Well engineered design bridges that divide and connects meaningfully with people. "I have yet to work with a client without completely unique strengths and needs, so the listening process always starts there." -Bob Boulware
“Plaid Tractor had exactly the pulse that we were looking for in our search for a brand with verve, and a website for our company that moves readers to act.”
- John Millard, PhosEnergy LLC
“I love, love, love my site!”
- Zaara Kittenchops
“Bob’s persistence and creativity got us to the finish line on the very complex task of rebranding a 90-year-old company with a very diverse business structure. I applaud his attention to detail, strategic thought process and expertise, which all contributed greatly to our success.”
Jayne Millard, CEO, Turtle & Hughes, Inc.
Turtle & Hughes Inc. Brand Initiative and Identity Design
Skeptical Scientist & Finding Bigfoot cast member Ranae Holland’s mission is to inspire people of all ages to see wild places differently. Her aim is to empower future conservationists with tools to read the language of the natural world, a world in plain sight.
Skeptical Scientist/Ranae Holland Website
Proper design isn’t window dressing. It’s about framing the right question, then engineering design to answer it.
PTD is experienced in creative consulting, brand strategy, and delivering soup to nuts creative solutions that make sense and advance business.
See the About page to learn more about our approach and process.
Selected clients: Seattle Times Co., Microsoft, Turtle & Hughes Inc., Turtle Energy LLC, Phos Energy LLC, Ranae Holland, the Skeptical Scientist (Finding Bigfoot), MDS Pharma, RiverSong Jewelry, Joseph Zimmer DDS, Paradise Springs Farm, Synchronicity Health Centre, Sol Colibri Coffee
From startups to businesses that need to reposition themselves, individuality is expressed through identity. Brand expressions are born out of a need to connect and be kept front of mind amidst countless indistinguishable services and products, as well as competitors.
While a brand is about establishing or reinforcing desired perceptions in the mind, brand identity is the tangible medium for delivery. It begins with the design of a brand mark (i.e. logo/logotype) and evolves into a complete, distinctive system of visual assets, which can serve as a constant, ubiquitous reminder of a brand’s essence and value. To appreciate the real-world value of a properly executed brand identity, it useful to know the players…
What’s a brand?
Let’s begin from what a brand isn’t: the logo. It’s more useful to think of the logo as the doorway to a brand, an entryway that opens into a brand’s unique and storied house – a domain where associations are felt and emotional connections are made. When encountered again that door (logo) serves as a reference to those associations or experiences. Likewise, other tangible assets such as websites, packaging, business cards, and collateral also provide access, and offer an invitation to connect.
The brand is intrinsic to a company’s perceived culture, legacy, value, credibility, trust and status. How we perceive brands constantly influences our thinking and behavior, and how we share, talk, and relate to them. We can more easily relate to authentic brand identity because it demonstrates rather than declares its competitive advantage and unique value.
Every business has one (even when they’re not expressing it).
Some companies take a hands-off approach to a “foreground” brand presence, missing opportunities to command a narrative and build brand equity. Businesses avoid leaving money on the table when they recognize the value of honing their brand message. Consistently demonstrating effectiveness and relevancy draws recognition and membership.
Making strengths visible
Brand identity begins with self-reflection. A company must be defined in terms of who it is, and where it wants to go. To do this (in short), essential assets are weighed, goals and competitors are assessed, then research is played back to paint a clear picture. Who is the audience? How should the brand be positioned? Strategic imagination and unconventional thinking is needed. A brief is co-created that lays out a strategic course. All research comes together to serve as a framework for logo design.
A set of basic, value protecting imperatives apply to logo design and deployment:
-Differentiation (a demonstration of leadership, and to stand out against a sea of indistinguishable products and services)
-Authenticity (demonstrating genuine strengths makes brands more relatable and trustworthy)
-Consistency (repeated exposure builds recognition)
-Endurance (brand equity is built over time)
Bringing it all together
Brand identity works with and beyond the logo. It fully illuminates a resolved brand through a versatile visual identity system, capable of aligning all brand material into a cohesive army of brand expressions (applicable to website, advertising, business material, collateral, packaging to name a few). This is achieved through a flexible visual language using typographic style, imagery, graphic elements, and color. A style guide is created for in-house use. Aligning all brand touchpoints, as they’re known, demonstrates the laser-like focus of a company, making it one of the most powerful marketing tools a company can deploy.
The main objectives are to insure distinguishing strengths endure over time, and competitive advantages are clear immediately. Inspiring brand membership is a central goal, because that builds brand-advocates that share their experience.
Authenticity aims for genuine value
Authenticity is what separates meaningful design from merely attractive design. It’s a key asset because it allows behaviors and performance to clearly synch with brand expressions, helping them feel more genuine and relatable.
Brand identity matters because it carries Intrinsic value. Business that strategically seize its potential can command a premium. Meaningful, resonating, consistent brands are recognizable and build awareness, which grows business.
Contact us to today to seize control of your brand message.
Plaid Tractor teams up with 4-Mile to deliver tailored, state of the art design and development.
We’re straight forward, welcoming, versatile, and clients value how we emphasize research and authenticity. We’re at our best when problem solving, and happiest when our clients look professional, and sophisticated online.
Web production shines with some skilled coordination. We break it out into segments that make sense: a) assess needs, b) assist in strategy, c) insure design is engaging, usable, and strategic, d) then build technology around design.
Websites are spaces to be inviting, informative, sharable, and brand supportive. No matter how clean or daring, usability remains the cornerstone of our solutions. PT divides focus equally between engaging content and Intuitive access. Our sites are tailor-built in WordPress, mobile friendly, and made to be self-administered.
To make best use of value potential, we emphasize strategic planning, followed by strategy-guided layout, design, and typography. To get there we begin with the almighty brief, among the most valuable tools of the process. The brief outlines essential criteria to guide the design phase, such as look and feel, demographics, psychographics, site navigation and architecture, and user-experience (to name a few). Experience has shown that organization and planning can smooth the process to push design forward.
Web design is an exploratory, evolving discipline. We continue to better understand how to make best use of its reach by delivering rich content, fostering trust, and inspiring action.
Take the first simple step today and let us in on your vision.
Oh, for the love of print.
Producing quality work requires a solid working knowledge of how design and print techniques interact (beyond initial design). Coaxing opportunity from constraint is what we know and love. Read more…