Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Crowdsourcing vs. Design Agency

November 20, 2015 | buchanandesign

What you need to know before choosing price over value.


So you’ve decided to start a business and need a brand, or maybe after years in business your logo needs a serious overhaul. You have decided it’s time to bring in outside support to get the job done. Like most people, you turn to GOOGLE to start your search.

The result is an assortment of local design agencies along with some interesting paid ad options. Being a smart shopper, you visit a few of the agency websites and poke around their work, office culture, and client lists. Then you explore a couple of the online crowdsourcing websites like 99 designs, Crowdspring, etc. Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and choosing what you like best. It’s made even more tempting because the cost is fractional compared with a professional design agency.

This is the moment of truth: do you pick the cheapest option just to have something to put on your business card, or do you choose value and receive a brand identity custom tailored to you and your business?

As a design leader with over 20 years in the industry, I’ve always had the belief that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Not all brand identities are created equal and price should not be the only factor in making your decision. For these reasons, I’ve gathered the following comparisons to help you be better prepared to make your own right decision.

    The online option will force you to become an art director and guide the participants with instructions and information to launch your contest for a new logo. In contrast, most professional design agencies will meet with you in person to understand specific goals, discuss strategic objectives, and complete a project brief that will be a useful tool for both client and design team.
    Crowdsourcing “designers” are often from third world countries and will have very little understanding of your industry or local competitive landscape. A design agency will learn about your company, your goals, and the cultural norms that are shared by you and your customers. Additionally, their proposal will include time to research your industry and your competition for important insight.
    Communication is limited to an online portal with crowdsourcing, and in most cases, time zone differences delay communication even further. Since you are the art director, the process will inevitably turn into a risky game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe… as design options flood your screen. On the contrary, open dialogue regarding concept explanations and rationale are maintained throughout the design process when working with a design agency. You benefit from their experience in the form of guidance, strategic thinking, and asthetic considerations.
    In many, many cases, logo designs presented by online sources have been “borrowed” from the web or design annuals, only to be passed along as original ideas. They believe that most clients may not understand trademark laws or stop to think about the source of the logos presented. We have experienced this first-hand as several of our logos were stolen from published books, modified slightly, and presented online as a menu item. Legal action put a stop to that, but only because we know this type of corruption exists. A design agency understands the importance of original work and reputation.
    Perhaps the most subjective reason for not using crowdsourcing sites is the lack of “concept.” A design agency will spend hours researching the client and their competitive landscape before putting pencil to paper. Online participants don’t have this luxury when competing against 20, 30, or 100 other anonymous individuals. Instead, they submit as many ideas as they can, hoping for one design to stand out so they can get paid. It’s a numbers game. Works for some, but the design profession benefits from experience and process.
    Crowdsourced logos are often produced strictly as a logo alone. These logos are created without the understanding of how they may evolve into a broader identity or brand look. When a logo is developed at a design agency, it is created with a larger brand strategy in mind. A design agency will create the logo in conjunction with a much larger identity plan. Whether or not you desire additional brand collateral, your logo will carry the roadmap to expand as you shape your business going forward.

I understand that hiring someone to help with the creation of a new identity isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I hope you find the information above helpful as you navigate the process of making this important decision.

Branding, Design Industry

Introducing an Interior Designer

September 20, 2015 | buchanandesign

Buchanan Design Interior Designer Business Card

This past summer, we had the pleasure of working with a new designer ready to pop in the interior design scene. It was important to capture what made her so unique. We saw her passion for combining the present and the past.

Sifting through rough concepts of monograms, icons, and wordmarks, we found success in a combination mark: a simple tablescape inspired by Pamela’s eye for detail and love for antiques. Fun history fact for any antique aficionados: a bouillotte lamp is an 18th century table lamp that was named after an old French gambling card game predating poker. Try finding this historic gem at your next flea market visit.

Buchanan Design Interior Designer  Logo & Color Palette

Taking her logo into the 21st century, we went with a pop of chartreuse, orange and royal navy to round out her identity. The fresh new colors brightened her brand, which well-suited her charming name.

Branding, Projects

Canines Forward with Confidence and Heart

August 20, 2015 | buchanandesign

As a design agency partner of Orange Tree Project, Buchanan Design led the rebranding of a local nonprofit in existence since 1998. Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs (TLCAD) creates a dedicated community of trainers and volunteers that provide custom-trained service dogs to individuals with autism and Wounded Warriors in San Diego County. TLCAD was ready to have a fresher, more friendly identity that better represented their furry cause.

The TLCAD logo no longer reflected the 17-year-old nonprofit.

Tender Loving Canines Logo ORIGINAL

In developing a new, exciting identity, we literally captured the heart of Tender Loving Canines. With a warmer purple and brighter gold, the new logo depicts a strong, friendly dog walking forward with confidence. The mark is a symbol for every dog, but more importantly, for every individual gifted with independence gained through TLCAD programs and services. We developed a mark that transforms TLCAD into a contemporary, approachable brand that reflects the values they proudly stand for and their bright future ahead.

Tender Loving Canines Logo by Buchanan Design

If you are interested in supporting their cause, please visit their website:

Branding, Community

2015 Logo Trends

June 24, 2015 | buchanandesign

At Buchanan Design, when we develop a new identity, our focus is to create a look that is timeless and truly unique to the brand promise. In order to stay current, we study and follow industry experts to ensure that we are contributing positively to our profession and leveraging our insight for our clients. Here is an interesting excerpt from an article published by Logo Lounge that takes an interesting look at successful logo trends that have been standing out this last year. Several of our logos have been selected as stellar stand outs in previous years and can be found in many of their publications. Here is more on about the latest logo trends:

Dot Tip


For anyone who has ever expressed a fear of injury from falling on a logo with sharp ends, this group has allayed the danger by safety tipping each pointy offender. Possibly as an attempt to move the mono-line trend forward yet another step, the additions of balls or circles bring closure and add additional weight to designs crafted wholly from lines. There is a nod to science by referencing digital terminals with these, though that is becoming a pretty dated symbol in a world that is reliant on more advanced technology.

Possibly a reference to connect the dot puzzles is more likely. Without the line work, the series of points represents a challenge and the connecting segments provide a solution. Line work on these can still become busy and needs to be minimal to keep the message from becoming too complicated, but it can allude to a pathway or process that helps link disparate points to achieve an effective end. Still, looking at these is reminiscent of a shoe store clerk’s inventive efforts at devising a solution for lacing up footwear with a few too many eyelets.



Designers set on finding a hybrid between simple one-color iconic symbols and a more complex descriptive illustrative mark have landed on a solution. Replete with gradation and contours, highlights and shadow, yet limited detail to keep the marks just on this side of simplistic. Generally, the mark’s iconic outline serves up enough information to complete the messaging when presented at a smaller scale. A closer evaluation or larger presentation reveals subtle volume delineation that creates a tactile temptation for the consumer.

This is just the amount of visual eye candy necessary to lift the logo from a page and create a point of optic differentiation. Some designers might view this technique as a bit to tricky for their liking but time will prove one group or the other right in the end. Although these solutions require halftone and gradation they still convey an economical one-color essence to the public eye. Let’s credit the design direction as moving the conversation forward with solutions that are to the point and not burdened with unnecessary detail.



Pattern in any definition usually includes repetition of elements. That simple fact makes pattern an important component in logo design. It allows a viewer to mentally complete a picture with only partial information. Seeing just part of a checkerboard is enough for us to assume the balance of the missing board will also be covered with a continuing checked pattern. The concentric linear elements of these marks accomplish several fundamental tasks, including pattern recognition, but also allowing lines to volumize and fill space. They are at once massive and bold, yet delicate and fragile.

Bands of lines, often in a loop formation, twist in space to create a rhythmic story to best represent the client. There is elegance to these solutions that seems to flow effortlessly and typically reconnect back to their origin, although not imperative. Played out against a dark background these logos are often packed with high-chroma color and can radiate like neon. It’s also not uncommon to see a gradation in the color to convey an additional message of shift or change as it relates to the entity it represents. This dynamic string art design surged in popularity better than a decade ago but it is seeing a renewed interest with the acceptance of fine line work in identity design.



Shifting the perception of a ubiquitous device can be an arduous task and one from which designers tend to shy away. After all, we trade on the public’s preconceptions regarding symbolic devices. A five-pointed star may evoke nationalism to a major part of the world’s population. That same single star could mean a sub-superior movie or a superior grade on a class assignment. Religious connotations also abound for five- and six-pointed stars. The more polarizing and diverse the symbolism, the more gently designers tread on the celestial minefield. Scrape the meaning and hit re-start on an old friend the four-pointed star, or the proverbial icon for “bling.”

Certainly not a new icon, but one that is on a rocketing resurgence. The four-pointed star is being refitted and reintroduced with a less divisive host of symbolism. Let’s start by acknowledging it’s a happy star, as things that glitter, sparkle and twinkle go. Do note that this same star can be crafted from four semicircles or from eight flat line segments, and both are relatively interchangeable without a shift in meaning. The four-point lens flair effect probably is a more logical representation of a celestial star than a five-pointed star ever will be. It is something to be admired, is still symbolic of good, and frankly, it just brings some pleasant graphic relief.

Pick-Up Sticks


Randomness is an interesting concept that a definition will tell you lacks pattern or predictability. Though repeatedly dropping a fist full of pick-up-sticks will never create the same order twice, it nonetheless will create the same appearance each time. Or in other words a predictable pattern we will call random. What does chaos bring to the table for a designer? It provides a surface that is untamed and represents a consistency of idea that honors the unexpected. Lines are woven together like so many fiberglass strands and are equally as strong because of their unpredictability.

Because of the accidental arrangement, it might reflect the patterns in nature like a woven birds nest or so many pine needles on the floor of a forest. Maybe these remind us of a mud bank that is dried and cracked, or the arbitrary cobweb. All are patterns with a purpose but a dash of mystique as well. Man too weaves these patterns with roads and paths, and with air routes and sea-lanes. Possibly the most compelling reasons for utilizing this in a logo is its confrontational nature. Humans love order and serving up the antithesis guarantees a thoughtful encounter.



It seems only right that as designers focused on mono-line identity solutions look to suck every last breath from the technique, they ultimately would circle back to injecting fields of color. After all, a field of color is the antithesis to the objective of mono-line solutions that rely only on lines to define their subject. This is a natural progression that will stunt the creative juices of designer’s children who’d previously been admonished for NOT coloring outside the lines. All that said, these are really beautiful solutions that maintain a contemporary aesthetic. They manage to hybrid a relevant technique with some nostalgic coloring book skills and a smart limited palette.

This is probably the opportunity to discuss trend evolution. In design, this process has jumped to hyper speed due to the ease of access to the work of other designers. Trends can pop up and vaporize in a week, or they can build traction, morph and linger for years. This report is about identifying trends, not to be copied, but to allow you to lift them forward. Mono-line logos of every iteration have made steady inroads for the last five years or so. This particular trend of coloring is one more variant and it may be the end of a line or it could be the nucleus of an entirely new trajectory. Regardless, designers in the future will look at mono-line logos of any ilk and quickly peg them as a child of this decade.

Circle Break


Imagine a pie chart so great that the middle has been eaten and all you’re left with is a really perfect ring of a crust with the same remnants of the colored wedges left on the perimeter. Occasionally there is a piece or two missing but the rim of a circle is always evident. The colored band areas may represent percentiles, or minutes on a clock, or some less orthodox representation, or they could just provide a decorative effect. An unbroken band like this has so many underlying meanings from continuity, to seamless process, to eternal perfection. The addition of a layer of significant color is just one more bonus message.

Though some of these marks resemble a rotating ring, such a ring has become one more iteration of the ubiquitous loading or as many read it, the “waiting” symbol. Yes, that is a process and we like to discuss process with a mark, but probably not one that leaves consumers adrift in a state of animated suspension. A more positive interpretation is a recognition of multiple parts assembling to work in unblemished unison. This is also a way to introduce some intense color in such moderation that it avoids becoming a garish chroma spectacle.



Obviously the offspring of what happens when a triangle and a pixel hook-up. But not just a solid field of homogeneously consistent triangles. Full of diverse scale and with floating pieces that portray motion and the story of process. These marks are either equilateral or right triangles, but not both in a single mark. They demonstrate a scientific quality and technology, much as a pixel would, but with a much more aggressive feel with sharp points jockeying for a place to land. Almost like peering another layer deep into a field of pixels and discovering their molecular make-up is actually the triangle.

These represent entities that understand the story of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Or a company that uses building blocks in a strategic plan of growth. Much as a tangram puzzle allows the player to create images from triangle parts, there is an almost game like quality to these marks. Note that some use transparency to allow for overlay while others allow for a general gradient to wash over the full logo. Others are a solid color, and in some, the color family is singular but of varied values. Despite the differences, all of these were born of the same DNA.



Those ascribing to traditional identity design tenets scrunch up their face and break into a cold sweat whenever a photographic image is interjected into a logo. You can literally see them squirm and then launch into a litany of challenges to this graphic taboo. Shake it off and embrace it. There is nothing new to using a photograph as we have reported in previous trend articles. In the past, these images have worked their way into a background, or an icon of a single image was used as a mark itself. This trend makes this report, as the last year has been a tipping point for the use of these images fully integrated into the identity vernacular.

A different generation of designers has unabashedly translated skill sets in Photoshop into part of their logo design toolkit. These marks are designed with the same symbolic language we might use in a traditional logo but using photo imagery instead of a graphic or a sketch. Images lift off the page and are often blended with other graphic components to complete the mark. Fusing of “real” and “graphic” elements can introduce wit and whimsy or they can be designed to show gritty reality and detail that is challenging to convey otherwise. Apprehensions be gone.



If it’s important, how do you make sure the world knows? If it’s an email, we go to all caps, or bold face it, or underline it, or maybe we even jump protocol and emphasize the drama by turning it RED with an exclamation point or three!!! Long before those options were available, the master painters and artisans created an ethereal radiance behind their subjects to indicate importance or a call for reverence. To demonstrate this in a graphic manner they used an array of vectors emanating from a central point. This created the effect of a glow that appeared to dissipate as it projected outward. A starburst if you will but generally crafted from mono-weight lines.

This year marked a dramatic bloom in the number of marks incorporating this technique. It may be an offshoot of a need to fill space with a single line weight decoration, but the diversity of application has been extraordinary. At a smaller scale the lines tend to soften down and provide a vector solution that starts to read as a subtle gradation. The merging of two of these nimbus elements can even be a unique way to establish a color blend as demonstrated in the Oblivium logo. Look for designers to investigate how various cultures have dealt with this effect as this technique is here for a spell.



Despite referring to these marks as naive they are about as simple as a fox. There is a renaissance of creating figural logos that have the spontaneity and whimsy of a child’s drawing with the insight and subtle design nuances of a mature rendering. The innocent nature of these solutions brings a smile to the mind. It assures us the product or the owners of the mark are not too full of themselves and likely have a sense of humor.

The handcrafted approaches on these bask in an attitude of anti-perfection that bridges to a large dollop of humanity. They demand a certain flaw to guarantee the human touch. Though these examples are black and white, the use of color is kept simple and as equally uncomplicated. Pattern and detail are important to this trend and help maintain that wide-eyed essence. So wide-eyed that a consumer might feel they too could pick up a pen and create a similar juvenile aesthetic. Practiced designers will recall Picasso once lamented it took him four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.



These marks are for the theorists that have forever believed identity designers are craftily inserting conspiratorial or hidden messages in their work. Assembled from Morse code like morsels, these logos will have pseudo cryptographers’ chomping at the bit to decipher. The truer story is that of many working together as one, demonstrated by a cadre of dots and dashes marching orderly in parallel lines to achieve a common objective. Generally these are seen on a single plain with various percentages of mortar to block combinations, interlocking with the same strength as a brick wall.

Most of these are comprised of elements with rounded or eased tips, though there are plenty with squared tips to be found as well. Color does not seem to be a deal breaker, since our sample logos range from monotone to full-on rainbow. The sequence of the elements conveys an air of a scientific nature, which can be a good fit for a client that trades in formulaic solutions. For the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Clinic, Hornall Anderson emphasized the researchers’ work with a microscope’s window to watch a series of active cells dividing, recombining, and doing their best impersonation of an initial H.

Chroma Coaster


Using a single continuous line to swerve, tip and twist it’s way into a logo is a time-tested tool for designers. Quick and to the point these marks often rely on a line break or shadow at intersections to read well. Imagine any of these marks displayed in a solid color without transparencies and they would hardly capture your attention and could leave you perplexed. Enter the continuous gradation driven stream of hue changing color, coursing through their lineal vein, and a trend is born.

A bit like navigating a roller coaster spewing an ever-changing stream of high chroma plasma in its wake. Color can be transparent, opaque, or with shadows and highlights to convey a 3-D aspect to the mark. Whichever you chose, this demonstrates a trail or a pathway of discovery essential to a client process or consumer service. It moves the mark from a status of dormant to active. It coveys a level of vibrancy in activity and in thought. It might allude to shifts in culture, product or ethos. Either way, this vivid technique makes for a dramatic pop as designers search for ways to incorporate additional layers of information and brighten their solution.



A single thin line can be a beautiful thing to behold, unless it can’t hold it’s own when scaled down. As more monoline logos are crafted, designers are yearning for a way to add value and weight back into a mark. Without resorting to broad fields of tone, the solution is coming about with repetition and pattern hewn out of the same stroke weight and frankly multiplied to near excess.

Patterns may not be practical for viewing at smaller scales but still hold their own weight like the lines of an etching. Expand the scale of the mark and the line work blooms into a riot of decoration. Embellishment still possible without shifting line weight, but selected to enhance the mark by reflecting patterns of the culture, industry,or aesthetic. An homage to a Persian rug, a vintage label, indigenous textiles, or geometric motion each help define the skeleton of the marks shown here.

From the consumer’s perspective, the meticulous line work reflects an attention to detail they may hope to find in the entity it represents. Still composed of at least as much negative space as positive, these marks deliver an airy yet rich product that conveys a strong sense of awareness and craftsmanship.



Shadows in real life come and go without a great deal of attention to them. They provide immense amounts of information to us that we absorb subconsciously to gauge distance, differentiate texture, identify light sources ,and generally keep someone from sneaking up on us from behind if the sun is at our back. Shadows and dimensional letterforms from a typographic perspective give us a chance to demonstrate substance, illicit drama or provide a bit of campy nostalgia to suggest just a few.

There’s absolutely nothing new about the use of the dimensional shadow, but designers are embracing the inclusion of this technique in record numbers and creating them using every conceivable iteration. Less the use of Long Shadows that the user interface designers have latched on to, and much more the graphic solutions that have no intention of fooling the public’s eye. Whether a single letter/monogram or a word or phrase, including a decorative return is akin to knighting a commoner and visually granting the graphic element a dominant role on a page full of bit players.

You can read the full Logo Lounge article by Bill Gardner here.


SPARK 2015

May 21, 2015 | buchanandesign

SPARK 2015 Gala Event Logo Banner

In collaboration with UC San Diego Health Sciences, Buchanan Design was recently tasked with designing the overall look & feel of the 34th Annual SPARK Gala. The committee and event planners were looking for a new identity that would be used for several years to come, while flexible enough to adapt to the visual imagery that we develop year after year.

The refracting lines in the SPARK logo extend upward from a central point, forming an abstract flame. The construction of the flame visually communicates SPARK as a vital source that fuels the center’s on-going efforts toward advancements in cancer treatment and care.

SPARK 2015 Gala Event Collateral

Igniting a brand new SPARK gala, we created the event identity, save the date, invitation, RSVP card, poster, sponsor packet, event program and signage using gold foil over a flood of warm gray to develop a luxurious event collateral system that represents a remarkable evening dedicated to an important cause.

SPARK 2015 Gala

Congratulations to UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center for raising over $2 million! Proceeds from SPARK benefit Moores Cancer Center, one of the top-25 cancer centers in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

Click here to learn more about SPARK 2015 at UC San Diego.

Branding, Events

Introducing the new TEL HI

April 24, 2014 | buchanandesign

Today we introduced the new TEL HI logo to the world with the launch of their new site.

In this new logo, we incoporated a modern minimalistic version of the red house – an icon synonymous with the history of Telegraph Hill Neighbor Center and an integral part of the original logo. Along with streamlining the look, we streamlined the organization name. From the many years we have worked with this organization, we realized that most people know and refer to Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center as “TEL HI”. In the new logo we have emphasized “TEL HI” and advised the organization to embrace the name of TEL HI brand wide – now using TEL HI to refer to the organization in all communications and even using as the URL for the new website.

The new website is a product of close collaboration with TEL HI. Out of the many conversations we had, we discovered that it was important to bring emphasis to the different programs, events, and news – as well as be visually engaging to the many different groups that the center interacts with. It was also apparent that the site needed to be built on a platform that would allow different users in the organization to easily make updates to various parts of the site.

We ended up with a very dynamic mobile-responsive site built in wordpress to allow the TEL HI team to make updates on the fly. Visually, we pulled in many vibrant colors and photos to reflect the diverse community involved with TEL HI. We also blocked off an area on each page to highlight the latest events, news, and advertising related to the individual page topic.

Visit the new site and take a look for yourself.

Branding, Case Studies, Website

Living Zoe

August 21, 2013 | buchanandesign


We all shop. We all want to help those who need support. We all have access to the internet. So how about you combine all three? In a matter of minutes, every purchase you make can help an organization around the world. If it sounds too easy, it’s because it is. Living Zoe was created to make this simple. Currently in it’s second year, the founder approached us to see if we would be interested in helping them brand their organization. After a couple of conversations, it was clear that the Living Zoe vision was perfectly aligned with many of the reasons why we created OrangeTree Project.

We agreed and are now in the trenches designing a new identity including brand guidelines, marketing materials, a website and a video to help spread the “shop forward” movement. Think of everyday items that you’re already buying, why not browse for your favorite online stores though the Living Zoe platform? You can instantly help a cause of your choice, or let the team at Living Zoe use the earned dollars to help causes that directly support children like orphans and child soldiers. More to come in the months ahead.


Branding, Projects

A Satisfied Customer is a Beautiful Thing

July 29, 2013 | buchanandesign

A satisfied customer delights in your products or services—reassured by experiences that exceed their expectations. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer—eager to recommend your brand to family, friends and colleagues. In fact, satisfied customers are among a brand’s greatest assets.

From hospitality and medical practice groups to technology companies and brand design firms, the ability to maintain high customer satisfaction levels is critical in shaping growth strategies. Because understanding why customers are satisfied—or dissatisfied—empowers more effective communications, guides product or service development, builds valuable loyalty, generates brand buzz, and results in enthusiastic referrals.

So when was the last time you asked your customers what they feel about your brand? Are they satisfied with the products or services your company provides? Or are they merely tolerating their dissatisfaction while seeking new relationships?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it just might be time to survey your customers. And when you do, here are five thoughts to keep in mind.

Ensure customers have every opportunity
to tell you what they think.

Corporate boardrooms are focused on metrics and measurements like never before. Illustrated statistical data, graphs and charts are everywhere—from USA Today and People Magazine to social media and mobile apps. Rating based survey questions are very valuable. But the most valuable part of any customer survey is the narrative. So include open-ended questions that enable customers to provide specific, actionable feedback in their own words.

Don’t insult your customers—they’re smarter than you think.

The goal of surveying is to gather honest, unbiased feedback. So don’t compromise the integrity of your efforts—or risk insulting your customers—by including a disproportionate number of positive answers from which to choose. Any potential for eliciting “false positives” through poor survey design can result in unintended conclusions. Eliminate possible bias and achieve more credible information in the process.

Your customer has options.
So do you when it comes to research methodology.

Customer surveys are valuable tools. They come in many types and sizes, costs and complexities. Management should always consider their research options when critical business decisions hang in the balance. Focus group testing, qualitative market research, eye tracking and usability studies, and test marketing are among the many research approaches available. So thoroughly consider your objectives for conducting research, and then select an experienced partner and the right methodology to achieve optimum results.

Share the results of your survey with the customer.

Have you completed a survey for a favorite restaurant, personal care product, or recent purchase only to never hear from the company again? Well, that’s how your customers feel if they don’t hear from you after completing your survey. So communicate what the company learned and how it is going to put that knowledge to good use. For example, by reaching out to dissatisfied customers you demonstrate that their opinions are important to the company and that you’re prepared to do something about it. This alone might even replace their dissatisfaction with a renewed sense of confidence in the brand. Of course, satisfied customers will want to know why others are reassured by their decision to give your company their business.

Finally, turn your customers’ feedback into action. Unless your company is prepared to respond positively and proactively to negative feedback, you probably shouldn’t be surveying your customers anyway. Used properly as a management tool, however, and even less-than-favorable results can ignite positive changes within your organization. The type of change, in fact, that can spell the difference between failure and success. So don’t sweep the bad news under the rug. Turn it into the kind of motivational spark that turns average companies into leaders, contenders into winners.

Have you been considering a customer survey of your own? Buchanan Design will be happy to help. So why not give us a call?


A New Brand Takes Flight

March 15, 2013 | buchanandesign

One of the many pleasures of working at Buchanan Design is the opportunity to learn about different products and industries that I would otherwise know nothing about. Recently we worked on designing the identity and stationery for Velo Aviation. This is a company that buys, sells, and brokers commercial airplane parts all over the world.

Unknown to me, this was a huge industry that spanned the world and thousands of companies. With so many companies out there, it would be easy to get lost in the sea of corporate blue identities with typical airplane, gear, globe and ‘swish’ imagery. Lucky for us, Velo Aviation was not a company that wanted to stick with the status quo – they were a different type of company and they wanted to stand out as such.

Buchanan Design - Velo Aviation - Logo - March 2013

To start off, we immediately gravitated towards the color red – both because it was unusual in the industry and because it was bold. We went with an asymmetrical logo design – activating the identity and capturing the uniqueness of the company. Rather than sticking to the basic image of a plane, we took a visual that represented the idea of commercial airplane parts, (the fuselage), and abstracted it to the point where the average person would see an interesting shape, but anyone in the industry would automatically see a plane part.

We are very happy with the results and look forward to expanding the look as Velo Aviation begins to take off.


Buchanan Design - Velo Aviation - Website Preview - March 2013

Branding, Projects

Introducing Pacific Arts Movement

November 1, 2012 | buchanandesign

Today is the start of the 13th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival. Aside from being a big fan of asian cinema, I am extra excited for this festival as it will be the first that the San Diego Asian Film Foundation will be hosting under their new name and identity: Pacific Arts Movement.

Earlier this year, Lee Ann Kim of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation came to us to help them develop a new website and identity, as Pacific Arts Movement.

In developing the new identity for Pacific Arts Movement, we tried to capture the essence of the organization by representing a few key elements…

Coming Together:
At its heart, this logo represents the idea of many converging as one. This reflects the idea of many countries, cultures, art forms, ideas, and people that are brought together at the many events and experiences created by the Pacific Arts Movement.

On the surface, the flowing organic shape of the logo illustrates the “pacific”. However, the shape is really meant to represent not only that Pacific Arts Movement showcases are in constant change and also that they work to spark growth and change in the individuals that encounter them.

The logo also works as a stylized infinity symbol. This represents Pacific Arts Movement’s constant movement forward – reaching to involve and represent more cultures and to facilitate the future of film by constantly seeking out the newest films and supporting the development of tomorrow’s film makers.


For the website, we opted for a clean, modern look (mixed with some custom illustration) to match the personality of the organization. We paired this look with an easy to use content management system so that updates could be made on the fly by multiple users in the organization. The result is a visually engaging site that lives and breaths with constant content updates.

View the site and logo at

Branding, Case Studies, Events, Projects, Website

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