Instilling Distilling CredibilityThe fine young men from Albany Distilling Co.—John Curtin and Matthew Jager—approached us in 2012 prior to opening. They knew how essential brand design, product design and credibility are in the craft distillery category. We’ve been known to enjoy a drink from time to time, so we jumped at the chance to provide some assistance to a local startup bent on doing great things.
If you plan to charge a premium for any product, you need to give your target customers a real reason to believe in you, your story and your products—a reason for them to feel good about their first purchase and all subsequent purchases. A great product is critical, but this is where exceptional design and brand articulation really become somewhat of a strategic asset.
We’re proud to have helped Albany’s first distillery since prohibition get a running start with a brand identity, product identities and package design for all of their spirits, website design and a host of other assets.
for Brilliant Designers
Method Design came to us through an introduction by mutual friend and esteemed artist, Michael Oatman. Michael recognized Method's need for creative marketing services and id29's ability to deliver up to their level of expectation.
Method is a design and architectural firm out of New York. Their work runs the gamut from urban art and museum installations to high-end retail spaces, to custom country dream homes. In all cases, their designs are clean, efficient, original, utterly bereft of pretension and grounded in good-taste. They are an educated, principled and astute outfit with high-end, discerning clientele.
When we began working with Method they had an impressive portfolio of projects but lacked a brand identity and communications platform that lived up the standards they had established with their work. After a couple initial meetings and some research to understand the nuances of their business, we launched into a full, soup-to-nuts brand ID project for them.
During this process we found Method to be kindred spirits when it comes to design approach. In us, Method found an agency that could present their message in a way that is forward-looking with fidelity to their brand personality.
We also found one of the most intimidating, complex and, ultimately, rewarding projects we've ever had. After all, how do you even begin to design branding for a group of massively talented, fastideous and award-winning designers?
Carefully. Painstakingly. With confidence, creativity and a dash of audacity is how.
The resulting brand ID is clean, engaging and timeless. We applied the new brand standards to all of Method's collateral pieces for use in-house and in all of their public-facing marketing.
We also applied this new brand ID to a printed brochure that we designed. This brochure is one of, if not the, finest print piece we've made to date. More than just a container for large, glossy photos of Method's work, the brochure is an embodiment of their design philosophy. Sophisticated without being complex or heavy-handed, we combined photos, copy and brand ID using multiple paper textures and sizes for a piece with a decidedly high-end, attractive look and feel.
We could go on and on about our approach to this project, but we feel the results speak for themselves and, most importantly, we gave Method a platform to let their work do the speaking. We'll be attentively following their new projects and not-so-secretly coveting their living spaces.
You Can't Spell
Adventure Team without
Adventure and Team
We've worked with Firefly Bicycles since their inception a few years ago. Their initial brand launch was a dream project for us in many ways. We got to work with like-minded people—whom we like very much—on the sort of project we like most. We started from scratch, building up their brand, visual identity, website—everything they would need to launch successfully and focus on doing what they do best: building some of the world's finest riding machines.
A few years later we can report that Firefly Bicycles is a resounding success. They've taken the handmade bicycle world by storm, have an order book a mile long and have remained true to their original principles of cleanliness, quality and classy yet edgy styling.
Earlier this year, the boys came to us again about a new project they were starting up. They'd conceived of a concept they were calling the Firefly Adventure Team, which, unlike many teams sponsored by bicycle companies, would not be a competitive racing outfit in the traditional sense. Rather, the Adventure Team would be a group of tight-knit women riders who would tackle all manner of long-distance, hard-core endurance events as a team. Sometimes these would be competitive; sometimes not, but they'd always be ridden hard, documented well and represent Firefly's culture around the country.
The Adventure Team was to have its own identity, linked philosophically to the Firefly brand we had developed a few years earlier, but distinct, with a more playful feel. From this branding process we had to design all manner of items for the team including the team clothing kit, website and other marketing collateral—everything for the team had to lend itself to the highly visual nature of the overarching Firefly Bicycles brand.
To help outfit and fund the team's efforts, Firefly brought in a series of co-sponsors who bought into the team's ethos. The real challenge of this project was to integrate these sponsors into the team presentation so they would get the appropriate level of exposure they deserved without infringing upon the clean and simple aesthetic that has defined the Firefly brand. The co-sponsors are quietly yet visibly integrated on the team livery and represented in detail on the Sponsors page of the team website.
Over the course of a few months work, we helped bring the Firefly Adventure Team brand to life, visually and verbally, so the ladies can do the riding and representing.
(Credits: Photos: Heather McGrath; Firefly Bicycles)
id29 gets reel
Pink gorillas, mountain cats, bouncy balls, burning piñatas, lucifer and a man in a bikini. Enjoy!
Simon Biswas: Director/Editor
Philip Sierzega: Animation
Jesse Flower-Ambroch: Sound Design
id29 and COBRA PUMA Golf
How did you land that account? is a question we get pretty frequently nowadays when we talk about our relationship with PUMA’s golf segment. Like most achievements, you can chalk it up to intelligence, hard work, making good decisions and being in the right place at the right time. But...if that explanation doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, here’s a slightly lengthier version.
A good friend and client of ours — Tyler Evans — at Firefly Bicycles, arranged for us and PUMA’s Chief Marketing Officer — Tony Bertone — to be in the same place at the same time. We gave Tony a bit of id29 propaganda (How to Be a Better Client and Slay the Scary Monsters), and asked him if we could meet at some point. Tony loved our work and the id29 vibe and asked us to meet him in Boston a few days later. During that meeting, Tony mentioned that he had a “project” that might interest us. He asked us to go away for a week and come back with our observations on the golf category. A week later, we were back in Beantown reviewing our findings, which, Tony found compelling enough to ask if we could be in California in the next few days. So, shortly thereafter, we found ourselves in Carlsbad, CA at the HQ of COBRA PUMA GOLF discussing how they’d like us to take on all of their design, creative and marketing activities.
So, since the middle of 2011, we’ve helped COBRA PUMA GOLF build the COBRA Golf and PUMA Golf brands, spur sales and make considerable market share leaps as their agency of record. Our work has spanned all media and applications from marketing strategy, integrated product launch campaigns, broadcast TV spots, digital and print advertising, environmental, point-of-sale and package design to product naming and mobile apps.
Stan’s Rolls with
Over the past ten years, we’ve done quite a bit of solid work in the cycling industry (DT Swiss, Merlin, Litespeed, Firefly). So, it was not a huge surprise that Stan’s NoTubes (Big Flats, NY—ironic, huh?) contacted us and signed up for a bit of id29 creative and design magic. We’re now their agency of record.
While there’ll be no “hard launch” of the new stuff we’ve created, we’ve begun to refine the remainder of the 2013 marketing communications and are working on 2014. Expect to see a bolder, more confident attitude and a more refined, consistent, visual direction across all media, events, packaging and product.
We’re proud to be their agency of record and honored to be working with such an awesome group of cycling-crazed people.
(Photo credits: Fraser Britton; AE Landis Photography; Maria Quiroga)
Lucifer, Smelly Hobos
and $10k Bikes
Firefly Bicycles lights it up in Boston
with some help from id29
What's the first thing I remember about Tyler? The earrings. I’ve always admired Tyler's spiky earrings. Hanging astride his on-again, off-again sinister facial hair, the earrings make him look like satan would if the unholy one had chosen to pursue a career as a bike messenger.
Truth is, Tyler and Satan couldn't be farther apart. Tyler Evans is one of the finest, kindest people you'll ever meet and he happens to be one of the nation’s most incredible designers and builders of handmade bicycles. Second thing I remember about Tyler is hobos and the stench of Night Train and urine. But I digress.
I had first met Tyler soon after the arrival of the new millennium at Interbike in Vegas. Being an avid cyclist, I had placed the fabled bike company for which Tyler worked very high on id29’s hit list of dream clients. Our first real opportunity to work together came in 2008 — but, despite Tyler’s admiration for id29’s work, the chance was quickly squelched by foul forces outside of Tyler’s control. So, we waited...knowing that someday, somehow, somewhere we would work together.
In late 2010, after I had just sent Tyler our new book — Slay the Scary Monsters — he gave me a shout via e-mail and said he wanted to talk. There was an intriguing secrecy and vagueness about his request. I called him on the Friday after Thanksgiving as my body had started its emergence from the tryptophan, red wine, meat and cornbread stuffing coma I had forced upon it a day earlier. As it turns out, Tyler was leaving that “fabled” bike company in Somerville, MA and was charging out on his own with Jamie Medeiros and Kevin Wolfson, two stars from the same company. He wanted to know if id29 would like to be involved. I requested a face-to-face.
A few days later, I found myself in Brookline, MA discussing details of this nascent high-end bike company with Tyler. Firefly Bicycles would be the name. Tyler’s very aware that solid brand and communication design is a huge asset in the high-end, custom bicycle category. After twenty minutes or so, I told him we were all in.
Tyler Evans :: There was never any question about the quality of our bikes — we can make the best titanium and stainless steel bike frames in the world. However, we knew that the Firefly story had to be articulated well and we needed to make sure that the quality of our brand design and marketing was commensurate with our bikes. We’ve known id29 for quite a while. We’ve always loved their work. They were delighted to be involved right from the moment Firefly was born.
Tyler, Jamie and Kevin gave us great direction but encouraged us to explore the possibilities. We know the cycling category, as we had done a bunch of work for DT Swiss, Litespeed and Merlin; and that helped us understand Firefly’s target segment and the marketplace in general. The design solution that we finally arrived at really suits their vision for the brand and provides us with a credible, flexible and dynamic visual foundation on which to build.
Next up, we had to manifest that brand design as website, apparel, environmental design, stationery, frame graphics, media kit and numerous other media.
The Firefly brand officially launched at the North American Handmade Bike Show in Austin, Texas in late February of 2011. They’re already creating a huge buzz in the handmade bicycle category — a space in which complete bikes often sell for $10,000 or more. We’re looking forward to a long partnership with Tyler, Jamie and Kevin. May the wind always be at their backs, their wheels true and their road rash free from gravel.
Message to Satan: If you’re considering switching careers from Tormentor of Souls to bike messenger or professional cyclist; or if you’re simply looking for a high-end bike that’ll get you to the closest In-N-Out Burger in style, we’ve got one helluva ride for you. That, and you need a serious brand overhaul, my friend.
(Photo credits: Tyler Evans/Firefly; video by id29)
id29 Makes Magic
It’s a bit of a Cinderella story: How did a small, boutique creative firm in Troy, NY land creation and execution of the national campaign for the final Harry Potter book? How did we — id29 — beat out a handful of some of the largest agencies in the world for the gig?
The unlikely story started in 2006 after we had sent a barrage of nicely designed id29 self promotional work (a.k.a. propaganda) to Scholastic in NYC. Turns out that our work caught the eye of their creative director, and he proceeded to pilfer said work from the mail room. Shortly thereafter he called us and said “I have no idea if I’ll ever use you guys — I have an entire creative team here — but I’d love to meet you. I really like your work and attitude.” So, we met him. We met him again... and again... and again. One day, he calls us and asks, can you guys be in NYC tomorrow — it’s about Harry Potter.
Needless to say, we made the Amtrak trip into Manhattan the next day. Scholastic invited us to “pitch” (we hate that word but this was a paid pitch) creatives and a marketing plan for the book that would soon be known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, off we went trying to figure out how we’d approach the project given that 1) we were up against multi-national agencies with endless resources and super deep pockets; 2) we could not use any photographic imagery in the campaign that resembled anything from any of the movies (wands, robes, owls, etc...); and 3) we had a week and a day to turn everything around.
We returned the following week with two directions and a media/marketing plan. They thanked us for our efforts and we promptly returned to our humble studio in Upstate NY. The next day, they gave us the job.
For seven months we worked under a cloak of supreme secrecy (you can imagine rabid fans and shady media types going through our garbage for clues to plot lines and tidbits of valuable information). We developed the entire campaign: print, digital, motion graphics, point-of-sale, environmental, promotional — and helped Scholastic execute it.
We can check the numbers, but it seems as if the book was somewhat successful. We must’ve done something right.
(Group image photo credit: Mark McCarty)
A Bold New Approach...
in small steps, for an 18th-century College
Union College (Schenectady, NY) was founded in 1795. They hired us to revitalize their brand — to create and execute a new brand identity and approach to marketing; and to do it with some speed.
But as you may know, everything doesn’t always go according to plan in the higher education category. Even the most progressive colleges and universities can be slightly... bureaucratic. Change can be difficult for any business or institution. Change is harder in higher education, and the marketing department’s mandate, and the work we were hired to do, were met with some obstacles.
So, we revised our approach while keeping the same objectives: To elevate Union’s visual brand and help them articulate a more contemporary voice in an effort to increase the efficiency and success of their marketing efforts. Instead of changing everything with the flip of a switch, from the top down, we began to integrate a fresh, new approach on a more tactical level; one by one, in a bottom up approach. Over time, and through the consistent execution of multiple, “smaller” projects, we had largely reshaped and redefined the look, feel and voice of the Union College brand.
Revolution isn’t always the answer. In this case, evolution was much more comfortable for Union, and, as it turns out, we ended up meeting the objectives that we set out to meet. It just took a bit longer.
A brand that reflects the rich heritage of brewing and hard-working values. I'll drink to that.
Garry Brown, owner of a small but seriously capable brewpub in upstate NY, came to us in early 2004. His objective: To go regional and, eventually, national with his fine ales and lagers. He knew that his existing brand and articulation of his story weren’t up to the task of competing. He knew that his products needed to reflect his values, his ideals, the quality of his products and stand out amongst the overly-crowded shelves of craft beerdom.
As usual, we embarked on a deep dive into understanding his existing brand, products and goals, the opportunities in the craft beer category, his target segments, his competition and everything necessary to make intelligent design and creative decisions. We even spent a week in London with Garry to steep ourselves in all things ale, though we didn’t enjoy it one bit.
After several weeks of creative and strategy development, we renamed his company and developed the foundational brand, identity and creative assets that Garry is now successfully using to bring his tasty goods to-market.
(Group image photo credit: Mark McCarty)
Rev the engine.
id29 has been hard at work doing our best for local, national and international clients since late 2003. Not all of those efforts fit neatly into a case study format, so we put together a simple page with a few projects we feel particularly amped about.