Interview by the Founder of StudioRed: A 37 year old Brand and Product Development Firm.
Tell us about StudioRed’s history in the branding field.
“StudioRed is a 37 year old brand and product development consulting firm. Our long history in Silicon Valley, California was built on the decades of growth in technology innovation and development of new products. Many of these innovations were made in new industries where no product or experience existed. This led to ripe opportunities to create a branded product and experience to stake its claim on the innovative space.
StudioRed provides creative innovation in areas of product research, brand, product and UX/UI design, Mechanical Engineering and prototyping. Most of our programs use all the services up to and including production launch somewhere in the world.”
So how did you (StudioRed) become one of the top recognized branding agencies?
“That is a difficult question to answer simply. It takes lots of experience to do the process well. Sometimes great ideas do not succeed in gaining market share and others do. Large recognized successes validate the innovation, creativity and process but it takes a lot of tries to achieve the few, “out of the park” successes.
One thing we do that is somewhat unique is; we create broadly disciplined teams with designers, engineers, prototyping and production specialist all focused on the same problem. Then we have intimate interaction between all team members on known checkpoints to insure all stakeholders can enhance the results.”
What’s your brand design process?
Designers often begin by defining the products messaging. This is based on the clients corporate brand message, the products function and innovation and the users “persona” which can be defined at the start. Then the objectives, as defined, are turned into visual cues which represent the written definition. In other words we create iconic visual representations that the users understand and define our intended meaning. The broad and overarching strategic visuals are then tested to see which resonate and which the client best feels represents their message.
One example we did for a startup called Therasense became the largest recognized innovator in diabetes care and after being purchased by Abbott, became their diabetes line and captures the largest market share today.
Their original branding statement was simple and painless (easy interaction and alternative site use, like arm or leg instead of finger pricks). Our research work also determined, although it was to be friendly it must represent lifesaving accuracy. These attributes suggested some guiding features like simple interface which we reduced to two buttons. Vision impaired users suggested the largest screen which we enhanced by adding a back screened lens which increased its visual size. We also hid a T and S in the iconic design which became the impetus of the branded logo “Freestyle”.
Things like color and texture also influence the richness of the brand. We chose a blue that mixed “friendly” with “secure and accurate” so it was not too consumer or medical focused but in between.
If you look closely the lens looks like it is sitting on a blood drop which is the exact behavior of the strip picking up the blood drop. The result was that this branded product picked up 15% of a market share that was dominated by LifeScan and was purchased for 1.2 billion dollars and became Abbot Diabetes whole product line.
How would you define Brand Design & Development?
Brand design can take the form of a graphic logo, product and even digital UX/UI app development. In some cases the product design influences and provides icons for the brand to follow. Sometimes the graphic logo and how it represents the brand influences the product. Often we do it together and they are developed in unison which also can include the app development too.
Facebook wished to expand their market share by expanding their user base. One natural way was to add new smartphone users to the world’s population of users. How better to do this than with a low cost smartphone cell service which focused on adding cell services to the 3rd world. We were involved in developing a “cell tower in a box” which when plugged into a network, can offer up to 500 smartphones to function in an area they previously did not. We developed the branded enclosure for the system, its installation process and experience and created the logo which represented the system and user community.
The idea was to connect users from around the world, first, second and third worlds. Also land, sea and sky represented the world. The dots were the communication points, like our “Cell tower in a box” system.
The whole package lead to a new facebook community https://oc.telecominfraproject.com/ including its digital brand and even “T” shirts.
If you had one tip for others following in your footsteps, what would it be?
“How to become a top branding firm is not easily defined. It seems there is lots of time and experience needed, some luck involved in who we get to work with, and market influencers (the most important) who define which succeed and which lose.”