competitive analysis

A SWOT Analysis was done to gain insight on how other gender neutral activewear companies branded themselves.

I focused on analyzing companies that make products for those who are gender non-conforming because how a company appeals to this market is very important. It’s not enough to just make products that aren’t gendered, but to allow the customer to feel open and safe buying them. 

SPRING is more concerned on allowing those who identify outside the gender binary feel at ease buying active wear. 

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A quick analysis was done to rate certain elements of competing brands. I focused on important elements such as

  • Quality of Photography

  • Inclusivity

  • Trans-Friendly Language

  • Price

  • Variety of Products

  • Ethical Manufacturing

  • Aesthetic

I placed a lot of value on the Inclusivity, Trans-Friendly Language, and Ethical Manufacturing. These elements are really important to the branding of SPRING because the company values people over products.

 

The low scores on Aesthetic and Variety of Products means that these companies don’t offer products that gender non-conforming people want. They don’t operate within a hivemind, they have variety of stylistic preferences. By having a low variety of visually unappealing products, these companies are not actually giving customers the array of options in order to express themselves.

The lack of Trans Friendly Language means the companies don’t really care about gender non-conforming customers. These are the companies that think of gender neutral apparel as a business strategy, rather than an actual need for many consumers. They care more about just selling their products and moving on, which is not what SPRING is all about.

 
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However knowing just the aspects of where the other brands haven’t met expectations is not enough. In order to truly fill these gaps I pursued a SWOT analysis. This analysis gave me a more indepth look as to how exactly these other brands fell short. 

What exactly about their products made them aesthetically unappealing? How could they be improved upon?

A lack of variety in products isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in the context of a company that advertises to gender non-confirming customers, what sort of doors does their lack of variety close?

What exactly about their language is not friendly to the trans community? Why is it important to carefully pick and choose how the copy is written?

 

 

ideation

Gender Euphoria is a term used when someone someone feels that their gender identity is affirmed. It’s a sense of relief, and happiness. 

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INCLUSIVE + RELIABLE + CHARMING + BOLD

 
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I started the conceptualization by collaging images that represent the concept of Gender Euphoria, and also the 4 personality values.

I looked for images that are vibrant, bold, and dynamic. This moodboard helped me to create a visual guideline for the rest of the branding process. 

 
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The next challenge was to translate the feeling of Gender Euphoria into the logo. It's hard to pick one static image to express what SPRING stands for. I asked myself some questions:

  • How can I manipulate letters and shapes to depict the feeling of Gender Euphoria, and the personality values?

  • Is a wordmark enough?

I went down a path that led me to shapes. A shape on its own can feel quite static.

  • But what happens when shapes interact with each other?

  • What happens when you transform and overlap them?

  • Can I make a cool, revolutionary logo by translating each letter of SPRING into its own abstract shape? (I tried this, I can't)

 
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The SPRING logo is a collaboration of shapes and colour. These elements work together in order to represent the 4 personality values of SPRING.

 

Despite being a static image, the logo is dynamic. The hue of the type can be altered to any of the SPRING colours in order to adapt to any visual context. It can also be presented with, or without the shapes.

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type

The headers and subheaders of SPRING are represented by Ubuntu. The simplicity and openness of the type gives off a friendly, and modest vibe.

The headings and subheadings are paired with Avenir. Another simple font with a cleanness that does not distract from the content.

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colour

The SPRING colours are bright and bold, just like every gender non-confirming individual. 

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It was important for me to steer clear of the generic pink/blue/purple colour schemes presented in many LGBT affiliated branding. It’s important that the branding doesn’t exclude anyone who just want unrestrictive, gender free clothing.

When I first started exploring the colours of SPRING, I did think about using a pink/blue/purple colour scheme. This colour scheme is very heavily associated with anything related to gender neutrality, or gender equality, and with good reason.

However, I've found that people tend to shy away from exploring their own identities due to not relating with a lot of LGBT associations. Even though SPRING is a company that was made for those who identify outside the gender binary, it doesn't seek to exclude those who aren't sure what they identify as.

SPRING is not about chasing something that is generic, but something that is flexible. 

 
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visual language

The shapes of the SPRING logo mark can be manipulated for any visual design work. The shapes can be rotated, resized, and have their hue changed within the SPRING colours. This creates a strong, and dynamic visual language for the SPRING brand. The shapes are fluid and interchangeable, just like gender identity.

 
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