There are times when we take a moment and say, “wait—where are we going?” and maybe we add in a little “how the heck did we get here?” and potentially “who are we?”.
Questions arise as a company grows. New folks come with new ideas. The previous generation becomes the teacher to the new. The industry evolves. Technology changes capabilities. Trends affect style, style affects clients (or is it the other way around?). The planet cries mercy and business decisions are influenced.
How then, with all of this movement and change, could this snippet of your company, THE LOGO, possibly stay the same forever?
Jonathan sent an article my way as we were examining our logo for New Energy Works entitled The secret reason we all care deeply about logos (even if we pretend we don’t). It’s a good read and its author Stuart Watson (Watson is the founder and creative director of Nomad and has created brands for including Premier League & Nike.) faces the rub through the example of European football “because we all have 25 years of memory structures connecting that logo to our favorite football memories. And that was being taken away. The link was being broken.” Oooof.
I’ve been with New Energy Works through three logos now. I won’t lie, even with my title of Creative Director and my role in changing our brand over time, I may be partial to the stacked logotype. Hand-done and extensive “New Energy Works Timberframers Housewrights & Joiners.” Its quirky imperfections are endearing. It’s humble and vulnerable.
At the time it made sense. Rogue craftsmen touring the country raising 10 or so frames a year that were cut by hand. Sometimes they arrived on-site and skipping the hotel, stayed in a scrappy camper or in a tent. We’ve got the 80’s hair in yellowed photos to prove it.
This stayed with us until “Housewrights & Joiners” seemed a little much to say. We cleaned up the beginning part and used the mark with just the New Energy Works Timberframers. We digitized the logo, built a website, went from brand-colors green to red. Things evolved and, in turn, so did the logo.
Around 2010, we updated again. Our old logo didn’t fit well with the internet world—it couldn’t be shrunk to the size of a social media icon and besides…maybe 20-or-so years was long enough with the same look. We were officially bicoastal with an Oregon shop and West Coast clients. We were growing, the timber frame industry was evolving to modern design and hybrid frames, and we had other roles in the build process beyond the timber frame.
Two years ago our management team went on a retreat to chat about the future of New Energy Works. “Where are we going? How the heck did we get here? Who are we?” was on the docket. My coworkers were vulnerable and honest. We had a lot of great conversations…sometimes hard. We talked about how we’ve evolved to be more than a timber frame company. We have a fine woodworking shop housed in the first CLT /timber building in New York. Our design team is forward-thinking, creative, and collaborative. We have a build team that is pushing forward our high-performance enclosures, and now we have in the works HPEz (high-performance made easier); a system of off-site panelization packages that will allow other builders to bring efficiency and performance to their own projects. And our timber frames— we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with many of the country’s leading architects and builders to bring this incredible craft to the next-level of shelter design.
That’s a really big paragraph to say, we realized timber framing is at our heart, but we're also more. In fact, we’re on the second-half of our journey to being a 100% employee-owned company…an ESOP with our sister company Pioneer Millworks. And so, we began a new year-and-a-half-long project wading through the change of our logo. Sometimes it was hard, but we think worthwhile.
Here it is. Our intent is that you’ll see our past reflected in our future. A cleaner, more modern design, rooted in a solid foundation but striving upward. Shelter. The honesty that timber frame is so very much who we are but acknowledging that it’s not all we do. Maybe in this new iteration you see a house, a modern-style truss, timbers, a tabletop, a door frame...
And maybe you’re a bit sad to see the last logo go. We kind of hope you are. That means you care, it means this company has purpose for you, that you have memories with us. What I hope is that you’ll try this one on with us, taking a deep breath, and journey into the future alongside us. Because we’re forever grateful that you’re here.