Featured Project: Kleinschmidt

User Research
Brand Strategy & Positioning
Messaging Strategy
Website Design & Development

Kleinschmidt is a data integration pioneer. For over a century, the company has played an essential role in the retail, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, creating technology to help merchants, distributors, and manufacturers communicate seamlessly with one another.

Located in an unassuming brick building 20 miles north of Chicago, their headquarters is not exactly where you’d expect to find cutting-edge technological innovation. But that’s precisely what the Kleinschmidt team has been up to since 1914, when their namesake first introduced the world to the teletypewriter and teleprinter—a feat akin to inventing the wheel for electronic communication.

Innovation is laced into the company’s DNA—and Kleinschmidt has been creating breakthroughs longer than most.

Historic photo of Kleinschmidt Headquarters, Deerfield, IL
Historic photos of Kleinschmidt Laboratories

Unfortunately, Kleinschmidt was losing ground to tech-giants on the west coast in the battle for new customers and the next generation of talent. Refocusing their brand, amplifying their narrative, and breathing a spark of life back into their culture was mission-critical.

In collaboration with the Kleinschmidt team, One Design unleashed a bold new design and communication strategy to the world. The program—a celebration of their heritage with eyes set firmly on the future—differentiates the company, de-commoditizes their offering, and connects more deeply with customers, team members, and new recruits alike.

“Business-to-business technology firms almost universally toe the line of conservative, familiar design—but Kleinschmidt is not your usual Silicon Valley startup or lumbering enterprise. There was an opportunity to tell the story not only through words, but also through the evolved aesthetics of industrial design in eras past. We seized upon the challenge.”

Phil Johnson, Director of Marketing

A high-tech company with a blue-collar work ethic—our Midwestern can-do attitude is based on decades of experience, deep industry knowledge, and a heritage of inventiveness.

From the Kleinschmidt mission

A timeless mission

Kleinschmidt’s sense of identity and self had drifted over the decades—refocusing their narrative was essential.

The previous Kleinschmidt logo and brand line

Building essential connections between data, business, and people. It’s what Kleinschmidt does. And it’s what they’ve always done, no matter how the technological landscape has evolved over time.

Building Essential Connections replaced Delivering Innovative eBusiness Solutions as a timeless brand line—the articulation of their brand promise.

The intersection of data, business, and people became the inspiration for a new brand mark—a simple icon as evocative of the powerful graphic language of industry and shipping as it is of modern technological innovation.

And a confident and distinctive typographic voice—leveraging Ringside from Hoefler&Co—is a celebration of the nineteenth century American industrial typography found throughout Kleinschmidt headquarters.

A comprehensive, progressive visual language—from color to photography, pattern, illustration, and iconography—ensures the brand’s roots in the past are balanced against a progressive outlook towards the future.

Icon Set

Rooted in the past, relevant for the future

The geometric pattern in use throughout the new visual system is a celebration of Baudot code—a precursor to ASCII, and a crucial component of Kleinschmidt’s legacy as a pioneer of electronic B2B communication.

Teletypewriter Baudot Tape

The digital translation

A key component of the new toolkit was a new website and digital strategy, forming the backbone of a customer acquisition strategy—designed to connect with a wider audience and clearly articulate the true value behind the company’s comprehensive product and service offering.

More than a fresh face

Foundational research and strategy resulted in a roadmap for organizational evolution, considering rich opportunities to manage the end-to-end customer journey, evolve existing sales strategies, develop new product and service offerings, shore up value-based pricing models, and present the true value of Kleinschmidt to customers new and old alike.

The refreshed Kleinschmidt brand is a celebration of the unique quirks and charms of a tech company with roots that run over 100 years deep in the hardworking industrial midwest. And most importantly, it’s a key component in the company’s plan to remain at the forefront of innovation for the next 100 years.

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One Design Company is a research-driven design and development studio. For over a decade, we’ve explored the intersection of experience and technology—where powerful brands come to life. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

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