Changing your business name after almost 50 years is a daunting prospect. Here’s how Solt Creative helped Art Graphics change theirs.
We were approached by Simon and Frances to help rebrand their art framing business. They felt that their current brand didn’t represent the quality of their bespoke frames or reflect their personable approach to working with artists, gallery owners and interior designers, and that their current logo didn't convey their industry or the service they provide. Their growing team was in need of some alignment and there was a suggestion to change the business name – something we appreciate can be a daunting prospect! To know where the brand was heading, we first had to understand where it had been.
Art Graphics was established in London in 1974 by Simon's father, Ian, originally producing framed screen prints, graphic design posters and signage. The company would eventually head north to Bollington, Cheshire, and in 2008 saw the transition of ownership to the next generation. It was around this time that the business really started to grow, shaped by new skills and investment in new technology, and, over time, the business evolved into producing quality bespoke frames for art and artists worldwide. ‘Art Graphics’ was no longer an accurate moniker for their offering, as Frances says:
“We knew we had outgrown our name. Clients mentioned that we sounded like a signage company.”
We worked closely with Simon and Frances to help define their brand and develop a strategy to help move them forward, forming the foundations that would apply to either the existing name, Art Graphics, or a brand new one. After a lot of discussion, and showing them proposals for each path they could take, it soon became clear that changing the name was the right thing to do, despite bringing with it some reservations. What will our existing customers think? How do we retain everything we have built? What will happen to our online presence? It was essential to make it clear that the reason for the change was evolution, not revolution.
It was essential to make it clear that the reason for the change was evolution, not revolution.
So, how do you choose a new name?
If we change the name then there has to be a reason for whatever name we choose. It has to reflect the brand values as well as the most important aspect to the business, something that no frame would be without; art. Keeping a nod to the old name was preferable too, to shorten the leap for existing customers. We had to take into consideration exclusivity and originality at a time when it seems almost every short or obvious word has been taken. This is important when registering a trademark, but also for a digital world when defining social media handles and domain names, especially when lifting the brand profile into a more premium space.
It needed to be something short, professional, timeless, and contemporary to convey the premium craftsmanship of their frames and, in a post-pandemic world, it was an opportunity to infuse fresh zeal and confidence into both the brand and their customers decision making.
Harten, a play on ‘hearten' or 'to be heartened', does just this – reassuring customers that they have come to the best place for bespoke framing, to a business they can trust, encouraged by our values and offering: Hartened by dependability, expertise, perfection, teamwork, and honesty. After a lot of time and consideration we had unearthed a new name for the business that not only ticked all the boxes but also generated excitement for the future of the company and the people that work there.
The brand was now aligned with its values and a visual identity was created to drive it toward the premium standard reflected in their frames. In ironic fashion, we all came to the realisation that, in a way, it's not about the frame at all, it's about the art that goes in it, and so an accompanying icon was added to the wordmark to showcase that desire for the final stage of the process – art hanging on a wall – with a negative 'H' that alludes to the role of a Harten frame in that it should be so in sync with the art, you hardly notice it's there.
A huge thanks to Simon and Frances for asking us to help them with the next chapter of their journey, and for trusting our vision for their brand.
Choosing a new business name can be daunting, but with the right thinking and creativity you often land upon something worth taking that leap for.
Thinking of renaming your business as part of a rebrand? Talk to us.