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ZGI Architects

The challenge

ZGI was founded 15 years ago by partners Robert Zonda, John Gerrard and Simon Ingram, their vision for the practice was to deliver architecture to the highest standards of service and innovation. However, in recent years their branding had become derailed costing them market share and the resulting loss of confidence from potential new clients.

From the results of their initial strategy session it was clear that a rebrand was needed to re-align everything, bringing it back to the founders original vision and increasing ideal client appeal.

With this in mind we applied the full scope of our services from brand discovery all the way through to brand activation, turning everything around and transforming ZGI into the architectural practice it deserved to be.

 
 

We helped ZGI tell their story through a bold new rebrand and visual identity system.

The very first step in any rebrand is to begin applying our CORE strategic framework to the project which starts with a 6 hour facilitated discovery session over 2 days with ZGI’s stakeholders. This gave us a concise and honest review of how the brand is currently perceived and where it needs to go. The result of this provided us with a clear picture of ZGI’s real-world influence and how we needed to bring everything back into alignment.

All the actionable insights gained through this were distilled into a ‘Brand Strategy Guide’ which became the strategic compass that defined ZGI’s future brand direction.

 

33 pages of thought & intention paved the way for a successful brand creation.

 
Everything we surfaced by applying our CORE strategic framework became ZGI’s “Brand Strategy Guide”

Everything we surfaced by applying our CORE strategic framework became ZGI’s “Brand Strategy Guide”

 

BRIDGING THE GAP

The results of the earlier discovery session using our CORE framework were translated into a creative brief we used as a tool to help us bridge the gap between strategy and design. Then it was time to interpret the brand visually with a set of 3 stylescapes we created to define the look, style and feel of the new branding. This process allowed us to work collaboratively with ZGI’s principals, ensuring everything aligned with both their vision and the brand strategy.

 
One of three stylescapes created that help set the visual compass for the rebrand

One of three stylescapes created that help set the visual compass for the rebrand

The three most important words in differentiating the ZGI brand: focus, focus and focus.

The final stylescape gave us a way of scaffolding the visual solution making logo design a more focused process that aligned closely with the brand strategy.

During the logo design stage we also look at how it’s used across different mediums and touch points by creating a brand system. This was then presented to ZGI as a brand delivery document revealing the thought process and rationale behind everything we created and how it would work when applied. Most importantly of all it visually articulated who ZGI are, what they do and why it matters.

Because our branding process is entirely collaborative, ZGI were able to provide feedback at every stage. This allowed us to refine the focus of the brand until it was as close to perfect as possible.

 
ZGI Brand Delivery showing our thought process and brand evolution

ZGI Brand Delivery showing our thought process and brand evolution

 

Our goal was for ZGI to use their new brand as a powerful strategic tool.

In most architectural firms brand strategy is separated from creativity by a wide gap. This was one of the main reasons why their original branding had become derailed and out of alignment. By applying our CORE strategic framework to the ZGI rebrand we were able to successfully close this gap and build a charismatic brand with no substitute or competition.

 
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Square roll-fold brochure

Square roll-fold brochure

 

Brand guidelines

To preserve the long-term value of the new ZGI brand we created an online Digital Asset Management system. This not only gave ZGI’s vendors a single source of truth for the latest version the logo, colours and fonts, but also provided basic guidelines on how and where they should be used.

Brands are like people, so the way we like to approach brand guidelines is not to rigidly control the look and feel, but instead influence their character. This gives the brand the ability to quickly adapt to change and evolve over time as a process of continuous branding.

 

Digital Asset Management (DAM) user interface design

 

Execution, not strategy, is where the rubber meets the road.

A successful rebrand represents a significant investment of time and budget, and for ZGI this was no exception. This required total commitment to the wholesale changes proposed in the rebrand, with no room for keeping one foot in the past.

Their new branding was deployed in 3 stages, beginning with the most immediate client touch points including office stationery, project proposal templates, website and social media, along with a 120 page portfolio showcasing ZGI’s full capabilities. The final 2 stages were rolled out over a 6 month period, giving them plenty of time to plan and implement the remaining changes to the brand.

 
Stationery items

Stationery items

Project proposal template

Project proposal template

Portfolio front and back

Portfolio front and back

Portfolio internal spread

Portfolio internal spread

 

No great brand is complete without an immersive website experience.

Too many firms websites are either minimalist to the extreme and say very little, or are just weighed down with poorly presented information. Clarity was central to providing an extra layer of differentiation. With this in mind ZGI’s old website was completely overhauled, re-written and re-designed to fit their new more focused ethos.

Large scale project photos became the backdrop that drew the reader deeper into each page where the details came into sharp focus.

By fully activating the brand post-launch, ZGI insured their investment was quickly returned with compound interest.

 
ZGI website sitemap defining page hierarchy and structure

ZGI website sitemap defining page hierarchy and structure

 
Final website design

Final website design

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Scope of work

 

Discovery and strategy
Baseline evaluation
Research
Competitive analysis
Ideal customer profiling

Branding services
Brand strategy
Visual identity
Collateral
Marketing materials
Additional brand assets
Brand guidelines

Interactive services
User experience
Content design
Wireframing and prototyping
Responsive design

Development services
Webflow CMS development

 
 

IS IT TIME FOR A REBRAND?

The answer to this isn’t always obvious, so we’ve put together a list of symptoms that are common to architectural firms who need a rebrand. Go through this simple checklist now (you might be surprised by what you learn).