Congratulations, Stairhaus!

Stairhaus_Anniversary_Mar2016_INSTAGRAM_1.jpg

It's been one year in business for our friends at Stairhaus Inc, and we couldn't be prouder of the boys! By all accounts, they've been super busy all year designing and installing the best stairs and railings in the area, and we'd like to think we were just a small part in their success. We designed their brand and their website back in February 2015, and they have used them well. Congratulations on your first year of business, Stairhaus — here's to many more!

You like movies? We make movies!

Well, not exactly full major motion picture films, but we've got some skills with editing, compositing, and after effects! If you have a small company video about how to build robots or maybe a campaign video to clean up your political image – we can help! We've got some good cinematography and audio hook ups too, and we can cut the final product together for you, package it up nice for all your social media outlets, and voilá – cinema verité. Or cinema faux verité – whatever dude! Check out the clip we put together for Indian Handcrafts:

Indian Handcrafts are playing a few shows this month. Here's a video to prove it.

New Brand: Simcoe Trauma Recovery Clinic

Three respected Psychotherapists have joined forces to start their own therapy centre, Simcoe Trauma Recovery Clinic (STRC). They offer people the chance to heal their past traumas, using various therapeutic techniques; the most important and effective being Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), a revolutionary therapy developed thirty years ago to help victims of emotional trauma effectively heal their brain. It's been an amazing journey learning all about how they can heal people from trauma — physical, emotional, and psychological events that have completely shaped one's life. 

In designing the logo for STRC, we focused our attention to the brain itself, since essentially, the brain is the centre of what STRC does. We created a simplified image that represents the complexities of the human brain — a group of shapes and colours that because of their arrangement, can represent different things, depending on one's perspective. To some it may look like chaos. To some it may look serene. To some, they may see two sides of the brain. To some, it may appear as a cohesive whole. Others may see an image inside the shapes — others may have difficulty seeing anything. These dynamics sum up the brain's complexity of both form and meaning. Everyone's brain is different, and everyone's experience is shaped by their own perspective. (OK that's enough of the philosophical bullroar.)

 The polygon outlines, created with a custom triangle generator program.

The polygon outlines, created with a custom triangle generator program.

 Finished colour polygons.

Finished colour polygons.

The Triangle Generator

We concluded that a rich pattern of polygons — in this case, triangles — would best represent our idea about the brain's complexity. Each line of each shape can represent a connection between synapses, which are the integral part of the brain's structure and function. To create this seemingly randomized shape, we used a triangle generator program. By inputting the colours and amount of angles, the computer created the above group of shapes. Gotta admit, there's a certain amount of randomness to the process, allowing the computer program to generate the shapes for us, while controlling a margin of variables. This makes for a truly unique shape that would be near impossible to reproduce again, while allowing us to avoid the painstaking process of actually drawing out each triangle ourselves — the hours for which our clients could not afford, nor could our patience. Modern technology is great!

 STRC.ca – hosted by Squarespace.

STRC.ca – hosted by Squarespace.

Please take a moment to visit their site, and if you are in the Simcoe County area, keep their service in mind for someone who may be in need. STRC offers many forms of therapy, and can be covered by some insurance policies. Enjoy, and be well! 



New Brand: Foxx Lounge

An old rock and roll establishment in Barrie has recently moved to a great new location downtown, and they asked us to work on a rebrand. So here is our "Handywork" – a new logo featuring hand-drawn lettering (turned into custom font called Apocalypse Whenever), and a colour palette based on the toothsome world of the hotdog. We even hired our old friend, Dan Sadaba to do a little illustration work. Good times! 

New Brand: Stairhaus

Hey there folks! Haven't made a blog post in a while, because, well, we've been busy working dammit! Earlier this year we created a brand package for our friends at Stairhaus Inc. -- a new company here in Barrie who specialize in designing and constructing stairs of all kinds. We're really excited for these young guys as they start their new business, and strive for a high quality of workmanship that is often lost on larger companies in the trades. We wish them all the best, and stay tuned for their new website (www.stairhaus.com) designed by DC and hosted on our favourite web platform, Squarespace ... coming soon!

 The idea was to keep it simple. A modern look to emulate their European influence, and a symbol that is versatile, structurally sound, and multilevelled. Just like a beautiful set of stairs. Huh? You don't know about beautifully designed stairs? Dudes, Google it.   

The idea was to keep it simple. A modern look to emulate their European influence, and a symbol that is versatile, structurally sound, and multilevelled. Just like a beautiful set of stairs. Huh? You don't know about beautifully designed stairs? Dudes, Google it.

 

    Temporary splash page. Construction pun.

 

Temporary splash page. Construction pun.

 Stairhaus product paper wrap. Can also be used as gift wrap, like if you buy your wife a new set of stairs or something.

Stairhaus product paper wrap. Can also be used as gift wrap, like if you buy your wife a new set of stairs or something.

Design Cabin Launches the Pro Bono Brand Project

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We've had the good fortune to work with some of the top companies in Canada, and it's an incredible ongoing experience for us. Some of the most rewarding work, however, is helping small start-ups get off the ground. 

At Design Cabin, we understand the difficulties of building a business from scratch. The hours are usually long, the teams are usually small, and the budgets are always tight, especially when it comes to expenses like design and branding.

 We see a lot of young companies make some common mistakes in the early days of their operation. Often they'll try and handle the branding of their organization internally to save some money, or, lacking the know-how to handle such things in-house, they hire the work out to the cheapest designer they can find. Neither solution is particularly effective in fostering the long-term success of a business. 

That being the case, we're offering an alternative to one lucky business or individual out there.

Design Cabin is asking for submissions for the first ever Pro Bono Brand Project. We're looking for deserving entrepreneurs and small businesses in need of a brand or a rebrand, and if selected, we'll design it for you!

The package will include:

  • Logo Design
  • Business Card Design
  • Stationary Design (Letterhead and Envelope)
  • One piece of promotional material (Postcard or Flyer) to help spread the word about your business
  • Consultation on how to implement your new brand across other platforms (website, vehicle wraps, etc.)

Individuals and businesses can nominate themselves, or you can nominate a business or individual you know. 

Here's the criteria:

  • MUST be a small business. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, 10 people or less. That kind of thing...
  • Start-ups will be given priority, but established businesses will be considered if they express need and fit the other criteria
  • The individual/business has to be doing (or trying to do) some good in the world. Non-profits, youth programs, arts organizations, we're looking for you! (Although the project is open to the profit sector as well, as long as you're doing something good!)

So that's about it! Neat, right?

The nomination form is below, and even if you don't have a submission, please share the project across your various social media outlets so as many businesses as possible get a chance to submit.

Thanks for your co-operation! 

-The DC Team

Your Name *
Your Name
Enter a brief summary of the Nominee, who they are, what they do, how to contact them, any other relevant information, website url, etc.


Brands Within Brands: The Art of Sub-Branding and Designing for Independent Contractors

For Independent Contractors working under the umbrella of a larger organization, finding the right balance between standing out and adhering to established guidelines can be tricky.

You see them all the time; Real Estate Agents, Financial Planners, Franchise Owners, and the list goes on. These Independent Contractors get the best of both worlds; ownership of their own business without having to sacrifice the benefits of working under a larger organization.

These benefits often include access to resources like corporate stationary and templates for common documents. The trade-off is that these resources usually look like templates, and typically consist of basic white backgrounds with common fonts like Arial or Helvetica, and not much else. 

It's certainly convenient to have these materials ready-made, thus not having to incur the expense yourself. But how do you stand out in a crowd if your collateral looks identical to everyone else's in your company, or even everyone else's in your industry?

 An example of a template-based business card design. Clean and simple, but will it stand out to your potential clients?

An example of a template-based business card design. Clean and simple, but will it stand out to your potential clients?

You might be surprised to learn that you're not always restricted to the materials your parent company provides. In fact, many companies are quite flexible in allowing their Independent Contractors to deviate from their established templates, and sometimes even allow them to create their own "sub-brands".

We've been fortunate enough to work with Sutton Solutions Group to help them craft their own unique brand identity while operating as licensed Sutton Representatives. The process involved working alongside Solutions Group and their parent company, Sutton Group, to develop a visual identity that utilized some existing brand assets while distinguishing them as a unique business entity.

The ongoing project has included everything from the initial custom logo designs for their Residential and I.C.I. divisions, business cards for their agents, presentation folders, feature sheets, infographics, door hangers, postcards, and more.

The result is a strong brand identity that communicates effectively and consistently across all materials, while also maintaining a visual connection to the parent company. Most importantly, Sutton Solutions Group have achieved a strong and unique presence in their market space, which was the goal from the start.

If you're an Independent Contractor, don't be afraid to deviate from the templates. It can make a real impact on the success of your business, and after all, it is YOUR business.