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Meaning Maker

Its visual expression took ACE from being a word of ubiquity to being a word that meant business.

Meaning Maker

Deliverables

Its visual expression took ACE from being a word of ubiquity to being a word that meant business.

Consumer Research
Graphic Design
Signage
Brand Standards
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Few names are better known, or logos more prevalent, than ACE Hardware. But with the rise of big box retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Walmart, what had been ACE Hardware strengths—locally located and service-driven—were in danger of becoming synonymous with ‘small’ and ‘expensive’. A big part of the solution was in sight—actually, it was right there up on the storefront: the Ace Hardware sign. By establishing a more resonant ACE retail identity—standardized among more than 4,600 licensees—we were able to leverage the considerable equity and authority of this well-known, 90-year-old brand and create a distinctive brand mark for the ubiquitous “ace” word that confirmed that this ACE is ACE Hardware.Damen Jackson also established clear standards and guidelines for the new ACE retail identity. These brand rules were applied to thousands of touch-points nationally, from interior and exterior signage to ACE’s robust private label portfolio.
CONSUMER RESEARCH
Important insights on shoppers’ impressions of, and attitudes toward, emerging big box retailers vs. the familiar locally-owned hardware store franchises was culled from independent large sample studies reported by industry associations and trade publications. Comparison of these findings showed significant consistency about shopping experiences and brand dimensions and defined the problem. Follow-up probative primary research was fielded by ACE.
GRAPHIC DESIGN
A successful new retail identity for ACE had to evoke the brand’s uniqueness and a value equivalent to what shoppers expected from big box stores. The extant ACE mark was non-descript and ordinary and the word, “Ace,” was overused. Our solution took the three letterforms of “ace” and transformed them into an integrated, distinctive, protectable symbol that said ACE and meant hardware.
SIGNAGE
The new ACE retail identity signage system had to deliver store-naming models and signage styles and sizes with standardized vs. customized options that were affordable and still accommodated a lot of variety.
BRAND STANDARDS
The entire retail identity system, branding standards, nomenclature, language and application guidelines were codified in a simple PC-based program that delivered independent use by franchises and governance by corporate marketing.