Notes on rebranding

Jun 23, 2024


One firm’s rebranding reflects its growth, commitment to thoughtful design, and emphasis on storytelling through a collaborative and evolving identity.

By Hanbury

In their essay for Fast Company, Thierry Brunfaut and Tom Greenwood note, “Brands aren’t created in a vacuum; they’re products of the world around them … a brand is as much about what it isn’t as what it is.”

Across Hanbury’s projects, engagements, market sectors, and services lies a group of designers, market leaders, and industry experts interested in doing things differently. We’re not a starchitect office in a major metropolis, but we’re also not a fast-casual firm, focused on project turnover. We are something else entirely – where thoughtful, honest design meets the places we care about. For us, it’s as much about having our heads in the clouds as it is about having our feet planted firmly on the ground. With our work, we believe that our clients, our cities, and our neighbors deserve aspirational projects that are rooted in place and endure accordingly.

Our rebranding in collaboration with Base Design, in many ways, has been a cathartic exercise in finding this honesty and truth within our firm and sharing it with the world.

On new beginnings. Hanbury’s rebranding effort began amid the most significant growth phase in our firm’s history. What was once a 40-person firm all under one roof, became 160 people across eight offices over the course of the past decade. From a well-reputed higher education practice, we now traverse a multitude of typologies and scales, providing expertise as a trusted partner for our clients across the globe.

Despite its considerable volume, our growth came organically – growing around the people and places we believe in, broadening our reach to new territories, in both place and faculty. Our constant evolution is marked by our equally evolving aspirations. Embracing this state of becoming has developed into a core principle of our firm.

We came to realize that the way we tell our story is inseparable from how we communicate our value. Our clients and collaborators engage Hanbury to bring a strong point of view to each project. In order to deliver, it is vital that we have an equally strong perspective on who we are as a company, and how we engage the world around us. Through this course of growth, we thrive in the state of progression, but how do we distinguish this constant evolution from ambiguity?

On walking the walk. Conceptualized as a framework for our future, the Hanbury rebrand and accompanying website is a scaffold for storytelling. Beyond our physical growth, we have expanded our domain of practice to include self-initiated research, experimentation with materials and fabrication, and community resource engagements to inform our design process and its application to enrich each project in our portfolio. Every project has its own unique narrative, and our process ensures that each one is a bespoke, carefully curated offering, rooted in people and place. At the heart of our story, we don’t sell a product – we offer a process. The charge of our new brand was to foster this spirit and put it to broadcast.

The rebranded Hanbury framework revolves around the myriad stories told through our projects, engagements, and initiatives. Each project, article, and content piece can stand alone, illustrating a particular moment in our firm’s evolution. These individual parts, when viewed en masse, provide color to a cohesive, holistic whole – illuminating our value, our process, and our culture. With the bricolage of moments from our firm’s past and present, the Hanbury ethos becomes the intellectual frame through which these works are contextualized, and future endeavors are empowered.

In this tenor, we – with Base – designed the website, our digital and print assets, and anything carrying the Hanbury brand to be something not just seen, but experienced. From our custom typeface (Open Vistas) to our project pages to our articles and thought-pieces, we invite guests into our collective mind – expressing process and perspective, not through any given image or text piece, but rather through a living and ever-expanding collage. To this end, scrolling through our website or flipping through one of our presentation or project books is akin to looking under the hood – an honest reflection of how we work, pursue our interests, and uphold our values.

On opening vistas. At Hanbury, we will continue to evolve. Our interests will further expand, our engagements will deepen as our relationships grow, and our practice will be perpetually refined. For us, collaboration is everything. Our new brand is a tool to bolster this ideology of continually becoming. This position – our philosophy – is contingent on learning from our partners, our clients, our peers, and each other. Together, with practical optimism, we will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible while staying rooted in what’s indispensable. Through acting with empathy, planning adaptably, and designing holistically we deliver ideas with stretch. Experience our new identity here

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.