Black + Decker
Retooling and reinvigorating America’s original DIY brand
In 1910, S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker founded a made-to-order manufacturing company and, soon after, obtained the world’s first patent for a portable power tool. BLACK + DECKER’s original brand mark was based on the hexagonal nut — a universal fastener — that endures today, signaling industrial heft and permanence in our fast and fleeting digital age. But though the logo remains, the brand has evolved from a product-centric industrial titan into something more.
In 2013, Stanley Black & Decker engaged Lippincott to help redefine their brand. We outlined clear — and demanding — objectives for the brand strategy and design: the brand would need to be fundamentally human, to reflect BLACK + DECKER’s ability to transform a daunting task into a feeling of accomplishment. It would need to be simple, evoking a past and future of intuitive, human-centric design, while still being meaningfully different and modern.
More tactically, the brand would need to be versatile enough to shape a cohesive end-to-end customer journey and explicit enough to bring unity to a broad product portfolio and visual system. Together, these objectives defined a brand strategy that revolves around BLACK + DECKER’s legacy and future of empowering consumers all over the world to transform their homes, their communities, and their lives.
These conclusions were far from obvious at the start of the project. Over the course of months, we worked with the BLACK + DECKER team to understand the business’ strategic trajectory, spending time with consumers around the globe as they struggled with the complexity of familiar household appliances and waxed nostalgic about their fathers’ power drill in its battered steel housing. We studied design evolution to better understand the brand’s resonance with trends like post-hastism or with the market's rediscovered demand for pure craftsmanship. Together, Lippincott and BLACK + DECKER iteratively defined a strategy and design that embraces the brand’s heritage, signals the brand’s future, and is a brand for today’s world.
The strategic goal of the new positioning and visual identity was to represent the vast array of products that BLACK + DECKER offers from power tools, cleaning supplies, garden tools, outdoor needs and small domestic appliances. The logo aims to strike the perfect balance between all of the brands' categories: it maintains the signature masculine, orange black palette for power tools and outdoor products, but receives a softer and more elegant treatment for products used inside the home using a white and grey color palette. The uppercase, stacked type is technical and sharp, the round edges of the holding shape are soft and flexible.
The new BLACK + DECKER strategy, design, and customer experience blueprint will accompany the roll-out of BLACK + DECKER’s next major product releases, beginning in 2014.
“After Lippincott completed the refresh of the Stanley brand last year, we knew we could trust them as our strategic and creative partner on this project. The team’s continued collaborative spirit and dedication to finding not only the most innovative solutions, but also the ones that were appropriate for the brand, have revitalized BLACK + DECKER and prepared it for a future that we’re all excited about.”
- Scott Bannell, Vice President, Corporate Brand Management