We knew our brand needed to be looked at for a long time; the long name and fussy graphic just didn’t represent who we were and when we got together with MBLA, it became even more obvious and pressing. Moving forwards together the existing branding was going to hold us back; it was time to lift the stone under which the problem had been cowering and get on with it.
Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams had traded with its long name for nearly 25 years, and during that time it was a name with which successive receptionists had struggled. Nobody outside the office used it in full and we joked of only being able to advertise on trains or risk the name being too small to read.
Our new name
The way a word looks and sounds, is as important to us as its meaning. We looked at new names, rolled them round our tongues, slept on them, introduced ourselves to one another as them and lived in their skin for a few days. Some came to the fore only to be cast aside after a weekend of thought; some hung around and persisted for a while; others didn’t suit our personality, didn’t fit with our direction of travel or just had no emotional response at all. A name is wrapped up in emotion, it elicits an emotional response but we anticipated being asked several hundred times ‘why that name?’ so there must also be a reason why it was chosen.
We decided ultimately to change our name to Buttress.
Obvious perhaps but the process was really valuable and we know the end result is the right one. ‘Buttress’ retains a strong link to our history, it links to the heritage work for which we are well known, it has a solidity and a reliable, establishment quality that came through in the brand consultation. It is scale-less, and it is also rare for an individual’s name to be connected with their profession. We were aware that Buttress could be considered solid and immobile so we were keen to address this in the graphics and we are delighted with the results.
Our new marque
Behind the naming process was internal and external consultation which helped us to see how we were perceived and if there was any real discrepancy between who we are now and where we are going. Happily the consultation gave us the confidence in how our approach to architecture, design and service delivery is perceived. There were common themes which came out from this which have been applied to, and are represented in, the design of our new marque and graphics.
The Buttress marque is a direct expression of our approach to architecture. Our belief is that beautiful, practical, people centred buildings should be shaped by their context, function and surroundings. So when, in your mind’s eye, you take the surroundings away, you’re left with the essence of the building. Hence our marque is not a ‘B’, but the spirit and the space at the heart of the ‘B’.
We don’t expect to rebrand every ten years. Our new name is timeless and will carry us beyond succession plans, changes to the profession and markets in which we work. It has answered what lay at the core of our initial branding brief: it does reflect us and help people understand what we can do for them; and we are now proud to work with it rather than around it.
We have worked with The Chase as our creative and brand agency and Marble Media on our new website design.