A Brand Design Agency

Design matters... When brands stand out, they stand for something.

BASIC is a brand design agency that helps lifestyle inspired companies engage consumers and communicate their brand culture. We use design to connect brands and people through the things they love… experiences, stories and offerings that support their lifestyle and matter in culture.

We specialize in design-led brand communication and digital innovation and we’ve earned a reputation for doing great work across multiple categories. Our work is driven by our mission and our mission is this… we want to build brands people love.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2010
Show all +
San Diego, CA
headquarters
  • 251 10th Avenue
    San Diego, CA 92101
    United States
other locations
  • 1300 Villa St.
    Mountain View, CA 94041
    United States
  • India

Portfolio

Key clients: 

We partner with brands we believe in because great things come from being inspired.

These brands include Nixon Watches, Incase, History Channel, Hyundai, Sony / Playstation, New Era Cap, Blue Shield of California, Fox Racing, REI, HTC, Nike, K-Swiss, Lynda.com

Reviews

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Website Redesign for Premium Accessories Company

"You could tell at the end of the day that they were very dedicated to the project."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Mar. 2014 - Oct. 2014
Project summary: 

BASIC redesigned an ecommerce site to emphasize the purchasing path and create a more cohesive user experience. The site needed to respond to user input, yet still convey the brand's unique style. 

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
San Diego Metro Area
Digital Team Member, Premium Accessories Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

BASIC brought a passionate mindset to the project, embracing innovative solutions and tailoring their designs to the brand's style. Through technical expertise and skillful project management, their design team succeeded in delivering a holistic user experience. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

I work for a premium accessories company in Southern California. We’ve been around for more than 16 years. We started expanding our markets as we became a bigger company and brand.

What is your role at the company?

I’m part of the digital team. The goal is to support our wholesale business that we started at the grassroots with. The second piece is trying to drive the direct-to-consumer channel as a separate initiative in the same building.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for the project?

We were coming up on the three-year mark for our current site at the time. Through research and our internal feedback from our executive team, we found we were looking for a stronger focus on the path to purchase. That was one of the main objectives of the project. We sought after talent that could marry the art and science of e-commerce. We really wanted to have a focus on designing the product as a whole and keeping the user experience intact throughout the whole process while driving through that main initiative of path to purchase through all the areas of the site, no matter the entry point.

A major piece of that effort is user generated content. We were already involved in it outside of our actual website, on social media for instance. This was our first opportunity to give it a dedicated page on our actual website. We wanted to have user-generated content that gave some form of validity behind what the brand is pushing and how we’re connecting with our end customers, even just our brand semantics.

We are using another company that is tailored towards profiling users. It’s actually a suite of tools, and we’re using it in different areas of the site. One of the key pages is our category page where you view a catalog of products, and based on interactions you could discern different products based on your entry point or even based on your gender. We wanted to be a little bit more cognizant of, if we can get a little more data upfront, we can serve the right content. If the person is really into watches, let’s show him watches. If it looks like they’re female, let’s skin the page with the right assets and the right merchandising, so we can target that user a little bit better, and they don’t have to sift through the background noise.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They really helped execute the design and what we wanted to incorporate. In the early stages, the early conversations started with, this is what our company is looking to do. Here’s the kind of technology we’re looking to implement, here’s what this involves. Basically, we asked them to put on a personal touch as an agency, wrap it all up in a nice package, and deliver it as a whole. That contained everything from setting up the information architecture, all the way down to the small details of how an animation should play out if you’re interacting with something particular in the page, to helping engage the user a little bit further, or to focus the user as they continue down the path of purchase or even just consume content on our site.

To be specific, they did the entire design, with input from our company and another partner that has been working with us for a while now. They were also tasked to do some of the front-end development. That changed midway through, just because of coding environment conflicts. The rest of the project was them being focused on design while working very closely with our other partners who were focused on the development.

What was your process for selecting BASIC with which to work?

We had a selection of five candidates, and we interviewed all five. At the end of the day, we had a scorecard for what really matter to us as a company. Project management was definitely high on the list, and they ranked very high for project management. The other piece was the art and science of technology, and just design as a whole and how it merges with technology. They ranked very high there as well.

They were also an agency that collectively understood the brand. They are also located in Southern California, so they have some employees that are very active in the industry that we thrive in. You have the same people that really appreciate the culture and come from it at the same time. That really sat well with us. Another piece is, they have really strong design practices. We asked for previous pieces of work that we could look at, and see from a very top level how they think, how they execute, how they look to tackle problems and provide solutions. We thought that was a strong piece.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?

They were highly involved, especially in the early stages. From March to July, it was 80 percent them, and 20 percent the rest of us. Then, it started shifting as we started getting to June and July. We were looking to start implementing code, so things started to shuffle. I don’t know if I can necessarily give you a figure of hours, there were a lot of people on that team. It would be tough for me to give you some sort of figure.

How long did the work with BASIC take?

We started early conversations in January [of 2014], but we didn’t actually start working on the project until March. We launched at the beginning of October, and we utilized their design resources all the way up until then. So, the length of their work was about seven months.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How would you describe BASIC’s performance?

Overall, I would say we were very pleased. You could tell at the end of the day that they were very dedicated to the project. The message we got was "people over profit." While they were still concerned about being a business and making money at the end of the day, they didn’t let that pollute their vision, and we really appreciated that. There were times where we had an aggressive schedule to start the project, and even to launch. We knew that in the very beginning, and we were very transparent with that. So, they set very hard deadlines, and we couldn’t always deliver on those deadlines. There are always curve balls that are thrown into it, and things that are unforeseeable, and they were flexible about it. I think that was an undertone to the success of the project, because they felt passionate about it. It felt very much as if it was their own project, and they wanted to be part of it.

The other piece of quality I would say is how they are able to work with so much input, and really zoom out and refocus in on what really matters, and provide their recommended solutions, even if one party feels strongly about another. That’s not to be confused with stubbornness, but it’s to applaud them. They understood our needs, but they wanted to make sure we’re looking at things as a whole, not just one piece of the puzzle. So, that was another big piece. Another aspect I can hit on is project management. The project management piece was very on point.

Were you satisfied with the results of the work?

Yes. We were very satisfied. Knowing our company as an aesthetic brand, we’re known for our style, and it has a timeless feel to it. They were able to execute and deliver on that high note. We carry the bar very high here, and they understood that. We believe their familiarity with the brand was an advantage for them, which is part of the reason why we selected them. More or less, they carried it within their own culture as an agency, so it was a pretty good marriage of the two.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

The quality of work that they were able to put out on such short notice, and even push into areas that felt a little uncomfortable for us, to remind us to be prideful of innovation. That’s how we’ve been able to stand as a brand for so long. They were able to do that even more so during a particular peak time of our project. I think that really says something about an agency that isn’t large. We’ve worked with other agencies that are rather large and well known, but you can kind of feel like a cog in a wheel depending on priorities, or depending on how much your budget is. They were more set on people rather than profit, is kind of the best message I can say. It became very much a passion project for them more than anything else.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

The one piece that could be improved is making sure their quality assurance is more integrated into the process upfront, rather than it being later. It wasn’t that it wasn’t there at all in the plan, but it could have been further upfront to catch things a little sooner. I think that also comes in part with how aggressive the timeline was, which is probably why we didn’t see too much of that upfront, because that could stall things.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding and Packaging Design for Video Games

"With BASIC, I always feel like you get a sense that you’re their only client."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
3.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

BASIC produced art and designs for various video game branding projects. Their designers provided both in-game content and marketing materials, including box art and title sequences. 

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 employees
 
San Diego, California
Creative Department Manager, Video Game Developer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

All commissioned art and designs met expectations and were received well by shareholders. BASIC took a personalized approach that prioritized collaboration and accessibility. Their team remained fully invested from start to finish, and brought attention to detail and artistry to each project. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

Our company is a video game and console publisher. Our department in particular is the creative group, and we are a resource for the marketing and development teams, which are the teams that make the games, for any of the things that aren’t core game programming. That could be commercials, TV spots, behind the scenes videos, title sequences or credit sequences within the games, key art, posters, box design, etc. Anything visual, artistic, or video that rolls into creating the game’s brand.

What is your role at the company?

I manage our San Diego team, which fluctuates in size depending on our workload, between 10 and 25 people.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with BASIC?

The first time we started working with BASIC, they were a key art vendor. We were looking for vendors that hadn’t traditionally worked with us before, outside of our group. We were looking to get some fresh perspectives on what video game key art and key art design could be.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How would you describe the results of the work?

The results have been very favorable. They’re always willing to do whatever it takes to get there. With a lot of agencies, you’ll get to the 80-85% mark, and then you start to encounter resistance in terms of effort, or they see the return on their extra time versus what it’s going to get them. I have never really encountered that situation with BASIC. Whatever the request has been, however big or small, they’ve always found out a way to get it done in a cool and effective way. I think by and large with pretty much everything they’ve put forward, the end result has been really solid, and has been well received by all the stakeholders on the project.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

I would say the level of service goes above and beyond what I think that you get from some of the larger agencies. Whether they’re just unwilling, or don’t have the time, or have the name recognition, they don’t have to worry about always going that extra mile for their clients, because it’s just next client up and they’re good to go. With BASIC, I always feel like you get a sense that you’re their only client, even though that’s obviously not the case. They always make you feel like they understand the urgency of whatever it is that we need or are asking for. They understand it, they respect it, and they want to act on that. They don’t keep you at arm’s length like an agency sometimes will if things aren’t going their way, or if they just don’t want to do something. They’re much more of a partner, which is from my perspective, pretty refreshing when it comes to companies and the agency relationship.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

Most of the things we’d do differently is probably on our side, just in terms of lead times we give them on things, but that’s just the nature of the beast. So, anything to improve on or do differently, no. I think it’s really just more of pushing themselves to continually take a fresh eye at their designs and what they’re putting forward, and make sure that they’re really doing a deep exploration so they don’t revert to established tropes or themes. They do a pretty good job with that, but that’s just something that design houses have to be wary of. It’s probably always top of mind there.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 3.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer