The Motorist Insurance Group prides itself on fostering a culture and way of thinking that breeds innovation and promotes empowerment, collaboration, and fresh ideas. As such, it was necessary for their new identity and environmental graphics to reflect and fully embody this mentality.
We partnered with WSA to bring Motorist Insurance Group’s new identity to life in environmental graphics. As part of the exercise, we also created a name and identity for the new Innovation Center. The Intersection is the name given to the space with people + environment + technology = innovation as its tagline.
The multi-dimensional logo brings the name to life and can be seen throughout the space. Public corridors show off the Motorists’ new logo and environmental graphics treatment. Designs on the glass cast shadows on the newly refreshed interiors, and the new Motorists logo mark accents each window niche. The centerpiece, located in the break room, features a four-sided rendition of the new mark located around a column.
Test test test test test. Test test test test test TEST TEST TEST. Test test test test test.
White Design Studio in Cincinnati has expanded to C-bus. Muti-disciplined designer Peter White has moved back to his hometown in Columbus, Ohio and is quickly making his presence known talking to local partners and customers. Plans for additional space is on the boards, and Peter is intent on creating a dream studio in his 1800’s barn. See the attached photos for a hint of what’s to come, and look for updates coming soon.
White Design Studio in Cincinnati continues to operate from our original Mariemont location, just as we have for the past 25 years. Now our customers and partners have two reasons to visit us!
Matcha is the cure for almost everything and who wouldn’t want to design and brand that package! We landed on this clean treatment that features an ensō design. “In Zen Buddhism, an ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.” “It also symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics.”
We kept with that tradition by utilizing a minimal black and white treatment and clean type. The result is eye-catching on the shelf, easy to produce and an appropriate visual metaphor for the product. We also designed the mark/logo for the company that imports the Matcha – Lotus Flower Tea.
Last year we were installing the interior branding elements for the Regenstrief Institute, a research support organization of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. We were also asked to assist in the design of the exterior courtyard. We submitted several designs for an exterior centerpiece sculpture which celebrated the Institute’s founders, industrial visionary and philanthropist Sam Regenstrief, and his wife Myrtie. The pair founded the institute with a vision of improving public health through technological innovation and cutting-edge healthcare research. We landed on a conceptual design early this year and spent the rest of the year developing the feature and working with our partners to engineer, fabricate and install it. Bassermatter helped us with the canopy design and geometry; Thorson Engineering did structural analysis; Shiel Sexton is pouring the foundation; Unalam is constructing the wooden humanoids, and Vulkane is fabricating the stainless canopy as well as installing the other components. Construction is underway with a scheduled installation early next year.
The sculpture consists of three main elements that combine to honor and symbolize Sam and Myrtie Regenstrief’s vision for the Institute:
A large ellipse-shaped bench/stage anchors the piece to the largest of three seating areas that make up the new courtyard. It is both a stage for presentations but also a bench to encourage impromptu discussions.
Two 20’H stylized, laminated wooden figures depict Sam and Myrtie Regenstrief. Cables affixed to their fingertips support a three-dimensional representation of the Institute’s mission to “create pathways to better health.”In other words, Sam and Myrtie are literally and figuratively supporting their mission for the Regenstrief Institute.
The undulating network of stainless rods, tubes, and spheres span over 1200 sq ft. and are meant to inspire those who work in its shadows to grow and connect the Institute’s various health related initiatives. Uplights in the stage will bathe the canopy in light at night providing a dramatic aspirational centerpiece for the courtyard.
Our latest sculpture is an excellent example of a new breed of art pieces and environmental branding that White Design Studio is creating to help to tell the story of an organization instead of being purely decorative. We are proud to be involved in this important project and look forward to seeing the finished piece. Until then, here are some of the concept sketches and renderings of our design.
White Design Studio is a multidisciplinary design firm located in Cincinnati Ohio. We specialize in the design, production, and installation of integrated branding. We believe that branded environments are the most efficient way to communicate your message to all of the audiences that interact with it.
Sometimes we do our best work when we are under a tight deadline. That was the case with the Unicell Manufacturing Company project. They are located in Toronto and Buffalo, New York and have been developing a revolutionary new electric delivery vehicle for the likes of UPS, FedEx and one of Canada’s major players, Purolator. Unicell had an opportunity to show it off to some of the electric vehicle’s biggest players at Discovery, Canada’s Premier Innovation Showcase, held at the Toronto Convention Center in May 2016.
WDS helped rebrand the effort by changing the name and tagline, and creating a new graphic look for the vehicle and support materials too.
Advantage was the name we selected – a logo and tag soon followed. From there, the delivery van graphic wrap was designed and applied, and a website, brochure, and videos were designed and produced.
Renderings have been part of our process from the start – from gauche on cold-press to markers to digital – and over the years we’ve experimented with a lot of recipes. We compose renderings in SketchUp then assemble them in Photoshop, where we add graphics, lighting effects and entourage. Here’s a sampling of our presentation renderings over the years.
One of the best parts of our job is learning our client’s story – and helping them tell it to different audiences. The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis has an interesting story. In the early 1970’s, Sam Regenstrief’s D&M Corporation was responsible for 40% of the world’s dishwashers. Sam cared deeply about his workers and their families in his hometown of Connersville, Indiana. He was frustrated that local medical care wasn’t delivered with the same efficiency as his manufacturing plants, so he founded The Regenstrief Foundation to explore a variety of ways to increase and optimize the delivery of medical care.
These are just some of the dishwasher brands that Sam manufactured product for from the 1950s-1980s. How many do you remember?
“Well begun is half done” wraps up our studio’s approach to almost any problem. We’re quick to extend our capabilities, adopt new practices and stretch our comfort zone. Once the momentum has begun, it will carry you through the tough spots.
Peter and Tim have been friends since Beluga’s sushi chefs were living in Tim’s garage! Tim’s shop Vulkane is one of our most valued—and fun—partners. A great article and we even get a “name check.” It’s nice to see them getting the press they deserve! Tim Kane, Thomas Condon and the rest of gang do great work. White Design has partnered with Vulkane to produce sculptures, interior features, interactive displays, large-scale graphics and other environmental graphic design pieces for a wide variety of corporate clients.
Read the article here:
Pete plays hard when he’s out of the studio. The Santa Cruz Yacht Club hosts this year’s International Contender Worlds. We designed the logo for the event. Competitors from the UK, Australia, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Canada and the US will all converge on Santa Cruz in April. Below, Pete shows some unorthodox style while training in Toronto for the big race.
Photo by Frank Whittington
We think David Parks first used the phrase “Evolutionary or Revolutionary” to describe the two design paths when refreshing an existing corporate identity. We evaluate an existing logo to determine if the logo equity or recognition has value or if a new mark is more appropriate. Successful evolutionary logos carefully alter existing marks in a way that is not immediately evident to established customer bases.
This project for Spear, a Cincinnati-based labeling company, is a perfect example of how our careful manipulation of their existing mark makes it fresh, while not losing any of the existing equity.
We are both new and old school designers. Sometimes nothing replaces a roll of tracing paper and some markers. A classmate at Miami University Architecture School, where Pete attended, used to kid him about drawing in plan and elevation at the same time. What’s wrong with that?
Here are a few sketches that were the beginnings of some big projects for us.
Our projects often span architecture, interiors, interactive and graphic design. Extending corporate identities to interior finishes is something that sets us apart from almost any other design firm. We know our materials, and our wide variety of experience in fabrication allows us to balance budget, aesthetics and maintenance in a way that doesn’t sacrifice one at the expense of another. Another White Design Studio strength.
Like many of our projects, it is the small details that make a big difference in the new Apex Customer Experience. Installing LED lighting systems throughout the space allow us to change the look and feel of both the theater and innovation center with the touch of an iPhone. The colorization in the Theater coordinates with the audio-visual presentation – it extends the screen area and can be changed to reflect market segment color coding used in printed pieces and the website. The Innovation Center product background can also be changed using a perimeter LED wall wash. The white scrim back wall in the innovation center allows technicians behind the screen to witness customer product demos.
Our design process has evolved over the years. We now take a more strategic approach to our design solutions – identifying the takeaway messages for each audience and then determining the best way to deliver that message. Simon Senek’s Ted Talk, Start with Why got us thinking about how to structure the messaging in our designs. The idea that “people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it” helped us organize the way we present messages and the mediums or presentation techniques we use to deliver them.
We use a tree metaphor for designing corporate identity. The trunk is the logo and other non-changeable elements. In our design world, this takes shape as a Brand Guideline. Limbs are the overarching principals of the organization such as innovation or efficiency. In some instances, they can also represent different company divisions. Leaves are the individual products or ad campaigns. Most campaigns last 18-24 months and then new ones sprout. Leaves also tend to be the most colorful – or have the most personality (another White Design Studio term we use a lot!). Trunk and limb level messaging should always inform or support the leaf level.
Using the WHY-HOW-WHAT strategy, the trunk is the WHY message, limbs are the HOW and leaves are the WHAT. Product managers want only to talk about the leaves – or the WHAT – but they should be framing all of the messaging in the context of WHY, HOW and WHAT.
Bottom line: Every message should include portions of WHY, HOW and WHAT – the difference is in the proportions of each.
We updated our own interiors in 2010. Finally a proper conference room. The large wood vintage cabinet is from a hardware store in West Virginia.
Pete’s parents – John and Mary Jean White – have one of the largest apothecary collections in the country. We took a break from our day-to-day work to photograph, catalog and create a coffee table book of the collection in 2010. Below are some of the artifacts.
Chris Stegner is our in-house photographer. This shot uses over 40 individual shots stitched together to form a 360° view of our neighborhood in Mariemont. See more of Chris’ photography here.
Another WDS axiom – and one of our favorites. We especially use this phrase in the exhibit or retail solutions where we are designing a base system with common parts or elements and simply changing the dressing for a particular product line. This sketch shows a series of logos for Spear that share a common graphic language but use different colorways and graphics to make them distinctive.
Mrs. Le Ruche joined our staff working half days. She is an inquisitive designer and specializes in animal communications.
She retired in 2014.
It takes two – two sides of the brain, that is – to learn and retain. The right hemisphere of the brain responds to emotions. So we use emotional techniques to help us get our targeted consumers’ attention. Once we have it, they are in a position to absorb a message and retain it. For that, we target the left hemisphere.
We marry this idea with our WHY-HOW-WHAT message structure. WHY messages are best delivered by targeting using techniques that tap the emotive, or right side of the brain. HOW messages use equal parts of the left and right hemispheres, and WHAT messages utilize the left hemisphere. The left side targets analytical messaging.
A WDS hypothesis is that during an experience the left hemisphere becomes saturated and needs the right side to be restimulated periodically to be ready to retain analytical information again. We use these theories to link together an Experience Arc to our environments. Much like a Story Arc, the Experience Arc carefully orchestrates how a particular message is set up and delivered over time. Concepts like Barbara Fredrickson and Daniel Kahneman’s Peak-End Rule also get woven into our Experience Arcs. More on this in later posts…
“All the Elements” was the theme of our 15th Anniversary campaign. The science metaphor was used to communicate the great chemistry our designers have together in combining various mediums into cohesive design solutions.
TouchPoints are defined as “any encounter where customers and business engage to exchange information, provide service, or handle transactions.” and they are another favorite term at our studio. We talk about creating an experience arc by identifying every touchpoint and examining them as a series of events – each building on and shaping the next. A perfect example of the “whole being greater than the sum of the parts.” TouchPoints can be a physical location such as Showroom or a process such as Registration. Any and all points of contact – or touchpoints – are an opportunity to communicate your message, and the cumulative series of touchpoints makes up the overall experience.
A favorite logo for our friend Suzy Jacobs Knoll, for a boutique called Julia’s Closet. We followed through with the store design and fixtures too.
Our first Cincinnati Design Award for our work at JP Flooring in West Chester. Our new identity, architecture, showroom and interior design all combined to create one of the premier flooring showrooms in the country.
Peter’s cousins in Urbana, Ohio have a Ford dealership. They came to us because they were frustrated with corporate Ford’s vision for their new facility. We took inspiration from Peter’s Uncle Noel’s garage that had been a fixture in Urbana since the 40’s. The solution incorporated a new identity, architecture, interiors and graphics. It became one of our first, ground-up, integrated designs. The results were a one-of-a-kind, small-town Ford dealership.
TeachWater is a line of educational models that are used to teach children and adults alike about nature’s water-related principals. An interactive watershed table, cavern simulator, and high-flow stream aquarium are all products that are available. We helped our good friend and collaborator, Mike Strohm, to create an identity and web presence.
Nigel Spivey from Spinal Tap could turn it to 11, but we have to remind ourselves to exercise restraint when designing integrated branding solutions. If everything talks, then nothing does. The volume of the environment without our branding largely determines how loud our design has to talk.
Another use of this phrase has to do with pushing on too many design levers at once. Each design tool – color, type, material, sound, light – can be thought of as an instrument in a rock band. The best music only uses three instruments at a time in a pleasing ratio. Too many instruments playing at the same level results in cacophony.
“Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy
We work hard to compose pleasing compositions that move and change as spaces are explored.
The WhiteStuff was the title of our first blog and newsletter. We divided our work into five categories – Logos, Printed, Environmental, Interactive and Internet. Our categories have changed over the years but our passion for providing integrated branding remains.
JP Flooring was our first customer to use ALL of our skills to create a unified brand. We helped invent what a flooring store should look like—every detail was examined and woven into the final solution. Logo, ads, business cards, architecture, interiors, retail fixturing, furniture, lighting, environmental graphics, website, trucks, events – the list goes on and on.
Since then, we’ve done this same drill for dozens of clients in a variety of industries. We believe that our customer get the maximum value for their design dollar, and we get to build their brand from every angle. Win. Win.
White Design Studio was founded by Peter White in 1991. A one room office in the former leasing offices of historical Mariemont was and has continued to be our home for 25 years – we have, however, moved across the street and added more space.
Our first equipment? – A state-of-the-art Mac IICX, Radius grayscale and a 13″ Apple color monitor, Agfa scanner and a QMS 11 x 17 black and white laser printer. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Quark, Persuasion, Macromind Director and Filemaker were the software tools of choice. We still are using Filemaker to run the business and are currently rewriting our 4th version.
These were Pete’s first business cards from 1982. He used them for freelance projects before he started his studio in 1991. The cards are all different. The cards are printed using oil board or also known as stencil board. Pete’s printer almost broke the press because the oil board was like “plywood.” The dashes are cut with a stencil machine; the colored paint samples are then taped in from the back, a thin sheet of brown paper is affixed to the back, and finally the cards are trimmed.
We have a history of producing the world’s most labor intensive, expensive and difficult to produce business cards. A tradition not lost on our latest cards.