Branding Is Not About Designing A Single Visual Guide, but Rather a Complete Design System

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6 min readJul 14, 2022

Mebelis Paris — Bespoke interiors re(de)fined with strategy and design

INTRO

Mebelis is a Paris-based interior design studio with a manufacturing facility that provides bespoke design solutions to individuals and architects alike. They hired us to audit the brand and discover new opportunities to improve its visual identity to help the company compete within the mid-high level providers of interiors in France.

CONTEXT

At its core, this project is about crafting not a single visual guide or pattern library but rather a complete design system. One of the main challenges we face as designers and strategists is to create brand assets guided by clear standards that can be assembled together to build any number of applications.

In this case, our client gave us a somewhat vague brief, i.e. the freedom to explore different directions. His end-goal was to help him create an effective marketing collateral that would give mebelis a competitive market advantage to outperform its competitors in Paris.

SOLUTION

To stand out, especially in the architecture and interior design industry where everyone has beautiful imagery, is becoming increasingly harder. We believe that a well-thought design system with proper structure and documentation is what can leverage the visual identity, and thus position our client’s services amongst the best in the field.

Beautiful imagery is just not enough.

This project came to us soon after we opened our studio in 2018. We felt challenged not only to do our best work but to build something beyond just beautiful visuals. Instead, we focused on the embodiment of a holistic system of visual concepts that would give substance to the branding.

Branding, like interior design, is all in the details.

The concept of ‘attention to detail’ coupled with the desire to deliver something unique and long-lasting is at the heart of both the company’s service and its identity. We did that intentionally. The new branding had to convey the same level of preciseness, multilayeredness, and tailor-made attitude with which the team approached each project.

PROCESS

Understanding the how and the what behind every design system is essential for the process. However, understanding the why is even more crucial to creating an exceptional user experience.

That’s why we start every collaboration by asking many open-ended questions and listening to what our clients have to share. Communication is central for us, and we kept the conversation going within our team and with the client.

Our team went through detailed brand auditing and research to better understand the industry and market landscape. Then, we combined our insights and research observations and defined several pain points. Typically, this stage sets the tone for new ideas to start popping up and find novel solutions on how to tackle problematic areas.

We started the design process with a simple goal in mind — the look and feel of the visual branding needed to relate to the style of interior mebelis crafts. To us, the colour schemes, fonts, and graphic elements were integral parts of the new brand identity.

Next, we took the existing green colour and added some depth to it.

Another element we noticed that needed improvement was the logo. It’s a logotype at its core, which works fine in its own right.

However, after analysing the wordmark thoroughly, we concluded that it lacks character and has nothing to make it stand out. We know that a logotype should promote name recognition, and its success depends on how well the typography matches the new identity.

And so we decided to redo the logo by applying the ‘attention to detail’ concept. Opting for making some very subtle improvements, allowed us to bring out that versatile character we were going after, and eventually limit the risk of brand confusion.

While designing digital and print assets, user experience, information design, and production quality were equally crucial in achieving our prime goal. Due to our iterative design process, we created multiple wireframes and explored several art directions to ultimately improve the quality and functionality of all materials we designed.

Website
Catalogue

In choosing a classical, even conservative to some extent, design approach, we managed to strip down the unnecessary and show the essence of what this brand is about — a truly French style. We aimed for a neat brand presentation that is effortlessly elegant, characterised by neutral colours, clean lines, and timeless basics. Another aspect was to achieve synergy between the service and brand’s new visual identity.

RESULTS

Looking back, when we first started working on the project, we thought of offering more strategic solutions to our client to position mebelis in the premium segment. We saw the brand’s potential to provide a sizable amount of interiors not only to individual clients but also to business ones as well. As per our client’s feedback, the new branding succeeds in showing that same potential.

In terms of timeframe, the execution of this project required a lot of time and effort. Nearly three months passed since we had the initial conversations until delivering the final materials — brand assets, catalogues, stationery, a prototype of a website, and more.

We believe that craftsmanship is never low-priced.

Our work adds value to our client’s business because it provides complete and tailored solutions to their needs in a tangible manner.

KEY LEARNINGS

In closure, here are some takeaways we want to share:

— Conservative does not have to be boring

— Conservative still means great visuals and high-quality production

— When there is nothing characteristic about the brand, we are the ones capable of designing traits to stand out

— The new visual identity is neither ultra-premium nor ultra-affordable, but just right

— (Sometimes) rules can be friends. We followed several rules to guide us throughout the process. Some of them were to utilise the typography, be playful with colour and shape, make the branding flexible, and use the logo as an instrument to house images and other elements.

That’s all for today. More stories are yet to come soon. If you enjoyed this one, hit the follow or subscribe button to get you notified when we post the next one.

Cheers!
Alike Studio

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Alike

Sofia-based design studio crafting brand systems, products, and experiences that benefit people and companies alike. 👀 alike.studio