brand/

noun

A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.

We all know the technical definition of what a brand is but the better question is how is it created, defined, and maintained? At Laurel & Wolf we believe that a brand identity should never feel like it just came off an assembly line. It needs to tell you a visual story about the company and what went into its formation. Every brand's origin is unique and its identity should speak to that. We believe that a great brand discovers the heart and soul of a company and puts it on display for everyone to see.

Today, we've unveiled a new identity for Laurel & Wolf because the previous one lacked a connection to the brand's story. It was a logo created out of convenience - not out of passion. When we created the company, we needed a logo and it "worked." However, it didn't do a good job of telling people who we are. If we don't know who we are when we present ourselves to the world then how are we supposed to expect that customers will know and remember who we are? You can't be a remarkable brand if nobody remarks about you.

This process began about two months ago when we hired on a new Creative Director, Tim Hankins. Tim was the first designer hired by The Honest Company and helped to build the brand through its early web and packaging design. After four and a half years at Honest, we are thrilled that he has now joined us at Laurel & Wolf, overseeing the brand and its creative vision.

The first thing Tim asked was, "Where did the logo come from and what is the story behind it?" I told him that the story behind it was that it was the logo we liked best out of a group of not great options when we started the business. To be honest, when we started the company, we simply didn't have the money or time to spend on creating something that truly embodied the essence of Laurel & Wolf. 

So we went back to day one. How did the idea for the company come together? What were those first months like? Where did the name come from? Hours of interviews later, Tim had the real story behind the who, what, and why of L&W. 

To begin with, what does the name mean? 

Those who live in Los Angeles are very familiar with canyon roads, especially those who live and work in West Hollywood.  Most people don't know that the "Laurel" in Laurel & Wolf comes from Laurel Canyon as we are proud of being an LA based tech company. The "Wolf" comes from the name of the famous interior decorator, Elsie de Wolfe, who is considered to be the godmother of interior design. She led the way in creating the interior design industry and we wanted to pay her tribute as we are now paving the way to transforming the same industry more than 100 years later. 

Vintage. Classic. Trusted. Bold. Confident. These were all phrases that came up when talking about how the brand should be perceived. Our previous logo was lowercase and casual. It didn't speak to any of those phrases and looked and felt juvenile in comparison. We needed to grow up. We immediately went to the work of Elsie de Wolfe for inspiration. Contemporary and classic typefaces were played with, but we were all drawn to a classic, condensed serif for our new logotype. It inspired trust through its historic look, yet still felt very contemporary in its application. Its weight is bold and in turn its voice can be bold. We are now confident in who we are as a brand when we present ourselves with this logotype and we have built a consistent visual language around it.

The one element we wanted to carry over to the new identity from the old was a unique ampersand. The previous logo had a quirkiness in its odd ampersand, so we concentrated on creating a custom ampersand for each idea during the branding exploration. We also really liked the idea of the ampersand becoming a symbol of the bridge between the services we offer (we design bedrooms "&" living rooms "&" dining rooms "&" etc.), the combination of styles we work with (industrial "&" traditional, eclectic "&" contemporary, etc.) or the connections we can make (client "&" designer, you "&" me, etc.).

The diamond pattern takes its cues from vintage upholstery fabric patterns that were encountered during the discovery phase. It can also be used as a container for the logo, marks or even photos in certain cases which allows it to be a incredibly versatile piece of the identity.

Good design gets out of the way. When we design our clients' rooms, we provide them with a base to no longer worry about what their rooms look like and concentrate on what makes them happy in their spaces. Our designs get out of their way and provide them with peace of mind. Our brand colors do the same. We chose black and white so that our brand colors wouldn't get in the way of our clients' rooms when we present them. We can showcase more when we blend seamlessly with their spaces rather than standing in stark contrast.

So now we are ready. We are bold and confident and ready to show the world the transformational power of great design.