Oates Associates

Website Design & Rebranding Case Study

A locally-run engineering firm based just across the river from St. Louis in Collinsville, IL,  Oates Associates has provided planning, designing, and engineer services to the Midwest since 1980. With 4 offices in the St. Louis area, they specialize in transportation-based projects like roads and bridges, but also have a diverse portfolio of projects ranging from sports stadiums to community parks.  More than anything, they are dedicated to building projects that have a benefit for an impact on their community.


The original logo for Oates Associates was a simple, circle and triangle combination to hint at the O and A. But hash marks and a color palette of teal and purple, left the logo feeling lost in the past, and lacking the clean, modern look that they desired. At Matchbox, our goal was to rebrand Oates Associates in a way that leveraged some of the equity they had built up over the past 3+ decades, while still delivering a look that pushed the company forward.



The first part of the brand evolution product was to refresh the color palette and replace the dated, existing colors with a clean, modern look that balanced the structural side of their business with the more organic projects they have expanded into over the past decade.

Logo Design

At the beginning of the process, we pushed the brand into a few new directions. Some of the marks were a simple new way to combine the O & A, while others were a bigger leap and contained visual references to transportation or structural engineering.

One of our explorations was a more bold take on the combination of the “o” and “a.” Encapsulating a partial A in a circle, we created a mark that was simple and interesting, with clean, straight lines and the shapes created by the “a” cutting through the circle give the logo a feeling of strength and a modern edge.
Because Oates Associates works heavily on transportation projects, we also explored a direction that represented their services. Inspired by the one their actual highway projects, we integrated the look of an interchange and a decorative “o” and “a.” Paired with a friendly serif and modern san serif, this also represented Oates’ approachable nature.
Another progression of the logo took on a friendly, almost playful energy. This version included the “o” and “a” as overlapping shapes with a thick, rounded outline. We paired it with a clean, simple font, so as not to visually complicate the simplicity of the overall design.
Oates Associates engineering website iterations of logo.Similar to our transportation logo concept, this logo utilized another icon to represent Oates’ services, a bridge, to create an abstract “o” and “a” mark. The mark is paired with a more traditional, sturdy font to show that Oates has a strong history of good work and experience behind them. 

Oates Associates is an engineering website that Matchbox had the pleasure of designing.
Ultimately, the Oates Associates team was worried about preserving the equity of their existing brand identity and approved a simpler progression from the original logo to create a fresh, new look. We removed the outdated hashes and paired the circle and triangle logo with a clean san serif typeface, Open Sans. The new color palette included all cool colors like the original logo, but in a vibrant, modern way: a navy blue, blue, and pop of bright green.


Website Design

For Oates, we had done some in-depth work with their logo and print collateral, so we carried over the new color palette and the font Open Sans to the website design and created a theme out of the angle created by the left side of the triangle in their logo. We included the angle in hover states for buttons, the home page featured project slider, as well as a drawer featured in the project section.

Our overall goal was to keep the website clean and professional, but maintain a sense of locally owned and operated approachability and values. We balanced bright, friendly colors and some circles with a very straightforward, professional san serif, Open Sans to achieve this.

Building upon the updated branding and refreshed design aesthetic, we translated the new color palette and styles into a fully fleshed out website that was much more user-friendly and easy for the Oates team to update content (unlike their previous site).

This is a great engineering website that Matchbox Design Group completed. Enjoy the case study.

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