OLD ARMS OF IDAHO
The birth of a small town brand with big time knowledge.
Old Arms of Idaho contacted me to help develop their brand. They had a direction and wanted to do things the right way—with a proper budget, a healthy timeline and the guidance of a professional designer. Often working with highly customized and collectible antiques, we both knew Old Arms of Idaho was the perfect fit for custom lettering.
In our first conversations, the client said they loved the way type was handled on whiskey packaging. We both agreed that was a good direction to get started. This direction was fun but also posed a few unique challenges from a design standpoint, as labels in many ways are treated as the logo (Jack Daniel's for example)—making things much more intricate than most modern branding conventions. Another unique aspect of this chosen direction was that usually there is not one, but a family of identity marks, including a primary and smaller monograms/bugs used on caps and in other tight spaces. In our case this would be needed for social media platforms.
Hand process is time intensive but essential to making good, personal and authentic work. And for certain clients being personal is everything. To keep things personal, many sketches are drawn by hand and narrowed down to just a few to present to the client (as seen below). From that first group, one is chosen (the middle left column below) and revisions are made by hand before ever touching the computer.
Having worked on brands across the gamut from Fortune 500 companies all the way down to Ma-and-Pop shops, making more than one concept digitally early on (three at the most) usually means not enough research was conducted to understand the client, their industry and their target audience. On this project I wanted to make sure most of my time and budget was spent in the front end.
After many hours digitally polishing the mark, the elements were ready to grow into a complete brand system and be leased to the world. Since logos and other graphic elements don't live in vacuums surrounded with empty space, I tailored the design to fit the environment in which the viewer would be interacting with the brand, from first impressions all the way through closing a deal. The brand as a whole is built on a texturally rich experience, because appraising antiques is a hands-on and sensory rich experience.
Consistency is key
The logo suite is always treated in one of three ways: getting the most out of available space, printing budgets and tactile impact to the viewer.
1. Black and brown on white paper and in digital applications
2. Black and opaque white on textured kraft paper
3. Opaque white reversed on dark satin paper/textiles/photos
Below are some examples of how the Old Arms of Idaho brand was carried throughout print and web. Many of the images used in this piece are modified vintage illustrations and engravings past their copyright life and are now within the public domain. This does a few things for the brand, including giving images a more time period appropriate/authentic look as well as freeing up dollars for use on fonts, printing and other crucial brand elements. The print pieces are designed to have high textural impact with a lower production cost through utilizing one and two color printing techniques over 4 color/full color process. This is important for three reasons:
Vintage packaging containing their inventory was usually never printed in full color, it was one or two color.
2. Smart budgeting
Spending money where it actually makes a difference on things like design time and, in this case, paper upgrades.
3. Being memorable
Everything these days is full color, these pieces stand out and resonate over their competitors because they're not.
1. Increase in referrals with direct mention of print materials.
2. The client landed its largest appraised estates to date within months of brand launch.