From Eminent Events by Chase to design2 by Chase Dowell | Interior Design and Event Planning, entrepreneur and Houston’s own interior designer, Chase Dowell, got to a point where he wanted to take one last step towards his brand and identity. Realizing that his brand was his name and his true passions, he was ready to make this final branding venture the last.

THE CHALLENGE

Chase Dowell approached me with the unique challenge of making this his final brand identity and it needed to be a luxury brand. There two challenges for me were: 1) I didn’t know what elements made up a luxury brand and had no experience in designing for one, and 2) Making sure this is someone’s final identity is an intimidating experience. You want to get it right.

THE APPROACH

It was decided that Chase Dowell Interior Design would be the final name for his business. We talked about future goals, the direction, and settled on clear objectives that I could design for. His identity needed to be flexible to accommodate additions to his brand, such as an Architecture division, Show Rooms, and a Collection. I also had to design around the brand attributes of: Bold, High Fashion, Practical, Innovative, Social, Friendly, Industry Leading, Lifestyle, Luxurious, Versatile, Clean, and Expressive. A lot of this direction was based on the moodboard I have every client of mine put together. This puts us on the same page for visual direction and allows me to pull inspiration from it.

Brand Strategy and Moodboard

Brand Strategy

To help inform some of the design decisions for Chase Dowell’s business, I had to research what ingredients made a luxury brand. Research brought me to Chanel and Calvin Klein with Chanel setting the tone and foundation for my research. When I finished, I had discovered that it was their heritage, history, traditions, rituals, and exclusivity that defined them as luxury brands. But no other element was as strong as the brand story. It’s not only the social values of the brand people want to be associated with, but the history and story as well. It is the inclusive nature of belonging to a lineage of class that entices those who seek luxury brands.

Discovering this, it set the direction for my first order of business: the creation of a brand story and building assets that would not only be a part of the story, but grow with the history and longevity of this business.

Trip to Market Square

Living in High Point grants me easy access the world’s largest furnishings trade show that brings in over 75,000 people every six months, The High Point Market Square.

Continuing my research and attempting to get saturated in this industry to better understand it, I took a trip over to one of the bigger interior design brands, Phillips Collection. From there I went to the main Market Square building to visit their year round showrooms. I was able to check out other brands and see how versatile a lot of brands had to be. There were window dressings, window adhesives, signs, handouts, catalogs, flyers, etc. I was able to see how versatile a lot of them had to be to not only engage the consumer, but also compete with neighboring brands for attention. This gave me a better idea and foundation of how much the identity needed to stretch and adapt from showroom to advertising to product lines.

Brainstorming, Sketching, & Exploring

As always, I’m exploring various concepts during this stage. This is truly a brain dump of ideas and thoughts on paper. First I sketch, then I move a select few to digital. If you look carefully, you’ll notice I came across the final solutions early on in the process. I never know if one of these concepts will be the final solution until I digitize the strongest concepts and work out more versions on the computer. Since I (currently) lack the skill of hand-lettering, I’m unable to hand draw fonts exactly as I see them. Bringing them onto the computer allows me to apply several fonts to a concept to quickly start eliminating ideas and font styles.

I tried several different kinds of marks: symbols, wordmarks, lettermarks, combinationmarks, and emblems. When it came down to it, I decided to develop a brandmark, wordmark and lettermark.

A Flexible System & Identity

After many rounds of concepts and explorations I landed on a very simple and flexible solution. I created a design system based on one of the most basic geometric shapes: the Square.

For a week I couldn’t figure out what this system could be. After revisiting the client’s blog and looking through some of the articles, one in particular stood out. In that post a certain line captivated me: “I’m now guided by intention, and I look forward to sharing this journey with you.”
Intention.

Everything and everyone is just a shell or an empty space until it is filled with intent and purpose to define how that person or thing communicates to others. This idea of filling a space with intent to define how it communicated with others was a message I felt appropriate to the identity considering that’s what interior design is: defining empty spaces with intent.

Running with this, I went to Google’d floor plans. While other shapes and polygons grew out of these, the foundation for each came from a square or its neighboring cousin: the Rectangle. Everything from desks, to beds, to tables held these two basic shapes. Ultimately, this became the foundation for the brand narrative: intent and definition. This lead to creating a narrative around this idea that came to prompting the target audience with the question: How Is Your Space Defined?

And from there, the rest fell into place.

The Square

Brand Asset Narrative & Story

One of the purest creations conceived by the human hand. Its stability is trustworthy and practical. One can find order and solidarity in it. It is a symbol for boundaries and how far one can set them—a space with infinite possibilities. Chase Dowell has decided to fill that space with timeless intent, allowing the four corners to aesthetically expand into navigable, safe experiences that allow the five senses to experience the aura of being.

The Brandmark

Crafted 100% by squares, it was created to provide the brand with a very recognizable, distinctive mark that would become an iconic mainstay to the brand overtime. In observing the landscape of luxury brands, these marks are used a social or class marker. It communicates to others a direct distinction in financial wealth, the community you belong to, and as a member of the elite, rich history that comes with luxury brands.

I wanted to design something that was timeless, simple, and memorable. I also designed to something that could scale to meet the many applications it had to adapt to. I developed the letters “C” and “D” by laying a square object atop another, using Illustrator’s Pathfinder tool to cut the shapes. Laying the letters inside the square meant the space was now defined by Chase Dowell as his initials take up 80% of the mark.

The Wordmark

Crafted 100% by squares, it was created to provide the brand with a very recognizable, distinctive mark that would become an iconic mainstay to the brand overtime. In observing the landscape of luxury brands, these marks are used a social or class marker. It communicates to others a direct distinction in financial wealth, the community you belong to, and as a member of the elite, rich history that comes with luxury brands.

I wanted to design something that was timeless, simple, and memorable. I also designed to something that could scale to meet the many applications it had to adapt to. I developed the letters “C” and “D” by laying a square object atop another, using Illustrator’s Pathfinder tool to cut the shapes. Laying the letters inside the square meant the space was now defined by Chase Dowell as his initials take up 80% of the mark.

Meeting the Brand Where Its At Today

Since my client is just now starting design school, I had to make sure the identity was able to scale to meet his present reality. The full vision hasn’t been realized yet and I didn’t want this identity to put him in a place he currently didn’t have the resources to maintain it or keep up with it. With that in mind, I another round of idea mocks to showcase how the identity can be used starting today. This was an opportunity to start building the narrative of the brand’s history, and put the Square, the colors, the brandmark, and workmark in front of his target audience.

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