Tasked with updating one of the most recognizable logos in the province was a surprisingly easy project for us. What was the trick? Respect the brand and don’t mess with the equity.
Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) is the marketing organization for the largest sector of Ontario agriculture. They are owned and operated by the farm families of Ontario’s dairy farms. Working with farmers across Canada, DFO is positioned to respond to new trade rules and the realities of a changing market. Basically, these are the people who ensure Ontarians are buying the healthiest dairy on the planet. Seriously, they’re that good.
Tamm + Kit has been working with DFO for two years now, and we’ve all learned a great deal about the organization—both in a corporate context as well embedded on site with the dairy farming families themselves. The working relationship between T+K and DFO is an interesting one in that we operate as an extension of their in-house communications department. Depending on the project, we could be at their head office two or three times each week reviewing creative, strategizing new initiatives with a variety of stakeholders or installing environmental design work for example.
That level of trust between client and vendor is rare in our industry nowadays, but it’s that kind of relationship that has allowed us to confidently and successfully partner on many initiatives and campaigns, not to mention their request to create an updated logo for the organization to take them forward into the next era of marketing and promotion of Canadian quality milk.
As a creative agency, the opportunity to give a recognized organization a new visual identity is always a big fish. But when dealing with an organization like DFO, with a heritage brand in market and in homes since 1965, you have to take a step back and consider what’s working and what isn’t working and ask yourself just how far you should in pursuit of something new.
T+K solves business challenges with strategic, visual design; that’s what we do. This was never more evident than our approach to the new logo brief coming off the celebration of DFO’s 50th anniversary—give the organization a new logo to take them into and through the next 50 (designer’s note: hopefully my work lasts longer than 50 years?).
Research is always at the forefront of a project like this is: what’s working and what’s not, what is the value or equity, is redesign an improvement or an agency’s indulgence? Everyone knows the blue circle with the white Milk script; it had some serious brand equity, but… nobody knew who the logo belonged to. Most people had no idea that the logo represented DFO, and assumed it was a general product mark. The mark and the organization’s name were often separated with treatment varying on impression, use or application, resulting in inconsistency and fragmentation. Unifying the relationship between the word ‘milk’ and Dairy Farmers of Ontario was an essential first stop in corralling the brand equity and clarifying the relationship between the product and the marketing entity, giving Ontario’s dairy producers and the corporate staff the recognition they deserve.
Sometimes a designer’s job isn’t to create something from scratch or put his/her own stamp on a brand. Working with established, valuable brands, the job is often an exercise in restraint, enhancing an organization’s visual appeal and inspiring confidence and pride in the brand. Our design evolved within this tight space, and maintained the logo’s original sensibility while enhancing the quality of the design and unifying all of the identifying elements. We put Helvetica to good use to contrast and modernize the original script for a balanced mark that contains the original product mark design within the organizational identity that promotes and markets it.
The new logo has a strong sense of pride, heritage, and legacy behind it, and has been well-received and embraced both within the organization as well as among the group they serve, the farming families of Ontario.