The helium tank is our mash up of ideas + art + design + events and everything in between. Work that makes us smile, art that’s all around, events that we hope you’ll join us, or words we’re stitching together. The helium tank is a big window into who we are.
There has been a mild (ok, not-so-mild) obsession with book covers recently. More like a life-long intrigue that has snowballed into said obsession. That late night scrolling through eBay to find vintage books with great typography or illustration, when such scrolling turns into a rabbit hole where your shopping cart acquires a book from every decade. From old medical illustrations to modernist typography – book covers have been a huge source of inspiration for all types of design work. And, of course, the book itself – the story – is the heart of what we do as a brand studio. Each work has a history, a message, a soul – the visual communication of its cover, the written word that shapes its narrative, the worn pages from those who’ve been impacted by it; books are fuel for creatives.
When we are developing a brand, it always starts with a story. We tap into the heart and soul of the company – who they are, what the essence is. Much like an author crafting a character, we shape the narrative of a brand then uncover how to communicate it in all forms. Just as we wear clothing to reflect our personality, as a designer we are constantly using elements such as color, type and messaging to craft the unique persona of a company to its market. The process is organic, both strategic and highly intuitive. But the brand story is ultimately what sets the road map for brand identity, messaging, graphic design, website design, photography, and all marketing materials. You can explore some of our brand stories by clicking here.
A book cover has the tall order of capturing the spirit of a story in a single composition, enough to emotionally engage and connect with a potential reader. This can be done through typography, photography, illustration, design, color, shape, or pattern. But whatever method, the end product can be really, really, really cool. Enough to keep this designer up scrolling Pinterest and eBay for hours on end.
Take a look at some of the books and book covers we’ve been wide-eyed for.
When a 5-Star Resort calls, you answer. So is the case with our newest project for Excellence Resorts in the beautiful Dominican Republic. Of course there is only one way to truly know a property and be able to speak towards their amenities, service and experience: a helium discovery session! We were forced [yeah right] to take a trip tot he DR and explore the resorts ourselves. The verdict? A stunning collection of properties with the most hospitable people on earth and breathtaking views. We so enjoyed our time there and can’t wait to go back! Take a look at some of the photos we took on our trip!
We are excited to begin working with Excellence Resorts on a new digital and print marketing campaign, where we will deliver brand messaging, experience and design work to visually communicate the incredible resort!
Today, almost everything is done with digital in mind: websites, advertisements, photography, sales collateral – the list goes on. While we work on these digital projects frequently, as a studio we believe that quality printed pieces create lasting impressions. That’s why we’ve created award-winning print pieces for clients like EDSA, Bad Harriet and VistaBlue [just to name a few]. Everything from color to paper texture can be used as an extension of a company Brand Identity, which is why we take all the little details seriously.
At our core, we exist to create branded experiences for people to interact with. One of the best ways to do that is through the most tangible creative medium; print. Our Art Director, Ryan, took some time to explain the importance of print and why, as a company, we believe it is still the most powerful tool.
“To convey the sensory and emotional aspect of a brand, we obsess over the tactile experience of print. There’s something to be said about the impact when the right paper is met with beautiful print techniques such as letterpress or emboss, thoughtful details, binding, and well-executed design. All our senses are engaged, aside, perhaps, from taste — although you never know, some folks may be enticed to take a little nibble off a lovely print piece. Stranger things have happened.”
We’ve pulled together several of our recent print projects for you to see. From menus to real estate brochures and business cards – we’ve been busy printing some really cool pieces!
As a brand development studio, we aim to build a strong foundation for every company we work with. From their brand story to logo design, we are right there creating assets and experiences that will help our clients communicate effectively to their audience – like we did for our two latest clients, Casana and Plant Intention.
But what happens after all our work is done? How can these brands build upon the foundation we’ve created and engage with their community? Queue our friend and foe, Instagram. Even though this platform is constantly changing and evolving, there are consistent, effective ways to use it that can strengthen your brand and build a following.
1. Show your work //
People who follow you want to see your work. This will look different for every company – some sell products, others sell a service or experience. However, the principle remains the same: give people an inside look into the new products you’re releasing, projects you’re working on, or daily happenings at the office. If someone is following your brand, it’s because they have an interest in who you are and what you do. Give them the inside scoop they’re looking for and let them come behind the curtain. Here are some practical ways to do that:
– Share photos of your process: these don’t have to be perfectly curated and edited – use the story feature on Instagram for an unfiltered look into your process.
– Create video tutorials for your products: this is a great way to show people how to best use your products.
– Show off customers who use your product and/or service: This can easily be done by reposting photos that feature your work or product.
– Take time to do live videos: engaging with your followers and answer the questions they have about who you are and what you do will give them the feeling of an insider – and who doesn’t love that?
2. Highlight your location & culture //
We all know that people eat with their eyes first. Do you have a cool location? A great office, restaurant, cafe or building? SHOW IT OFF! Digital Content can be the first interaction someone has with your brand. Try your best to give them a similar experience as someone who enters in-person. If someone can imagine themself in your space, the chances of them making a trip to see you are high. Here are some practical ways to do that:
– Share photos of your space: the architecture, furniture, products on display, the food and beverages [if that’s your thing] and even the music you play throughout the day.
– Show off your culture: If your office isn’t open to the public [and even if it is] highlight team members, meetings in the office, team events and outings, and any quirky things you find yourself laughing at on a daily basis. This gives both prospective customers and employees a look into the culture you have, bringing the right people to your doorstep.
3. Use photography as an extension of your brand identity //
As a brand development studio, we spend most of our days creating, designing and strategizing for various brands. When we design a Brand Identity, we are creating more than just a logo. We’re writing the story, researching and selecting color, fine tuning typography, creating symbols, and setting guidelines for photography. The way businesses should approach these visually focused social outlets, has everything to do with photography. The photos you post are an extension of your brand. When someone views a photo you’ve shared, they should identify it as one of yours before reading where it came from. Here are some ways to maintain consistent photography that represents your brand:
– Use a consistent editing style [or filter]: is your brand light and airy? Dark and Moody? Warm? Cool? Whatever it is, find an editing style that matches and stick to it.
– Have someone in charge of curating the content you will be posting: Ideally, have that person shooting and editing the photos as well.
– Plan your feed: This may sound excessive, but laying out future posts from a visual standpoint will keep your content consistent and further enforce the visual style of your brand.
– Have fun! Instagram is an amazing tool to showcase your business with – always remember to have fun with it!
Although our creative studio is well known in the real estate development and hospitality space, you might be surprised to read we’ve worked on branding projects in a wide array of industries. Like that time we re-branded a manufacturer of industrial safety accessories [a.k.a goggles, gloves, and safety vests]. Random, right? Shout out to our awarding-winning brand, Ironwear.
We’ve also worked on personal brands – that is building a brand for an entrepreneur, a coach in this case, with a very niche target audience [the award-winning brand for Katie Sandler].
The key that has given us the flexibility to effectively brand any business is our tried and tested Discovery Session process. For us, this is stage one. We don’t jump into brand messaging or brand design without first taking our clients through a discovery phase, which is exciting and enlightening for both us and them
In a nutshell, a Discovery Session is an in-depth and in-person meeting with all the decision-makers leading the to-be-branded project and the helium creative team. The Discovery Session marks the beginning of our brand development process and can be anywhere from a 2-hour meeting at our Fort Lauderdale studio to a multi-day, on-location discovery trip on the other side of the world. We’ve taken a day trip within Florida and even crossed the pond to London in order to experience, and profoundly understand, the culture and environment of the brands we’ll be defining
During these discovery trips, we immerse ourselves in the experience our client’s clients will be having. We love it when our clients plan out the trip itinerary, suggesting the must-see spots and activities which allow us to walk in their shoes. During this journey of discovery, we gather inspiration from each little detail we encounter. It could be a sight, a feeling, something overheard in passing – most of our iconic brands have been inspired by the creative insight gathered during these trips.
Whether or not we travel for a Discovery Session, we always take time to have a formal sit-down meeting during which we ask a list of very crucial questions that have been curated through the years to provide us with the most insight into the intention and goals for the brand. The answers we receive to these questions are the gasoline that fuels our creativity. The more backstory we receive from our clients, the better. In fact, some of our discovery meetings have been so inspiring they’ve lasted over 8 hours! When a company has a rich backstory and is self-aware, we can create a visual representation of their history through their brand.
Another component of our Discovery Sessions is having all the meeting participants fill out a S.W.O.T. Analysis. This is a diagram where they fill out the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and perceived threats as of this moment in time. This simple, but effective marketing tool allows us to assess what makes this particular brand unique, how to leverage it, and who they’re up against. We bring up the key takeaways from the gathered S.W.O.T. forms and discuss as a team during the meeting, which always leads to new insights for our clients as they get to see their company from new perspectives.
At the end of each Discovery Session we always leave with a notebook full of juicy, creative notes, a phone full of inspiring photos, and a handful of new friends with whom we get to work with. There’s a bond that is built knowing that we understand where a company has been and where it’s going – and that we’ve taken the time to experience it as they experience it every day. For us, that is the discovery that ignites our creative spark.