The Design ChallengeLowe’s approached us in 2006 to help them bring design consistency to their in-house brand of Kobalt Tools. Implementing the Visual Brand Language Lowe's wanted the tools to not only look consistent, but they needed to function well and be comfortable to use, too. Enjoying the Success When our partnership with Lowe’s began, brand recognition for Kobalt Tools ranked among the lowest when compared to other tool brands. In 1878, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia department store fame decreed January to be the time for a white sale. Electronics are generally offered at cut-to-the-bone prices right after Christmas, including laptop and wide screen TVs. Appliances are often offered post-Christmas, to make room for the new season of offerings in the Spring. Check your local newspapers, or online storefronts, for coupons, rebates and store-centered savings.
Been longing for that specialty tool for crafts, or that wet-dry vac to keep your garage workshop tidy? Let The Fix-It Professionals help you make the most of your dreams and plans – AND the post-holiday sales – by putting us on your team!
With all the rain we have had lately you might feel as if you are living in that kind of house.
Other things to look forward to in future newsletters are one time special savings for those offering a quick tip, do it yourself idea or testimonial that is selected to be in a newsletter.
As we look forward to the upcoming projects, we want to do what we can, TODAY, to help you have the house, apartment or condo that you have always dreamed about. If the item is broken, tattered or ugly (your Great Aunt meant well when she made that needlepoint wall hanging!) toss it. So now you’ve got all the Holiday dishes and tablecloths out of the storage box and piled on the dining room table and counters. If you get out 10 Christmas mugs take 10 mugs from your everyday dishes and put them in the storage box. As you open sugar, flour, spices, etc, mark on the package or box the date opened so you won’t have to guess in the future. About Lynne Wilson ~ A native Californian, I’ve lived in Danville, CA with my husband, son and daughter for 28 years.
They use a variety of manufacturing resources located all over the world to make their tool line, and previously, the products shared very few visual elements to tie them together.
In addition to the VBL, we did extensive ergonomic research  in cooperation with our research partners at the OSU ergonomic research department, to refine the design of the tools and ensure all Kobalt tools had a comfortable grip. By investing in a unique Visual Brand Language, extensive advertising, and a commitment to creating high quality products, Kobalt is now among the most recognized and respected tool brands. However, they no longer only involve items that are white in color, and they are not restricted to take place in the month of January! Particularly note-worthy sales, according to Forbes Magazine, can be had between Christmas and New Year’s, (as well as in the month of January,) when retailers are trying to show Wall Street what a good quarter they had! Playsets are often deeply discounted for year’s end, as well as things like grills, patio heaters and odds and ends of outdoor furniture.

Things look bland and uninteresting; you feel the need for the punch of color, texture and warmth that the holidays provided.
It pays to take the time to evaluate what you need, outline your dreams and plans for the new year, and get a head start on repairs and remodeling jobs while the weather keeps you inside. Check Ace Hardware, True Value, Lowe’s and Home Depot for great discounts on power tools in December and January before the manufacturers roll out new items in February. However, for many of us, safety is not at the forefront of our minds with all the other distractions of the season; the frenzy of putting the lights on the house, getting the tree trimmed and wrapping all those presents. As the excitement of the season sets in with decorative displays and festive celebrations, people are inadvertently exposed to greater risk of becoming the victim of a fire or electrical accident, such as shock and electrocution.
Use insulated staples, or run the lights through hooks.DO NOT pierce the cord with nails, staples or anything else! While we don’t offer roof work here at The Fix-It Professionals, we are highly qualified to help with gutter problems, window sealants and keeping weather outside, where it belongs! Also, watch for future expansion plans, as Joan gears up for Lifestyle Coaching and Money Advice and Coaching.
This serves two purposes: The cost will be spread out over several shopping trips and when you start to cook you will have that unusual spice on hand. This lack of visual consistency made it hard for consumers to recognize and remember the Kobalt brand.
Kobalt Tools sales have increased dramatically and Lowe’s now enjoys brand momentum over many competitors in the tool category. It is believed he might have done so to keep linen makers in business during a slow time of year. Now is the time to cash in on savings for paint and accessories, and give your home a makeover in time to start a new year fresh and beautiful. But did you know that Christmas lights on a single home is at a record number of over 1 MILLION?!! Recent statistics show that there were over 150,000 fires during the winter holiday season in the US, directly attributable to Christmas lights.
It reminds me of a recent PBS special on the Folk Music of the 1960’s, which one of the songs sung by The Serendipity Singers, made me think of how ready we might be (or not) for the rain. In addition, we are certainly familiar with the feeling that sometimes your house is coming down around your ears. Then give us a call – working together, with you, we can help establish an action plan for your home repairs, projects and electrical work.
Call your local Hospice Shop, women’s shelters or Goodwill and drop off the unused items at their sites. If not, photograph the items to keep as a memory and either toss the item or donate if appropriate.
That’s the idea of being organized at this time of year and every time of year… Enjoy the holidays!
Juggling an intense, technical job and the many daily activities a family entails provided me with the skills and desire to pursue my present career.
Visuals have semantic meaning and are the most powerful way to communicate your brand’s message quickly.

How do you consistently apply the look to hundreds of products made by many different manufacturers under one brand name? Lowe’s asked us to help them create a Visual Brand Language for Kobalt Tools incorporating;- Refinement Kobalt’s visual messaging- A signature look for the Kobalt brand- Design standards for their products in the form of a VBL guide- Implementation of the VBL across a wide variety of productsBuilding the Visual Brand LanguageOur internal team conducted ethnographic research to identify key visual references that appealed to targeted buyers to ensure our designs would be relevant. These fires claimed over 600 lives, and caused more than 2,500 injuries, costing over $935 MILLION in property damage. After all, isn’t enjoying the holiday one of the reasons we invest our time and energy into decorating? With the flurry of activities, and expenses, of the holiday season, it is easy to lose track of household fix-its. Therefore, a well-defined Visual Brand Language is an essential part of a brand development program. These were the problems Lowe's wanted us to solve when they asked us to help them create a Visual Brand Language for their in-house branded line of Kobalt Tools. We analyzed competitors' visual elements to look for ways to differentiate Kobalt Tools within their category and worked closely with Lowe’s internal design team to create signature visual elements: product shapes, color palettes, grip textures and logo treatments.
It’s not too early to start planning ahead for necessary repairs, nor is it too late to ask for help! Sort through the ornaments, decide which ones to keep (really, you don’t have to keep them all) and store in a separate box from other decorations. To answer “What should Kobalt look like?”, we studied their target market and then identified the cultural and visual references that had significance for this group. One of the best ways to keep up to date with new products and specials is to read our newsletters regularly.
When a visitor drops in with an unexpected present for you, you’ll be prepared to reciprocate. We decode visual elements that represent what they care about, and then assemble shapes, forms, colors, and textures into a unique (VBL) visual brand language that embodies their desires. We found that for these consumers, objects with straight lines, facets and tight gaps were perceived to have precision, technology and quality.
We created a 72-page Visual Brand Language Guide detailing the essential visual elements of Kobalt and how to apply those elements to any Kobalt-branded product.
Next, we use the VBL to imprint products and other brand touch points with your brand’s message. This guide is used by Lowe’s to unify product designs made by various vendors around the world.
Take advantage of our monthly specials, and be on the look-out for our first coupon of 2011 – it’s going to be a doozy!
Then, we design specifications so that the Visual Brand Language can be applied consistently across all your brand's touch points.

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