Logo & Identity System
Even with 40 years in the business and a massive inventory of cameras, lenses, and gear from manufacturers around the world, KEH Camera was relatively unknown by camera enthusiasts. So they came to Goods & Services to help them better tell their story.
Did you know that more than 3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video are shared online every day? In 2021 alone more than 1 trillion photographs were taken around the world. All those cute babies, hilarious pets, and romantic sunsets aren’t going to take their own selfies! The fact is, more people are taking more pictures now than at any time in human history. Which means that there’s never been a more exciting time to be a photography nut. Or a photography expert.
Thank god, then, for KEH Camera, who happen to be both. The Smyrna, GA-based company lays claim to being the “largest buyer and seller of used film gear in the world,” according to president and CEO Jon Safran. They are also one of the country’s most respected authorities when it comes to inspecting, reviewing, and certifying used camera equipment.
But even with 40 years in the business, 145 dedicated and passionate staff members, and a 35,000 square foot warehouse that houses more than 50,000 cameras, lenses, and gear from every manufacturer in the world (or: “heaven on earth for camera enthusiasts,” as many have said), not a lot of camera enthusiasts knew about KEH Camera. So they came to Goods & Services to help them paint a clearer picture.
For this challenge, Goods assembled a dream team of smart and talented designers, writers, and strategists. Led by Mike Williams, VP of Brand Identity, we worked with Safran and his team to entirely rethink KEH Camera’s branding, logo and web design, copy voice, and collateral.
“I thought of KEH as more of an upstart than a start up,” Williams said. “They already had these great existing pieces of gold in their history. We just had to help them figure out how to tell their story more effectively.”
Luckily for us, KEH’s story is a rich and dynamic one that spans decades and the many twists and turns in the photography industry over the years. From film to digital, scrapbooks to social media, KEH has maintained an unwavering love for cameras and a dedicated commitment to the craft of photography, featuring a top notch staff with unparalleled enthusiasm for what they do.
“At our core, we’re camera people, but our brand didn’t reflect the passion and soul we had. We were competing with Amazon and eBay and other huge companies, and compared to them our storytelling felt amateurish. It was time for a radical overhaul of our identity.”
To get to the core of the KEH identity, Williams and team explored their brand DNA, down to the fundamental concept of what it means to be a photographer. With an almost intimately personal, high-end service, it was clear that KEH offered something unique. They not only encouraged their customers’ love of photography, they empowered it, making them feel like creative collaborators and fellow experts.
Goods discovered that KEH has a natural understanding of what photographers and camera lovers need and a desire to help them achieve it. We focused on this trait and sharpened it into a sense of purpose that celebrates cameras and self expression while also embracing the photographic community at large.
To help KEH find their unique voice, we turned to copywriter Molly Dickinson to shape KEH’s verbal identity and overall tone so that it would better resonate with customers.
“I wanted to move them away from the static, just-the-facts story that they had at the time, to really capture and convey a human feeling of honesty and authenticity.
Essentially, we wanted to honor the past but move their story forward”
This new copy direction provided KEH with a vibrant and confident personality that they could adapt to their needs and apply to their evolving story moving forward.
“Their messaging didn’t need to be overwrought,” Dickinson said. “They’re really good at what they do. They’ve been offering customers a great experience for decades. And, as one of the original resellers of camera gear for camera lovers everywhere, the camera community knows and highly respects them.”
For KEH’s logo, we were inspired by the machined brand marks on older camera bodies that symbolize trust and quality. A versatile logo, it can be used as a word mark, stamp, or seal to further communicate the quality and craftsmanship associated with every piece of equipment that KEH makes, grades, or repairs.
The entire visual identity system leverages the look of the logo with customized grading marks, icons, and graphics. The new color scheme includes KEH’s distinctive orange, along with a neutral palette that highlights photography, as well as a vibrant palette for layouts that stands out and allows for greater expression.
A perfect new place for all those selfies to call home.
“As camera lovers, we understand that photography is a catalyst for social change. We’re really excited to develop a new content hub that we hope will be an attractive and compelling opportunity for new audiences.”
With more than 5000 new customers a month, a long list of satisfied customers, and an additional 15,000 square feet of warehouse space planned for the fall, the outcome of the work has been undeniably successful.
“Goods & Services saw who we were and where we could go,” Safran said. “As a small, local business, we realized we were probably not their biggest account, but what was so fun about working with them was that I got the sense it was a labor of love.”
The new design tool kit we created now allows KEH’s head of brand and identity, David Trumpf, to expand its capabilities as he sees fit, including an effort for more connection to the camera community as a whole.
KEH Camera is one of a few projects we worked on during the Covid 19 pandemic. And while no one wants to relaunch a brand at such a precarious and uncertain time, given the feedback and data we’ve gotten, we’re confident the work has been a vast improvement to what they had. Not just on the business side of things, but also for KEH internally.
“The new branding has become a part of our culture. It's how we live and operate. Goods & Services gave us a solid foundation on which to build and it's part of everything we do, from performance reviews to our packaging”