FSB Companies is a private investment firm located in Chicago that owns and manages a diverse portfolio of companies in four sectors: private equity, real estate, agriculture, and lending. Founded by Frank Brumfield in 2006, the firm believes long-term company value derives from investment in quality people. The FSB team provides high-level business and technological resources across their portfolio, working closely with teams to create the best version of each company. Its mission is to foster opportunities for its portfolio companies and the people who power them.
Despite having strong values and proven expertise, the firm lacked a clear, impactful brand identity. To help the firm build this identity, 3Points embarked upon a Brand Blueprint project, with the aim of codifying and effectively articulating what sets FSB apart. The set of resources would exist in one place, so that FSB could easily access each item and use it internally or externally. These resources would serve as the foundation for the visual and written content of the firm’s new website.
To start, 3Points conducted an in-depth interview with FSB team members to get answers that would help guide the initial framing of the Brand Blueprint and the creation of early versions of the deliverables within. As a collaborative team, we determined that the main points of focus for a rebrand for FSB Companies would be both a vocal and visual overhaul.
A New Voice
While the FSB team spoke aloud about elements of a shared vision, mission, and set of values, the firm lacked concise, digestible statements that outlined those elements. Through our thorough interviewing process and regular feedback sessions, we hammered out wording that captured the spirit of FSB and what it stands for.
Our process started with the cornerstone of any organization: the mission, vision, and values statements. Through deliberation and iteration, we took these core materials from the concept phase to concrete wording. We then set about creating the materials that would build upon those core elements, including the brand promise, brand personality, and tagline. Together, these guiding components set the trajectory for the brand.
Then, we followed up by creating a suite of materials to help FSB articulate the value it provides. We developed consistent messaging about the firm’s areas of expertise and investment divisions; included in that process was the formalization of the acronym “REAL” as shorthand for the firm’s four investment divisions (Real estate, Equity, Agriculture, and Lending). We also focused on FSB’s interactions with the public. We fleshed out audience personas to help the FSB team understand to whom it was speaking and brand voice guidelines to help the team communicate with them.
A New Visual Identity
FSB did not have a strong visual identity going into this project. While the firm did have a color scheme that the team wanted to maintain, there were no specific guidelines or practices in place. This provided us with the opportunity to build a truly new brand for them that would align its visual identity with its core values and goals.
One of the biggest parts of FSB’s new visual identity is the logo. Our design team held multiple collaborative meetings with various FSB team members to ensure that the new logo was exactly what FSB was looking for. After many iterations that paid homage to company values and origins, we settled upon an iconic depiction of FSB’s initials, with a modern twist. This geometric form was perfect for symbolizing how it was still “the same FSB” – precise, forward-thinking, and collaborative – with an upgraded look.
To complement the new logo, we selected new typography. We transitioned FSB’s typography from a serif typeface to san serif in order to embody a streamlined design and balance out the new geometric logo. We selected the typeface Proxima Nova because it has a huge typeface family, which enables you to denote hierarchy and ensure clarity and readability, making it suitable for use in all kinds of projects.
After completing the logo and typography, our design team turned their attention to creating a cohesive iconography set for FSB. Iconography is important to integrate within the brand because it makes information presented more identifiable to an audience. Designing a set of cohesive icons solidifies the unity of the visual identity and provides a foundation for a brand like FSB to build upon.
Finally, to complement the baseline Brand Blueprint deliverables, we assisted the FSB team in updating their photography library and developing videography assets. 3Points planned a Media Day at the FSB office to capture new headshots, team photos, and office images, as well as film b-roll and interview footage for FSB’s website. In advance of the Media Day, FSB and 3Points outlined desired content, storyboards, and visuals. 3Points prepared detailed briefing materials and served as the onsite directors of the Media Day. For the filming, photography, and editing components, 3Points enlisted the help of two trusted freelance partners, Sam Svoboda and Jeremy Stark. The robust preparation and strong teamwork resulted in a refreshed library of visual content that supports FSB’s goals and vision.
The Brand Blueprint
Containing all the essential information about the brand, the final Brand Blueprint document equipped the FSB team to understand and articulate every facet of the brand: its backstory, the core values, the value proposition, and even the specific colors and fonts used in the logo and website. Anything that an internal or external stakeholder might want to know about FSB’s brand can be found in the Brand Blueprint.
The document serves as a crucial tool for onboarding new employees and enlightening potential portfolio companies. It also provides a wealth of information that can be repurposed for various forms of content. Perhaps most importantly, the document provides guidelines to help the FSB team understand how to utilize its brand materials and visual elements in a variety of different contexts.
As a company whose visual identity was not previously prioritized, we ensured that the visual materials moving forward would be of the same caliber as the firm’s business practices and expertise. Since the completion of the project, FSB’s team has leveraged the materials from the Brand Blueprint in its revamped website, enabling the firm to make a positive first impression on many new and prospective portfolio companies.
“The branding process with 3Points helped us retain the humble and genuine core of FSB Companies; at the same time, it gave us the resources we needed to expound upon what makes FSB’s accomplishments special and savor the resulting successes.”
– Frank Brumfield, Founder & CEO of FSB Companies