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Red Knot Real Estate

A brand identity for a real estate company that sheds regional stereotypes while remaining rooted in local history.

My Role:

Lead Designer responsible for brand development


Chalkbox Creative

Key Responsibilities:

  • Brand development

  • Creative direction to freelance designers

  • Brand guideline development

  • Stakeholder presentations and collaboration facilitation

  • Asset delivery

The challenge

Denise Pitzman was already an accomplished real-estate professional when she and her husband Gordon decided to launch their own agency in Homer, Alaska. When Denise and Gordon approached my team at Chalkbox, they wanted to avoid local visual tropes, and create a brand that would truly separate them from competitors in their market.

Despite being well know and trusted in their community, Red Knot needed to quickly project its legitimacy and expertise to home buyers, home sellers, homeowners who might be in the market down the road, and other audiences.

Sketching to avoid familiar Alaska tropes.

Like many local industries, Homer's visual brand landscape is full of mountains, trees, bears, and salmon. And this isn't limited to just the real estate market. We knew we needed to avoid these and focus on something more unique. Red Knot's name comes from a regional seabird, so we focused on finding opportunities in the form of this bird as well as exploring nautical concepts.

Approachable, iconic, and inviting.

The logo and brand system includes an iconic, simplified seabird, along with typography that reflects the working-class roots of Homer. Overall, it's a serious, yet accessible, mark with a softness that is offset with bright and energetic colors.

Simple brand touch-points that exude expertise and confidence.

The initial scope of this project was a brand identity with a starter kit of supporting materials including business cards, envelopes, and lettterhead. It is the classic brand identity kit set-up, but just right as Red Knot got off the ground. We designed these to feel vibrant, refined, and friendly.

Key take-away and lessons learned.

It can be challenging to explore beyond a regions local tropes, and even more-so to encourage a client to reach beyond the familiar. Fortunately, Denise and Gordon were ready to differentiate themselves from their competitors and understood intuitively that the trees, bears, mountains, and salmon that are so prolific in branding in the region were not the right fit. The trick then was to find an iconic form that felt unique to the name, and create a simple brand system that they could extend to new pieces when they were ready.

Collaboration is what really helped bring this identity home. It is easy to see a defined form in negative space when you are the one creating it, and without Denise and Gordon's input and participation, the iconic bird form we landed on wouldn't have been quite right.

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