The Re-Brand of LND

In honor of having recently celebrated our first anniversary as our new identity, we thought it would be an interesting endeavor to re-visit the rigorous process of the re-brand — from Lund Nielsen Design to GHOST WORKS. A process that began in June and reached its conclusion in September, the many phases of dissection and ideation are described in detail below.

THE BACKGROUND:

Sensing a need for change, Eirik Lund Nielsen holed himself up in a New York City hotel room to dissect the past, present and future of his company, LND. By exploring the ins-and-outs of the company that was, he was able to uncover a vision for what it should be.

Because the name LND stood for Lund Nielsen Design, coined by Eirik when he was a simple sole proprietor, the name needed to change now that the scope and the team had grown.

Ghost Works industrial design consultancy

THE PROCESS:

Rather than arbitrarily pull a new name out of the air, it was decided that the team would engage the services of branding expert Doug Cooke of Tinder Lab to act as an impartial moderator in an initial off-site brainstorm at McMenamins Edgefield.

The first activity was “The Hero and the Outlaw” card exercise that suggests there are only 12 character archetypes that we all fall within. Showing only adjectives that described these archetypes, the group then narrowed it down to a unanimous two cards that they felt best reflected the character DNA of the company.

Upon flipping the cards, it was then revealed that we most closely identified with The Magician and The Creator — not the Jester as you may have expected.

Ghost Works re-brand Archetypes

From there (with the help of some whiskey), we began generating words that directly represented these archetypes. As a rule of thumb for the entire re-brand process, anything that reflected the DNA of these characters, went on a sticky note that went on the wall.

It wasn’t long before we brimmed over into several other category silos — footwear specific words, industrial design specific words, motion and movement, science and nature — all the things that potentially represented what we did as company, was stuck to the wall. Often stopping to trim the fat.

Ghost Works re-brand

This went on for weeks; adding to the wall and trimming it down. Synonyms, antonyms, prefixes, suffixes, Latin and Norwegian translations — no word was un-turned.

It got to the point where a line was drawn toward the top of a silo sheet and group favorites were physically promoted above the line. If the group didn’t like it, it didn’t get promoted.

We’d meet.
We’d refine.
We’d add words.
We’d take ‘em down.
We made a vision board!
We’d take ‘em down.

All kinds of painstaking measures that eventually led toward the top 25.

At this point it was time to start exploring combinations of our 25 favorite words that we had generated with the various “team configurations” we liked. In this part of the process, it became clear that our future name would be a two-word combination of “ground” and “sky” — one word would be rooted and functional while the other would be more creative, more layered and more open to interpretation.

Ghost Works re-brand

It was this realization that let us eliminate many of the words that fell short in comparison to the other words fighting for the same slot in the “ground and sky” formula.

It also allowed us to enter the final day and the final conversation, where we proudly landed on our top 6 “sky” words … Ghost, Flint, Formula, Torch, Pilot and Tread.

Because these were the creative “sky” words, we wanted them to mean something more than meets the eye, so we launched into extensive conversation about each word and all that it could mean, in relation to our brand, our service and our culture.

We elaborated on the potential meaning of each word by asking ourselves the basic question, well, if someone asks what it means, what exactly do we say?

Ghost Works Re-Brand

Some words quickly lost their luster, for a lack of substance, while a top 3 stood strong.

We then took our top 3 “sky” words, Ghost, Flint and Torch and began attaching our favorite team configurations (aka “ground” words). Of course, once they were all attached, like we do best, we narrowed it all the way down to a lone survivor and our new name.

THE RE-BRAND RESULT:

Looking back, the fitting name was a result of the 2-month process.

• Eirik’s New York discovery exercise revealed that a consultancy needs to be a chameleon.
• As a result, our essence board later called out the phrase “double agent.”
• This eventually led to the word “incognito” at one point landing on the board.
• Because that was never deemed the most attractive word, but we loved what it represented, an entire “behind the scenes” silo was eventually posted whereby “ghost” made the wall — because we are, in essence, Ghost Designers.

Our dissection of that word later revealed an overwhelming amount of meanings, most notably that we are an Invisible Force, appearing and disappearing as necessary, and that is why, out of all the hundreds of alternatives, we are GHOST WORKS.

Ghost Works industrial design consultancy