Clear, bold, connected.
CBRE distributes a new visual identity to thousands of creative users with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Position CBRE as a top, diversified global business
Develop assets that can function at a variety of levels for users of different backgrounds
Share design system with thousands of people working around the world
Curates reusable collection of more than 1,300 customized stock photographs
Creates and shares a central design system with employees, partners, and vendors worldwide
Controls distribution of thousands of assets through Team Libraries
Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence. Those are the values that have led to CBRE becoming the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, earning a spot in the Fortune 500.
Today, the company is recognized as a leader in commercial real estate that counts more than 90 of the Fortune 100 as clients.
“For years, we directly compared ourselves to other leaders in the commercial real estate industry,” explains Kenneth Weaver, Senior Creative Director of Global Marketing at CBRE. “But we realized that we should be thinking much bigger. We’re a world-class, global service leader, and we needed to present ourselves that way.”
CBRE began a rebranding initiative to reposition CBRE with both clients and employees by focusing on the company’s role as advisors. The brand needed to convey a modern sophistication built around three words representing what CBRE aimed to be for clients: clear, bold, and connected.
Using Adobe Creative Cloud tools and heavily leveraging Adobe Stock, the global marketing team spearheaded a rebrand that includes a reimagined website and a design system for its new visual identity. The refreshed CBRE brand is shared through several digital channels, including Adobe Team Libraries, to reach employees, partners, and vendors worldwide. The brand identity includes thousands of assets, such as customized stock images, icons, and logomarks, along with 125 master design frameworks that work together to create the CBRE brand.
“The brand must be both visually compelling and functional,” says TJ McCormick, Global Head of Creative at CBRE. “Working with Adobe Creative Cloud provides us the tools, resources, and partnership that we need to improve productivity and efficiency with optimized visuals and curated content.”
“Working with Adobe Creative Cloud provides us the tools, resources, and partnership that we need to improve productivity and efficiency with optimized visuals and curated content.”
Global Head of Creative, CBRE
Delivering thousands of assets to internal and external users
One of the biggest challenges for the rebrand was that it needed to work on a wide variety of levels. CBRE has over 3,000 Creative Cloud users in teams across the company, including brand, marketing, business development, client services, research, and communications. Beyond that, there are thousands of employees without design backgrounds who need to work with branded materials: from support staff sending out branded communications to brokers populating listing templates. Finally, external agencies use branded assets to develop additional materials for CBRE and its clients.
CBRE started the rebranding process by asking designers around the company to join the global creative team for testing and feedback. “By bringing in our creative teams to provide input into the visual identity system, we could get a better idea of the breadth of content created across the company and what was needed,” says Jon Low, Senior Creative Director, Global Marketing at CBRE. “More importantly, our designers became advocates to promote adoption and support for the rebrand in their respective regions and offices.”
CBRE has more than one gigabyte of assets distributed through multiple channels, including the digital Brand Experience Center and Adobe Team Libraries. Internal designers can access the libraries directly through their creative apps, accelerating workflows by providing a central location to easily find all needed assets.
“We can manage asset distribution among designers providing access to only approved assets,” says Low. “Assets can be updated when needed so that people always use the latest versions.”
“Our designers became advocates to promote adoption and support for the rebrand in their respective regions and offices.”
Senior Creative Director, Global Marketing, CBRE
Curating stock images with brand identity
All brand assets are made using creative apps. Adobe InDesign is the foundation for all print and digital documents, from flyers and brochures to signage to social media posts. All brand iconography is edited using Illustrator, while Photoshop is used to edit brand photography. Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects are the core apps used for video and animation.
“Our need for creating more video content in the future will only grow,” says McCormick. “Motion graphic templates (MOGRTs) for standard video elements such as lower thirds, title cards, and transitions are huge time savers for our designers by allowing editors to change graphics as needed. Our big focus for next year is how to make video production and reviews more efficient and scalable.”
Adobe Stock is the source of much of the brand photography and imagery. Using stock images as a starting point, designers edit photographs or graphics to align with the company’s visual identity. These edited images are then saved in a curated library of brand images, which currently contains 1,300 photographs and 1,500 logos and iconography. By customizing stock images, CBRE can quickly create a curated library of diverse visuals that still match the CBRE brand identity without needing to invest in expensive photography shoots.
“One of the biggest benefits is Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence platform powering search. It helps us find the images that best match our brand while saving time. We can search for images with copy space or adjust saturation filters to find images that are more muted in tone,” says Weaver.
For some searches, CBRE also leaned on support from the Adobe Stock curation team. They help CBRE find authentic, diverse content based on CBRE’s creative needs — such as technicians wearing proper protective equipment — so that CBRE designers can quickly pick out images for the curated library.
“One of the biggest benefits is Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence platform powering search. It helps us find the images that best match our brand while saving time.”
Senior Creative Director of Global Marketing, CBRE
Continued creative growth
All CBRE continues to tweak the branding based on pulse surveys and feedback from users across the company. Training and learning are also critical for designers and non-designers alike to help them get the most out of the design system. CBRE implemented Adobe Captivate to integrate with the existing learning management system and support ongoing enablement.
“We’re working to set up Adobe Captivate as a system where we can help nurture creative talent,” says Weaver. “For a company of our size and scale, we need solutions capable of fitting a very wide range of needs. Adobe gives us the apps and resources to help us bring our new brand visual identity to life.”