Kohl & Frisch celebrates 100th anniversary with centennial logo and gala invitation designed by the creative team at NATIONAL PR

Case Study by Eileen Ugarkovic RGD, NATIONAL Public Relations


Kohl & Frisch (K&F) is Canada’s only family-owned, national pharmaceutical distributor, linking pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers, and 2016 marked the organization's100th anniversary. K&F is an existing client of NATIONAL Public Relations through our corporate communications team, so they naturally came to the NATIONAL PR creative team for a new logo.


The centenary logo needed to pay homage to the rich history of the K&F family business and create a balance between K&F’s storied past and the new forward-looking direction of the business, evolving with the newly established brand story.


K&F required a 100th anniversary logo that could be adapted to a daily-use logo once the centennial year is finished. The logo would be used across a range of materials including signage, business cards and other stationery, gala event invites, programmes and banners, in both French and English. The roll out would commence with a gala event celebrating the milestone at the glamorous Carlu venue in downtown Toronto.



The creative team started with a visual audit. We researched examples of potential ideas as well as competitors' logos and found that in general, anniversary logos varied from decorative to abstract minimal styles. We saw that numbers in anniversary logos were either incorporated using clever designs or appeared as unnecessary elements that created visual clutter. We knew that the client was looking for a design that would be minimal, but not flat. They wanted to look established, but not old fashioned. They wanted to grandly celebrate their 100th anniversary without overshadowing the company name in the centennial logo.



After presenting our findings and confirming we were in line with the client’s expectations, we continued to brainstorm and set out initial design concepts. Three logo concepts were presented. The client chose the logo recommended by the team for its simplicity and flexibility; the chosen logo works well on its own as well as with the centennial tagline.


Logo concepts - only three of which were presented to the client.


Once the logo was completed, attention turned to the event invitation. The client stated that they wanted to be “wowed” and that no standard “boring” invitation would do. They wanted their invitation to be elegant and something the recipient would want to keep.


Again we performed a visual audit of “invitation in a box” ideas to get a feel for which direction the client wanted to go and establish an idea of the estimated price point they were willing to spend. Time was also of the essence. We consulted a printer to identify the best paper and print solutions it could offer with various price points. We also sent some sample boxes to the client, who were very happy with them and who decided to go with the deluxe paper.



Our team then set out to design the invite, decide on the colours for the box, ribbon and paper bag design, which would contain the invitation. Since K&F is in the pharmaceutical industry, we designed the bag to resemble a prescription bag from the pharmacy, including a custom sticker to keep the bag closed. M&M’s accompanied the invitation, which were also in K&F brand colours, featuring the logo on the candy itself. 


The studio held weekly client project meetings to keep the lines of communication open. It helped us keep on top of expectations and ensure the client was aware of project/status updates. These meetings also provided a great opportunity to answer any questions from the client, or have the client answer questions from the studio. Emails were used for follow ups and detailed information that could not be verbally expressed.



We had about two months from the beginning of the project to the deadline for the client to approve the logo. Concepts began December 2015 and were finalized and approved by the end of February 2016. A design for the main company logo was our first priority, then the centennial logo, which was rolled out onto the website, followed by anniversary postcards, banners and lapel pins. 


The invitation took about six weeks from initiation to completion. We had weekly calls with the client team to make sure we stayed on track. It was very useful to have the flexibility to provide prototypes of the various options so that the client could see and physically handle them rather than looking at stock photos or diagrams.



The main challenge was getting nearly 500 invitation packages sent out by the deadline. Obtaining final approvals, sending final artwork files to the printer and collecting the addresses of the invitees in time to assemble and mail out to recipients was very tricky. Once the project was underway, the client also expressed a desire to make branded USB keys available at the gala. Under a serious time crunch, we went with white USBs and a one colour logo.



Kohl and Frisch were very pleased with the final product. Invitees' feedback was positive; they liked the brand coloured M&M’s and the packaging it arrived in. Invitations were mailed out in time, which was the main concern after design approvals, and USBs were delivered without a hitch. Part of the creative process is to gain the confidence of the client, and when changes come up at the last minute our job is to make sure the client rests assured that the situation is under control. 


Designer Takeaways

  1. Always listen to the needs of your client.
  2. Do not underestimate research; it helps narrow down what will and won't work for your client in the initial stages of the project.
  3. When circumstances are beyond your control, be adaptable and find a new, or better, solution.

Client Takeaways

  1. Try to remain on schedule. Working down to the wire may change the desired outcome of the project.
  2. Keep the team, and all who are involved in the process, up to date with ideas and changing needs to ensure alignment and support.
  3. Get acquainted with the creative process and production processes. This will benefit all involved and eliminate any unnecessary stress and worry.