Waddington’s Auction House, a Canadian fixture since 1850, had a well-established brand – in furniture and rugs. Since the 1980’s, however, Waddington’s focus had increasingly shifted to fine art. A rebranding was needed to reflect this newer reality.
Klaus Uhlig was brought in as Creative Director. He worked with both the external consulting team undertaking this challenge from a strategic standpoint, and the internal Waddington’s staff who had been tasked with developing creative and communications.
The first challenge was rebranding. To reinforce a move to real-time online auctions, Waddington’s Auction House became Waddingtons.ca, with a bold new colour palette and sleek, modern wordmark design with a strong sans serif font. Working with Clearwater Communications and Growth Path, the collective decision was made to build department identities – each with a distinctive visual identity. These were incorporated into a new website – the first to segment Waddington’s offerings by specialty.
Klaus suggested personalizing these departmental identities to appeal to a younger demographic. Department heads – mostly Generation Y – became the faces of Contemporary, Canadian, Inuit and Asian Art. To this end, uhlig.ca art-directed the photographic efforts to provide a consistent look that aligned with this branding. Each department received a representative pictograph to cement the relationship of each person with their discipline. These images and icons were used consistently with all media, social media and for internal communications.
Coinciding with this visual facelift, the company moved from their old warehouse-style building to a brand new multi-use highrise in Toronto’s design district. uhlig.ca ensured that the overall look of new location aligned with Waddingtons.ca’s rebrand. Working closely with the interior designer, Klaus helped to fashion the space – from selection of materials to signage design.
The end result A company with more than 160 years of history auctioning furniture was transformed into an internet-savvy team of young, modern art experts. In the process, Waddingtons.ca has become Canada’s leader in online art auctions.
Download the PDF version of the fuller story that includes project visuals, the client’s testimonial and a list of the creative services provided.