Business Description

Principal Biographies

Oilpress! is a graphic design firm that specializes in expressing brand identity. We provide design and consultation services to organizations that are actively engaged in building, maintaining or re-positioning their brands. Our objective is to help organizations build and strengthen their brands by offering them smart, strategic design services that ensure their brand expressions support their business objectives.

Our design services fall into two broad categories of need: brand identity systems design and brand communications design.

Brand identity systems – the systems of brandmarks and graphic standards that govern trade dress – provide brand-builders with the visual vocabularies and frameworks they need to construct effective brand communication programs. These visual systems help brand-builders achieve their communication objectives in three ways: First, they serve to visually differentiate the brands they represent against a field of competitors, making it possible for all stakeholders to identify individual brands at a glance. Second, they express the essential character and personality of the brands they represent, providing an emotional basis for customer-brand affinity. Third, they ensure a consistent look and feel for the brands they represent across countless applications; this helps to build brand awareness and to increase the cumulative impact of the brand's messaging.

New organizations, and those introducing new products and services, have a very clear need to engage the services of a brand identity design firm to articulate the personality and appearance of their new brands. But existing organizations, products and services with brand identity systems in place also require brand identity system design services. For example, an established brand experiencing a decline in market share may discover through market research that its decades-old appearance is a major contributor to the fact that prospects tend to discount the brand from consideration. This is a perceptual problem. A smart re-design of that brand's visual identity could help the brand to re-introduce itself with new vitality and relevance. Another brand may find that a radical shift in market forces or the unexpected evolution of the brand's strategic interests necessitates a re-evaluation of the brand's positioning. A redefinition of the brand's identity along with a revision of its brandmark and graphic standards may follow.

Whether your organization is establishing a new brand identity or re-focusing an existing one, Oilpress! is prepared to help articulate the visual expression of that brand in a way that is aligned with your business objectives.

Brand communications are the myriad forms of communication through which brands express themselves – brochures, business papers, reports, catalogs, Web sites, signage, packaging, and so on. It is through these communications that brands address their audiences and simultaneously build a brand experience and narrative. Whereas brand identity systems are designed to capture the essence of a brand's personality in a brandmark and a fixed set of graphic standards, brand communications provide a platform from which to elaborate on that brand's personality.

In the numerous circumstances that motivate brand communications, brand managers have the opportunity to add depth and texture to their brand's personality and in so doing to strengthen the rapport between the brand and its stakeholders. Brand personality is expressed in the visual and verbal manner of a product announcement, an annual report, an advertisement, a catalog and so on. Does the brand exhibit occasional flashes of humor and wit? Show that. Build an authentic three-dimensional brand personality.

Clearly some forms of communication offer greater opportunity for expressing personality than others (e.g., an illustrated brochure in contrast with a simple business form), still every brand communication represents a transaction between a brand and a segment of its audience, and in that transaction something more about the brand is revealed. Brochures, reports, catalogs and Web sites offer opportunities to tell rich, colorful stories that humble signage systems do not, but even in the design of a signage system one has the opportunity to specify materials that reveal a defining brand style that elaborates on the character of the brand.

Strengthening the emotional connections between a brand and its audience is one objective of brand communications design; ensuring message clarity is another. Whether a message is simple or complex, Oilpress! applies principles of good information design to aid the reader in navigating through the message and to increase the impact of the brand's message.

As a complement to our design services, Oilpress! offers diagnostic and coaching services to those who need evaluation of their visual communications or help in implementing a new identity system.

In the context of brand identity, a design audit is a close examination of a brand's visual expressions – its brandmark, graphic standards and communications – for the purpose of discovering how well those expressions are serving the strategic interests of the brand. Are the numerous expressions unified in appearance? Do the brandmark, color scheme, typography and other graphic standards capture the spirit of the brand? Does a graphic standards document exist, and is it accessible? How well differentiated is the brand's appearance in relation to its competition? Are forms and documents easy to read? These are typical lines of inquiry.

Any number of circumstances may prompt a design audit. An organization may come to sense that something is amiss with their brand's visual identity – perhaps a proliferation of graphic styles has caused the brand identity to lose focus – but the organization needs outside assistance in pinpointing the sources of the perceived problem. A new manager hired to turn a brand around may want a fresh evaluation of that brand's identity system and visual expressions in order to uncover any existing weaknesses or inconsistencies in design or execution. Whatever the circumstance, design audits are helpful to those who are in the midst of planning and who require an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their brand's visual expressions prior to making any strategic decisions or authorizing design work.

Our approach to conducting design audits begins with a client interview to document concerns and to establish the messaging criteria against which the existing identity system and communications should be judged. That is followed by the collection and analysis of the brand's visual material. We present our findings and recommendations for action to the client in a written report.

A system implementation review is actually a series of design reviews scheduled to begin immediately following the launch of a new brand identity system. The purpose is to facilitate the successful adoption of the new brand identity system by the in-house staff and to identify opportunities for further augmentation and improvement.

Organizations or their in-house design teams may request some initial oversight and coaching as they begin to work with a new brand identity system. Oilpress! can customize a program of design reviews to meet the client's individual needs. Generally, the individual reviews will occur quite frequently at the beginning and then gradually taper off as the in-house staff become more comfortable in working with the new system.

Brand-building – the work of shaping and managing people's perception of a product, service or organization – is a big job that requires contributions from many individuals. In fact, the work of creating and sustaining brands requires the ongoing, collective efforts of executives, marketing directors, brand strategists, researchers, public relations specialists, graphic designers, copy-writers, advertising experts, web developers, photographers, illustrators and others.

Oilpress! embraces this vision of collaborative brand-building teams. We look for opportunities to work with client organizations where our focus and expertise complement the talent and energy of the client organization's brand-building team. We understand that some organizations manage their brands internally while others prefer to delegate the management of their brands to outside lead agencies. Oilpress! welcomes opportunities to join both internally and externally managed brand teams. Where organizations require assistance in assembling a collaborative team of brand specialists, Oilpress! can help to identify suitable partners.

Oilpress! is an intellectually curious firm, and we welcome every opportunity to become acquainted with organizations and their unique brand-building challenges. Feel free to contact us and strike up a conversation about brands, brand-building and what Oilpress! can do to help strengthen your brand. We'd love to hear from you.

Write to us at or call us at 925.989.5976.

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