Case Study: AutoAnything
Behind the Scenes of a Branding Project
We recently finished an extensive branding overhaul for San Diego-based AutoAnything, the U.S. leader for aftermarket Auto Accessories and #204 on the Internet Retailer list. Although we’re extremely proud of the results, we also wanted to share a bit about the process and how we helped steer our client to greater success.
When AutoAnything hired us to conduct a branding overhaul, their identity didn’t express the strength of the market leader and wasn’t connecting with core customers who respond to a more developed design aesthetic. In addition, they were experiencing a lack of consistency across channels—from website and marketing email to catalog and advertisements—each touchpoint felt different from the next and wasn’t contributing to customer loyalty.
In our discovery phase, we helped clarify our client’s objectives, pinpointing the desired results of a successful brand overhaul, which included the following:
- Create a visual language that is unique and identifiable even without the logo present.
- Communicate “Automotive” without relying on the clichés of the industry.
- Connect with core customers, moving the company position slightly upward.
- Visually reflect a warm, authoritative, authentic and spirited tone.
- Unify company touchpoints (website, email, catalog, ads, stationery)
- Document the system, so it can be used by internal & external vendors.
We began by immersing ourselves in the industry, using our outside perspective as an advantage to qualitatively and quantitatively identify trends, understand competitors and define opportunities for differentiation. We compiled our observations into a market analysis document, with insights into color palettes, fonts, logos and layouts of the competition. Understanding the competitive landscape is an essential step in creating something that will truly stand out.
With our targets in sight, we began the design phase, exploring logos, color and type. We always develop a brand identity as a whole system that works together; not just a logo. After exploring our concepts on paper in Adobe Illustrator, we quickly move to sample layout studies to be sure we are creating exactly the intended messaging.
Our philosophy is that a logo cannot be designed apart from its proper context, and must be thoroughly explored in conjunction with headlines and photography to be sure it will stand up under the rigors of daily use. This is an early study of the direction that eventually became the finalized brand identity.
At the end of each branding project, our priority is to empower our clients to use our designs to their best advantage. For AutoAnything, that meant we provided extensive documentation in an Identity Guidelines Document. We broke down the visual style into building block elements and descriptions as they perform in print and on the web. Now, when a in-house designer needs to create a new banner for the web or design a full-page advertisement in Road&Track, they have inspiration and clearly defined parameters to maintain the integrity of the brand.
Through our process we helped AutoAnything achieve a visual identity that stands out from the industry, while more accurately representing their company culture and vision.