Most startups (over 97% by actual experience) begin with a fundamental flaw.
It’s the first inclination commonly driven by the thrill and enthusiasm of entrepreneurialism and this mistaken thinking: that what the company does matters. This flaw shows up in the naming, the logo, the slogan, etc.
Fact is, people don’t care what we, as businesses, do — they care what they get out of it, whether buying something personal or for a business.
Does this item make things easier? Faster? More enjoyable? Tastier? Smaller? Bigger? etc…. (If we’ve done our job right, the thing we bought is referred to as “awesome.” If we’ve done our job poorly, it’s referred to as “a purchase.” That should tell you something.)
So when Suzy came to me with her startup business, I was thrilled (I really enjoy working with startups where the passion is there, the exuberance and more). And the first item we tackled was the name of the startup.
Logos and More
The name I was initially presented with was for her new, all-natural mobile skin care service (that provides a variety of services to repair, overhaul or maintain one’s beauty) that comes to customer’s residences, making it the ultimate in convenience and service.
The name was Skin Tech which I initially tried to work with. After trying to work with that, I realized, nobody will know what that means, or know what’s in it for them.
I shared my conclusion with Suzy, and we agreed to rename the company.
We went back and forth and Suzy had an inspiration: Skin Rehab. Brilliant! That conveyed an immediate idea of what the service would do for the customer. I then developed the slogan: Restoring what’s rightfully yours (since this is a service for women and men, it had to not alienate either gender).
One Down. More to Go.
With a name and slogan that now conveyed an instantaneous concept, the real work could begin and the criteria was quite intricate (something that’s vital to any brand or rebrand: establishing an exact criteria. Want a checklist for a rebrand? Click here. Or for an existing brand? Click here.).
The brand identity (and specifically the logo) had to do the following:
- Convey the service is 100% natural (without being cliche and stating “all natural” which means nothing anymore)
- Appeal to men and women
- Stand apart from other skin care services in terms of look, feel and language
- Be memorable while capturing some of the spunk of the brand itself
- Work for the parent company brand, Skin Rehab USA
- Also work for the various “city brands” where the services would be offered (with Austin, Texas being the first one)
The breakthrough was conceiving the design to incorporate different “backdrops” to provide the setting that would instantly communicate the city this service was being offered in.
This Demanded Every Skill I Have
In short, I had to:
- Crystallize a name that had legs going forward
- Develop a slogan that was meaningful without resorting to cliches
- Figure out how to convey “natural” without stating it
- Develop a distinct design that would appeal to any gender
- Figure out a design that could successfully be “customized” for each new city the service is offered in
So, after a week or so, I finally zeroed in on the design that felt right.
After sketching, I had a concept that would demand I draw two letters that didn’t exist, made up of nature. But first, I had to create the two letters since no alphabet had the exact right dimensions of qualities I was seeking. Here is my initial sketch (you can see part of the logo sketch on the left-hand part of the sketch):
I was getting some of the proportions I needed. I drew these original letterforms for the R and the S and refined them so I had my “areas” I had to fill.
I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, but it took sketching out the letters and what would go in them that would convey “natural”:
Then it took redrawing them (taking an additional 23 hours just for the redraw which you’ll see below) so they would work at all sizes from side-of-building applications to smaller applications.
The rest fell into place as you can see below.
The primary Skin Rehab USA version (for the parent company—the additional copy line below would be added as applicable):
The “Austin, Texas version” (which is a key music capital and home of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson, hence the backdrop we chose below):
A lighter version of the logo was developed for certain applications:
The obligatory “woman-wearing-the-design” shot:
Details of the finished logo and letters:
Thought you’d get a kick out of seeing this new brand, the lesson that it imparts and some of the behind-the-scenes photos and backstory.
If I can help you with your brand challenges, drop me a line.