The Road To VISSI

Our 100 year anniversary and the announcement of our new name brought plenty of excitement this year. But the road to rebrand wasn’t always pretty. Our Marketing +Business Development Associate, Karleigh Lopez, gives the inside scoop on how Ignarri Lummis Architects became VISSI Architecture + Design.

Humble Beginnings

Every good idea starts as a scribble on a sheet of paper. Unfortunately for us, there were no good ideas on our sheet of paper.

In the summer of 2020, during my first few weeks on the job, I was emailed the photo above. Tasked with decoding and transforming the handwritten list into an organized Word document, I began hacking away at what would be the start of our rebrand. Working alongside our leadership team, our vision slowly—and we mean really slowly— came into focus.

It became clear to us that our new name was definitely not on that initial list. But we continued to add our ideas, hoping (and secretly praying) that magically the perfect name would just jump right out at us. Maybe it was my fresh-out-of-college naivety, but of course, that didn’t happen.

So, in the meantime we worked backwards. As a newbie, I needed to learn more about the long and rich history of the firm. And who better to consult than the oracle himself—Paul Hoyle. As our Director of Business Development for nearly three decades, Paul was our secret weapon. Over the course of a few months, we spent hours on Zoom discussing the key pillars of our firm’s identity, purpose, and direction.

The Infamous 36 Slide Power Point

In hindsight, it may have been overkill. Regardless, the cumbersome presentation I put together outlined every major and minor change we would soon work to implement. We reviewed everything from potential new color palettes and fonts to updated social media strategies and website designs.

But we still didn’t have a name. In fact, we didn’t even have a general idea of what our new name would be. Each week we would have a special marketing call to narrow down the list. But with six people contributing—Jackie Mierkowski, Paul Hoyle, our three principals, and myself—the list of potential names continued to grow. Even with putting all of our heads together, we still didn’t love anything we came up with.

But that’s what the good ol’ internet is for right? It may seem a bit anti-climactic, but the origin of VISSI started as a simple Google search.

Allow me to paint the picture: yet another weekly meeting had ended with little progress made on the name change. To add insult to injury: it was storming outside. In her kitchen, fueled by frustration and coffee with sugar free vanilla creamer, Jackie and I channeled our energy into every single open tab on our chrome browsers. Free name generators, ideas for creative business names, words are associated with architecture and design, all to no avail. I packed up for the day, defeated and crossing my fingers that the perfect name would come to me in my dreams.

Instead, in true Jackie Mierkowski fashion, the Google search that led to our current name was conducted after office hours while sitting in her living room on her Android S20. With the list of keywords we had curated earlier fresh in her in mind, her grit and determination brought her to Pinterest of all places. Unassumingly situated amongst a sea of DIY crafts and top ten dinner recipes for busy moms, she found visum and visi: the Latin word for vision and visionary. And the rest, is history.

Except it’s not. Nothing in life is ever that simple.

By this time, we had narrowed it down to two potential new names. VISSI: ever-so-glamorous and perfectly aligned with our identity, and Cobalt. An ode to the color blue used in our prior logos. In hindsight the choice may seem clear and simple. But it wasn’t until we drew up some sample logos with each name that we were able to see the vision we had long been waiting for. We took the two potential names and conducted a mini focus group. Asking people from outside our inner circle, people who we have done work with for years, what their thoughts were. This focus group of clients, contractors, and engineers helped us finalize our rebrand.

After over a year of planning, we finally had our new name. Derived from the Latin word visum, VISSI embodies both our history and our vision for the future. For over one hundred years, our team of visionaries have been committed to providing exceptional design services and bringing our client’s projects to life.

Learn more about our history and the road to 100 years of business by clicking here!