Case Study: How Business Strategy Drove a Brand Design

by Darren Schwindaman | Principal / Designer

Michael Gentry came in for a logo refresh for his landscaping business, Southern Shades of Green. During our initial discovery when exploring goals for what he wanted out of the redesign, he talked about his business goals. The lawn care business is highly commoditized and competitive, and Michael really wanted to work on larger-scale projects with more creative flexibility. (That part was easy for me to relate to.) The conversation really got into the ability of what we do to solve real problems for people. Michael's range of skills as a certified landscape horticulturist weren't being used to its fullest. That was leading to stagnant energy and less satisfaction with the business. Michael wanted projects where he'd be able to work with homeowner and commercial clients who'd trust him to give consultation and design advice from the beginning. We started talking about what would appeal to contractors, high-end homeowners, and commercial development clients. We kept coming back to Michael's approach: extremely consultative, customized to each landscape and taking into account aesthetics, natural sunlight and water flow, and how the space would be used. The answer presented itself: rather than hiding behind a business name to seem more professional, Michael should be leaning into his own name to depict himself as an expert that should be trusted with high-end projects. We decided to start working with Michael Gentry Landscape Design as a brand more suited for the type of work Michael was going after.

Logo Design

Here's an early monogram we did, playing with a high-end look and plant-inspired forms.

During our research, we got really excited coming across some of these landscape design diagrams:

We incorporated those forms into a G, and started coming up with a cool, unique G:

From there, we did several rounds of tightening, checking how the logo scaled, etc. We ultimately settled on a rich, dark green that hit the right balance between luxury and organic. The background support element of the topographic lines appears on the business card and letterhead package.

Finally, we created sales materials that'll give Michael everything he needs to spark conversations with his desired audience. It's just the beginning of his journey, but the brand strategy sets him up to enjoy his business more and build a clientele that'll allow his full set of skills. I'm proud of this process from start to finish: identifying the role of branding in transforming how he'll experience his business. One Year Update: I caught up with Michael recently, who says that the new identity has changed his business "basically overnight." He's getting more of the jobs he wants and expanding the construction side to build more elaborate outdoor spaces. We love hearing these types of results!

Get us involved in strategy as early as possible! Contact us to talk about your project.