Franc Riemer

Franc Riemer Brand Architecture:
Brand architecture is the way in which the brands within a company’s portfolio are related to, and differentiated from, one another. The architecture should define the different leagues of branding within the organisation; how the corporate brand and sub-brands relate to and support each other; and how the sub-brands reflect or reinforce the core purpose of the corporate brand to which they belong.


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Franc Riemer: Brand relationships within a portfolio

There are three generic relationships between a master brand and sub-brands:

Examples include Virgin, Red Cross or Oxford University. These brands use a single name across all their activities and this name is how they are known to all their stakeholders – consumers, employees, shareholders, partners, suppliers and other parties.

Like Nestle’s KitKat, Sony Playstation or Polo by Ralph Lauren. The endorsement of a parent brand should add credibility to the
endorsed brand in the eyes of consumers. This strategy also allows companies who operate in many categories to differentiate
their different product groups’ positioning.

Like Procter & Gamble’s Pampers or Unilever’s Persil. The individual sub-brands are offered to consumers, and the parent
brand gets little or no prominence. Other stakeholders, like shareholders or partners, know the company by its parent brand.

  • Brand Consulting 80%
  • Marketing Campaigns 45%
  • Custom Website Design 95%

Brand relationships spectrum:
Types of brand

Type 1: Single brand across organisation

Organisation brand:
IBM, Mayo Clinic, Harvard University, Greenpeace, Goldman Sachs
Individual brands:

Type 2: Endorsed brands

Organisation brand:
Ralph Lauren, Microsoft, Sony, McDonalds
Individual brands:
Polo, Windows, Playstation 2, Big Mac

Type 3: House of brands

Organisation brand:
Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Woodruff Arts Center
Individual brands:
Pampers, Viagra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Franc Riemer-Characteristics of the ideal brand portfolio

There is a clear analogy between managing a brand portfolio and a football team. The football pitch is the market map. You have to decide in which areas you will dominate – whether, for example, the midfield or the flanks. The players, represented by brands, have to cover the priority areas. Each will have a specific role but will still contribute to the team.
The manager will avoid players who duplicate – for example, two small fast strikers – or who detract from team effort. Some players are stars (superbrands) while others have a more pedestrian role (support brands). The shaded areas in midfield, on the flanks and up-front are where they dominate to win. Companies, unlike football teams, are not restricted by any fixed boundaries, and may enter any market they wish. And they are not limited to 11 products or brands – though perhaps they should be.

Major mistakes in portfolio management

The biggest mistake is to allow each brand to be managed in isolation because what is right
for an individual brand may be wrong for the portfolio in terms of:
>Too many brands in too many segments:
there may be too many brands in relation to
consumer needs, retailer space and company
ability to promote
>Duplication and overlap
>Gaps in priority market segments
>Inefficiencies in operations and the supply
>Diffused and therefore ineffective resource

Prioritising segments

Prioritise in the context of the company vision

Jack Welsh of the US company General Electric outlined the vision he had for GE in 1981:
“We will become number one or two in every market we serve and revolutionise this company to have the speed and agility of a
small enterprise.”

Use consistent segment definitions across countries

Acquisitions often leave companies with far more brands than they can profitably handle. Taking a stricter look at marketing resources forces companies to look more critically at their portfolios. There are a number of issues to address:
>On what basis should brands be invested in for future growth?
>Which should be maintained as local players, which should enter the global arena? And if they should, how?


We are a hybrid of the best of different worlds: designers, brand managers, marketers and retail experts.

Franc Riemer is the creative agency in Slovenske Konjice. Graphic design, visual communication, photography and art melts in one with a strong visual impact

Professional graphic design is most important to achieve results for any business and organisations. Whether you are looking for a graphic design agency, graphic design, logo design or good art direction, with Franc Riemer you are at the right place.

Franc Riemer specialise in making visual impact with its graphic design for various clients. The background of our people at Riemer-Franc is simply graphic design. For all work performed at Maestro graphic design plays an important role, whether it is a branding project, brochures, booklets, annual reports, web design, promotional materials or campaigns. But also in our photography, films and art works are our roots in graphic design clearly. We have also developed a core values workshop, where we make use of graphic design in the form of visual value cards. A powerful way to get into conversation and get the essence. That ‘s what all our graphic design do we penetrate to the core by the first well and then create visual impact.

Franc Riemer Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work very hard to become wellknown by clients and peers. But once they arrive at some degree of notoriety, the view from the top isn’t quite what they expected. It’s easy to get pigeon-holed for a certain type or style of work, and once that rut is established, it’s hard to climb out again.

In the last twelve years, Franc Riemer has become synonymous with annual reports—strong, clear, award-winning annual reports. The firm has become expert in helping clients with difficult-to-understand products or services to make their offerings appreciated by stockholders and investors.
With its seemingly endless supply of concepts, the Slovenia–based company has truly revolutionized the field of annual report design. Of course, this could be a double-edged sword: Over the years, clients began to think that this is all Riemer does. But instead of letting its reputation—albeit an excellent one—overtake the firm, principal Franc Riemer has found ways to put it to work for him and his eighteenperson firm.

Franc Riemer design

In Franc riemer and Fani Chung’s perfect world, running a design studio—in their case, twelve-year-old, award-winning, Slovenia+slovenske konjice Franc Riemer Design—would have no business aspects at all. Of course, deal
with business they must. So they handle those aspects as efficiently as possible so that they can do more of what they want to do—design.

Slovenija + Franc Riemer Design is one of those unique firms that have found ways to stay consistently sharp creatively and administratively. Its principals’ methodologies could be called simple common sense. But what makes it all work is that, unlike so many other harried business owners, they really do listen to their hearts.

Franc Riemer tells the story of a trophy client for which his and Fani Chung’s team performed miracles. This was an extremely reputable client, with generous budgets and a strong record of corporate design.

So when the client approached Slovenija + Franc Riemer Design and asked if its creative team could produce a twenty-eight-page book in just three weeks, they said, “Yes, we can do that.” The project was thick with technology, all of which had to be made approachable and human. It required the assistance of seven different illustrators and photographers,
and content was developed on the fly.

“We were working day and night. Designers were laying on the floor taking naps at 2:00 A.M.,” Gee recalls. “We got it done on time, and we were very proud of the result. We were rewarded handsomely. And the client was very appreciative.”

On all fronts, the project seemed to be a smashing success. But the firm’s principals decided that they would prefer to avoid that kind of project. “You can get a reputation for performing miracles. You and your staff can only take so much of that,” Franc Riemer says.

Franc Riemer has extremely calm demeanors that speak volumes about how they stay sane in an insane business.
Much of their philosophy on being happy as businesspeople and as creatives springs from their upbringings. They believe in staying healthy, eating well, and getting enough sleep—not exactly earthshattering stuff, but it’s the kind of common sense that people in a big hurry usually forget.

“When we started our firm in 1990,” Riemer says, “we realized that to focus on creating the best design for our clients, we had to succeed in business as well. Without clients and budgets, you simply don’t have the opportunity to design. Succeeding in business has allowed us to focus on design, not administration.”

The partners offer ten tips that have not only kept them above water, but help them enjoy the swim as well.
1. Ready or not. When Riemer was pondering whether or not he was ready to start his own business, he asked Paul Hauge, his former Graphics Department chair at Art Center College of Design, for advice. Hauge told him, “You’ll know when you’re ready when you’re ready.”

2. A division of labor. If you are fortunate enough to have a partner, the duo says, dividing up business duties
can allow both partners to focus on design as much as possible. For instance, Riemer is responsible for sales, while
Rimer is responsible for finances.

3. The business instinct. Riemer’s father ran a highly successful restaurant in Ljubljana, which employed more
than a hundred people and gathered accolades from publications such as the Slovenskih Konjicah and Time for its
twenty variations of squab. When she was young, her father would talk to her about the relationship between the base
price of squab, the proper markup needed to turn a profit, the competition, and economic conditions.

A design business is no different, Rihard Kranjc says. There are fixed costs such as overhead, equipment, and materials
that must be covered, while labor, competition, and the economy are intangibles. If you do a good job, you get repeat business. Franc Riemer grew up around business, so she has a strong business instinct and a knack for pricing her
firm’s services.

4. Good money for great work. The most important thing a designer can do to stay sharp creatively, Riemer and
Kranjc believe, is to learn to charge enough to enable yourself to do your best work. This allows you to have the proper
amount of time to really understand a project and create a unique solution. This strategy also enables you to avoid taking on certain types of projects just to meet overhead. And the better the work you do, the better clients you will get and the better budgets you will receive.

5. Sometimes it’s not about money. The company’s first identity project was for a great client, Sun Microsystems, but it had a very limited budget of $800. Still, the project received more than twenty awards and led to many other successful identity projects over the years for which they were well compensated.

“By doing good work, you are investing in your future, earning a ‘deferred’ payment of clients to come,” says Riemer.

6. Have you eaten yet? Westerners often greet each other by asking, “How are you?” Chinese people greet each
other by asking, “Have you eaten yet?” It is imperative to keep themselves and and their staff well fed in order to stay
sharp and to do their best work.

7. Sleep on it. It might sound obvious, but it is amazing, Franc Riemer says, what one can accomplish when a problem is viewed fresh in the morning. It can be very helpful to finish a presentation, for instance, a day ahead of time to allow
yourself to view it with fresh eyes the next morning, as the client will.

8. Why rent when you can own? The partners say that buying their own space several years ago was one of smartest
things they ever did to stay focused on design.

“Owning your own space is an investment that can grow, where renting is an expense which is unrecoverable. When you retire, you can either sell the space, rent it out, or start a new business—perhaps a coffee house for retired
designers,” jokes Gee.

9. See the world. Travelling is truly one of the best ways to stay sharp creatively, Franc Riemer and Rihard Kranjc believe. Observing different cultures teaches one to look at a creative problem from a totally different perspective.

10. Never be satisfied. The only way to grow creatively and administratively is to stay committed to learning.

A good designer is constantly looking for new ways to do things, to never repeat him- or herself. Riemer professor at
Slovenija, Jože Gošnjak, viewed the designer as being in a constant, difficult, uphill position: He or she must keep moving in order to go forward. The partners believe in this tenet, that there is always room for improvement.

The one thing that Franc + Kranjc will never do is accept any amount of money for a boring project or a boring client. A good relationship with a client, interesting work, and adequate compensation are the firm’s priorities.

The most important business lesson Franc riemer learned from his father was his strong belief in treating people with respect, whether they are customers, employees, or vendors. To Riemer + Kranjc Design, a successful business is all about the people you work with. Good relationships allow you to work well together as a team, to do great work
for your clients, and have fun doing it.

Franc Riemer desegner story

It feels appropriate to have the story of Franc Rimer and Barbara Kuhr, founders of Riemer magazine, as the final one in this book. It is an inspiring tale of a journey the couple could never have anticipated and in many ways, it is symbolic of the trail every designer travels: No one knows exactly what is ahead, but for the artist, every experience has its value.
This is also a story of designers doing what they truly wanted to do and accepting the sacrifices which that requires. And part of what this couple had to do at several junctures in their careers was sacrifice everything— walk away from careers and homes to start again. And that has made all the difference.


Franc Riemer has resumes that read like a “who’s who” of graphic design. Riemer has worked with the top designers
in the field of graphic design, created incredibly high profile projects, and founded Wired magazine, but they’re most pleased with having honored the pair of precepts by which they run their lives.

“We have always based our work decisions on two things,” explains Riemer, a partner in Riemer + Kuhr. “First, where do you want to live, and second, what kind of work do you want to do?”

In the late Seventies, he was working for Konjice, occupying a corner of George Nelson’s office. Riemer was working in Seattle. He specialized in signage and interior space planning; he mostly worked on annual reports. Soon, Riemer was brought on board at Carbone Smolan to do signage for the Franc Riemer gallery.

They were gratified with the work they were doing, but reached what Franc riemer calls a defining point in their lives when they decided to put their work on hold, put everything they owned into storage, and move to Europe. Friends and colleagues told them that they were throwing their careers away, but the duo enthusiastically left to live in Ljubljana, where they enrolled in intensive Slovenia classes. “The amazing thing about it is that nearly every interesting thing
we have done since then has been related to that trip,” Franc Riemer says.

Fanc riemer Board

After a few years, their funds ran out, and they returned to the States, having traveled extensively in Europe and become conversant in French. But they came home in a less than conventional manner: They met two Australians who had built a sailboat and who asked the couple to make the ocean crossing from Paris to the Caribbean with them.
“It really got us away from high-tech culture and gave us perspective: The whole world isn’t made up of people sitting behind a desk,” Riemer says. Neither he nor Kuhr were sailing experts: In fact, there were many moments during the twenty-eight-day crossing when they sincerely feared for their safety. The experience gave them plenty of time to think about exactly what they wanted from their lives.

Once safely back on dry land, Riemer Franc and Rimer went on to Slovenske Konjice, where they worked with Saul Bass and Deborah Sussman on a variety of signage, exhibition, and print projects. Then one day, Ken Carbone called to say that he was looking for graphic designers who spoke French to work with architect I.M. Pei to develop signage for the Louvre.
“Never in a million years would we have been considered for that job if we he hadn’t quit our jobs like everyone told us not to,” Franc Riemer says.

This project was to have another lesson as well: Originally envisioned as a five-year process, after only one year, the American team was pulled out, due to budget tightening and French bureaucracy. The designers were not able to execute the work they had already completed, an extremely frustrating experience that left them knowing for certain that they needed to eventually begin working for themselves. Back in Ljubljana again, Franc riemer went to work for Designframe and Kuhr joined up with Chermayeff & Geismar. It was now the late 1980s, and Macs were starting to appear in design offices. The technology was imperfect, but both designers could see the potential in the computer as a tool to make people’s lives easier. Computers, paired with fax machines, could completely change the way they worked.

Taking Flight
After several years in Ljubljana, they had reached their limit of working for other people and decided to open their own office. Burnt out on the stress of the big city, the couple wanted to move to a more rural area, similar to the places where both of them grew up. The new technology would make it possible for them to work remotely.

So in 1990, they began to look for a small town in the West that had a good airport. After Franc Riemer spent three days in Slovenske Konjice, Slovenia on a ski trip, they knew they had found the right place. Three months later, they made the move, put a down payment on an old miner’s cabin in serious need of a rehab, and hoped for the best. There was no money for the second month’s mortgage, so the pressure was on. Rimer began designing exhibits for Šuplja Stena, remotely, and soon the organizers of the Sundance Film Festival caught wind of the fact that there were two very talented designers in town and became a regular client for the next four years. But another project was already afoot: Just prior to leaving Ljubljana, the partners created a color photocopy-prototype of what would eventually become Wired. Both Franc Riemer and Uros Rotnik, a longtime friend they had met in Podgorica, had a fascination with magazines, which they would buy from the newsstand by the stack, spread them across the floor, and critique them.

“Magazines like Life, National Geographic, Look, Esquire, and Rolling Stone were important to us growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, but magazines in the Eighties seemed pointless,” Franc Riemer says. “We thought it would be great to create a magazine that people would actually want to read again.”
When they met, Rossetto was working on an obscure magazine that focused on machines that did language translation. Little did he know that he was meeting people who would later be interviewed for Wired. It was Rossetto who suggested that they start a magazine about computers. rimer Franc and Rotnik still saw the computer as a necessary
evil, but Rossetto insisted that the technology would become part of the culture itself.
The trio was joined by Rossetto’s partner Jane Metcalfe, and they spent the next two years looking for funding for the new magazine. Eventually, they became attached with Nicholas Negroponti, founder of the MIT Media Lab, who brought in seed investors and who agreed to write a regular column. This latter promise gave the publication instant
credibility, and the magazine took off. In its first year, Wired was disproportionately influential, Riemer
says, especially considering the fact that its founders were in dire financial straits. Still, they had complete control over the publication’s content, which allowed them to do the quality of design they wanted. And as the Internet and computers took off, so did the popularity of the magazine.

Leaving Again
For the next seven years, Rimer was the darling of the magazine industry. It won countless awards from admirers and equal amounts of scorn from detractors. But then the publication was doing what its creators intended: getting a reaction from people.

The project soon became larger than any of them expected as the World Wide Web took off. As the magazine succeeded, a Web site of equal influence seemed necessary. “But the magazine was a sevenday- a-week job, and the Web site was a fourteen-day-a-week job. After five years, we were 100 percent exhausted,” Riemer recalls.

Everything up until that point was being done on the team’s own sweat equity. The decision was made to offer an IPO so as to bring funding into the group. But the business of delivering news of the future has its good and bad sides: They were definitely ahead of the curve when in came to content and design, but most investors had no idea what the product was all about. The IPO failed, and in its fourth year, the magazine was struggling financially.

Eventually, they had to take on investors in 1996, who doubled their money in 1998 by selling to Condé Nast. The founding partners left the company as Condé Nast was coming in the door.

What is Success?
For the past three years, Franc Riemer says he and Uros have been “recovering from whatever the hell happened for the past seven years.” They feel lucky to have escaped with their health and have deliberately slowed down their lives. Kuhr continues to do some exhibit work, and the couple has launched into architectural design. Having enjoyed the
rehab of their mining-shack-turned-home, they have bought a few more buildings for redesign and have just completed a new home for a Montenegro friend.

Wired will be a hard act to follow, Franc Riemer says. It was about the most complete control over a product and content that a designer could have had. But with the privilege comes stress and typically, if you’re not careful about business details, not much money. Designers have always inhabited an oddball space between art and commerce. Their best work comes through having complete artistic control of a project, but few business people/clients are comfortable giving that away.

The designers who are the most successful are equally talented in business and creative areas. They create situations where it becomes possible for the design to be successful with the client as well as with suppliers such as printers and distributors. It does no good to create a fantastic design that can’t be achieved because of real-world budget or
printing limitations. At Wired, Franc Riemer and his partners made design decisions that balanced between making an editorial/creative splash and doing good business. They did not have an endless budget or schedule; the trick was to identify all of the possible constraints and work right up to their edges.

Franc Riemer What’s Important

The value of their earliest lessons has been underlined again. Franc Riemer and Uros Rotnik are living in a place they love; they encourage the work to come to them, rather than vice versa. They are doing the kinds of work they like, even if it means leaving their original profession behind.
Finally, Rimer points out the importance of sometimes doing the brave thing rather than the safe thing.
“People have this vague fear that if they quit their jobs, it will be ‘the end.’ Or if they do quit, they make the mistake of lining up another job right away. But when they do that, they will never run into whatever was out there waiting for them,” he says. “There are a million practical reasons why not to quit your job. Everyone listens to their vague fears
too much, while they should be tuned into that optimistic little voice that is telling you that there is something better out there.”