As the clock counts down to our much anticipated 20-Year Anniversary Celebration, there has been a bit more reminiscing in the office lately. Today, we recalled how VantagePoint Marketing got its name, which resulted in being called out. “That should be a blog. You know you’d tell your clients that it’s a perfect blog. You should write that out in a blog.” And they were right, so here it is.
Naming VantagePoint Marketing
The year was 1999, somewhere around midnight. I, Rocky, was sitting at the design counter of the Minneapolis OfficeMax PDQ, a small OfficeMax on the University of Minnesota Campus, with a few other employees. This store was one of four concept stores worldwide: A large copy and print center with a small retail office supply selection, open until 2am to compete with neighboring Kinkos. While the later hours resulted in more bathroom stops from bar crowds walking home to their dorms than students copying term papers, it did allow plenty of time for cleaning, training, and friendly banter while catching up on long print projects.
While waiting for the copier to spit out thousands of booklets for a nearby school, I turned to my employees for assistance with finding the perfect name for my freelance graphic design business. I was getting asked for side work more and more, and wanted a name that could grow to any potential- Just in case. My last name isn’t cool enough or easy enough, so that idea was tossed right away. I didn’t want to focus on locality, since so many of my clients were coming from across the nation and even overseas. I wanted it to be memorable, so it couldn’t be too unique and I didn’t want any funky spellings.
Everyone was tossing out words and ideas left and right, shouting out anything that came to mind. Doodles were being drawn. Discussions were being had about who I wanted to be, how I would run the business, how I planned on serving my clients.
I want to convey that it’s all about them. That they’re coming to me to put their ideas to paper. To give life to their visions and make their design dreams a reality. They would do it themselves if they could, but they need designers like us to create what’s in their minds. It’s all about them. I want to create it from their viewpoint.
And that was inspiration that lit the fuse. From their view. From their shoes. Their standpoint. From their Vantage Point. BOOM. Winner.
But that wasn’t all. It inspired a tagline that was used much more often when VantagePoint was strictly graphic design services, less so since incorporating more marketing and website services.
Giving an Image to Your Imagination.
It was perfect. To be just a little different and to keep it simple, we combined VantagePoint into one single word:
VantagePoint Graphic Design: Giving an Image to Your Imagination.
I loved it instantly and just FELT like it described the business I wanted to run. A business focused on the clients, built on doing what I love. The name was flexible to growth, later becoming the VantagePoint Marketing Group, only to be shortened with the new LLC filing to simply VantagePoint Marketing.
The number of revisions of logos that went on over 20 years was a bit ridiculous, to be honest. Thankfully, I could only recover a few designs to share. However, if I can find any of the others, I will be certain to return to this blog post and update as best we can. As designers, it’s very hard to make a final decision on your logo design. We constantly have new ideas, new directions, new trends or feelings or styles we’re fond of, and want to update our brand as often as we update our underwear. This is a no-no, of course, and we try very hard to stand by our own advice. But in this instance, as designers, we simply grew to like new things, grew to learn new things, and updated the brand as needed.
In 1999, the first logo design was created in Photoshop: A realistic eyeball with a multi-colored iris. It was a very literal description as an icon for VantagePoint that got a lot of positive feedback for memorability, meaning, and uniqueness. However, it was horrible for flexibility. The logo not being a vectorized design limited the reproduction capabilities, and the realistic styling made it difficult to look right without heavy graphic backgrounds. While the original eye design will always remain a favorite, partially for being the “first child”, and partially for it’s meaning, it didn’t last long and taught a whole bunch. (Want to see some original logo designs from back in 1999? )
2003-2008: A few more eye designs were tried, but nothing stuck. Eye-icons were used everywhere and didn’t seem unique enough. So, the focus turned to the V of the name. A few years after the original eye-design, this V icon was created, utilizing all lowercase in a sans-serif font, with a script font for the secondary line. The color was fun, but still very short-lived.
2008-2015: As the services of VantagePoint grew, so did the brand. Going for a more mature, masculine look, new colors and fonts were explored to give a stronger, heavier, more bold message. The name VantagePoint was broken up by color instead of capitalization, adding character to the letters with creative overlays. The icon looked great with the web 2.0 styling or as a flat color scheme, which added a lot more flexibility to this style of design.
2015-2017: VantagePoint Marketing Group took a small hiatus as it joined forces with Phoenix Website Design to become DOWNTOWN DESIGN. Unfortunately, the pairing didn’t last too long after discovering a vast difference in how they did business. It wasn’t the best of situations, but it was a learning experience: That VantagePoint is where it’s at!
2017-CURRENT: Returning to our roots, Rocky and the team left Downtown Design to start-up VantagePoint again, this time as VantagePoint Marketing, LLC. The logo was actually created in quite a hurry, starting with the seal design as the main logo. Knowing circle-designs are the least flexible, it was important to immediately layout a horizontal and vertical option to be used when necessary.
The development of the seal logo was interesting. The purpose was to be able to include service descriptions within the design without crowding it with too many words. The seal allowed for “Brand Design” and “Website Design” and even the year we first established. Interestingly, the center icon wasn’t originally that framed flag. It was a solid filled rectangle within the cornered frame, replicating the “FULL SCREEN” icon. In our industry, going full screen is indicative of something good, which we loved. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to describe who we were and what we are about.
Being 100% USA Services is something we are very proud of. Again, in our industry, it is very common to outsource content and design work to other countries to increase profit margins and increase workload potential. But VantagePoint believes in keeping our services local, we offer discounts to Veterans, and host a Veteran non-profit out of our office. With all of this, that plain little box was inspired to become a version of the American flag, still framed with the full screen frame. This icon was later adopted by Flags for Fort Snelling apparel, and was a huge hit.
And that brings us to today! With the slight change to having tilted the flag icon to match the angle of the “V” in the title, this logo (and many variations of it) will be one that we stick with for quite some time. We’ve landed on a style that seems to communicate our services and purpose the most, has been favored by our followers, and has the flexibility to work for any reproduction need.
How did your company get its name? Does your logo have a story behind it, and if so, have you blogged about it yet? Share your story in the comments with a link to your website so we can take a look at your name and brand!