WHEN IT COMES TO CLIENT NEEDS, YOU NEED TO GET IN THE ZONE
ZoneSport Compression Sportwear
Brand Identity | Packaging
ZoneSports, is an Australian owned and operated company, who got their start when husband and wife team became involved in their childrens’ junior basketball league. Watching the kid’s play each week, they saw a market for custom designed basketball uniforms for small team groups. This quickly grew into providing team uniforms for other sporting associations and allowed ZoneSports to expand into apparel and merchandise for clubs.
ZoneSports moves from a defence to an offence game plan
The growth of the business had come from a combination of word of mouth referrals and direct contact with local sporting clubs and associations. While it may have been an effective strategy in the beginning, it was also time consuming and limiting sales geographically.
When the time came to introduce a new compression garment to market, the decision was made to also undertake a re-branding exercise that would also include developing a digital presence for the company. As the compression garments were to rival high-end names Skins and 2KU, Cheryl & John knew they needed an easily identifiable brand that could match their competitors’ in-store and on line.
SCOPE OF PROJECT
Printed Marketing Assets
Packaging and Labelling
Develop a new brand that could launch the business into a high-end market, while incorporating the elements of the existing brand that had helped build the business in the first place (grass roots junior sport).
BLC appointed as a specialist coach
When you’re creating a high-end garment to rival the market leaders, you know there’s aspects of the business you need to invest in:
• Quality products
• Memorable design
• Effective packaging
But as a young business, with a tight cash flow, ZoneSports didn’t have the luxury of getting it wrong. When it came time to start discussions with a brand specialist, they knew they needed someone with the experience to deliver, but also the ability to coach them through their first proper launch.
Burning Love Creative made the case that ZoneSports needed an agency that could deliver across all aspects of their business; brand development and strategy; print design and production; packaging and promotional material; and content creation.
Designing the game plan
The first phase of the project was all about research. While ZoneSports target markets were both in the sporting field, they had distinctly different buyer personas. BLC research needed to discover:
Who was currently buying ZoneSports uniforms (so as to increase market share)
Who would be interested in the compression range (so they could visually target new customers).
In parallel to the customer journey, BLC also really needed to understand the complexities of the new garment and what the key point of difference was from the big brands.
After a collaborative session, it became clear that the new ZoneSports range wasn’t just about recovery, but also lifestyle, as the compression technology was applied to different muscles depending on the activity e.g. for endurance, game, training or recovery. Casual sport clothing was also in development.
Armed with this knowledge
BLC then undertook competitive research to really understand the main players in the industry and how they attracted their customers. Given the large budgets of Skins and 2KU (main competitors), it was important to gather as much information as possible on the backstory of their branding and UX on the websites to leverage this information for ZoneSports.
For this reason, a copywriter was also brought into the team to better understand ZoneSports current lexicon, clarify the tone of voice for the new products and produce the copy for the packaging and point of sale details.
For ultimate performance, you need to look at the whole package
With research complete, work on the creative could begin. BLC were to design:
- Branding fundamentals (visual identity and images), including a unisex logo to be used across a range of products and media, that would stand the test of time
- Website holding page with integrated form
- Social branding and assets
- Packaging and clothing tags for compression range
Minimum Cost, Maximum Impact
The biggest challenge to the project was designing affordable packaging that could be used across the entire range of compression wear, which consisted of:
- 3 x items – long tights, short tights, short sleeve top
- 4 x styles – Endurance, Game Day, Training, Recovery
- 6 x sizes – male and female options
To keep costs low, a minimum run of 5000 boxes was needed, but with the garments priced in the $200 range, they needed to be of high quality, make an impact and be reusable (so good you don’t want to throw it out).
By careful consideration of stocks, finishes and printing techniques, we created packaging that would set Zone Sports apart as a specialist, high end product.
The result was an A5 box, with magnetic seal in matt black and silver foil logo, that could be used for all products now and in future developments.
The next hurdle
The 4 styles of compression needed to be quickly distinguished at point of sale. Male & female needed differentiation, each with a gender specific size chart and six different sizes available.
Differentiate the levels of compression: Endurance, Game Day, Training, Recovery
Male and female differentiation of same compression garment and sizes clearly available
Visually simple size chart
Be easily removed from point of sale physical display stands
Be versatile to hang from rails and stack on shelving
Easily packaged for distribution
The top of line product for marathoner and elite athletes needs to stand out from the pack (Endurance)
The final quantity of specific product was still an unknown
Solutions & Results
The Zone Sport team loved the spot silver foil that was now on the business cards. They wanted their top-of-line product “Endurance” to be in gold, with different colour foils or metallics for the different levels. However, the cost for individual metallic foil was an expensive and impractical option.
The solution was to use foil stock and overprint CMYK ink to create a metallic effect.
Working closely with the printer Multi-colour Australia, we were able to trial samples of colours on foil stock to find the right combination of 4 colour ink to create the ‘gold’ we needed (the printer would run samples when the stock was loaded for another client, to keep trial costs low).
The final specification and result was achieved by overprinting four colour process inks on a metallic silver heavy weight stock. This gave a shimmering finish to the 4 colour inks and allowed us to create the metallic gold effect.
- A spot UV white ink was printed to create text areas as needed (shown in pink in press files)
- The resulting effect allowed the colours to morph and change dependent on the light and angle of the viewer
Finally, all that was left to do was create:
- Black only stickers – 52 different types to show product information including size, type and M/F. The stickers were also used to seal the sleeve to the box.
- Easy to understand size chart – important for compression garments
to work effectively
- Icons to demonstrate the product’s selling points
- Point of sale fabric display
- Media wall
- Point of sale for trade shows
- Branding for in-house documents – price list, invoice, email signature etc.
The Final Wrap Up
This project had many different moving parts, within the confines of budget, a loyal customer base and a client that was learning as they moved forward.
As designers it’s our role to provide the guidance our clients need and find out what’s important about their past design elements and what they want to bring forward into the future. Without assessing this, there will always be blockages to the design process, no matter the budget.
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BURNING LOVE CREATIVE
Full service, branding and design agency with over 25 years of big brand experience.
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