Where form and function meet fashion and floor covering.
Founded on a tradition of producing classic braided rugs, Colonial Mills soon found itself bringing innovation to braid. Through quality, American craftsmanship and versatile design, the company was creating the next generation of braided home fashions, from the boldly modern to the classically rustic. However, the brand’s image didn’t match the value it brought to the market.
Working with CMI, Blackcoffee developed a go-to-market brand strategy and identity designed to align its product line with consumers’ expectations. Interviewing retailers and customers to gain a better understanding of how the brand was perceived, our research unearthed a gap in how people saw the brand and how the brand saw itself. This lead to a brand aesthetic which was both modern enough and classic enough to work with the company’s broad product lines.
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In the mid 80’s, Colonial Mills Inc. made an effort to “modernize its image” by changing its name to CMI. Today’s consumers are more driven by heritage and craftsmanship which was downplayed by the use of an acronym. Reverting to the company’s original name better connects the brand with the values it shares with its consumers.
MADE IN THE USA
The brand’s “Made in the USA” moniker reflects Colonial Mills’ hand-drawn aestetic, to ensure that the mark both stands out and fits in. From on-product to online applications, the Made in the USA moniker helps differentiate Colonial Mills as being stateside yet enjoyed in homes all over the world.
Drawing from the production technique used to form the base braid for all of Colonial Mills’ wares, we created a hand-drawn logo and logotype to underscore the tactile nature of its products. The color scheme was left monochromatic to ensure that it would never clash with the often vibrant color of Colonial Mills’ many rugs and baskets.
Pattern and Texture
We extended the logo braid to form a textural pattern reminiscent of the tactile nature of the hand-assisted process of the products themselves. Matte, uncoated papers are used throughout the brand’s marketing materials to further emphasize this tactile quality.
Expressing the Brand Digitally
Colonial Mills’ goods were traditionally sold by third-party retailers. However, the company was often contacted directly as customers couldn’t always find the size or color combination they were looking for. Blackcoffee designed an e-commerce website that brought a far greater selection to the consumer while allowing the company to take advantage of its customers’ browsing behaviors. Armed with data, the company gained deeper insights into what its customers wanted in terms of color, size, and design. ColonialMills.com
We hadn’t ever worked with a firm that specialized in branding. Their knowledge of brands, consumers, and consumers’ responses to those brands is so pronounced. It was fascinating to work with true brand experts.
—Meredith Thayer, Colonial Mills