Updated Brand Book
It all started with a simple task, update the brand guide…
Every great creative has gotten that one assignment that left you thinking: “But we could do this…We could just go for it, and ask for forgiveness later.” For us, that was this. In all honesty, the assignment was simple: update our brand guide. But that was enough to send a team of creatives down a rabbithole that rumor says they haven’t made it out of. “Update” became “start from scratch”, “scratch” being the year 1957, our founding year. We worked tirelessly to capture 65 years in the ad business, hundreds of team member’s contributions, and countless lives changed. The assignment then became: find out who we really are, then make something out of it that no one will ever forget.
An Inquiry Into Why.
Words are only powerful if they’re describing something shared by many. We started with interviews—every department, every kind of person. What is our brand really? “Be honest,” we told ourselves and others. Those transcribed words became the backbone of our DNA, seeming to reflect the same vision of decades past. How does a mid-sized agency in Orlando, Florida survive so long, anyways? To us, the answer is simple. Adaptation. So how do you illustrate adaptation? What is something that represents the word “adapt” simply, but beautifully? It came to us one night, pizza boxes becoming notepads. Water.
Water is the ultimate adapter. Water takes the shape of whatever it’s in—as great companies should. Two hydrogens and one oxygen will always make up water’s core truth, no matter what added variable changes their appearance. Add heat, they become gaseous. Add a couple decades and a handful of incredible clients, Fry Hammond Barr renamed to become &Barr. Still the same core structure and beliefs, but in the state we must be in to thrive. Water then became the inspiration for our new visual identity. Waves of graphic elements now fill images, icons representing each department take after a form of water, and our color palette evokes the colors reflected on water. A new sense of power, grounded by the kind of peace only experience could bring, now visually represented our brand like nothing ever had before.
What could have simply been a brand guide is now an experience. Readers are invited to engage with pages meant to be touched and words meant to be interacted with. It’s the bible that defines our genesis, but also the blueprint that lays the path for our future. It isn’t a brand guide made by designers, for designers. It’s a diary, created by humans, for humans. It makes people feel seen, heard and powerful. This company hasn’t survived 65 years because of the building’s bricks and mortar. It thrived because of its people. What you see now is an identity that represents every one of us that’s ever been a part of the brand—clients, vendors, team members and beyond. It’s together that we’ve triumphed longer than most agencies in America. And it’s together that we’ll continue to explore, expand—and adapt. It’s a book that caused a tsunami; it required the brand to refresh to keep up, giving a 65-year-old brand enough momentum to want to fill the shape of 2022, which dare we say, has never looked better.