20 Years in the Making: Brand and Logo Development

A lot of things can change in 20 years. Tree seedlings turn into full-grown trees canopying the ground below it.  Children turn into adults.  Grapes ferment into fine wine. And, business logos become outdated.

The Early Days

I didn’t know what 20 years in business would look like for me. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it.  I was too busy putting one foot in front of the other, that I didn’t look up much.  Every day, every month, every year was a new learning experience.

At first, it was a balancing act being a young mother while figuring out how to set up my business, register it with the Secretary of State and price my services. Next came developing proposals, letters of agreement and contracts while chasing prospects and managing the accounts I had.  Before long, I found myself investing in a software accounting platform and learning the ins and outs of financial reporting, tracking income and expenses and analyzing the fruits of my labor. And, then came the hurdle of hiring my first employee, determining how much to pay and how to pay while making sure I collected all the proper forms for payroll tax reporting and such. 

However, the logistics and operations were only a small part of the early days.  Just like naming my children, naming and branding my business was a critical first step. After all, this was my identity. It wasn’t something to take lightly, especially given the fact that branding and logo development was a service I offered!

5 Things I Considered

  1. Name of my company: After several weeks of considering options and possibilities, I settled on something that reflected who I was and what services I was offering: Knorr Marketing Communications. My name told my audience who I was and what I offered. Integrated marketing communications was a relatively new concept at the time.  I wanted to highlight that our expertise and strategy would revolve around unifying all marketing and communication elements: public relations, social media, advertising, direct marketing and event marketing into one brand identity.
  2. Wordmark: I knew that the pronunciation of Knorr would continue to be butchered just as it was in my personal life so I made the determination of branding the acronym KMC and using Knorr Marketing Communications as a secondary name.  Side note: for those of you who have read any of my previous insights you know that  KMC also stands for my 3 children Kelsey, Macy and Chase. They were a big reason I jumped into small business ownership. I wanted the best of both worlds: doing what I love and also being flexible to spend time with those I loved.
  3. Logomark: Rather than create a separate logo graphic (in addition to the word mark), I chose to have the wordmark act as the entire logo and forego any graphic elements. This allowed me to focus on gaining brand awareness with the acronym and my name.
  4. Color palette:  As a creative company, I wanted my color palette to reflect creativity and originality. I wanted a color combination different from your typical corporate colors of blue, green and red. At the same time, I was also sensitive to being too feminine and not taken seriously. I landed on the color purple with silver accents.  The color purple is most commonly known for imagination and creativity.  It possesses the power of red with the stability of blue.
  5. Font: I wanted to choose a font that was legible, easy to read and modern.  It also needed to have some flare – not your typical body copy font. In addition to the font selection, I chose to break the rules and design the font in lowercase letters.  If you know me and my propensity to correct grammar, you realize this was really thinking outside the box for me, especially 20 years ago!

With all this in mind and several concepts and iterations later, I settled on the logo below: 

A Growing Company

Over the years, as the company grew, our list of services grew.  And, I became we.  We started booking more and more event management clients and events, which meant we had to staff accordingly.  As it grew, it became apparent we needed to set up an additional accounting system for this new venture. Because this was a separate entity with separate billing and services, we decided to establish a separate identity and brand for our event management services of the business.

We considered the same 5 things:

  1. Name:  Because KMC was recognizable in the market, it was key to keep the KMC in the name.  However, our list of services was focused solely on event management and production so we wanted to be sure include that. Thus, KMC Events was born. While not extremely creative, it worked—who and what we did.  
  2. Wordmark:  Again, due to brand awareness and recognition, we decided to keep the same treatment of the KMC acronym, but use it in a reverse style.
  3. Logomark:  Unlike our original logo, we did decide to include a logo mark with this logo.  This mark was three stacked, tilted rectangles with rounded corners. It represented the three aspects of event management: planning, design and execution.
  4. Color palette:  We kept our original purple color to maintain continuity but incorporated two more lighter shades of purple to differentiate between the two logos
  5. Font: As mentioned, we kept the same font treatment in the word mark, but chose a new trendier, clean font for the word events. We specifically chose a font to contrast the font in the word mark and to balance the feel between the two words. And, once again, we stayed with the same treatment of all lowercase letters.

The final logo design:

20 Years Later

As we approached our 20-year anniversary earlier this year, we knew it was time to look inward at ourselves and do what we recommend for our clients: a brand refresh.  A brand refresh aims to update the logo and brand to current trends while still remaining recognizable to customers.

Once again, the 5 things we considered:

  1. Name:  After 20 years, we had built brand awareness and equity in our name KMC. It was time to drop the two different brands of Knorr Marketing Communications and KMC Events and brand as one, integrated company, which is something we have consistently marketed the past few years.  With that in mind, we developed our secondary statement Marketing + Events.  Once again, our name says who we are and what we do.
  2. Wordmark:  The wordmark remains strong and a large part of our identity.  It needed to stay.
  3. Logomark:  Given that we only had a logomark with KMC Events, we decided to drop the graphic element in our logo and move forward with one, clean simple logo.
  4. Color palette: The purple color continues to be a strong element in our overall brand so we didn’t want to lose that identity. However, we incorporated one of the lighter purples from the KMC Events logo to bring both brands together.
  5. Font:  This was one of the biggest changes we made to update the logo to current trends. We chose a simple, clean sans-serif font for both the wordmark and the secondary statement – although they are two different fonts. Continuing to break the rules, we chose a lowercase option across the board (even in our business cards and email signatures with names and titles).  This is still a bit outside-the-box thinking for me – even 20 years later – but I’m embracing pushing the envelope to make a statement to our customers that creativity sometimes pushes the limits if it meets your objectives. Lastly, the most important element of our new logo is the overlap of the letters in KMC, which was a conscious decision to show not only the integration of marketing + events but also our initial and overall identity of integrated marketing communications. 

So, after 20 Years in the Making, I’m excited to unveil our new brand!