My first project with WG was to design a “real” brand with the basic elements – logo, color palette, typography, brand guide, and press kit. WG had been operating essentially without a brand since its inception in 2016. A logo existed, but the company was a bit ashamed of it and greatly downplayed its existence in marketing collateral. So much so that banner ads didn’t clearly identify the company or the service adequately.
The new brand was designed to appeal to a set of four markedly different user personas, which was sometimes a challenge. Nothing could be too couture or too heartland, but also needed to appeal to military and executive or stock broker types. A balance had to be found, especially with the logo and color palette. And due to the close-knit community focus of WG, the brand had to appeal strongly to the current consumer base, but also to a larger potential consumer pool.
A breakdown of the brand design process and exploratory elements is included at the end of this page.
My concept for the logo focused on a sharp monogram icon that would appeal to the distinct user personas, as well as those new to WG. After a couple of iterations of typography, the final logo is a clean, modern, somewhat masculine monogram style with an icon suitable for intensive branding efforts.
Because user personas and moodboards were used to define and understand who I was designing for, the very first logo concept produced was accepted and put into service.
Once colors and typography were decided, I designed a comprehensive brand guide with rules for logo usage, typography, color codes, style guide, and moodboards. The brand guide is a print-ready PDF that can be viewed digitally or printed in booklet format for that extra oomph when presenting materials to investors. An accompanying press kit with logo variants, official photography, and banner graphics was also created.
Continuing in the vein of creating a noteworthy first impression, black cardstock stationery was designed for investor presentations and correspondences. Stationery elements include letterhead and envelopes, business cards, and a complimentary notebook. The stationery is bit more mature with a silver foil replacing the primary “WG Orange” brand color.
Product inserts were also designed for each subscription and retail watch shipment. Each insert includes press kit photos from the watch designer and/or WG-provided photos of the watch, with detailed specs on the backside. Certain watches include a higher end black cardstock insert.
I hadn’t actually seen WG’s existing packaging, so my concepts were created from scratch. My goal was to create a collection of strongly branded, visually stunning packaging components with lots of goodies for recipients that would inspire social media sharing. Having worked with a few subscription box providers previously, and from being a moderately successful Poshmark seller, I learned that these thoughtful and comprehensive experiences generate tons of word-of-mouth and social media marketing. They create a customer satisfaction not attainable with bare bones or drop shipping – the more branded goodies in the box, the happier the customer. And since WG customers frequently do unboxing videos and posts, these components are especially effective in generating positive buzz.
My idea was to provide a distinct shipping box (orange or black for different customer levels) containing a branded keepsake watch box or roll to house the watch, monogrammed tissue paper, product inserts, other printed promo items (varied), vinyl decals, product tags, and a complimentary cleaning cloth. Keepsake boxes, totes, stickers, and other reusable items generate ongoing, effortless marketing for years, which only increases with dispersal.
Several branded merchandise items were designed for display at events and for retail sale. Items designed include sweatshirts, hoodies, tee shirts, caps, reusable cloth totes, watch boxes and rolls, and face masks. One of my personal favorite customer gifts are branded cloth bags. People use them for all sorts of things, and it’s just pure exposure for the brand, usually in public spaces. I’ve seen remarkable, tangible ROI on gift totes with my former company (Corvus Design Studio).
Additionally, WG is conceptualizing their own watch collection. I created mockups for various watch styles, including chronographs and high end “Tudor style” watches, as well as brick and mortar signage for an imagined LA-based watch boutique.
I was excited to tackle the homepage and “The Wheel” pages for WG. The homepage was a complete UX, content architecture, and aesthetics revamp, while “The Wheel” was more UI redesign and a less prominent aesthetics revamp. The goals of both revamps were to create a more intuitive user experience, streamline interactive processes, create a sense of credibility, and integrate the new brand design.
The redesign of WG’s homepage focused primarily on content architecture and trust-building. The previous homepage was abbreviated and lacked vital information about what WG does. The overuse of landing/splash pages, tiny text, nearly hidden links, and lack of cohesion in navigation created a strong feeling of skepticism. It felt as though the website was designed to trick or confuse the user.
The truth is that WG is plagued with negative reviews across many online platforms, so this confusing user experience was especially harmful. The theme of these reviews revolves around the fact that WG purchases watches from unknown brands and white label manufacturers across the world, leading some to conclude that they are “cheap” and that the advertised discounts are false. The vague and unintuitive homepage only solidified this idea by creating a “popup store” feeling. Countering this stigma about WG was a primary focus for me. With every pixel placement, my goal was to maximize user-friendliness, promote services in a matter-of-fact way, and ensure that nothing was confusing, vague, or gimmicky.
The previous tactic at WG was to ignore the negative reviews so as not to “give them a voice”; however, it’s impossible to ignore them when they’re so numerous they compete for ranking on the first page of Google. Instead, my intent was to directly counter them with a user experience that was undeniably authentic. My opinion was that the new comprehensive packaging combined with an improved online user experience would create an immediate sense of credibility and authenticity.
One good thing about the deep skepticism online is that it also extends to reviews. As more consumers are realizing both positive and negative reviews are frequently manipulated, and on large scales, overall reliance on reviews is decreasing. In fact, there are even websites that analyze online reviews of products and companies, by comparing the review language and patterns, to determine the probability and percentage of fake entries. But, despite this waning trust in online reviews, we’re not yet to the point where they can be ignored by businesses. And although the negative reviews of WG are legitimate, from genuinely dissatisfied customers, they are still harmful and needed to be offset, if not completely negated, by addressing the user experience across all collateral materials and promoting those experiences via social media. My aim was to create collateral items, both intellectual and tangible, that catalyze this process.
“The Wheel” is a feature unique to WG, where users purchase watches through an interactive “wheel”. It’s like a gameshow, and users have the chance to win a high end watch (aka “grail”) of their choice at a great discount. Users populate the wheel “seats” with their chosen watches from 8 price point-separated groups, with the chances of landing on each successive seat becoming progressively smaller – as the price increases, the chance of landing that watch decreases. It really plays into the risk-taking, gambling-loving side of a lot of people. It’s Vegas, but you win a discounted watch instead of money.
The previous wheel design was cumbersome and outdated. The user had to scroll the entire page to view and select watches, then back up to the top to add it to the wheel. I redesigned the UI so that the wheel and watches were above the fold to eliminate constant scrolling, and to create a more intuitive experience. I changed the vernacular of the wheel in several instances for the sake of intuitiveness, and streamlined the processes for adding, deleting, and changing watches on the wheel. Next, I updated the graphics with the new brand and colors to create a bolder, more modern look, and introduced the option to toggle the interface colors between light and dark themes. Another important addition is a toggle-able “tooltip” option that, when activated, displays helpful tips at key UI spots throughout the wheel as a way to help new users quickly learn the wheel terms and functions.
As WG’s digital marketing efforts are very aggressive, promo emails and banner ads are a regular, rapidly produced fixture at the company.
WG’s banner ad campaigns are intensive and aggressive. Do a search for WG, and you’ll get tons of adverts going forward. It’s effective, but the ads become stale quickly. Banner ads of all sizes were created frequently and treated as experimental in their diverse styles and targets. It was a case of quantity over quality; basically throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Banner ads were created and used rapidly, and the following is a sampling of what were referred to as “WG generic ads” that advertise the service as a whole, not a specific product or event.
As with banner ads, promo emails were utilized aggressively. Multiple emails were sent to subscribers per week, mostly advertising new watches or features on the wheels.
The following is a sampling of weekly promo emails advertising various featured watches on the wheel. These image-based emails were templated, with little room for change, and implemented into Mailchimp. The email campaigns also included accompanying animated SMS graphics, banner ads for desktop and mobile, and sometimes social media imagery.
The following is a summary of the brand design process that shows some of the elements produced in discovery and exploration. The brand design process included the creation of detailed user personas of WG’s primary consumers, logo comps, color palettes, and typography samples.
WG’s user personas were created based on active consumer demographic analysis combined with data collected via Trust Pilot and Crazy Egg. WG’s facebook community was also helpful in understanding the most prominent consumer genres.
Analysis determined that WG’s primary consumer base included four distinct personas, with the highest consumer concentrations in California, Texas, New York, and Florida. Each persona is markedly different in age, lifestyle, and consumer motives, but clear overlaps were easily identified. The most obvious overlaps included interest in the outdoors, casual and couture styles, gadgets, and a love of high end watch brands. WG’s brand design focused on these overlaps in order to appeal to the full spectrum, and with a special focus on military persons, which occupy a large percentage of WG consumers.
These detailed personas were designed specifically for inclusion in the style section of the brand guide, and within an investor proposal.
As WG’s CEO is very visual, I created more elaborate color palettes that include abbreviated moodboards and product mockups. Color explorations were divided into multi-color palettes and single primary color palettes.
The finalized palette is a bold orange with deep marine blue, charcoal, medium and light gray, and white accent colors. To avoid a Halloween theme, the deep marine blue and charcoal were used instead of black as the most common contrast colors. It’s clean, modern, masculine, but not unappealing to women, and creates opportunities to really stand out from the crowd. The colors perfectly compliment the logo and offer more versatility of style to appeal to the entire persona spectrum.
Although the font chosen for the logo works well in that capacity, it wasn’t a viable font for other purposes due to its limited features. Because of that, it was necessary to select a different font for web headings and print usage. I wanted to use a modern font that reflected the sharp lines of the logo, and “Brandon Grotesque” fit that bill nicely. But, this font didn’t work well for smaller paragraph text, so a third font was necessary. The font “Graphik” was chosen because of its viability for web use, and its extensive weight variants. The following is a sample of typography explorations, which were also specifically designed for inclusion in the brand guide.
Homepage | Adobe XD screenshot of desktop and mobile
“The Wheel” dark theme | Adobe XD screenshot of desktop and mobile
Homepage | pixel perfect, finalized version
“The Wheel” dark theme | pixel perfect, finalized version
“The Wheel” light theme | pixel perfect, finalized version