WORK is both a place and an activity, a process and a product. The same can be said of DESIGN.
For more than several decades the focus of our WORK has been identification and branding. This is the strategic and cultural activity that connects needs with wants, ideas with actions, clients with customers and products with people.
We are committed to the hands-on development of research and its evaluation, strategy and positioning, language and imagery as well as the application and assessment of branding initiatives. We have helped our clients connect their products and services with their audiences in ways that are memorable and meaningful.
This website is new and far from complete, but rather than wait to publish, we have chosen to be a WORK in progress. Over the next few weeks, maybe months we will be expanding and affirming the positioning of what we do, how we do it and who we serve.
Click on ABOUT and TOOLS for more on our process and products.
Joseph Michael Essex, Managing Partner
The next generation of integrated healthcare services was personified by Northwestern Medicine’s continuous growth over decades. A makeover was needed to reflect that growth without wasting the brand equity earned over those same decades.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Connecting each of the organization’s service areas to one another, using hierarchical language and imagery, would help its diverse audiences understand and more fully appreciate how Northwestern was prepared to help.
Special Notes: The Northwestern Times, typeface was produced, with a taller “x” height , to increase the legibility of the signage system.
Formerly a boy scout campground, Camp Madron, was converted into a second home community located 90 miles from Chicago. Centered on a 60 acre spring fed lake, in Michigan, the common areas include a lodge, beach area and fruit tree orchards. The architecture was inspired by Shaker simplicity and discipline.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We worked closely with the architects to identify, position and visually capture the philosophy and cultural elements expressed through the design of Shaker homes, barns and community buildings. The textural qualities of the imagery manifested in the trademark and the communication materials, connects directly with the spirit of the architecture.
Alison & Ivy are personalized jewelry designers as unique as their clients. Their custom and monogrammed jewelry is design driven by Chicago-based artisans in local workshops that are executed to perfection, using the finest metals and cutting edge technology.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The A&I trademark, logotype and packaging system were designed to reflect the understated nature of sterling silver. The rings, bracelets and earrings were designed for those women, who reflect and embrace elegance with their every choice.
The 27 Chicago Designer was a creative collective that regularly produced a publication designed to present their individual talents and abilities to potential clients from 1936 through 1991. While there were never more than 27 members at one time, over the group’s 55 years 125 designers, a virtual who’s who of Chicago’s design history, were members.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We created the cover icon, designed and produced the group’s commemorative publication and significantly contributed to the editorial content, along with 27 member and archivist Jack Weiss and design historian Lara Allison.
1800 CLYBOURN is a real estate development that transformed several heavy timber and concrete manufacturing buildings into an upscale, destination, retail center with 140,000 rentable square feet and 150 parking spaces. The developer, Horwitz & Co, produced a facility for restaurants, shopping, entertainment and a neighborhood daycare center.
P O S I T I O N I N G : In collaboration with the architects and the developer, Essex Two positioned and branded the facility, as well as designing and producing almost every aspect from the signing and signage to the ongoing sales and marketing communication.
Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios are celebrity brands. With this kind of brand, names, faces and intersecting memories evoke the strongest of connections. Oprah Winfrey’s brand carries with it so much positive recognition that even the name of her magazine only required
a single letter title.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The trademarks, marketing materials, building signage and the consistent application of the identification package initially built a simple brand platform.
This positioning articulated a critical relationship between the artist and her audiences. At the same the branding elements were prepared to serve as a creative catalyst for the broadest possible extensions of the overall brand and it’s futures projects.
The Bell+Howell Company, founded in 1907, to produce 35mm film projectors. It has produced any number of cameras, projectors and material handling equipment. In it’s second generation B+H, through acquisition and merger, has become the largest publisher of digital content for academic, automotive, library and research services.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Essex Two first helped affirm Bell+Howell’s historical brand transition into it’s next generation and then into it’s future as it became the a content publisher ProQuest.
Born Learning, originally, was an early learning initiative for children, developed for the City of Chicago. It was a public engagement campaign helping parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. It has now become a significant extension of the United Way.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Essex Two created, developed and produced every aspect of the initiative from the naming and nomenclature through the visual identification and iconic imagery to the educational and training materials as well as the planning and marketing devices for the Chicago program and the United Way’s adoption of the program.
Bowmanville is a relatively young band with relatively old roots. Its music embraces the sensibilities born of the Hot Club Gypsy Jazz from 1930s in Paris mingled with the global influences of Chicago. The group draws inspiration from this melange to intrigue, engage and educate today’s audiences.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We designed the band’s trademark to mirror their music, reminiscent of another time yet stylish enough in its appearance and application to be appreciated by a contemporary audience.
Ariel Capital concentrates its invests in small and medium-sized companies whose share prices are undervalued. Ariel lives by the old adage that slow and steady wins the race. This focused and patient strategy has enabled them to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and clients who share their values.
P O S I T I O N I N G : By redrawing its original trademark in the style once used for photography in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel was visually positioned along side serious players in the investing world. With the addition of similar logotypes, for the names of both Ariel Capital Management and The Ariel Fund, the repositioning was completed.
Ben A. Borenstein & Co, like every industry, has people in it who do what they do better than others. Sometimes the best companies are the largest ones in that industry, but most of the time the best ones tend to be smaller. BABCO is smaller than some and larger than most, but better in almost every category open to general contractors.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The goal was to create a trademark that reflected the character of a small entrepreneurial business with the sophistication, confidence and competency of a much large organization.
Camp Buffalo is a community of 19 unique homes designed to be more than just cottages. They remind potential owners of simpler, less complicated times when there was more time for ourselves. The objective was to create an image and the appropriate communication material that would develop an immediate connection with several audiences by stimulating a vestigial memory.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We redesigned a scouting merit badge circa 1940s with a “buffalo” reflecting the New Buffalo, Michigan location of the project. Additionally we created unique logotype configurations for each of the different cottages, contributing to the unique and personal style of the overall project.
Chicago Children’s Choir is the nation’s preeminent youth choral organization, serving over 5,000 students across the city of Chicago. Founded in Hyde Park in direct response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1956, CCC has grown from one choir into a vast network of in-school and after-school programs driven by one mission: “To inspire and change lives through music”.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The iconic image of a small voice singing is at the heart and culture of the Chicago Children’s Choir. Collectively and individually, children see themselves contributing to the power and impact of music.
Chicago Times Magazine was designed to appeal to those who wanted more depth and the implied understanding that comes from well-sourced and well-written local news stories. The published insisted on a 75/25 balance of text to imagery. Editors wanted strong images and stronger stories. Advertising wanted to aggressively compete with the only other local, 4 color process publication, for ads dollars, with slightly lower pricing.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The cover, the front of the book and back of the book had to work independently and collectively. Headlines, subheads, decks and opening paragraphs had to work hard as the images to attract and hold the reader.
At Children’s Memorial Hospital, unlike with adult patients, children can not always speak for themselves. Some may need their parents and healthcare professionals to identify, treat and help them recover from illness. This wellness triangle forms the philosophical foundation, for the treatment of children, at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
P OS I T I O N I N G : The trademark symbolically reflects a first gift, from a child to a parent. This image acknowledges a connection of interdependence that will last a lifetime.
The interviewing process used to develop the “Brand Positioning Document” for Children’s has helped unite its many diverse audiences around their shared goals and values. In Chicago, the name Children’s can only mean one place. There is no need to say more.
Special Note: The reaching hand, in the trademark, is soft focused yet anatomically correct. It was paramount that the image reflect the importance of the critical and interdependent relationship between the patient, the medical professionals and the parents.
CIVITAS, which means “community” in Latin, began as a nonprofit dedicated to establishing fellowships for law students and social work graduate students to study children’s rights and issues within the legal system. The organization evolved into a communication group, developing early educational materials about child development and distributing those tools on a mass scale for parents and caregivers. Tools for Shaping Children’s Live became it’s mantra.
Special Note: After 10+ years CIVITAS moved into more partnerships with organizations like the City of Chicago, Allstate and the United Way. As partners, CIVITAS’s identity needed to be adjusted to better balance with the trademarks of collaborating organizations. The “the blue tab” was designed to be infinitely adaptable across all print and broadcast media.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Essex Two has designed and produced everything for CIVITAS from it’s positioning language and tag lines, to it’s initial and now current branding elements, to promotional and educational publications, to advertising and marketing materials as well as it’s broadcast devices for almost 25 years.
The goal of My Home EQ is to encourage and support individuals to optimize the efficient use of energy in their homes—improving comfort, saving money and increasing value.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The naming of this Internet service was derived from the familiar monogram “IQ” or intelligence quotient. My Home EQ refers to Energy Quotient or how an individual home owner, in the state of Illinois, can determine how efficiently their home uses energy.
College of Lake County opened in the mid 60’s with 2,600 students. Over the past 50+ years the college has served almost half a million students on 3 campuses with 32 degree programs. This makes the College of Lake County the largest center for higher learning in the state of Illinois. In addition their Summer programs provide classes that are transferable to over 600 colleges and universities.
P O S I T I O N I N G : By positioning the “L and C” monogram between the words “College and Lake” the trademark configuration focuses attention on Lake County as the most significant institution of higher learning in the county.
First Health, previously Health Care Compare, was this country’s most comprehensive healthcare provider for employers with operations nationwide i.e. hotel chains, consumer retailers, food service operations etc. The old focus was about price alone. The refocused company identified a niche between price and service that while small was very deep and profitable.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Visualizing the concept “putting health first” by providing balanced services to all of a client’s employees throughout the country was the objective. Using familiar images in new ways was the task. By blending the hearts of the patients and caring professionals reflected the service, the attitude and the promise of First Health. Additionally, by using the applied trademark and nomenclature to the names of new products and additional services, the identity has been supported and extended.
Crafted with Pride in America’s objective was to stimulate comparisons between products made in a the USA and those manufactured any place else. In the early 80s new legislation required all foreign-made textile products to be clearly labeled with their country of origin. A coalition of American apparel manufacturers saw an opportunity to present their products for direct comparison with their foreign-made counterparts. Their feeling was that in the case of a perceived tie for quality and price between two items, “American Made” would get the benefit of the doubt from consumers who wanted to buy American made products.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The trademark and standards manual was designed with very few limitations on how the trademark could be applied. However, to encourage consistent application of the trademark for the more than 35,000 manufacturers, the image came in only two forms - circled and flush left. With so many different and diverse organizations wanting to identify themselves with the United States was inevitable that the consistent application of the trademark would be challenging.
Baby Basics is a marketing initiative to package and promote a series of nutritional products produced by Mead Johnson & Company for those with low to middle incomes as they become parents for the first time.
P O S I T I O N I N G: This image identifies a group of products in a sampling package. The individual products retain their current identities. Products are collected and packaged in several sizes and combinations and distributed individually through healthcare facilities and communities based organizations.
John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart band is the most perfect example of honky tonk music. At the intersection of John Prine, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson everyone is run-over by Crazy Heart. Their music is performed by truly gifted musicians that were reborn with their music in the 60’s and slathered with BBQ. The band provides both memories and messages to those that need both.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The need was to design a word-mark that was of its time and yet almost timeless. The “original” typeface was like a new pair of blue jeans, rolled up wet, tied to the front bumper of a Peterbilt and driven across the interstate until dry.
erwin, an american cafe and bar, is Chef Erwin Drechsler’s culinary achievement. Drechsler was somewhat of a local pioneer in the modern American bistro movement. From its very beginning in 1994, the restaurant became a supporter of local farmers growing native Midwestern ingredients. Many of those that learned from Erwin have gone on to earn their own international reputations.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The branding of erwin was self evident. We borrowed from the Hippocratic oath “first do no harm”. The trademark and branding elements were presented simply and clearly to express character with as little artifice as possible. Special Note: Tom Melvin’s illustrated frieze that covered the entire circumference of the restaurant, presented a view of the surrounding neighbor as if the restaurant were open to the community.
The Arlington International Festival of Racing consists of three annual stakes races; the Arlington Million, the Beverly D. Stakes and the Secretariat Stakes at the Arlington International Racecourse.
P O S I T I O N I N G: This trademark is not for Arlington International Racecourse but for the three race Festival. It has limited application and yet, like the Kentucky Derby, the three race event draws the largest crowds of the racing season and the merchandising of the imagery is extensive and lucrative.
Francis W. Parker School is an independent school serving students who live in the Chicago area from junior kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school is based on progressive educational philosophy that emphasizes community and citizenship. Parker boasts the first official parents’ association as well as one of the first school newspapers to be written, typeset, and printed by students in 1911. Parker’s list alumni and supporting speakers represent every practical discipline from the political to the theatrical.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Even before completing over 60 interviews it was evident that a new identification program would be a mistake. What was needed a was re-envisioning of Parker historical shield and a more contemporary and consistent application of its branding elements. To follow that approach, for brand purposes, the school’s name was shorten and a positioning statement was added to its signature.
Granor Farm is a certified organic farm located in Three Oaks, Michigan. They grow organic vegetables, flowers, herbs, and grains. Essential to Granor Farm is it’s Community Supported Agriculture program. The CSA allows members to purchase a season’s worth of vegetables in the spring. Each week during the growing season, members receive a basket full of their best produce.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Authentic Fruits and Vegetables was how we approached this project. While the primary trademark using the silhouette of a carrot as an accent to the logotype over 30 other fruits and vegetables were created adding variety to almost every secondary application.
Independent Colleges of Indiana is an association of 31 colleges and universities as large as the University of Notre Dame and as small as Saint Mary’s College. While not directly state supported, their need for identification and acknowledgment as significant contributors to the educational community within Indiana required a more visible and dynamic presence.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The colleges are paradoxical. Together they form a familiar and stable entity yet they demonstrate their independence distinctly. The collecting arrows and coalescing star reflect their shared values. Additionally, their first initiative was a statewide institutional, fundraising effort designed to present to all of the audiences why they came together and how Indiana and all of its citizens benefit from their organization.
Pediatric Palliative Care Institute is committed to improving quality of life assistances for children and their families who are facing potentially life-limiting illnesses. The Institute doesn’t provide direct care but rather training, research, education, medicine and funds for those that do and those in need.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The trademark we created was designed to represent an institution structured to support three constituencies; children, parents and health care professionals. It was also paramount that each understand how the others support and sustain one another symbiotically.
The Indianapolis Zoo, the White River Gardens, the Indianapolis Zoological Society and the Lowell Nussbaum Society shared a campus, a parking lot and several board members in downtown Indianapolis along the White River. The repositioning the groups under one brand and one identity with multiple exhibitions would improve marketing and fundraising activities. Dollars could be pooled, benefiting all of the groups as well as the citizens of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and tourists throughout the Mid-West.
P O S I T I O N I N G : With the Nature’s Window concept, each aspect of the combined attractions would be acknowledged by permitting rotating images of animals, insects, fish and flowers to break out of a graphic window, framed by the same logotype.
InterPark is the world’s premier owner, manager, and developer of parking facilities. They are known for providing superior returns to the owners of their facilities and superior service to their users. InterPark combines operating expertise with an ownership perspective that adds value to parking centers in prime, high-traffic markets.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Original trademark was redrawn to maximize the clarity and legibility of the P+Arrow image for use in a broad spectrum of exterior signage applications. An additional name and trademark were developed for an off site airport parking and related services.
Special Note: PreFlight, Airport Parking is a subsidiary of InterPark providing shuttle services between off-site parking facilities and airport terminals.
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis is a shared campus between these impressive universities. The advantage for students is that they may earn a degree from either institution. The disadvantage, as expressed by its illustrious graduate Kurt Vonnegut the name (IUPUI) is pronounced “oowie pooie”.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The objective was two fold, to promote the advantage by focusing on “Why not both?” and ameliorate and/or minimize the disadvantage by shaping a monogram that acknowledge their independence and interdependence.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival: If music is a place, then Jazz is the City and that the South Side of Chicago is an extraordinary place.
Since 2007 the Festival has created opportunities for diverse communities to listener and engage with the music and its creators. Working artists come together to celebrate the rich traditions of jazz as well as support the development of new works and ideas.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The Festival’s core typographic configuration has remained spare and understated while the decorative icons for each year are as diverse as Jazz itself.
Independent Publishers Group (IPG) is the second largest distributor of publication in the country. It is a serious publishing enterprise, one with a substantial reputation for integrity, expertise and personalized service by stand-up people.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The Independent Publisher Group is a multi-decade client, one for whom we designed a second generation trademark. iPg monogram is the latest. Twice a year iPg produces between 10 and 14 category-specific catalogs of the publication they distribute. To create interest, anticipation and humor we initiated a visually memorable approach to the design of each cover.
Jot Locker is a website community of students exchanging ideas and information, gaining a broader and more meaningful education. As an open source environment, learning is transformed from a passive to an interactive experience. From term papers, to research projects and proposals, to doctoral thesis, Jot Locker promotes an collegial and ethical exchange of ideas and opinions.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The name and trademark are meant to reflect the shared experience of every student. From hand-written note, affirming ideas not to be forgotten, jotted down quickly, stored in the anchor that is a student’s locker is understood by all.
Methodist Hospital’s lighthouse trademark represented an actual beacon sitting atop its building for over 75 years. The light from the beacon could be seen for miles in every direction. The lighthouse symbolized the hospital’s commitment to the metropolitan and suburban communities surrounding the city of Indianapolis. It was determined that a new image was needed to reflect a more contemporary, service-driven institution of caring professionals.
P O S I T I O N I N G : While we did present ideas for new trademarks, our recommendation was to redrawn the original image. The familiarity/equity of the lighthouse visual was much too valuable to be wasted. The re-envisioned image, plus a one-word name, created a signature that reflected a more contemporary image. In this way past and future generations will be reminded of the hospitals’ consistent and continuing service to the community.
Michigan State University is our nation’s first and largest land grant college. At the time, it’s principle branding elements were prepared in the early 50’s. As the University moved into it’s second century it wanted to both acknowledge it’s agricultural/mechanical colleges as well as demonstrate it’s expanding commitment to embracing an academic University.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The historical elements of the University’s branding were not discarded but renovated. Typography was redrawn and arranged to take full advantage of all electronic media. Along with a brand guidelines publication, for the consistent application of the revised branding system, a 100th anniversary marketing initiative was created. Additionally, a series of workshops were prepared to help support the efforts and energies of the University’s marketing and design personnel as they applied the new branding guidelines.
PartScription is an Online service/product company engaged in the distribution, wholesaling and sourcing of over 9 billion products and parts. It provides access to every kind of part across a broad range of categories, from appliances, to lawn care, to power equipment and to paints etc.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Finding the right part, at the right time for a reasonable price can be difficult if not impossible. It’s particularly difficult for older products, equipment and appliances. The name we proposed reflects the repair and/or replace aspect of the service provided. The signature nature of the trademark along with the library of supporting illustrations was designed to reflect the personal and uncomplicated process for finding and getting what you want, when you want it.
Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities, while the original name and image accurately reflected the spirit and scope of the organization, it appeared dated and reproduced poorly.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The redrawn trademark maintained the familiar elements of the original while presenting the organization in a more contemporary way. The finished trademark and implementation guidelines allowed over 36,000 + restaurant owner/operators to promote the activities of the charity consistently without a great deal of expensive coordination. The renewed and relaunched trademark created an opportunity to revisit existing fundraising sources as well as energized the corporate fundraising effort.
Special Note: Initially, it was recommended and excepted that Ronald McDonald’s yellow glove, with the red and white striped sleeve was so recognizable it didn’t, the more commercial, trademark “M” to be identified. However, when Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities was merged with the Ronald McDonald House, the “M” was added.
Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing provides leadership and scholarship in practice, education and research to enhance the health of all people. They do this by supporting the learning and professional development of nurses and nursing worldwide through their careers. Their problem is their name is too long and misleading. Most people hear the Greek letters and assume the Society is a group of colleges not serious, disciplined professionals.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Since a name change was not on the table, we rearranged the furniture. By making the descriptive phrase 2.5 times more prominent most of the misunderstandings disappeared. We then redrew their historical cress, simplifying and clarifying the elements in more contemporary fashion.
Spiegel, the first of the large format fashion catalogs image had been that of a consolation prize for television game show contestants, which didn’t acknowledge the contemporary direct marketer of designer clothing, premium electronics and home furnishings that Spiegel had become.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The lipstick signature represents the sophisticated imprimatur of the fashion designer and the worldliness of an international department store. With the addition of a rotating fashion-focused color palette, that replaced three new colors each season, Spiegel acknowledged changing trends while maintaining consistency. Additional: Designing a catalog with two covers by flipping the book—one for fashion and the other for products—and creating mailing packages that looked more like presents than shipping containers vaulted Spiegel to a more elevated position in people’s perception.
INSIDEOUT is a community focus publication serving the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Chicago campus on the South Side of the city. The goal was to develop and produce a bi-monthly publication designed inform and respond to those families and businesses in the area about events at the University. The intention was that the blending of news with community engagement would produce goodwill and humor, creating opportunities to demonstrate the University’s commitment to being a good neighbor.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We named and designed the structure and format for the first publication and the following issues for several years until we turned the publication over to the University’s internal staff.
Urban Shopping Centers, develop and manage some of this country’s premier shopping centers and malls. High end retail and real estate are driven by consumer perceptions of quality, superior brands and services. Shopping is as much about the over all experience as the destination. Customer satisfaction takes place at every level at every point of contact.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Our task was to support and enhance the visual experience at every opportunity by presenting to the branded retailers the same level of sophistication and preference that they nurture with their customers. The positioning of Urban Shopping Centers to financial community, using the same qualities, was just as important.
Vantage Leadership Consulting advises companies around the world seeking to build exceptional leadership capability throughout their organizations. Vantage assesses, aligns and advances the development of world-class leadership talent — talent that drives business results and delivers a competitive advantage at the speed of change.
P O S I T I O N I N G : We proposed the re-name and positioning phrase, Vantage Leadership: Talent Accelerated because it reflected the qualities of its own accelerated growth of talented leadership.
Kid-Bits! are intuitive teaching tools designed for parents of preschool children without the means or access to public or private preschools.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The identity, branding and the teaching tools themselves were designed and packaged to be fun and engaging. The materials are written and designed with the understanding that while all parents want to help their children get a head start on their education, not all parents is comfortable or familiar with the teaching process.
Burack & Company are developer/builders with imagination and courage. Instead of developing projects in one building category they continually invest their time , energy and financial resources in those projects that are needed in the community they service.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The images, names, identities and branding initiatives that helped Burack develop are designed to be independent and stand-alone projects. Our goal and their objective was to produce imagery and positioning that supported each project rather than connecting them to Burack & Company in any way.
Cloud Hands - Tai chi Chun is a school and a publisher of all things Tai Chi. Cloud Hands is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training, its health benefits and meditation. Though originally conceived as a martial art, it is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons, in particularly for achieving greater longevity.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Being open to understanding and recognizing the elements and artifacts that identify different cultures and communities, creates opportunities to bridge gaps and make difficult connections between divers groups.
Family Communication, Inc. (now Fred Rogers Productions) was the publishing and production company of Fred Rogers. In college, Fred earned a degree in music composition and in 1963 he was ordained as a minister of the United Presbyterian Church. In 1968 Fred first hosted and produced “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” broadcasting on the PBS network for over 30 years.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The design and production of the identity and its branding elements were guided by Fred’s desire to have a visual expression of a core family; parents and a child, without regard for gender, race, or sexual orientation. A very gentle man ahead of his time.
Gretel is a content management application. It’s promise is quite simple. Those that become members will never loose the contact information of those they value.
When family, friends, clients and/or customers change any of their contact information it is automatically update by Gretel’s’ patented technology.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Every aspect of this assignment, from the naming and nomenclature, to the design of the app and trademark, to the custom smart phone icons and typeface were designed to practically and emotionally support the simplicity, clarity and security of the Gretel promise.
Grossman Plastic Tubing was a family business in the early 50’s. Initially they applied new oil-based materials to replace glass, metal and ceramic industrial products. Eventually the new materials were used to create products that would not have existed without the versatile and malleable characteristics of plastics.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Clients and design as a process and as a product are never served better than when their interests are served with as little affectation as possible.
Hotel EMC2 is the brainchild of developer Scott Greenberg, president and CEO of SMASHotels. “I wanted to tackle the challenge of elevating the more menial aspects of a typical guest experience by creating more interactive elements that spark curiosity. This cutting-edge technology amplified throughout the property exemplifies our passion for creativity and education, and further illustrates the art and science intersection philosophy.”
P O S I T I O N I N G : With Scott’s support, we did what he asked us to do.
Special Notes: The illustrate images throughout the common spaces of the Hotel are by noted Chicago artist/cartoonist Jonathan Plotkin. The individual letters that comprise the Hotel EMC2 trademark and the EMC2 typeface are modified and augmented letterforms based on the Atelier Neue typeface, designed by Samuel Carter Mensah in 2012.
The Illinois Health and Hospital Association is dedicated to advocating for Illinois’ more than 200 hospitals and nearly 50 health systems as they care for their patients. They advocate for a sustainable, patient-focused health care systems that provides high-quality care and promotes healthy local communities.
P O S I T I O N I N G : When two successful organizations, serving a far-flung state, come together to better serve their diverse communities naming and branding issues become emotional as well as strategic. Identifying and recommending solutions that address those issues is a complex and collaborative enterprise.
Illinois Science Council is an organization that engages, educates, and entertains the public about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in our everyday lives. They complement student-oriented STEM outreach by offering programs for the adults who love science.
P O S I T I O N I N G : From sun spots to sunflowers, from black holes to spider holes and fire crackers to the forest fires the ISC has got your game.
Invest For Kids conference, has three goals. First, assemble the most highly regarded investment managers to present their best ideas and current views. Second, bring the Chicago investment community together annually. And third, provide support for underprivileged children in Chicago with an emphasis on smaller organizations where the giving would be more impactful.
P O S I T I O N I N G : From the conceptual beginning of the assignment to the Tenth Anniversary Conference we have been an active and engaged partner with our client.
The Irving Harris Foundation is a small, private family foundation who’s funding focuses on the healthy development and care of very young children and their families, strengthening the arts and culture in our communities, and drawing on Jewish values to support positive social change.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The nature of philanthropy, in itself, implies a generosity of intention. When that generosity is linked to children, families, the arts, values and social change it’s paramount that every point of contact appear as open and as transparent possible. This positioning was the measuring device for every choice linked to the identity and the brand.
Pretty Bird creates wearable juju, jewelery designed to enhance inner beauty and a balanced mind, body, spirit and energy. The collection of adornments honor, cultural and spiritual traditions, made by hand using natural materials chosen for their healing properties and sacred meanings.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The philosophy behind the pretty bird concept determined the approach to every aspect of the entity from the materials used in creating the jewelery to how each item was hand-crafted, to its name and visual identity. Every facet of the communication, marketing and packaging reflected the personal and emotional commitment to the products and to those who choose them.
Ace Chainlink Fence manufactures an extended line of steel, plastic, aluminum and composite metal fencing for direct sale and private labeling to “big box” retailers. Custom designs and tailor materials are available, providing beauty, privacy, and security for residences, businesses and institutions.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The familiar interlocking design of Ace’s primary product, steel cyclone fencing, is reinforced in the design of it’s initial letter trademark.
ReVital is an electrolyte product, prepared to help prevent dehydration in children. The parent company is a small, older pharmaceutical laboratory in the mid west. The product comes in several forms; an oral solution, as a frozen Freezer-Pops, and in Jell Cups.
Its competitors are national with prominent name recognition and established store-shelf positions. Challenging a leader under any circumstance can be daunting much less when the child is so are critical to selection.
P O S I T I O N I N G : With the introduction of Sonny the Seal, as its branding icon and a much more child-friendly identity and packaging, strong inroads were made with national drug store chains. It didn’t hurt that ReVital’s three flavors tasted better.
Special Note: Along with the development of the identification program, packaging and initial print advertising there was an opportunity to produce several broadcast commercials.
Toshiro Chicago is an importer and retailer of primarily, Japaneses fabrics, textiles, housewares and clothing. The Toshiro’s American entrepreneurs wanted to present the Japanese sensibilities for color, style and textures to be experienced though everyday items found in most homes in Japan.
P O S I T I O N I N G : In particular, the Japanese sense of design is called shibui; unobstructed beauty. As with many clients who have simple, clearly defined objectives, our task had more to do with doing less, rather than attempting to add to what were already well designed products.
Chicago City Theater, the Joel Hall Dancers and Studio are a theater company, a dance company and a dance school. While they are different entities they share a board of director, a management team and a fund raising initiative.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The Sun, the Moon and the Stars are for many children a storybook promise parents make. For those actors, dancers and students, that are part of the Chicago City Theater community these are promises in the process of being fulfilled.
Aquatic Solutions offers comprehensive swimming pool services, supplies, renovations and design for families, institutions and competition. Showrooms features a full line of BioGuard pool and spa products, toys, floats, parts and equipment as well as computerized water analysis.
P O S I T I O N I N G : As one of the more intimate of indulgences, swimming pools are as much about personal privacy as a shared familial experience. The selected image expresses simplicity and sanctuary.
At Your Service is a general building and residential contractor. Custom structures for those that have custom needs. Each project, like “Mission Impossible”, the TV show from the 60s, brings together a talented team of craftsmen and artisans to accomplish a specific plan.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The proposed imagery reflects the preciseness called for and expected when the best people, do their best work for those that recognize and appreciate the best.
The transformation of a tired property into a five-star hotel was as much about the past as the future. While tradition and character were part of Fort Worth history, sophistication and elegance were not. Bringing together historical pride and contemporary service was the goal of the Worthington Hotel.
P O S I T I O N I N G : Both the renaming and visual identity of the renovated Hotel were rooted in Fort Worth’s history. The pioneering Worthington family goes back to before the Civil War. The flowered woodcut reflects the Worthington Bluebonnet, a variety of the Texas state flower.
Ballot Holes: The Movie is based on the book, “Cassandra, Chanting.” It’s about foreign agents attempting to steal a presidential election. Beginning in 2000 and even before, numerous computer scientists and activists from all political sides have raised warnings about tampering with elections. Sadly, those alarm bells have gone unheeded. This movie will raise consciousness. An outline for the screenplay is completed and now the finish the script is on it’s way.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The proposed image was developed to visualize the metaphor of the notorious missing and/or hanging chads from the Presidential election of 2000. The bullet holes from the murders that occur in the Sanford Morganstein book, bring real life and movie fiction to center stage.
Unbridled is a 200 foot multi-million dollar private yacht. It was designed and built for the William Wrigley family of Chicago. The request was to create a simple, iconic element that would visually embody the unbridled spirit of international travel and exploration; going any where, any day, any time.
P O S I T I O N I N G : A very formal capital letter that transitions into an informal, watercolor-like drawing of an aquiline figurehead was our recommendation.
Progress Health is a service connecting patients with doctors, doctors with hospitals and everyone with insurers. Those joining the community based network of Progress Health have access to complete range of outpatient, inpatient and wellness services.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The Progress Health serves a community of over 3.5 million, with over 4,600 employers, plus local and state government operations, 25 plus stand alone hospitals, 17,000 plus doctors and specialists. The modified P* symbol was designed to be understandable but different enough be memorable and simple enough (to constantly applied over thousands of applications.)
The Jade Circus School offers both children and adults an opportunity to experience a variety of circus arts, with everything from juggling, tumbling, acrobatics, clowning and aerial arts. Traditionally, skills were passed down through family lineage or bestowed through an apprenticeship model. Today’s training techniques offered students through experienced coaches and former professionals.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The highly decorated rings, where performers did their acts, were made in segments to make for easier traveling. By arranging them in a particular way, a strong visual element was made even more memorial.
Falcon Capital Management focuses on Small-Cap value stocks. They are a critical component of every balanced portfolio. The average market analysts recommends popular and familiar investments because they will be rewarded, successful or not. Falcon’s research and expertise identifies those stocks whose values and market positions indicates they will perform over the long-term. Having a proprietary vantage point allows Falcon to see the present and envision the future.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The name and image of a Falcon was proposed to reflect the skill-sets of patience and tenacity. It also didn’t hurt that falcons have the advantage of being able to get in a opposition where they can see whatever is coming next.
BODYSCAPES is a natural healing clinic specializing in traditional Chinese medicine and massage therapy. Highly trained specialists provide thoughtful and nurturing treatment-plans using gentle acupuncture, massage therapy, Chinese herbs, nutritional therapy, cupping, and moxibustion.
P O S I T I O N I N G: Traditional to some is unconventional to others. Appearing current and contemporary while providing services that are thousands and thousands of years old necessitates the use of familiar language and imagery that is introduced in new ways.
STELLAR, Aero and Astronautical Engineering designs and develops aircraft and spacecraft. They are a new organization with an experienced staff and an older company with younger personnel. Together STELLAR envisions the next generation of travel by applying and developing new materials and technologies to establish principles.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The American sculptor Alexander Calder was known for his innovative mobiles, powered by motors or currents of air. Even when his art weighed tons, it was so well balanced, so well conceived it moved with the lightest of breezes.
MASQUE is a lifestyle retailer whose raison d’être is clothing and the fun you will have wearing them. The Southwest motif is a serious part of the concept; warm weather cloths and accessories for those who follow the Sun or wish they could.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The Southwest motif set the table for every aspect of the identity and the brand application from custom design jewelry sold in the store, on-line and at Nieman Marcus to a catalog business that almost out earned the brick and mortar box.
E-Three Labs developed islands of opportunities by dropping self-sustaining buildings into locations without access to the Internet, computer technology, electricity, education and in some locations without access to running water. Each building comes equipped with the materials, machines and help any community might need to begin to help themselves.
P O S I T I O N I N G: Because this initiative is designed to go beyond boarders, even continents, our process began by ignoring language. We explored and identified colors and images that might connect with communities and cultures that may have very little else in common.
Endless Diamond Embrace are diamond products that utilizes a patented touch setting technique creating a visual appearance that is 3 to 5 times larger than one single stone. Timelessly beautiful and contemporary, this is a unique and fresh approach to classic designs for a truly amazing visual impact.
P O S I T I O N I N G: In naming the product line and developing the visual identity, the objective was to encapsulate the essence of it’s implied promise. By creating familiar relationships between a color, a typographic configuration and the visually meaningful word play of the name, a greater and more memorable impact could be achieved.
The Martin de Porres Foundation provides safe and dignified night shelter for homeless men age 50 and older. The shelter opened in response to the growing need for an emergency shelter for this special population of elderly men who are vulnerable to the weather, street predators, and illness.
P O S I T I O N I N G: Iconic symbols, religious or other wise, are memorable because elements or even parts of them represent a history of shared experiences and meanings. Images and brands that build on those experiences connect more quickly, more universally, beyond language and sometimes even ones own culture.
Varsity Management provides advice and council to high school and college student-athletes and their parents. They help young men and women manage college recruiting offers and those letters of intent. Their experience is invaluable, navigating the complex rules and laws that govern the transition from high school to college and on.
P O S I T I O N I N G : The leather and wool letter jacket with its chenille “letter” has always signified a successful student-athletes. It seemed like no-brainer.
Sundance Square is a pedestrian-friendly downtown district packed with clothing chains, Western-wear shops, steakhouses and sports bars. It’s also known as an entertainment hub, with small theaters, events and concerts at Sundance Square Plaza, and the Bass Performance Hall, staging opera, ballet and classical music. Nearby Fort Worth Water Gardens is a serene park with pools and waterfalls.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The paradox between the formal nature of an international conference and the subject matter of the arts and their impact on culture and community presented a unique opportunity to visually be iconic and abstract simultaneously.
The Triad Awards is believed to be the only program evaluating annual reports by three different independent organizations with a common interest for their efficacy. The American Institute of Graphic Arts/Chicago, the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago and The National Investors Relations Institute reviewed and scored over 1,000 reports annually.
P O S I T I O N I N G : From conception to presentation Essex Two managed and contributed to every aspect of the evaluation and recognition process.
The University of Chicago and the National Endowment for the Arts hosted a conference on the potential of current research findings, innovations and new models to ensure that arts and arts organizations thrive in the new millennium. Participants included arts and civic leaders, policymakers, practitioners, artists and academics as well as collaborating with the University’s campus in Beijing / 798 Arts District.
P O S I T I O N I N G: The paradox between the formal nature of an international conference and the subject matter of the arts and theirs impact on culture and community presented a unique opportunity to visually be iconic and abstract simultaneously.
Chicago Winter Festival was commissioned by the city’s tourists bureau in an effort to create a “clothesline” of a calendar to which Chicago’s many different and diverse communities might attach its Winter activities, festivals and events.
P O S I T I O N I N G : A frozen crystal was developed, repeated six times and arranged to capture Chicago’s star.