How Caspar Lee Went From YouTuber To Student Accommodation Developer

Author: Caspar Lee - Co-Founder of Proper Living1 Oct, 2020

I sat down with one of the kings of branding of our generation, Daniel Chong. Chong is the creative genius behind the branding of Proper Living, and who helped us develop its own identity as a business. Daniel is hugely successful in his career and he is taking the world by storm one brand at a time. I, personally, see him as nothing less than an absolute branding guru.

Daniel works with multiple global brands and start-ups. He enjoys working on start-ups (like us) because he is also interested in entrepreneurship — especially when it comes to building something from the ground up. “I believe Proper Living has great value and will become a huge competitor in the marketplace”, says Daniel. He explains this great sense of reward in seeing a brand come to life through its many elements coming together. He enjoys seeing a brand becoming its own identity and seeing how people interact with it. We have that in common! Our response to Proper Living so far has been so positive, and honestly I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

When it came to the task of branding, Daniel states that “the brief was to develop a modern identity system for a student-esque accommodation that would be aligned for roughly 18-30 year old professionals”. Yep, that’s spot on — but we also added in one specific requirement; “make it cool”. As we fall into this age category ourselves, I think we had a pretty good vision of what we wanted to create. I believe this particular creative process has been one of the best experiences. With the help of Daniel, we have been able to put the “energy” of Proper Living into something visual andexperiential. The whole vibe is one that speaks so much to what we initially envisioned for this dream— and it’s becoming more and more of a reality!

Daniel has never worked on any kind of accommodation like this before. He saw what we saw: a gap in the market for something different! He sussed out the ‘competitive landscape’, as he calls it. This inspired him “to really create something unexpected from what the typical nuances of ‘student accommodation’ identities look like”. Further, his goal was “also to align the great elements that Proper Living was offering”. I think that is such a good way of putting it! It’s exactly what Daniel delivered on 150%. According to Daniel, every brand’s goal is usually to know what young people want, which is important, but it shouldn’t always be the objective. Instead, he notes that even “more paramount is the ​story ​that a brands tell”. This idea played a major role in the brand development of Proper Living.

So guess what our logo is. What’s that? A bird? Hmm. Yes, but it is so much more than that. Daniel was inspired by our very own, native Social Weaver. These little guys are amazing — they actually build nests for other birds in a kind of ‘community’ setup. Sound familiar? They nest in colonies that vary from 10 to about 400 birds. These nests are spectacular structures an are instantly recognisable. And just to top it off, they actually resemble apartment blocks! What a perfect metaphor for Proper Living! This whole concept inspired Daniel to “WEAVE” this bird into ourbrand identity as a central concept.

As for the logo design, Daniel believes that a good standard is deciphering whether this brandmark “could be cool enough to wear as apparel” — and we don’t mean in an embarrassing way; like the stuff you used to have to wear as part of your school uniform. Determining whether the logo would resonate with the audience is another part of this process. Oh wow, the colours! I had no idea how ​many ​colours there were: millions. So choosing the right ones seemed like quite the task. Luckily, we had Daniel. He wanted to “incorporate an organic feel to the brand”. All the colours in our palette are ones that occur naturally in the world. Our primary blue colour, however, is still one that resonates with our audience as an “energetic and youthful” colour. Daniel also wanted to makesure that all of the colours worked both digitally and tangibly — which they do well, in my ​humble ​opinion.

I did ask Dan if we were picky customers, but he says we weren’t ​that bad​. Well he actually said thatwe are not difficult to work with compared to some of his past nightmare clients. *sigh of relief*. That’s good. Being picky is part of the process he said, and we just wanted to make sure it was right!

Anyway, it was an honour to work with Daniel Chong, to say the least. He is a creative genius and hesees so much potential in Proper Living. I asked him that typical interview question of ‘where do yousee yourself in 5 years’ — but about Proper Living. His answer blew me away; “Proper Living, 5 years from now will have multiple sites globally” he hopes! I couldn’t agree more — fingers crossed that we become a national, and eventually global brand. We better get weaving...

Special thanks to Daniel Chong for this interview.

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