RQ is a three decades-old design-build construction firm that focuses on complex Department of Defense structures. Their work, typically located on U.S. military bases, ranges from simple dorms and cafeterias to intricate buildings where people learn how to skydive to projects so sensitive that they can’t disclose details — not even to us.
In early 2019, RQ decided to move their headquarters and with one fresh start, it finally felt appropriate to start another. Drawn completed a full rebrand of RQ in time for the big move to their new San Diego HQ. RQ was formerly represented by a diamond logo that included the initials RQC — RQ for the founders, Rogers and Quinn; C for Construction — but with in-house engineering, architecture, and project management, they had become so much more than just a construction company and we recommended dropping the C altogether.
The multifaceted nature of the company posed a challenge for Drawn. In building the new brand identity, we needed to unite the company’s distinct pillars: the modern feel that RQ was drawn to, the refinement of the architectural systems that they design, and the powerful quality of construction. The logo that we designed incorporates fluid parallel lines, which are symbolic of the harmonious partnership of the design and build sides of RQ. The eagle icon, reminiscent of the badges and ribbons often worn by decorated servicemen and women, was created as an homage to RQ’s military focus. Finally, the logo is fortified with the suggestion of battlements, an early architectural strategy used for a defensive advantage.
After this logo design was approved, we were able to use it as a blueprint for the rest of the rebrand, which reached across the entire company. We reconstructed the brand in its every appearance to bring this elegant sophistication that contrasts with the rugged nature of the industry into project proposal templates, apparel for the employees, banners at job sites, signage for the new headquarters, and even a massive barge that RQ uses to transport materials.
Constructing a logo that honors the past while looking to the future
At first glance, RQ’s new logo is dramatically different — it has a custom, refined serif that is no longer inside a diamond and, instead, is set next to a crest created from elements that are derived from the shapes of an eagle and a castle. If you look more closely, you can see the influences from RQ’s history: The diamond shape is carried into the base of the new crest and the diagonal base of the RQ serif tails. These remaining elements of the old shape, along with the continued use of a serif font and the incorporation of the traditional colors, pay homage to RQ’s past while the updated design points to the company’s continued forward progress.
Designing apparel to build company pride
RQ needed apparel that was attractive and useful for their employees’ wide range of jobs. We wanted to make sure that the logo looked just as intentional on the architect’s polo shirt as it did on the construction worker’s hard hat. We were able to accomplish this by strategically orienting the RQ wordmark and the crest to fit different apparel. On the construction workers’ safety vests, the RQ logo is arranged vertically down the back. This helps the RQ workers to stand out from all of the other safety vests on job sites, making it both a functional and an aesthetic design choice. The new apparel matches RQ’s company identity and is now proudly worn by employees companywide.
Converting a new headquarters into a familiar home base
The move to a new headquarters is a massive undertaking for a firm of nearly 100 staff members. In the midst of the transition chaos, we designed and installed signage for the new building to make employees feel at home. This signage included cozy, little touches like custom wooden nameplates for the cubicles. These nameplates have badges on them that honor employees’ loyalty to RQ — they receive one for every five years that they have been with the firm.