Innovations: Busy bees

Top Israeli design team Bee Creations is garnering increasing international attention.

bee design 88 298 (photo credit: Courtesy )
bee design 88 298
(photo credit: Courtesy )
'The first thing we tell our clients is that we do creativity," says Ido Zemach, one of the founders of Bee Creations, a design firm that handles everything from print advertisements and logo creations to Web site design and company brochures. "Our job is to think. We turn ideas and messages into visual concepts." Together with Eran Bacharach, Zemach has designed visual elements for many large local companies, such as Waxman and Getty Images, along with a few international businesses. Awarded the Golden Cut for their work on Lord Taylor last year and featured in Taschen publishers Web design studio book, the duo explain that they start by asking clients who their competitors are and what messages they want to convey through the design. From there, they focus on what makes a company better than its competitors, how it is unique and what visual elements will most successfully convey these messages. "The bottom line is that more and more Israeli companies are starting to understand that design is an important investment because it has such a strong impact on the brand," Zemach tells me in his office on Sderot Rothschild in downtown Tel Aviv. On the smooth glass table a series of books, magazines, and brochures are neatly spread out next to a laptop computer. "Good design can make a company more memorable - and it can raise revenue." As Bacharach puts it, even something like a Burmese restaurant can succeed if it creates the right image. "There is really no such thing as Burmese food per se, it's all a mixture of foods from other countries, but if a Burmese restaurant opened with the right logo and corporate identity, people would understand immediately what food they are trying to sell and why it's good," he says. In addition to working with new companies, Bee Creations also helps more established businesses renovate their image. With Waxman, a furniture manufacturer that has been in business for more than 40 years, for example, it wanted to portray a more international face and get rid of the stereotype that the company mainly makes chairs. In its previous brochure, the logo included a Hebrew text with a chair next to it. Bee Creations designed an English logo for the new brochure and got rid of the chair. It included highly stylized fonts, colors and images that send a more sophisticated message to clients looking for office furniture. "We came up with a new logo that said 'Waxman, inspire your office,' and we made a new brochure that matched its desire to reach a broader audience," says Zemach. Of course, each client is different, and Bee Creations says its work is often extremely challenging. "Designing the visual elements for companies trying to reach creative people means meeting very high standards, but this is the work we enjoy most," Zemach says. Thinking outside of the box and building unusual company images that remain clear, meaningful and aesthetic requires a great attention to detail and precision. For Lord Taylor, a boutique travel agency targeting multimillionaires who can afford rooms for 2,000 euros a night, Bee Creations completely changed the corporate image by redesigning its logo, brochure and advertisements. "First, we looked for inspiration related to their vision. When they came to us, they had a French musketeer as part of the logo, but 'lord' is a British title. We changed the logo to suit their image, and we brought in the concept of traveling to exotic places in luxury through photographs and designs that sent a clear message about the company," Zemach says. In one of the print advertisements, they used the slogan "Lord Taylor, not for everyone," because the small agency didn't want everyone calling about hotel prices. The agency has a small, specific market that it wanted to target, and by creating a CV for the anonymous lord and making him a character, Lord Taylor came alive in a new way that related to its vision of old European wealth. "For the booklet, we used an expensive leather-look material embossed with the company logo, and for the color we wanted, we had to go to Jerusalem and wander around old stores that make Bibles. It was hard to find, but we eventually got what we wanted," Bacharach says. For its own Web site, Bee Creations uses things related to bees. From honeycombs to a wooden hive, navigating through the site is like a trip to the beekeeper. "We chose the bee as our logo because it's a fascinating insect that makes good things, like honey; it can fly; and it has a sting when necessary," says Zemach. The honey bee is also the star of the company's yearly animated Rosh Hashana greeting. "Every year, we take a storyboard with our logo, the bee, and animate it," says Bacharach. Last year, after the war in Lebanon, a bee sitting quietly on the couch was interrupted from its reading by loud rockets falling outside. After looking around, it decided to go back to the couch, donning a pair of headphones to drown out the noise of war. It reads, "May you have a quiet year." "Our dream is partially happening now because we love what we do," Zemach says. "But the ultimate goal is to have every Israeli company think of us when they think of top design in Israel."