The Business Innovation Zone is a City of Niagara Falls initiative designed to help new and expanding businesses access the tools, resources, and people needed to launch and grow a successful business venture in the Niagara Region. It is also home to the Niagara Falls Small Business and Enterprise Centre and acts as an incubator for startups. They asked me to completely overhaul their brand because they felt that what they had wasn’t working for them and they were ready for a new look and feel.
After sitting down with the BIZ team, I immediately identified a few issues. First, the BIZ brand was essentially competing with other City brands and was being drowned out. Second, their use of business rhetoric was daunting. Third, they relied on generic assets and stereotypical business themes. As a result of this rebrand, they wanted to attract a younger generation of professionals and to draw a more casual crowd to their events, rather than the suits they were used to seeing.
Once I began to drill into each issue individually, I realized that for this branding exercise to be successful, it had to incorporate a modern philosophy and come from the opposite side of the spectrum - something their team wasn’t used to. I wanted the new Business Innovation Zone brand to be modern and stylish, it was important for the them to stand out from any other business facility in the Niagara area.
Right from the start I threw away any idea or mention of using the typical blue and green business colours. The mark is sheared at 14° because I wanted to project that the logo was moving while standing still. To increase the visual effect of the mark being in motion, I added subtle wings to some of the characters. Combined, the characteristics of the logo symbolize forward progress and plays to the notion that being in the Business Innovation Zone, and going through their incubation program, will get you further, faster.
To further eviscerate the generic look that the BIZ had, I began to condense and massage the overly confusing business rhetoric that was being used to describe their services. Once the new copy was written and reworked, it was decided that they needed something more than simple stock icons to help identify their services when applied onto advertising materials. So I designed custom hero icons that use a flat design philosophy with some subtle drop shadows to give them depth, and a bright, welcoming, colour palette.
To bring the new philosophy full circle, the space under went some minor renovations and new communal furniture was purchased. As a result of this well thought out approach, coupled with an aggressive marketing plan, the Business Innovation Zone has become a staple in the Niagara business community. All of their incubator offices are filled with innovative businesses and tenants, as well as every workshop and seminar they promote are continuously sold out.