TARA McEWEN, HOMESHARE ALLIANCE



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