A few years ago I co-founded a studio in Hawaii called Theory. When 7-Eleven was looking to rebrand their pacific region they trusted in me and my team to execute years of deliverables that would revision the brand from the ground up.
When 7-Eleven first approached me, I was a designer doing little one-off projects for them. I explained that I wanted my new studio to become their agency of record and they offered me the opportunity to put together a pitch deck and describe how I would position and reimagine their brand. I worked tirelessly the following weeks to draft an approach that was unique and ambitious, within a budget that was impossible to resist and that recipe won me years worth of work from the brand.
7-Eleven Hawaii worked hard to be a mainland company viewed in a positive light by those living in the pacific region. With over 65 locations and a strong sense of locality, brands that had corporate origins were viewed as outsiders and a threat to local mom-and-pop shops and family establishment. This, in conjunction with a poor global reputation, lower work standards, and “unwelcome guests” challenging a sense of safety made transforming the brand a difficult challenge.
My first project was designing in-store signage for premium Japanese confectionaries.
I spent four weeks with key stakeholders gathering insight on the brand, learning about their goals and ambitions and leading the team through a series of brand worksheets and mind maps I created. These tools helped to drill down and uncover the motivations of the brand, an understanding of their consumer and the approach I would lead my team to undertake. I also sent my team to canvas every store location we could and take surveys, make general observations and learn from real world account, what impacted business in a positive or negative manner.
Our team also worked along side a research group that acquired valuable data about neighborhoods, geography, customer types, and over 80 pages of crucial data that allowed us to cultivate reach and meaningful real world data that would later help us to craft user journeys and personas. After our discovery was complete, I came to understand that what was missing from the brand overall was a story people could connect with and believe in.
So, I worked with my team to craft a brand story that was rooted in truth and inspiring. A story centered around John Green, a worker at the Southland Ice Factory. John saw his neighbors in need and unable to provide basic provisions for their families. We told the story of John’s one small act of kindness and how his support in a time of need built a brand with a mission to help communities around the world.
With the core message in place I lead my team to develop moodboards, user journeys, personas, mental models, internal brand documents, employee training guides, brand messaging and countless deliverables that all conveyed this one message of community focused service and provision. These documents worked to guid every design decision we would make on behalf of the brand and its customer.
With the brand strategy mapped out, I lead my team to craft a new brand mark for 7-Eleven Hawaii. We were tied to the global brand mark in many ways but we worked to refine the brand mark and to deliver something that felt uniquely Hawaiian and unified with the brand. The 7-Eleven Hawai’i logo is the most immediate representation of the company and its people. It is a valuable corporate asset that must be used appropriately in the proper approved forms. I pulled design cues from the “7“ and mirrored the use of negative space within the word Hawai’i; this visually and subconsciously connects the two elements.
The minimal and modern logotype appealed to a younger demographic and retained legibility with a bold, strong appearance. The descended cross bars in the letter “A“ and the horizontal bar in the letter “H” have been inspired by timeless pacific type treatments. This logo is a perfect blend of classic Hawaiiana and the contemporary design culture.
The ‘dynamic wave’ within the word Hawai’i serves many purposes. It conveys brand evolution, fluidity of its purpose and the ability to move in order to better meets its target audience. I also developed a custom brand mark that could be utilized as a brand device and as a specialty brand mark for ephemera, and in-store specialty products.
Once the brand guidelines were in place and the logo was locked I began to design internal collateral for stationary, email signatures, uniforms, both internal and exterior facing signage, employee guide books and manuals, posters, employee ephemera, business cards and countless other elements that the company requested.
As we finished off all of the initial brand deliverables and the company was beginning to take shape our focus shifted into larger public facing touchpoints. Understanding that revitalizing a brand is not just about the logo and colors; it is about the experience and atmosphere that every customer will encounter.
For each store location I wanted to increase the perceived value of the brand, remove the clutter, and bring in a familiar feel. So, I worked alongside architects and designers to enhance the in-store experience and fit perfectly within the aesthetic of the surrounding environments. The mural above adorns the side of a 7-Eleven in Oahu’s Art District.
Since, our team focused on the individual traits of each and every store, I wanted to give special attention to the neighborhoods creative community. For this location, I designed a mural that runs along the back wall of the interior of the store, I utilized reclaimed woods for the interior shelving units and countertops. I lifted the ceilings and widened the distance between product racks to open up to space and encourage freedom to browse .
I saw that 7-eleven had a foothold in some of the best real-estate locations throughout the pacific rim and I wanted to transform the store from a quick-grab convenient store into a destination for high-quality coffee and food.
One of the most exciting aspects of this store, is that the 7-Eleven team worked with me to enhance their coffee selections and to transform this location to a location that served premium coffee and pastries and for the first time ever, we established Hawaii’s first 24/7 coffee house with indoor and outdoor seating.
The idea for this came from a previous design concept I submitted.
With the website in development I worked with the team to capture all of their product offerings and stage the images so that they told a story. No longer was product shot on the nose. I worked to elevate the brand by presenting the food selection as a premium offering. This is not all of my work, as seven eleven was a client for years . I wrote and directed commercials, produced and animated motion graphics, created typefaces and color ways, continued to create interior and exterior signage and waypoint devices, and assist the marketing team with all manner of promotional materials. I will add those shortly keep checking back.