Business Branding: It Takes a Village to Paint a Logo!

Debra Disman

Debra Disman

What brings together a product like motor oil, with the art of decorative painting? Well, a skilled interior designer with a Client open to ideas, and a striking logo that became the focal point of a brand new office space.    

by Debra Disman,
San Francisco Decorative Painter    

Top 1 Oil hired Kelly Berg, Principal of Arte Styling, a boutique SF Bay Area design firm, to “keep a sense of focus to the design and to support the Top 1 Oil brand”.      

Top 1 Oil is a San Mateo, CA based producer of quality care lubricants and they knew from the get-go that they wanted their company logo to play a role in the interior design of their recently purchased office building.    

Top 1 Oil Logo Creates an Immediate
Visual Impact

After collaborating with a Feng Shui consultant, Kelly and the Client decided that elements of the logo, greatly enlarged, would be painted to scale on the two available walls of the main office area.  This would create an immediate visual impact upon entering the space. As a colleague of Kelly’s, I was thrilled to be brought into translate the Client and Designer’s vision into concrete visual form.   


Business Branding on the “Walls”   

I collaborated closely with Kelly, and Top 1 Oil representatives Frank and Mary Ryan, siblings in this family business.  Together we determined the exact placement and scale of the logo paintings; which were an integral part of the overall design, the color “story”, and sensibility of the space.    

Shares Mary Ryan: “I love the concept of collaboration, and I think when individuals are able to contribute their unique strengths and gifts to a project, the results are always going to be superior. I never would have thought of “branding” right onto the walls, and I think it was an inspired vision.  Collaboration definitely brought new ideas and direction to our project.”


We stayed as true as possible to the original Pantone colors of the printed logo, which were made in the Fine Paints of Europe formula. The saturated color communicates the graphical quality of the logo, which is enlarged 9 times from the mock-up presented to me on the end wall, and approximately 20 times on the sidewall!    


As part of the company’s branding, the scale, color, and precision of the logo painting had to be as accurate to the original as possible.  However, the Client did allow some creative wiggle room, as Mary felt that, “an important aspect of collaboration is respect for each of the individuals involved.      

“I felt mutual respect throughout the process, whether it was listening to each other’s ideas and concerns, or dealing clearly and quickly on all areas of communication.  Respect, it seems to me, brings a maturity to a project which is essential to the process.”

Colloaboration Brought New Ideas and Direction to the Project  

As much as possible, all decisions were collaborative, incorporating the skills and experience of the Designer, the Client, and a number of other superb vendors. All contributed their particular brand of expertise, and supported our goal of completing the work on deadline, as well as enjoying the process.    


As Mary states, “I think collaboration can be an awful lot of fun.  To me, it is a form of play.  I think it works well when the group members bring their best selves to the process.  It is truly an illustration of the “whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”

Every project has specifications and goals unique to the particular Client and venue. At its best, collaboration supports these goals and makes them easier to reach, or even surpass. Designer Kelly Berg summed it up; “The collaboration allowed us to create the space together, and to achieve an end result that supported the needs of the Client as well as their Clients.    

You might say that the result is, well, TOPS!  

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Category: Interior Design

About the Author (Author Profile)

Debra Disman is principal of ArtiFactory Studio and is an SF Bay Area Decorative Painter. Her passion is to translate her Client’s inner vision into concrete visual form. Debra’s company ArtiFactory Studio, provides custom decorative painting, murals and color consultation to customers from all backgrounds and walks of life. She can help you use the magic of decorative painting to transform your home, place of business, even your community!

Debra holds a degree in painting from the University of Iowa and has studied in France, San Francisco, and San Diego. She is an Associate member of the International Association for Colour Consultants/Designers and serves as the Color Muze for blog talk radio’s Artistically Speaking Radio and Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

Check out Debra’s Look Book to see more of her work. To learn more please visit ArtiFactoryStudio, or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Comments (6)

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  1. What a great idea for an article, Debra. It’s true – Top 1 Oil were exceptional clients. We have certainly been lucky to have been able to work with them. Thank you for coming onto the project and for doing such an amazing job. Your decorative work really transformed the space!!

    (If anyone is interested, I just posted a blog on the same project.

  2. funcolors says:

    Collaboration is far better and very different from “color by committee”.

    Sounds like you and Kelly refined the art of collaboration and the result for Top 1 Oil is successful and visually striking. Bravo!

  3. Debra Disman says:

    Kelly and Lori,
    Thank you for your comments!
    Kelly, your blog piece is just terrific, and I encourage everyone to read it, and get yet a deeper insight into our collaborative process with this wonderful Client.
    Also- hurray for the IACC for connecting Kelly and I, and Lori! (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers)
    Lori, Kelly and I were lucky to have such a great Client, and also Crew to work with. Made all the difference in the world, as you know.
    I enjoy both of your colorFULL posts!

  4. oops! my link isn’t working b/c of the parenthese.
    Once again – great article, Debra!

  5. [...] with Top 1 Oil, so much so, that I wrote an article about it as one of my monthly columns for the Bay Area Women’s Journal, and Kelly wrote a post about  it on her popular Arte Styling Blog. From the responses we [...]

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