Los Angeles studio, Ludlow Kingsley, creates a pared-back look with a modern deco influence for the first direct-to-consumer bedding company.
INTERVIEW BY CRISTIE STEVENS
First of all, tell us about the studio.
Ludlow Kingsley is a creative studio. We’ve been around for 10+ years. We’re a team of 8 or so, and we focus on projects that resonate with us as individuals. We’re a group of artists, designers, coders. We work with a wide range of clients: from products to brands, to nonprofits. It’s important to us that our clients are doing things that benefit the human experience — meaning we’ll opt to work for a chocolatier over a pesticidier.
It’s important to us that our clients are doing things that benefit the human experience — meaning we’ll opt to work for a chocolatier over a pesticidier.
Tell us about the initial project conversations with the client.
The client came to us with a deck for their startup business. It had a different name at the time, and it didn’t really resonate with them. They had a go-to-market strategy for becoming the first direct-to-consumer bedding company, following the likes of Everlane and Warby Parker.
They wanted us to come up with a name, establish the brand identity, an initial website e-commerce platform, and help them launch their business.
What was the creative process like for Parachute?
They came to us with their investor deck and a preliminary brand name and identity. Their business model was to remove the department store from the equation, but their initial positioning didn’t feel new or exciting, so we ditched everything and started with a clean slate.
Creating the brand began with the name, which was actually a happy accident. Clark (co-owner and creative director of LK) was making the bed and flopping bed sheets up in the air one morning and had a flashback to the third grade when kids used to hold up a giant parachute and run underneath it. He thought: Huh. Parachute. He actually forgot about it until we had our naming meeting with the company’s founder. The first round of names weren’t really clicking, and at the end of the session the name came back to Clark, so he said, “Oh, I had another idea. What about Parachute?” Two minutes later, she looked up from her phone and said, “I just registered it”. From there, things clicked and the process flowed smoothly. Once we had the name, we started on the logotype and mark to establish the initial core identity.
Creating the brand began with the name, which was actually a happy accident. Clark was making the bed and flopping bed sheets up in the air one morning and had a flashback to the third grade when kids used to hold up a giant parachute and run underneath it.
Can you talk us through the thinking behind the final design?
Well, at that time (about 5 years ago), everything was sort of mono-weight type. We brought in a logotype that had thicks and thins, that had an art deco feel to it. It felt fresh and new to us, which was exciting, and they responded to it. Then it came time to get into more of the brand identity aspects — the graphics and color system. A minty green became the accent color, alongside the stark black and white with touches of warm grey. That was part of what made brands so unique at that time: black and white with a pop of color. It really seemed to complement the photography, and let the product take the spotlight.
We brought in a logotype that had thicks and thins, that had an art deco feel to it. It felt fresh and new to us, which was exciting, and they responded to it.
Did you face any challenges during the project?
At the time we worked with Parachute, we were pretty new. We had been in business for a long time, but we were new to that process of creating a brand identity for a startup, and a startup is a little different. They have investors, really quick timelines and metrics that they’re sort of working around, and as they were exploding, we were basically learning on the job all the follow-up work we needed to do with them.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Our favorite part of the process was watching our client succeed. It’s a proud moment when you help a client build a brand and it does become very successful.
In what ways did the initial concepts differ from the final execution?
What we presented in our mood boards really resonated with them, so the direction was pretty clear from the start. They chose a concept from the very first round of designs, which we tweaked and built on. And that became the logo they have now.
Do you have any advice for others hoping to up-level their portfolio presentation?
Make it sing 🙂
One final question, whose work is inspiring you right now?
We asked the studio, and they answered: Amelia Giller, Summer Holiday, Heather Day, Faye Toogood, Violaine & Jeremy, John Zabawa, and the pastry chefs from Sqirl
Behind the Brief is an interview series celebrating the creative process where we speak to the team behind the project, pulling back the curtain on their design thinking, strategy and process to learn how they arrived at the final design.