Case Study by Aimee Wood RGD, Graphic Designer, 52 Pick-Up
My work for Pinnacle International's Grand Park 2 was a complete rebrand for an existing condominium development project in Mississauga, the second phase of a two-building development. When 52 Pick-Up was approached with this project, phase one had already sold out and was in the process of moving residents into the first building. The second phase had been on the market for a while and needed a boost in leads and sales velocity. For this reason, the client decided to move forward with a rebrand, requesting the design of a new logo, marketing materials, advertising and a revitalized presentation centre.
The timeline was tight; the project needed to be completed, from initial concept development to final installation, in just a few months.
The purpose of the project was to breathe new life into the brand and give the development a more contemporary and modern feel to initiate renewed interest from the community and potential buyers. Marketing was targeted at investors, young working professionals, young families and down-sizers.
The initial brief was quite broad, encompassing a relatively general target audience. The push would be to reach people who currently live in Mississauga and love the city, so I leveraged the proximity of the project to the city's cultural scene and downtown core, including the Square One shopping centre, the area's popular restaurants, The Living Arts Centre, and a large Cineplex movie theatre.
I conducted a brand audit, visiting the existing presentation centre as well as the surrounding area. I took note of the competing condo developments, conducted a SWOT analysis of the project and analyzed the branding of all potential competitors. From these findings and previous knowledge of the Pinnacle brand, I established three creative approaches which were presented to the client in an initial meeting:
- A sophisticated, businesslike look that would be consistent with Pinnacle's corporate brand, focused on appealing to investors.
- An artistic brand that would play up the local arts scene, highlighting the Living Arts Centre and other cultural offerings in the area to attract potential buyers.
- A modern, bold, contemporary brand that would stand out from competitors.
For the initial presentation, the three best logos were chosen and presented, with corresponding ads and initial landing pages, to demonstrate how the concept would translate through various applications. These three ideas helped clarify the client's view of the project, transitioning from a generic brief to a clear focus on modern, contemporary design, which led to the ultimate decision to go with option number three.
After the client chose a direction, I developed the look and feel of the graphic elements and marketing materials including the brochure, floor plans and handouts as well as the initial design for the exterior signage and the interior of the presentation centre. By producing the designs together, the client could see how all of the different elements would work with each other.
There were three parts to the marketing program:
- Brochure package (with floor plans and inserts)
- Interior and exterior of the presentation centre
AdvertisingThe advertising is booked by the marketing department at Pinnacle, so they develop the media plan and our agency often helps with the advertising strategies. With some clients 52 Pick-Up is heavily involved with media plans and with others our role is limited to designing ads. For Grand Park 2, I designed a large number of ad options for the client which they could use over the course of the campaign to keep the advertising consistently fresh.
Instead of designing a multi-page brochure, a folder was created to function as the main marketing piece. It included information about the project, inspirational lifestyle imagery and an inside pocket that contained the floor plans and other information pieces.
For the presentation centre, I worked with an existing space, which was one long corridor. Aside from the addition of an extra wall in the entrance, the layout of the space remained the same. In many development projects an interior designer would be consulted for this component, but in this case I executed the design of the space myself, focusing on the use of colour, imagery and the incorporation of elegant materials and strategic staging.
When designing presentation centres, we typically work closely with a signage vendor. We present the vendor with elevations showing the design of the project as well as other specifications, such as the size of elements need, the materials we would like to use and any special fabrication methods that might be required. With Grand Park 2, the account manager and I had a number of meetings with the signage manufacturer to communicate the requirements of the job and to specify how elements were to be placed during installation. I was also present during various phases of the installation to ensure that the elements were manufactured and installed properly.
There was also a website component to the project, but in this case Pinnacle International works a little differently from some of our other clients. Many times for a project like this we would create a microsite for the development which would link to the client's main website. On the other hand, some clients prefer to keep all development information as part of the main company website. Pinnacle chose to create a page for Grand Park within their corporate site, which contained all information about the project, renderings and floor plans, so we were not involved in the web strategy for this particular project.
We are lucky to have a very hands-on marketing manager at Pinnacle International, who provides feedback in a timely manner and is specific about what she wants and likes, while still being open to others' opinions.
The main challenge was redesigning the presentation centre, as it is essentially one long corridor. It was important to create a sense of variations within the space. A large black and white neighbourhood wall placed at the entrance creates a sense of contrast with the large renderings along the opposite wall. Large images, glossy renderings and vinyl type features were the main components in the design of the space, with floor plans placed at the back of the presentation centre to help establish a story for the visitor experience. It was important to maintain a sense of balance with all of the visual elements to ensure they worked together harmoniously while also establishing interest individually.
Generally speaking, launching a condominium project is a complex process that takes months to develop. On the creative side you are working with architectural floor plans that may change over the course of the process, you are often designing presentation centres that are in the process of construction, as the client is working with their interior designers to revamp the centre as well as construct model suites. There are sometimes bylaws that you need to adhere to for external signage on buildings. Our agency often works with the 3D artists and advises on how the condo building should be rendered in terms of angles and lighting. Approaching this type of project is about being flexible and collaborative and staying on top of all the different components.
The existing presentation centre was designed to be accessible, so this wasn’t an issue in redesigning the space. Environmental impact was a consideration, as the manufacturer was able to reuse some resources from the previous installations. Money and materials were saved by opting for a compact pocket folder, rather than a large brochure.
This was a fantastic project to work on and contained many individual elements that needed to work together.
The client has seen a year-to-date increase of over 60% (when comparing Jan-Nov 2013 to Jan-Nov 2014). We actually re-launched the project in mid-June, so if the year is split up between Jan-June and July-Dec, there is over a 150% increase in sales.
While this dramatic increase can't be contributed entirely to the rebranding of the project, as many other factors can affect sales, the rebrand has been successful in the sense that it has revitalized the development project and contributed to its increased presence in the community.
The client has also reported a change in the way that people move within the space. Where guests used to walk right past the reception desk, the new central reception wall encourages visitors to walk up to the desk before proceeding into the sales office, providing an opportunity for staff to greet each guest and present them with the marketing materials. I have also been told that the flow of the space has improved and guests are often impressed with the size of the space and the number of model suites available to be seen.
- Be as specific as possible when working with vendors. Especially with signage installation, it is extremely important to map out every single detail and to provide instructions on exactly how elements should be installed. You can never assume that an installer will know how you think something should look.
- Make sure you are available to manage a project every step of the way, including press approvals and installations. While part of this may fall under the job description for the account manager, it is also the responsibility of the designer to make sure that the project is running smoothly and keep things on track.
- Be prepared for complexity. Launching a condominium project isn't just about creating a few ads and a logo - there are many different elements to consider, often changing throughout the process, which will make it necessary to be flexible with your expectations.
- Timing is everything. Once you have committed to a launch date, that date will appear in advertising, e-blasts, sometimes on billboards, and it cannot be changed.
- Be organized and make sure everyone is on the same page. Have an honest conversation with your suppliers, such as building renderers, architects, the marketing company and signage vendors, as these separate suppliers work together on the project and often give and take assets from one another. It is important to create a realistic timeframe and work-back schedule and make sure that all of your suppliers are aware of the deadlines and are able to meet them.
Interested in submitting a case study to appear on the RGD website? Download 'Guidelines for Contributing Content' and email .