08/05/2015

How To Rebrand A Company and Make It Look Huge: The Story of Upscape

By James

When we met “Santiago Adventures,” it was hard to picture the incredible trips that they curated for their clients. You would never know that they create custom, luxury trips to South America. Trips that make you feel like you’re on a journey with an old friend, rather than the fanny pack and wide shorts of typical tour agencies.

It was a journey to get this point:

 

So let me show you how we got there.

Branding is easily one of our favorite things that we do at Figmints. If you haven’t seen the Holliston sand case study by now, what have you been doing with your life? Go watch the video. I’ll wait. It’s another great example of how to rebrand a company.

A rebrand is such a special time in a company’s journey. They’ve gotten by with whatever my-nephew-owns-photoshop-too-logo that was slapped together for them 15 years ago, and now it’s time to look grown up. It’s time to show the world that the product/service that you’ve been working on for years is viable, and it’s ready for some attention. We’re here to make that story as impactful and as beautiful as that entrepreneur sees it. This is Brian’s story.

Brian, like many entrepreneurs, found us through Craigslist of all places. He had an amazing story to tell as the founder of a luxury travel company that will tailor custom excursions to South America including: biking, skiing, hiking, eating, loving, living. Check out their instagram – it’s ridiculously beautiful.

This is what Brian and “Santiago Adventures” looked like before they met us:

Not terrible. But, not luxury. It looked like the t-shirt company that was going to create your matching family reunion garb before your group bus tour. If you’re wondering how to rebrand a company, the first thing to consider is the name.

Related: How to Create a Great Brand Positioning Strategy 

Naming is such an interesting challenge we run into as a creative agency. We never push a company to update their name, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s a delicate thing to handle – would you want to rename your baby? For “Santiago Adventures,” it was the right time. They don’t just curate travel experiences to Santiago Chile, but the entire continent. Someday, the world.

After many rounds of names, we landed on something that we all knew was special. A simple and unique name that rolls off the tongue, is easy to spell, and carries weight about the exact offering of the company – “Elevated Escapes.” Escape the mundane. See the upscale landscapes, and the beautiful terrains of faraway lands. It fit so well – we pressed ahead.

With a name as powerful as “Upscape,” we wanted to keep the mark/logo simple. In fact, if we can pair a great typeface to a brand, it can carry a lot of weight in telling the visual story. This beautiful, light-weight typeface has such strength and finesse. Sharp terminals and feet create a firm presence while whimsical and curved bowls, shoulders and joints keep the type fresh, youthful and spirited. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Check out Typepdia for the anatomy of a typeface.

upscape-before-after-1

I know that a beautiful wordmark can carry a great brand. From Tiffany & Co, to Bvlgari – wordmarks are logos that use type instead of traditional iconized marks to denote the brand. A traditional mark is helpful for social media, textiles, and other small format execution.

A logo is far from the only ingredient in a great brand. There are dozens of steps and deliverables that stem from a branding study. Tone, persona, colors, sounds, shapes, graphic elements, and more. The logo gets the most attention, by far. It’s the belle of ball. If there’s no mark/icon associated, it always feels a little empty.

upscape-carat-callout

With Upscape, we solved this dilemma by extracting the mark from the typeset itself. The subtle apex of the ‘A’ created a navigational element of a compass. Up. North. Travel. Using the thin lines of the type we created a compass shape in a simple circle. This represents luxury and perfection. The slight shift in the shape denotes movement and flight. The base of the “A” represents the hillsides of the Andes, and the beautiful Terrain of South America.

The outcome is one of our favorite logos ever to come out of the studio.

upscape-bus-card

The website posed a unique challenge. We wanted to showcase amazing experiences by browsing location and also by the particular experience that you are looking to have. Luckily the Upscape team has collected some truly incredible photography over the years. We used every opportunity to show off those adventures on the website.

The final website is a stunning experience that encourages you to continue to dig in. Until you fall in love with the South American trip that you never knew you were dying to get to.

– James is Founder and Executive UI/UX Chef at Figmints Digital Creative Marketing.