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Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Why the name change from Edge*Modern to Design Public?

DesignPublic.com

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Why the name change from Edge*Modern?

Several reasons, three of which are paramount.

First, “modern” is a loaded term, and our customer surveys revealed some brand confusion regarding it — did the “modern” in Edge*Modern mean “mid-century modern” or “post-modern”? Who knows? We’d rather emphasize new and innovative “design” than “modern”.

Second, we want to focus on community, hence the “public”. As a small company of five people, we found that most of our innovation and merchandising leads come from our vendors and customers — so we’d like to encourage that flow by building a community around it.

Third, I thought of the name “Edge Modern” about five minutes before we had to turn on the first site. Conversely, “Design Public” came from months of collaborative work with our internal team, our customers, and our vendors. I think it’s a brand everybody feels more ownership of, and that has value in and of itself.

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  1. Julie says:

    June 14th, 2005 at 10:36 pm (#)

    I agree with the reasoning for the name change. However the logo is pretty corny. I understand the chick says newborn. I’m not sure what relationship the stars have to the chick. Maybe the chick alone or the stars alone would be better. What’s the story behind that one? Ofcourse, if I have to ask, that says it’s not working.

  2. ninja says:

    June 15th, 2005 at 3:02 am (#)

    I don’t get the chick either … or the flowers. It doesn’t seem to have much connection to the products you’re selling. The combination of chick with stars, flowers, and the new font choices come across like an “Urban Outfitter” newsletter, not a new online brand. Also, “Design Public” may in itself be a good name, but sounds a lot like “Designer’s Republic”, which might add to the confusion.

  3. Drew says:

    June 15th, 2005 at 4:01 am (#)

    So how come nobody joined our user group? Honestly we went to them with everything. Not to say that there wasn’t complete agreement, so here are my thoughts.

    Julie, you are correct — we thought the chick represented “new and fresh”. We brainstormed a lot of logos, from eggs to embryos, and at the end of the day we kinda fell in love with the chick. (although at a bar in New York last month, a woman I hardly knew approached me and said “what’s with the duck”?) As for the flowers, they are a design element that we also feel reinforces “fresh and new”. The stars? That was less of a rational choice — we put the chick on a piece of cardboard and someone said it looked like a flag, maybe a bit like a communist banner. So we added stars. One of them was taken from a San Francisco Department of Parking stencil that is on the sidewalk outside our building. The other two represent different things depending on who you ask. My mother thinks they represent her two sons who work at the company. My business partner Sina thinks they represent his clenched fists which he raises in anger at the construction workers tearing the street apart outside.

    Ninja — as far as your Urban Outfitter observation, perhaps. But I think we are in a pretty crowded marketplace where most of the brands strive to be minimal and refined. Personally I think that conveys an elitism or standoffishness that we could never pull off. It isn’t us. We are ordinary people, not design mavens. We have fun at the office. We work because we enjoy making customers happy and we love design. We want that to come across in the brand. And whether or it comes across in the appearance of the site, it definitely comes across when you call us and BS on the phone.

    At the end of the day, I hope and believe that our brand will be defined much more by the products we deliver, the service we provide, and how thoughtfully we listen to and respond to our customers than by the logo and whether it has stars or not. I wish everyone loved the work we did as much as I do, but I know that is a pipedream. I hope you can respect it nonetheless. Thanks for the comments and keep them coming . . .

  4. Sheryl says:

    June 16th, 2005 at 7:20 pm (#)

    I really liked the old name a little better – I have found it hard to find quality modern furniture and love the products that you offer. The new name is OK, but there is a good chance I would have never looked at the web site with this name. Your products are still great and I find your web site very user friendly. I’d be glad to join the user group if you want an opinion of someone who just loves nice, quality, unique furniture!

  5. Drew says:

    June 16th, 2005 at 10:53 pm (#)

    Sheryl — thanks for your honesty. We knew going in that we couldn’t please everybody — I wish we could. I hope you still know that it is the same people behind the name. Thanks for the offer on the user group — we’d be proud to have anyone who will be brutally honest with us. I’ll send details . . .

  6. Stuart Frank says:

    June 17th, 2005 at 10:17 am (#)

    I would like to see the little chick poke the eyes out of the above detractors.

    Hey, we all remember the little chick now, don’t we? And that’s what a symbol/icon is for.

    By the way, the flowers are especially nice.

  7. Drew says:

    June 17th, 2005 at 11:00 am (#)

    Hah! Stuart, you made me snarf my coffee. It’s not a violent chick, Stuart, it’s cute and friendly. I never thought of it as administering design justice, but hey — the beak does look sharp.

  8. Donna says:

    June 24th, 2005 at 3:56 pm (#)

    I’m torn between the new and old name. The old name made me think “industrial”, “hard” surfaces. The new is complete opposite. Especially the cute chick!! I love animals and nature so incorporating the stars and chick seems whimsical, fresh and new which I think is what you were going for. Having said that – I think it does work. It’s all preference and opinion anyway. Your products are great. When people see my home and comment on my pillows, lamps and such I always send them the link to your site…I will continue to do so. Much luck! Keep up the great work

  9. Drew says:

    June 24th, 2005 at 6:01 pm (#)

    Donna, thanks for the nice words! Send us some photos of your space, we’d love to make you a customer profile!

  10. daniel says:

    June 24th, 2005 at 7:44 pm (#)

    I like the new name. I feel ‘edge*modern’ had a bland feel to it and didn’t particularly stand out with depth of meaning or uniqueness. I commend the name change and feel Drew’s justification for it seemed well thought out. Right on.

    I am not, however, not into the new chick logo. My primary criticism is that the logo is overly trendy. Nature silhouttes, particularly those of birds, have inundated fashion and advertising for a couple of years and I feel are getting rather tired. The image feels like it may be too much of a hipster fad that is passing – I would recommend choosing something more ‘classic’ and original than the chick. Just my 2 cents!

  11. Drew says:

    June 24th, 2005 at 8:10 pm (#)

    Daniel — thanks for the feedback on the chick.

    People are definitely divided on the chick. And I see what you mean. We definitely didn’t want “hipster” as that’s not who we are . . . I mean our creative web guy is a hipster, but I’m not and Sina (my business partner) definitely isn’t (gut shot to Sina). But we didn’t want “classic” either — we felt that DWR kinda owns “classic” with their refined name and logo (and I have tremendous respect for them and their logo . . . please don’t hurt us).

    Here’s the story behind the chick . . . Matt, the guy who came up with the chick and does a lot of the creative site work, was hanging out with his graphic designer friends at a sushi joint in Boston. They had logos and concepts and fonts all over the table. As they tried to discuss each one, people kept passing by and interrupting them: “hey, what’s with the chick?!” and “hey, that chick is cool!” The sushi chef even came over and weighed in.

    The next day Matt came in with his ideas and saved the chick until last. He prefaced it with “this one is kinda out of left field, but I like it in a weird way — people definitely have a reaction to it”. There was unanimity around the table: we all liked it. We threw it and a couple others up on a board by the printer and eventually dropped the other contenders.

    As it turns out, it’s the one thing we didn’t really run by our user group . . . they had great advice on layouts and merchandising and presentaion, but with names and logos there are always pros and cons, so when most of us felt it in our gut we ran with it.

    I’m curious to see how this plays out vis-à-vis the chick. At least we have people talking. To me, Edge Modern was a bland name and I don’t think the site made an impact on anyone. At least you hate the chick right? Better than ambivalence?

    OK maybe I’m stretching it . . . anyway, thanks for the input and have a great weekend.

  12. Boo says:

    June 28th, 2005 at 10:48 am (#)

    The baby chick, the flowers, the type and color palettes — everything is beautifully executed. “Design Public” sounds both fun and authoritative. A very forward-looking approach! Fresh and new indeed.

  13. Kerri Sarembock says:

    June 29th, 2005 at 8:06 am (#)

    Love the new look. Fun, fresh, clean, and most importantly it makes me happy to look at everything. Your execution of the new logo and name and branding of it is great and well put together. A great approach to moving forward with the times.

  14. Becky says:

    June 29th, 2005 at 11:04 am (#)

    I have to admit, the first time Drew sent me the new branding and logo stuff, my immediate email to him said “what’s up with the chick?” However, it has totally grown on me. As an added bonus, if we ever have a softball or bowling league team, we can be The Design Public Chicks, which would make me giggle.

  15. Drew says:

    June 29th, 2005 at 1:43 pm (#)

    We like “The Peeps” and everyone could be our peeps, but I think ‘peeps’ is trademarked. So we have to call it a chick.

  16. jlt says:

    July 19th, 2005 at 12:02 pm (#)

    I like the chick. It’s cute, funny, playful, not serious; it’s out of its shell, looking up at the night sky, at this big giant market / world. I think corporate logos are too damn serious and this is a breath of fresh air. The colors are great too.

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