When Greenbook (a guide for buyers of marketing research and the team behind IIEX) called us to talk about redesigning the famous GRIT Report (GreenBook Research Industry Trends) we were immediately inspired.
The GRIT Report had been going for 16 editions with little or no change to its design. We’d felt for some time that there was a great opportunity to freshen the design and demonstrate how much the visualization of data in our industry has moved on. The GreenBook team felt that the design reflected ‘old MR’ and they wanted to show leadership in the industry – not only with their content but also with design and communication.
We started with an online workshop, Mustard in the UK and the GRIT team in various locations across the USA. Using GoToMeeting we were able to talk face-to-face, share and discuss existing material and get a feel for what the GreenBook team were looking for – what needed to be changed, what kept and what was ‘up for grabs’. We were also able to understand how the publication is put together. GRIT is a collaborative effort with a great deal of support from many sources, with Leonard Murphy at GreenBook acting as the glue holding these diverse elements together.
We quickly discovered that a change in size, format or finish was not an option as the report is available both electronically and printed so there must be one design to serve both purposes. Beyond this core requirement and the need to retain the structure, content and all the data we were given creative freedom.
As a result of this review process we were able to recommend that we produce design guidelines in the form of a template, that the GreenBook in-house designer Megan and their freelance designer, Alex, could use to build the next report.
Our minds buzzing from the workshop, we went away and started to develop an underlying theme for the design that would also appear throughout the document. Elliot, Mustard’s graphic designer came up with the hexagonal pattern that, when overlaid with a transparency, created 3D blocks. We felt that this reflected in a visual way how GRIT builds a nuanced picture of the market research industry from flat data. As part of the process of developing the theme it became apparent that a new visual identity (logo) was required in order to signal change in the design and ethos of the report. Using the inputs from our online workshop, we developed a new identity, built very naturally using the theme we had developed yet integrating the reference to pie charts used in the original GRIT logo.
At the same time we took great care in developing a harmonious colour palette. Clearly, green was an important core colour, but we did try to tone it down a little with the use of white space and a subtle secondary colours. We also picked a classic clean font for the logo and headers and a more readable serif font for body copy. All these were treated as brand elements that would be used consistently through the document along with other elements including the hexagonal motif.
As part of the workshop we agreed to design and supply artwork for the cover, key pages and specifications for colours, fonts and a wide range of chart options, to give Greenbook the opportunity to break the monotony of the existing bar charts. We also put in place a process of ongoing meetings, consultation and support with the team, which allowed them to have our input, if they needed it, whilst they built the new edition from our guideline / artwork template.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience working with GreenBook and we awaited the report’s launch with anticipation. Now Mustard Towers is plastered with them and we are sharing with everyone! To take a look at what we did see this link: http://www.greenbook.org/grit. Lenny Murphy, GreenBook’s Chief Editor & Principal Consultant, said:
“After years of growing in importance to the industry as a barometer of trends and strategic direction, it was time for the GRIT report to be updated visually to ‘practice what we preach’ and become more visually engaging to tell the story of our findings in a better way. Our first, last and only choice to help make that happen was the Keen as Mustard team. They worked with us in a deeply collaborative way, guided the process with excellence, and helped us create a new standard for GRIT that incorporated the best of what had come before while refreshing it to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most dynamic and interesting reports in the world. The final result was a new GRIT that has received accolades by many readers and a product we are very proud of in every way. The Keen as Mustard team quite simply rocked this engagement, and I can’t wait to find another opportunity to work with them.”