Europe has just become a bit more colorful

Marseille, France — October 2005

Marketing a new brand of professional paints to Europe’s professional painters

Elan is a new European brand of paints reserved for the professional builder, architect and decorator. As a newcomer in a very competitive market, they needed to position themselves correctly right from the start.

In 2005, AREA 17 was hired to create the visual identity for this innovative and socially responsible brand, including their packaging and point-of-sale materials. The resulting cross-media system spanned everything from bucket designs and swatches to brochures and in-store kiosks.

With brand attributes such as quality, innovation, efficiency and eco-friendliness, the product is clearly at the high-end of the market. Elan wanted to add a fifth attribute — cost-effectiveness — in order to best capture their niche market of professional painters. The position was then established as an excellent quality product that is slightly less expensive than the main competitors.

To capture this position, we did away with pictures showing smiling faces and instead opted for simple shapes and sophisticated typography that juxtaposes generic cost-savings with high-end quality.

In addition, Elan’s products needed to encapsulate the ideals of a multilingual European market. To this end, we developed a numeric coding system for the products. Not only did this eliminate the language barrier between countries, it also gave the brand a clever messaging system that could be extended to their multinational marketing efforts.

We did away with pictures showing smiling faces and instead opted for simple shapes and sophisticated typography

In keeping with their progressive approach to branding, Elan maintains a progressive approach to the environment. The company participates in an eco-responsible research project – ready 2010 – aimed at reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from paints. And today, Elan is the first brand on the market to offer a tinting system that uses 0% VOC colorants.