Here’s a project from a few years back that I never added to the blog.

Kairos logo

It was for a new shoe store aimed at people who love good quality, affordable footwear. My idea was simple — to create an icon set that looked like it was made from shoelaces, where each icon could be used for various occasions and promotions throughout the year.

Kairos logo

There were others, such as one shaped like a tennis racket for Grand Slam offers, one like an Easter egg, another a bat (Halloween). That kind of thing.

Custom Kairos shoelaces could be given to customers as promotional gifts, made into sweets, used to create framed wall art, etc.

A handwritten typeface was customised to give a similar impression.

Kairos logo

I didn’t know if the design was implemented until today when I searched for the store website.

And so it goes, sometimes. You can do the work, but the client decides on its use.

19 responses

  1. Can’t say that’s never happened to me. ;)

    Sometimes your own thinking is well beyond the client’s comprehension of what their brand could be. It appears your proposal took them to a whole new level and in the end they just wanted to stay there looking like a discount shoe warehouse.

    Oh, well. Showing work like this only hopes to entice the next new client that really DOES want to take it to the next level.

  2. Yup, I think we’ve all been there before. Frustrating, but as Leighton says, a nice portfolio piece for the client that “cares”. Re their website… yikes!

  3. Oy! Obviously, someone there just didn’t “get it” with your logo/branding. What a waste, sorry to see their new direction.

    Its a great commentary on the situation we all encounter with a client not appreciating/understanding creative ideas.

    Thanks for sharing, David!

  4. Sometimes, clients shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions on any kind of communications. If you want to drive a car, you have to learn for ages and then take a test. If you start a business, no one checks up on you and you can make some alarming mistakes.

  5. That is an attractive logo and a nice typeface. The visual identity is exciting and fun, which was, perhaps, not what your client was looking for. They chose what they are, in their own eyes (as Leighton rightly puts it) : “like a discount shoe warehouse.” But in the absence of the real reason behind client’s decision, we can only speculate.

    Good designers need bold clients that are up for unique ideas with open mind.

  6. Wow, what a disappointment, maybe they thought it was too upmarket, too much of a real brand, too well designed. If that was the case you’d have thought they would have gone to a local printer, rather than someone with your expertise. It’s hard to work out how some people think at times in this job. Anyway, hope you got paid!

  7. Ouch. I mean the website – it hurts my eyes.

    Perhaps they found your thinking too far outside the box, David, so they decided to just stick with a black box instead. You can’t beat black boxes, after all. They’re effortlessly classy.

    As James notes, perhaps they found it too upmarket and not fitting their image? I’ve never heard of them, but my first impression is more flea market than upmarket after seeing the website. I don’t mean that as an insult as I have no idea how they want to brand themselves, if indeed they want to brand themselves at all.

  8. It really is frustrating to see a quality idea go to waste. I have run into this problem as well. You have a bigger vision then what the client has for their own company. Oh well, at least you posted it for us design junkies to enjoy. Very creative idea, great job!

  9. It’s their loss, in the end. Yes, it happens, and in cases like this one it’s sad to see a company celebrating a year of business, while looking like they were they are struggling with sales… in the 90’s.

    I really like how nice the word mark you designed looks, and it definitely goes well with the brand and overall system described.

  10. What a waste of beautiful work. Not sure where they went wrong. Perhaps your design was too uptown as many mentioned or perhaps they had no idea what they wanted. Been there for sure. I agree that it is their loss. What a shame.

  11. I often think that all designers share the same experiences, Leighton. Particularly those in self-employment or on the higher rungs of employment.

    Thanks a lot for commenting, folks.

  12. Wow.
    This happens to the legendary David Airey as well?
    We had this happen recently and it broke my little heart.
    If there is one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that when a client comes to us – I want their whole heart.
    If they don’t like our work, I actually tell them it’s best not to work with us.

    Thank you for sharing, it’s a bit of a hard one to share + I’m glad you did.

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