BWBR Speaker Recap

BWBR is an architectural and Interior Design firm in St. Paul, Minnesota. Stout alumni Don Thomas and Rachel Slette talked with us about what re-branding their company meant and how it touched in more ares than just a new logo.

They began the re-branding process by wanting a new website. One useful tool they employed was “Appreciative Inquiries”. This is where they talked to a bunch of different people (clients, etc) and got their input about what BWBR as a company was doing right. This helped them highlight those things as they re-branded their company.

First, they had to find a firm to hire to help make the changes and design the new brand. The chosen firm did research and had to be brought up to speed on who exactly BWBR was and what they stood for. They compared the current logo to other logos in the market and other similar-looking logos. They then presented six new logos (all in black and white as to not allow for bias). Don and Rachel suggested to us as designers to make sure we explained to our client how to properly use the new branding materials (which version of the logo to use in what instances etc). This is one area where they are continually running into issues with their new brand.

They implement their new brand in all of their PowerPoint presentations, PDF presentations, large boards, soft wall panels, master plans, all administrative documents. This allows for unifying elements that all speak the same language and say “BWBR” to whoever views them.

They stated that a brand needs to be flexible enough that it is easy to apply to various applications, but solid enough to always speak the same language.

One thing that Don said that stood out to me was, “You have to think differently, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to offer anything new to your clients”.

Rachel also had some good advice for us as we enter the crazy world of design. You have to be team oriented: you have to be a great communicator, work on teams, work under stress, embrace someone else’s idea and move it forward, be a good listener, manage expectations. You need a diverse range of skills sets and be comfortable adapting as you go: learning new programs and touching in different areas which you may not be familiar with. You need to learn to present your work effectively. You need to have clear communication with clients and co-workers. A lot of frustration stems from unclear communication. Ask others, “does this make sense?”. Make clear requests and set clear expectations for yourself and others–it’s not mean or rude; it makes things easier.

We’re so thankful to Don and Rachel for coming to speak with us! They offered some great advice and insight.

Posted March 5th, 2012 by Krista | AIGA, Speaker

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