Squarefoot Investments – Bradford’s award winning property specialist.
“Squarefoot deserve all the success that comes their way. I knew Mani was a winner, a survivor, even before he won an award… Mani Waheed is a local business hero that Bradfordians and Yorkshire folk should be proud of, and young people should aspire to.”
Squarefoot Investments (UK): Delivering solutions for city centre living to both the public and developers. A property specialist with their feet on the ground.
Bulletpoint Design: Stage 1 (2007/8): Logo and branding, image makeover, content creation, literature production, stationery, vehicle livery and banners stands. Stage 2 (2009/10): Shop front design and interior enhancements.
Stand out or stand still?
What current marketing problems do you face. How and where do you best invest in your business. And are you benefiting from good design and ‘wow factor’ branding? To help, here’s a shining example of how to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace…
• Old logo (above): Where the ‘Square Foot’ name didn’t need changing to ‘Square Metre’.
• New logo. An obvious idea that was nearly dismissed by the designer for being too simple. Isn’t ‘good design’ meant to be simple?
The idea: (Articulated version from design manager Chris Roberts). The Squarefoot logo depicts the notion of ‘space’, its definement by enclosure and its potential to become a ‘living space’ or a room awaiting filling.
Alternatively: (Actual description from designer Stuart Robinson). “It’s just a big square really… with the word ‘FOOT’ stuck alongside it… A bit obvious really?” (Laughs loudly). “No Stuart, it’s brilliant! I love it… We’ll defo put that idea forward.” said Paul.
The final logo was trademarked (TM) by Bulletpoint and later became a registered trademark (R).
The brief, 2007: Mani Waheed, Squarefoot Investments managing director, required a comprehensive re-brand for use on a broad range of media. This included a set of dynamic business stationery to large-scale external on-site banners, point-of-sale displays, advertising, glossy sales folders and hand-out sheets.
Branding: Standing out, not standing still
Dynamic stationery? To also help demonstrate how to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace, here are Squarefoot’s business cards. (An effective marketing tool if you get it right. A wasted opportunity if you don’t?) “Good design is often a case of simply comparing before and after.”
• Old business card v ‘Brilliant business card™’.
“Yes, that is Mani, those are his feet, those are his socks!”
“Good (effective) design should make your socks go up and down.” Jonathan Sands – Chairman, Elmwood UK.
“We (later) wrinkled up Arif’s socks on purpose. (Big feet too!?) A bit like Nora Batty’s wrinkled socks from The Last of the Summer Wine.”
For an extra bit of fun (and creativity), let’s look at the wording as well as the pictures? The first and last bulletpoint’s (text) on the reverse of the card reads;
• City centre living to blow your socks off
• A property specialist with their feet on the ground
• Outdoor media banner and Twist™ banner stand: Feet on the ground and (red) legs up in the air!
“Watching passers by looking up at the red legs banner (on the scaffolding) and thinking ‘what the hell?’ was exactly the reaction we were looking for.” Meanwhile, other developers resort to showing cool looking chicks in sunglasses or the usual interior design shot combined with ‘luxury flats’ message. Hmmm…
• Mani’s Mini. Vehicle livery. Digital artwork by designer Gareth Stubbs.
Thankfully we had a sharp client who was willing to invest in good design and branding, asking Bulletpoint to design the Mini and (later) his sign man to just put the stickers on. Good call Mani, good job Gareth!
Thought: Now as an ageing graphic designer myself, this is what still gets me out of bed every morning. I love it. This whole design case study makes MY socks go up and down!
2009/10: Shop front design and interior design/brand enhancements (below).
Bite the bullet
“Mani bit the bullet. He was not frightened of taking risks, moving into new property when the market was in decline, at a time houses weren’t selling and apartment sales were slow to struggling. (A brave move that seems to have paid off.) He was also not frightened of spending money in the RIGHT places, like signage, in this case going for the most expensive production option.” An agreed, fixed fee with ‘brand guardians’ Bulletpoint to do the DESIGN and artwork – not the architects or the sign company – was another good call, another good investment in standing out.
• Paul spotted a student’s painted canvas at the Bradford University college show. Now in Mani’s office!• Below: An inexpensive ‘arty’ (branded) solution for rest of the interior by Bulletpoint. (IKEA frames). The red bits are like the hidden clues in the film ‘6th sense.’
Squarefoot Investments (UK) – Bradford’s award winning property specialist
2007: ABDN Finalist – Best Newcomer
2007: Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards 2007 – Best Newcomer
2009: ABDN Finalist – Best Brand
2010: ABDN Winner – SME Business of the Year
• Left: Red feet folder design. Far right: Ousman Waheed, Squarefoot’s MD receiving his ‘winners’ award (2010).
City centre living to blow your socks off!
Reflection: Passionate about branding, this project is one of Paul Kerfoot’s favourite design case studies, and is featured in one of Paul’s interactive seminar/workshops; ‘Every business needs a superhero.’
“Squarefoot deserve all the success that comes their way. I knew Mani was a winner, a survivor, even before he won an award. A good lad that has worked hard and has really ‘framed’ himself.” (See above!) Determination, due diligence and persistence (one of Paul’s ‘7 keys to success’) are some of Mani’s many qualities and are also the reasons why he has survived and grown in challenging times.
Squarefoot Investments also understand the many benefits of investing in design, branding and creativity. Mani was also advised to buy some nice socks for birthday or Christmas presents for his top clients. Now that is branding for you!
Challenging times – a shining example of a local hero
The Squarefoot story is a super design case study and a shining example of HOW to do it, run a successful business in a harsh economic climate that is testing even the very best of us. Where standing out in an overcrowded marketplace is now more important than ever, whether on the high streets of Bradford or over at MIPIM in Paris with your Twist™ banner stand. Here Mani has been networking, shaking his stuff (and his socks) with Bradford Council and partners over in France (2008), looking for vital, overseas investment in the city centre.
“A great client, Mani was up for change, was willing to be creatively different and had a professional attitude when challenged, trusted us and listened to Bulletpoint’s advice on design, branding and marketing. Mani Waheed IS a local business HERO that Bradfordians and Yorkshire folk should be proud of, and young people should aspire to.” Paul Kerfoot – Creative Director, Bulletpoint Design Ltd.
Please click here to download an A4 design case study sheet (Adobe Acrobat PDF file).