Published January 17, 2006
Volume 14, Number 1

Oilpress! is All About Building Brands
Graphic Design Firm Helps Businesses in Defining Their Identity

Katherine and Mark Oehlschlager are the creative duo behind Oilpress!,
a two-year-old graphic design firm in Hacienda.

By Jay Hipps

A company’s brand is one of its most valuable assets. A brand provides a visual symbol of a product or service and is emblematic of identity, personality, and even emotion. Creating brand identity is one of the most challenging fields in business and it’s the special focus of Oilpress!, a graphic design firm which recently made its home in Hacienda.

“Our services can be broken down into two broad categories,” says Mark Oehlschlager, who runs the firm with his wife and partner Katherine. “There is the design of brand identity systems—that is to say, the mark, typeface, color schemes which comprise the basic visual categories that organizations use in their communications to help distinguish themselves and their communications in the marketplace. The other aspect of what we do is to design communication such as brochures, reports, and packaging—those items to which you would apply the brand markings.”

Although items such as a company mark or logo may appear simple, the process used to create them can be complex. “In the case of someone who is introducing themselves or their product for the first time, what I want to know is ‘Tell me something about the product. Tell me something about the marketplace that you’re aiming at. Tell me something about the competitors you’re facing, and how you’re going to position yourself, not only from a functional point of view but how are you going to feel emotionally to the customers,’” says Mark. “They may have all the information and be able to give it to me directly in an interview process or through a questionnaire. They may not, in which case we might suggest that we get in touch with a market researcher to help uncover information. In any case, we want to collect a bunch of foundational information about what the hopes and aspirations are for the brand and the competitive context it finds itself in, and again what sort of associations they hope to build up around this product or service in the customer’s mind. (Answers to these questions) will help us to a large degree in making some intuitive choices about what would be regarded as sort of touchy/feely emotional aspects of design.

“That’s where we begin, and we would propose to the client a couple possible directions in sort of very broad terms—paragraph descriptions, some sampled images that we might collect into a sample book to show them, ‘We feel like, based on what you’ve told us, that this would be a possible choice that would be right for your brand. How do you feel about it?’ So without getting too much invested in going straight for a finished mark or a brochure, we try to get some responses to some visual samples.”

Depending on the scope of the project, he explains, the effort may include input from marketing specialists such as researchers, writers, illustrators, photographers, and, for certain elements of web site design, programmers.

Despite the fact that Oilpress! is just two years old, they’ve already worked with a variety of impressive clients including entrepreneurial start-ups Á La Cards and Xicalango Press as well as Meissen Porcelain, Europe’s first and oldest hard-paste porcelain manufacturer. The company’s latest project is a redesign of their own web site, which can be accessed at www.oilpress.net.


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