Better communicate the huge amount of good performed by IFB Solutions' Optical division
Transition brand from veteran- to consumer-facing
Create a new identity that can stand toe-to-toe with Warby Parker
IFB Solutions (formerly Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind) is an organization which hires workers with sight impairment, giving them meaningful employment in skilled manufacturing. From office supplies to mattresses to eyewear, IFB Solutions is an organization overflowing with good will and great stories of triumph.
And their Optical division even more so: Producing nearly 2,000 pairs of lenses every day for veteran clients within the VA hospital system and U.S. Navy NEXCOM centers, IFB Optical literally allows the blind to give others their sight back.
To better tell this powerful brand story, as well as prepare for a more conventional-consumer-facing future in light of a shrinking veteran customer base, IFB Optical sought to rebrand itself and turned to writer Gary Bostwick
and me to develop and evolve an original name and brand. We worked knowing the new brand would be David fighting the eyewear Goliath: Warby Parker.
IFB Optical literally allows the blind to give others their site back.
We explored a range of names, from made up words to former employees’ names (seriously, how awesome is the name, “Commodore Funderburk”?). Ultimately, the client pursued a direction that had some built-in context to the sight-impaired community and those in the eyewear industry: If 20/20 is perfect vision, then 20/200 (“twenty, two-hundred”) is the threshold defining legal blindness, an ironic and playful name for an eyewear manufacturer. Working to abstract this somewhat, we settled on Twenty200 Eyewear.
With a name established, we explored many potential logo treatments before settling on a wordmark that abstracts the “20/200” term somewhat by rendering half spelled out and half as numerals. We also moved the prescription’s slash to the end of wordmark, where it can serve as a signoff, a break before some qualifier phrase or tagline, or extend out to create a color field or separator line.
We chose a palette that was vibrant and approachable, but were mindful that Twenty200 operates daily in VA hospitals and assists our nation’s veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD.
The client was thrilled with our solution and Gary and I have continued serving their creative needs ever since. From brand rollout in summer of 2017 to present, they have seen a 110% increase in veteran glasses upgrades, a metric that confirms we accomplished our dual business objectives: 1.) communicate our brand mission (our research showed that 72% of veterans have a more favorable outlook on a brand like Twenty200 when they understand its mission), and 2.) make veterans aware of the upgrade options available through Twenty200 as part of their VA eyewear benefits (nearly 75% of veterans said they wanted upgrade options, but only 25% took advantage of eyewear upgrades according to 2015 data).
And as they continue their transition into the consumer space as their veteran customer base dwindles, Twenty200 has begun opening brick-and-mortar optical shops, locally to their main offices for now as they prototype their brand experience ahead of a national retail push. On the consumer front as well, business is growing at a steady rate. It was an honor to work on such an important brand and contribute something to their renewed momentum.