Bryan Taylor

Good Design Evolves

We’re always assuming that whatever we design will eventually grow and change; it will become something almost living and breathing. The power of good design thinking is to launch something in a smart direction and then continue to help it find its legs. Occasionally, it hits the ground running, but more often, it needs a bit of time to learn to walk before it takes off.

I see campaigns all the time that seem to chase for attention. And if the attention isn’t big enough, then they’ll stab at their target with another campaign, and another — until one eventually takes off. This is really expensive, and worse, it really fragments your brand. If you want to create a product or service or brand that people are drawn to, you have to give it room to mature.

Opus Grows's award-winning online store. Photo: Drawn

One of the brands that we launched a few years ago came from an idea that we had to partner with one of our longterm clients. We wanted to create a premium line of potting soils that was actually branded and positioned to appeal to younger people — specifically urban millennials. You know, those people on Instagram who fill their chic apartments with house plants and grow tomatoes on their patios despite not having an easy way to carry 42-pound bags of potting soil up to their homes. So, we created Opus Grows, branded it with these hipster-ish beards, created a great online store, and started flooding social media. We got calls from The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, Google — and we even won a Shopify Site of the Year award. But the sales from millennials didn’t follow.

What did follow, however, were a handful of large-volume orders from all corners of the country. A dahlia grower ordered hundreds of bags, a nursery in Pennsylvania wanted four semi trucks, a blueberry farmer wanted 26 shipping containers. We had more large-volume interest than orders for individual bags because it truly was the best soil in the history of soils. At this point, we paused and began responding by shifting from the original plan to sell one or two bags at a time. We retooled Opus to be a large-volume soil producer and distributor for growers around the country and, in some cases, in other countries. Allowing the brand to evolve has afforded it the space it needed to grow — and grow.