King + Cat
We were approached by a longtime corporate branding client to create a brand for a business he was starting with a friend. The company would be an excavation and land-clearing company in Asheville, NC. And the primary owner of the business would be land management expert, Ralph King. Along with his excavating equipment by Caterpillar, Ralph would work to grade and clear land, cut trails through properties, and more for residential clients. Additionally, he hoped to work with real estate brokers to help prep land for sale.
The kick off meeting with our team included a thorough review of the project, including the client’s goals for the brand, the primary demographic for the services, and the initial information regarding the client’s desires for the visual direction.
During our design direction brainstorm, each of our branding experts brings to the table concept ideas for the project. For this project, we determined that we would utilize the type to convey the Ralph’s steady strength, while bringing some approachability in through the development of an icon that would communicate the nature of his business.
Our design team presented the ideas to our Creative Director and Director of Design who provided some initial feedback to guide the design process.
Armed with the feedback and direction, our team set out to create three logo options that would be presented to the client. The design process includes the pairing of fonts, selection of complementing colors, and the custom-design of logo icons that can stand alone in application. As we work through the design process, we create several options that may not make the cut, and that’s alright. It’s all part of the creative process, and we are ruthless when determining which three logo options will best serve the client for the next 10 years or so.
For King + Cat, the first option we created implemented a color palette that included a strong, bright orange typically indicative of the construction industry. The orange is balanced with a crisp white, and woven throughout the icon and type. The icon for the first option was created from a capital letter K to indicate the name of the company. The top ‘arm’ of the K forms the bucket of a Caterpillar machine, and the bottom of the letter is firmly grounded on supports.
The type for this first option is a clean, all-caps sans serif font that brings a current look to the logo. Additionally, we paired with business name with the word, ‘excavation’ to ensure that all who encountered the logo would understand the nature of the business right away. As brand awareness spreads, the client would have the option to utilize just the icon or to drop the tagline from the logo if desired.
The second option implemented a yellow and black palette, also congruent with the industry. The icon for this option was comprised of a mountainous terrain woven together to create the symbol of a crown. This crown icon would provide a platform for conveying the ‘King’ name. Rough and more polished fonts were paired together to tell a story that was both strong and dirty, yet professional and trustworthy.
The final option was primarily typographic in nature, and the type would serve as the icon and the full logo. The lockup included a pairing of a classic serif font, with a more simple sans serif and was balanced with an ampersand and decorative markings that indicated the tracks of the Cat machine.
Upon presentation, the client selected option one for its simple boldness and clean lines. This logo would serve the business well both over images, on a white background, and as a stand alone icon.
Once the logo has been selected, our team finalizes the design by ensuring that all sizing and spacing is perfect. Additionally, our Director of Design selects exact color codes for the logo, including PMS colors, CMYK colors, RGB colors, and hex codes.
Upon finalization, our team creates a complete set of logo files to pass off to the client. These include full color, black, and white files in PDF, EPS, JPEG, and PNG. We also prepare a logo guidelines sheet to help the client keep the logo and brand intact.
As we’re finalizing the logo, we are also planning for the website project. For King + Cat, we presented the client with a simple sitemap, outlining the pages we would showcase on the website. In order to create this sitemap, it’s important for us to have a firm understanding of the goals for the website, and the journey the user must take to achieve those goals.
For King + Cat, we understood that as a one-man-band, Ralph King needed to ensure that his website could get his potential clients all the information they would need about his business. Since he would be in the field, he wouldn’t have time for lengthy sales calls. So we created a simple, straightforward site that included a homepage that told the viewer what the company does and why it matters, a services page that breaks those services down in a bit more detail, and a contact page that makes it easy to get in touch with the King.
Additionally, as we’re planning for the website, we seek to determine where the website will be hosted. Typically, our clients keep the hosting with us, as we host on the most robust platform for WordPress websites. We also handle monthly maintenance on the platform and plugins, as well as daily backups of the site in case a need for restoration arises.
For King + Cat, Ralph decided to have us host and maintain the site. One less thing for him to worry about as his time was primarily spent serving his clients.
With a finalized logo in hand, we move to implement the design on the business stationery. Stationery design for small business branding is an important part of the mix. Having a professionally designed business card, letterhead, and notecard allows a smaller business to present itself professionally. This can lead to the ability to attract better business and more of the company’s ideal customers or clients.
For King + Cat, we created cards that implemented the bold orange brand color in a manner that’s extremely eye-catching and memorable. The logo icon took a prominent place in the design and the contact information was presented in a straightforward and easy to read format.
Once the business card was approved by our client, we moved to implement the design into a custom letterhead, envelope, and notecard. The print-ready files for these pieces were provided to our client, and we coordinated print for the first order of the paper goods.
With the simple sitemap approved, our team moved into the wireframe phase of the website project. It’s here where the real magic happens. During this phase, we created a blueprint for the King + Cat website that would dictate where every element would live on the site. The wireframe is like the blueprint for a house. It shows us where things will be in relation to one another and gives us (and our clients) an opportunity to see the structure of the website before the design and development take place.
For King + Cat, just like we do for our other clients, we placed a priority on user-experience. It can be tempting to throw everything you know about your business into your website homepage. And no offense, but … who cares?! Seriously though, we took a user’s seat and thought through what a residential homeowner with lots of land would want upon encountering the King + Cat website.
With this information, we created a one liner for the header and then consistently provided information upon scroll through the homepage. Calls to action to call the king or view the services were scattered throughout to nudge the viewer to action.
One thing to note is that through this process, we saw the business change a bit. When forced to decide what should be where on the website and to prioritize the user, the structure of the services themselves were honed in on by the business owner. This process is invaluable and really makes such a big impact on the business, outside of just the website project.
Based on the final wireframe, we then worked to implement the bold brand into the website design. Our website design team created the design for key pages, utilizing fonts, colors, and textures that aligned with the brand. Additionally, imagery of Ralph himself was used in the design to convey trustworthiness and approachability.
Finally, we allocated space in the header for a drone video to instantly communicate to the viewer the exact service provided by King + Cat. This also provides an opportunity to tell the viewer about the scope of services — residential jobs handled by one man and one machine. The design of these key pages were presented to the client for approval, before making their way into development.
If the wireframes are where the magic happens, the development phase is where we do the heavy lifting. Here, we work to bring the design to life, pixel for pixel. The finished product is a website that’s provided to the client on a staging link to review before we take it live on the domain. For King + Cat, we presented a fully responsive, custom WordPress website that aligned with the brand and told the story of Ralph King and his Caterpillar machine. But more importantly, the website told potential clients what they could expect from working with Ralph and how his services would improve their lives (and land!).
As the project came to completion, we launched the approved website on the domain www.kingandcat.com and did a thorough pre and post-launch closeout on the website. This entailed reviewing every part of every page against the design, and testing each and every button, link, and form for functionality and aesthetic appeal.
To closeout the project as a whole, we provided our client with his logo files, print files for stationery, and a back up of his website for safe-keeping. Creating a brand for a small business is something we hold near and dear. We started small as well, and know just the impact that a professional perception of your business can have on allowing you to make strides in attracting your ideal clients and growing your business.
If you’re interested in working with the queens of branding, reach out to us today.