Challenge

The global investment management company Blackstone had recently completed a series of acquisitions. Unintentionally each company interpreted the Blackstone brand in their own way resulting in a lack of cohesion across the corporation.

Solution

Decker developed a full suite of guidelines and tools that became the standard across the Blackstone brand.

Result

A global brand system that gives every user the guidelines and resources necessary to be fully integrated into the Blackstone brand, resulting in “One Blackstone.”

Challenge: Bring a Massive Company Under One Brand Umbrella

For several years, the investment management company Blackstone had embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy. But most of the companies they purchased had their own distinct brand or some kind of existing visual system as is to be expected. At the time, they were each given the firm’s brand manual. Yet, this legacy system did not meet the many needs of a modern financial services company and users implemented their own interpretation of the brand.

Thus, when Blackstone studied the branding of their portfolio companies, there was a clear disconnect between them and the Blackstone brand. The communication output lacked a cohesive look and it was clear the system needed to be updated to serve the needs of a larger, more diverse and more digital company.

Such a complex, global company—with interests from New York to Mumbai to Sydney—had complex needs. Facing countless deliverables and demands, Blackstone’s internal team needed a modernized, detailed, structured brand system they could reliably use no matter the format or function.

Blackstone’s internal team needed a modernized, detailed, structured brand system they could reliably use no matter the format or function

Solution: A System for Consistency Across All Portfolio Companies

Decker Design first had to understand Blackstone and its relationship to its acquisitions. We took a deep dive into the scope and scale of their operation. We had to know their processes and their hurdles. We also studied their internal team’s skill sets to determine whether they would need additional resources and training.

Then we jumped into the branding essentials: evaluating typography (analyzing fonts in Microsoft vs. Adobe) and assessing color palettes (for contrast against white and other backgrounds). Knowing your color schemes consistently render well is critical in a financial services context. Pie charts are a nightmare otherwise.

And since PowerPoint is a go-to for the finance industry as a publishing tool more than a presentation platform, we created clear guidelines and content hierarchies for analysts. We also developed suggestions to make headline writing more clear. And we encouraged Blackstone’s graphics team to challenge authors if their content was confusing.

Decker Design conducted a series of workshops with Blackstone to train teams on how to use the new standards and to disseminate them across the globe

Decker Design also conducted a series of workshops with Blackstone to train teams on how to use these new standards and guidelines and to disseminate them across the globe. Because there were so many complicated use cases, we created prototypes to bring consistency and clarity to data sets.

We also managed to overcome Blackstone’s legacy design systems that retained a “print mindset.” Today, everything needs to work on a computer screen or mobile device, so Decker gave Blackstone the tools and guidance to better function in a digital environment.

Results: A Brand Designed for Blackstone Today and Tomorrow

Blackstone now has a global brand system that provides the firm:

• A robust set of global brand guidelines for every use case.

• A defined process for deploying the guidelines plus tools for internal teams to monitor brand health and measure success.

• Mechanisms to continuously expand the suite of guidelines across departments in order to keep up with evolving needs (video, color schemes, tables, charts, graphs, maps, quick reference guides, etc.)

A robust set of global brand guidelines for every use case

No matter their industry or location around the globe, Blackstone offices now and into the future have the right resources to enjoy consistent representation and inclusion as part of the Blackstone brand. Any new acquisitions that come aboard at Blackstone are immediately entered into the new brand system thanks to Decker’s work.

The mandate to develop “One Blackstone” is complete.

Credits:
Creative Director: Lynda Decker
Lead Designer: Matty Brownell
Senior Designer: Susanne Adrian
Designer: Kevin Lamb
Junior Designer: Jason Mangelson
Project Manager: Shannon Hughes
Project Manager: Jennifer Tabachnik
Project Manager: Kristin Lennert Murra
Project Manager: Kim Riordan

Awards won:
GDUSA American Graphic Design Award