The assignment started with a request to design a new Volley lifestyle shoe, capable of capturing youthful buyers. Through analysis and better defining the target audience, and initial concept design, it was clear there was a need to reinvigorate both the brand and shoe offering from the ground up. The project now became a multi-faceted undertaking requiring design to clarify for management, as work progressed, what the ‘new Volley’ brand could become. Multiple elements were addressed in tandem. Volley’s heritage needed to be captured in all aspects of the significantly expanded shoe range and brand redesign.
Deuce, a tennis term, is a lifestyle sneaker. It comes as a slip-on, low and high top. There are two ranges of shoes - Deuce Core (Classic range) which is canvas based, and Deuce Black Label (Premium range) which is leather. The totally new design references elements of Volley’s heritage including the classic herringbone grip, heel ribbon, and front toecap. They also employ inner-padding tongue-to-toe for extra comfort, and the purpose-designed shock absorbing Dampertech 10 footbed. The new footwear offerings were undertaken in conjunction with a total redevelopment of the Volley brand.
Deuce, authentically Volley is regaining traditional user loyalty, and securing a range of new buyers. Launched in February, and only sold online during Covid19, customer response has exceeded expectations. The alignment of the updated brand and distinctive shoe designs have resulted in Deuce earning a price premium and far superior margins. Tennis Australia, aware of Volley’s rebirth, requested a custom variation of the Deuce High for the Australian Open. The shoes were a great success and sold out in a few weeks. It was the first-ever collaboration with the AO and due to its success is now an ongoing partnership.
Essentially this was a ground-up project. Starting as a new lifestyle shoe project it revealed a latent opportunity to relaunch Volley - by uplifting it from a name to a brand and offering a significantly expanded shoe range that leveraged Volley’s tennis and Australian heritage. The Brand Manager John Szwede gave full support to the relaunch. The approach was multi-faceted. Design work also involved securing and working directly with a new top-quality manufacturer in Vietnam. Informal manufacturing instructions were replaced by a highly detailed Techpack - described by the manufacturer as the clearest and most understandable spec they have ever received. Volley was originally a tennis player’s sports shoe but it had dropped to being a low-cost product sold in direct department store outlets. Volley’s history had essentially been let go. Further, Volley was suffering from identity confusion using 3 to 4 different logotypes, unrelated colours, divergent fonts, and limited message consistency. An integrated and systematic approach was taken to the new shoes (see product architecture diagram). Previously shoe sizes varied according to the manufacturer. Now all Volley shoes employ a standardised unisex ‘Volleyfit’. enabling the design of one footbed (Dampenertech 10), used across the entire Volley range.