WSU alumnus recognized in reputable graphic design book

Chance Swaim

Brian Wiens’s RedGuard logo design taught him something he never learned in school.

Two years ago, A Box 4 U, a Wichita company that produces blast-resistant buildings and storage containers, came to Gardner Design with a problem. Its name didn’t accurately represent its company’s vision or its product’s function.

“When you think about safety and protection, you don’t think about a box,” Wiens said.

Wiens, a Wichita State alumnus and graphic designer at Gardner Design, and the company’s founder and fellow alumnus, Bill Gardner, took charge of rebranding the company. After presenting several different options to A Box 4 U, the company decided to change its name and logo to RedGuard.

Wiens’ RedGuard logo design, which he said was inspired by the company’s product design and his own research on human ribcages, was chosen this winter to appear in LogoLounge 9. LogoLounge is a Wichita-based website that allows designers from around the world to share their logo designs.

About every two years, a panel of jurors choose 2,000 logos from 10,000 to 30,000 entries to be included in the LogoLounge book.

Amanda Sheppard, director of marketing and business development at Gardner Design and LogoLounge.com, said the website’s books include the best identity designs in the world.

“To many, these books are trophies,” Sheppard said. “To others, they are components of portfolios. They are widely revered and being included, especially featured, in them indicates that you’ve arrived as a designer.”

Sheppard said the RedGuard logo was chosen for its “superb craftsmanship, comprehensive and complex applications, and positive effects it’s had on the client’s business.”

But to Wiens, whose logo designs have been featured in LogoLounge books a dozen times before, the RedGuard logo meant more than other logos in his portfolio.

“It was probably one of the most growing experiences I’ve had as a designer,” Wiens said.

Gardner Design announced the new logo during a video presentation at the Warren Theatre to RedGuard’s nearly 300 employees. When the employees saw the new logo and the new company name, they rose from their seats and celebrated.

“To see all those people cheering — that was probably the pinnacle of my career, so far,” Wiens said. “I almost get goose bumps just talking about it.”

Wiens said the reaction from the RedGuard employees gave him a new perspective on design, and a good logo can become something people take pride in and rally around.

“It really has become kind of this guiding factor for this company and its employees,” Wiens said, “which I never really expected it to do. I’ve never seen that side of design and branding before — it’s not something they teach you in school.”

“As we looked forward to what our future goals were, we felt like it was time for us to create a new branding message and a name change to go along with that,” Jeff Lange, RedGuard founder, said in a release when the rebranding effort was launched. “No question the biggest news with our company is our new name.”

Wiens said the RedGuard design has given him a new appreciation for the work he does.

“It’s really helped me to see the impact that design has on businesses and employees and, really, lives,” Wiens said.