Aug 24, 2020

The New OpenSquare Brand: A Fresh Look and Voice

Todd Fairweather

First things first: we’re immensely proud of the long and storied history of OpenSquare. And it’s impossible to begin talking about what’s next without acknowledging all that’s come before. From our humble beginnings as Bank & Office in 1934 to joining with Barclay Dean and becoming OpenSquare, to stepping up and into the One Workplace family of brands, it has been a gratifying journey to say the very least. The best part: we’re only just getting started.

Embracing our Evolution

True, there are things about our legacy that will never change; things that are simply woven into or DNA. One of these things is fearlessness in the face of change. While we’ve watched our industry shift over the years and trends come and go, our executive team sat down together over two years ago and decided it was time to make a definitive and noticeable update to the OpenSquare brand. To remain a market leader in this ever-changing industry, we needed a freshened up brand to match our ambitious and sophisticated operations, philosophy, and capabilities.

It All Started with Research

We’re dedicated experts in our industry. It’s challenging to find an executive on our team that hasn’t been deeply rooted in the workspace design industry for over a decade. But, we recognized our bias. We realized that we’re so wholly focused on what we do day in and day out that it’s impossible to remove our preconceived notions of what the new brand could be. We knew our new brand needed to be true to who we know ourselves to be, but what sets a strong brand apart is creative that not just resonates with us, but speaks purely, simply, and elegantly to our clients, our partners, and even our competitors.

We hired Blue Collar Agency, a branding and advertising agency, to join us on our journey of evolution. First, they conducted a thorough analysis of the OpenSquare brand. They started with hours of interviews with the executive team before pouring over our client feedback data, recent pitch decks, our competitors’ materials, and a variety of other owned and sourced data. Then, we connected them with past and current clients and partners so they—in full confidentiality—could share with Blue Collar their true perceptions of OpenSquare. Here are some highlights (what our research team actually heard from two of our clients):

“OpenSquare’s strongest business characteristic is their ability to rally a workforce.”

“They’re open-minded, creative, and adept while also structured and tactical. This balance has been great for our project outcome”

The Dominating Researching Finding: Design First

One thing that has always eclipsed all else: we’re unafraid to step out in front of the pack. In our industry, it’s unique for an organization with our sheer logistical capabilities to also be a leader in design. But we didn’t back down from the challenge. Over the last several years, our leadership team recognized the need to have a design-forward approach to our work. So, we committed to major operational shifts throughout our entire organization so that now, everything we do leads with design. We’re creating built environments that not only beautifully serve our customers’ unique needs but boldly challenge the norms and surprise and delight the people that use the space on a daily basis.

The New OpenSquare Brand Voice

Then, it was up to the Blue Collar creative team to put pen to paper. Their most significant task was elegantly elevating our design capabilities without undermining the gravity of our storied history. We asked them to tell the story of our consistent commitment to serving our customers with all-in dedication with the ability to achieve even the most significant projects on time, on budget, and with empathetic and hardworking service.

They crafted what feels like a full novella to encapsulate the new OpenSquare brand—it’s sophisticated yet still speaks to our get-our-hands-dirty sensibility. It’s fresh and contemporary without leaving our legacy in the dust. It’s representative of our deep commitment to bringing a new level of design to our industry without overlooking the fact that we’re still the leader in logistics. In short, they nailed it.

The most significant piece of writing came in the form of the Brand Narrative. This piece, as they explained, is the “middle of the Venn diagram;” where who-we-know-ourselves-to-be meets how-the-world-sees-us:

We Never Settle

We’re deeply steeped in design theory and fluent in industry trends. We’ve got the muscle to match. This has made us a trusted choice for organizations big and small—our sterling track record has proven our trustworthiness time and again. But what sets us apart is knowing we’ll never settle.

We’ll never stop asking what if. What if we can introduce the world to a better way to use built spaces? What if organizations champion new ways to work and it changes the game? What if we embrace the handcrafted and highly customized?

We’ll never stop renovating and reconstructing our notions of built environments. We’ll never shy away from inviting in new thinking that challenges everything we’ve ever done. We’ll never stop evolving.

The New OpenSquare Look

The brand voice laid an unshakeable foundation upon which to build our visual identity. We knew the new look needed to uplift the brand voice and our commitment to design while also elevating the OpenSquare name. Our name has always reflected our open mindness to fresh ideas while nodding to the types of spaces where people meet like a town square or piazza for gathering, socializing, and sharing.

The new visual brand identity communicates this simply and elegantly. The typeface is friendly yet clean and precise. There’s also a notable hint of playfulness that speaks to the friendships and partnerships we’ve cultivated over the years. When it comes to the logo itself, there’s an element that feels expertly handcrafted, reminding our clients and customers that while we’re deep experts in the principles of design, we’re not afraid to embrace the highly customized. We’re perfectly balanced, and the new visual identity communicates that at first glance.

Where We’re Headed

We’re pleased to step forward into our fresh and exciting brand as part of the One Workplace family. While we began our journey to freshen up our brand long before the partnership materialized, we couldn’t be more excited to lean into our new synergy to realize our new vision.