FOUNDER + CREATIVE DIRECTOR + FORMER OWNER/MANAGER + STRATEGY
After Drew’s clothing label was dealt a blow from his contract print shop going out of business, Drew convened two like-minded screen printers and some cold beers. With their printing skills, Drew’s creative business experience and their mutual interest in sustainable production practices, Offbeat Press was conceptualized as a partnership between three young creative minds. A few months later, Offbeat Press was born as the first full-scale, eco-friendly, water-based apparel screen printing shop in the Midwest.
At the time of opening, Drew contributed his creative skills and entrepreneurship experience simultaneously as he developed the design side of the business. He combined his experiences as an Art Director for a national advertising agency along with his work as a self-employed creative freelancer and his experience starting a clothing label to create awesome shirt designs for his clients. In this way, he was able to share his craft, creativity and business chops.
By 2010 both of Drew’s partners had moved on and Drew was running the shop with one employee. By 2015 Drew started to create a design office as a dual entity of Offbeat Press (oh hello Hype Visual!), had organically grown the business, expanded the shop space and capabilities of Offbeat and had arrived at a huge step in the future of the business. It was time to create a full brand strategy with the opportunity to rebrand Offbeat Press in an authentic way that would strategically position Offbeat for a stronger future.
Before starting on a new brand identity or marketing strategy, Drew began by taking a deep look into business and brand strategy. The original Offbeat brand was a compromise of the original three owners and Drew knew there was room for improvement. But first, Drew dove into the brand strategy with the goal of developing a cohesive brand that was better aligned with the business culture, target clients and the future he visualized. The brand strategy addressed many elements of the business from the internal culture, the brand audience, competitive landscape, positioning, brand personality, messaging all the way through to the brand identity. The brand identity is most visible, but it’s really just the culmination of the strategy work.
Drew started on the inside, by asking himself why he stayed with Offbeat Press, despite the many struggles. He developed Offbeat Press to be an adventurous, artistic, bold, nature-advocating, social justice-oriented, community-loving, creative print shop. Through the internal brand culture he practiced generosity as the business grew, giving back to employees and communities in need. He offered employee healthcare, profit sharing and unique benefits because he knew it was worth investing in good people. He also instilled traditions like treating employees to lunches for birthdays, holidays and great days at work. He turned business anniversaries into community fundraising parties that celebrated his clients and raised money for important local causes. This internal culture was essential to the brand strategy ahead. The culture was strong, but it still needed some tweaks and advancements to create effective systems for a better future.
Offbeat Press was never your typical screen print shop. With offbeat in the name, you knew you were getting a different experience than any standard print shop. We needed to make sure Offbeat Press straight up stood out from the regional and national print shops. Offbeat was exceptional as a green-certified apparel screen print shop. But it was also exceptional with the kickass design services, print capabilities and reliability. Above all Offbeat Press was exceptional in building genuine relationships with its clients – Drew went above and beyond for his clients, providing creative consulting to help grow hundreds of businesses and organizations. Through these insights gave Drew a strong understanding of our customer audience, competitive analysis and differentiation strategy so Drew knew how to position the new Offbeat Press brand to attract and engage the customers and clients he sought for the growth ahead.
The new Offbeat Press brand is positioned as edgy, clean and a little disruptive – a brand representing the business origin, the brand personality and the company culture. Drew designed the current Offbeat Press brand identity in a style that transcends any individual genre or trend. The custom lettering boasts a raw yet refined style, standing apart and translating well to apparel and other merchandise. The logo design combines energy and excitement that simulate the fast-paced and fun production environment and reflects the direct manner that the client team communicates and connects with clients. The new logo also resembles the newly modernized print shop with a touch of retro influence that reflects the previously abandoned warehouse that sits on the edge of a transitional neighborhood that was once booming with industry. The energy element was amplified with lightning bolts symbolic of the building’s history as the original tram station for the city of Oshkosh and the massive electric power units in the utility room.
Drew lit up the green to be more memorable, lively and energetic – representing spring and the plan for growth ahead. The clean branding, professional monogram and modern sans serif fonts all play a role in helping differentiate Offbeat Press in an industry that’s rough around the edges, known for sloppy business practices and unreliability. Coupled with the stylized photography, icons, brand messaging and other visual elements, Drew curated a comprehensive identity and carved out a great niche for the future of Offbeat Press. The new brand identity differentiated Offbeat Press from both the mom and pop screen print shops and the corporate players in the promotional products industry. The brand strategy and ensuing brand identity immediately elevated the brand by deepening the uniqueness, memorability and personality of the Offbeat Press brand, thus creating more meaningful connections with clients and helping attract many new clients.
Offbeat Press flourished handsomely as a result of the strong branding. This investment paid off with considerable growth – even through the pandemic. What began as a single screen manual print shop, developed into a small manufacturing company, employing eleven people. During the pandemic that Drew had the opportunity to expand once again to meet the growing demands of Offbeat’s ever-increasing clients. After 5 years of the updated brand strategy and identity implementation, Drew was able to put the print shop for sale and make the transition he was seeking out of the manufacturing business. While the disruption of “normal” life during the pandemic emphasized the desire for change, the core exit strategy was in place for many years. The pandemic illuminated the desire to circle back to his creative roots as a medium for creating positive change. After thirteen faithful years of love, sweat and tears Offbeat Press, Drew sold the print shop. You can read more about Drew’s transition and the life of Hype Visual on Our Team page. Also see the Offbeat X Ten Year Party art and the Offbeat Press Tagline T-shirt design.