BrandingPosted: December 6, 2015
Alright, let's do this.
This first project has been a spectacular way to kick off Second Year. I have thoroughly enjoyed branding, learning lots of new things, and gaining experience. Getting to work with Victoria Jones was also great — not only because she was very insightful, but also because it was a great opportunity to have different input from that which we’d get from our usual lecturers.
I’m just going to get right into the happenings of the project now.
The first work we were given was to invent a company based on a field that was randomly allocated to each of us. I received ‘carpentry‘, which wouldn’t have been my own choice, seeing as I know exactly nothing about carpentry. On the other hand, though, I suppose that being given something I wasn’t already comfortable with or knowledgeable about was my first challenge of the project. If there’s any wisdom I’ve milked to exhaustion on this blog, it’s that every challenge is a learning experience.
So, after a while of researching carpentry businesses and scanning the market to see what I could possibly add, I eventually came to the conclusion that I wanted to create something fun that I would actually want to get behind and be enthusiastic about.
Treehouses are made of wood, so I decided to gear my ‘carpentry business’ towards bespoke treehouses for the young-at-heart.
It proved difficult to come up with a name suitable for the company and it took me a while to get the ball rolling, but I eventually settled on ‘Wood for the Trees‘. It has a very convoluted meaning behind it, which I suppose I should try to explain. The saying, “Can’t see the wood for the trees” is often used in a situation wherein one is too close to a subject to make sense from it, so it’s important to take a step back and perhaps take a break. Therefore, when you are stressed from work/life and can’t see the wood for the trees, you should retreat to your bespoke treehouse and relax for a while. Beyond this, though, the name is also a play on words to describe the company itself, which creates and builds wooden designs… for the trees. … and I’ve just explained my own ‘joke’.
Having a name seemed to cement the company for me, so writing the list of brand values was easy, and I got a little carried away coming up with a backstory.
The final thing to make was a mood board, indicating to the designer the desired aesthetic.
I wanted to give the company a woodland/autumn/winter theme with a cosy feel to it. I envisioned the visuals evoking feelings of being tucked away somewhere safe and snuggling in front of a warm fire with all the right comforts for the viewer/potential customer.
However, this mood board was the best I could do, because the next stage of the project was to exchange companies with someone else from the class!
I received Dan Covello’s ‘Eco World Architects‘, and I was forced to give my baby away to Dan Davies.
I wasn’t too upset, though. Eco World Architects seemed like an interesting company to design for, and Dan had put effort into creating something unique that would prove to be a fun challenge.
Upon receiving Dan’s brief I realised that I didn’t know nearly as much as I would like to have known in order to begin designing, so the first thing I did was question him about his company and what he expected/wanted me to do for it.
We spoke about target client bases, the personality of the company, the most important massages to communicate through my designs, potential colours, and touchpoints.
That initial conversation really helped to get the ball rolling and motivate me to go away and do some research right away. I looked at existing brand identities, and then — seeing as one of the key brand values was sustainability — I looked at the connected iconography I could use for that kind of company.
After researching, I moved to my sketchbook to try out some different ideas.
From the sketchbook I eventually moved onto digitising the ideas I liked. My favourite idea was the image of the leaf covering the Earth in a way that looked like the Yin & Yang symbol, so I went with that first.
In choosing a colour scheme to go with it, I thought about what kind of personality the logo itself conveyed. To me, it seemed quite friendly on its own, and, though the business itself wanted to express a feeling of care and friendliness, it was also supposed to be professional — capable of appealing to a very sophisticated audience. Therefore, I decided to keep the colour scheme very minimalist and clean, only using a small amount of the green colour, accenting a mostly white theme.
In choosing a typeface for this concept, I wanted something clean and simple that fit with the look of the logo itself. From memory, I knew that ‘Gotham Rounded’ would fit the bill perfectly, so that was actually pretty quick and simple, though I did try a few others just to make sure.
Onto the second concept.
I wanted to try something a little more serious, and perhaps more leaning towards the ‘future technologies’ side of the company. For this, I took another design I’d drawn in my sketchbook and streamlined it in Illustrator to look like this:
The rounded letters looked very future-ready to me, and, as a bonus, the counter of the R resembled a leaf — coincidentally referencing the company’s attitude towards the environment!
For the word ‘architects’ (and for any body text in the concept), I decided to go with Museo because it was a nice readable font which seemed to fit with my own deigned typography quite well.
One problem, however, was that this concept didn’t seem to have much distinct character that I could carry beyond the logo itself, so after playing around for a while, I added a macro photo of a leaf as a background image. I think this image helps a lot in anchoring the aesthetic to somewhere more identifiable and memorable.
Another happy accident brought by using this image was that the texture of the veins in the leaf look a lot like a bird’s-eye-view of a city — implying a parallel or connection between nature and civilisation.
Concept number three.
I wanted to get away from the ‘eco’ part of the name specifically and try something a little different.
Taken from a tiny drawing of a 3D E in my sketchbook, I was inspired to spend some time in Illustrator, playing around with shapes and colours until I found something I liked.
In the end, I had this:
I was happy with this because not only did the typography look like buildings, but the colour I ended up using made the type look like blueprints!
However, I ran into a similar roadblock to the previous concept: not being able to carry the logotype across the entire theme without a reasonable amount of ease posed the problem of a lack of distinct style or character. With that in mind, I used the same solution as before and added a background image.
With this background image, however, it could be more appropriate to extend it across perhaps the background of an entire poster or website — unlike the leaf of the previous concept.
The background also now makes it seem as though the logotype is a blueprint design coming to life from the page, which adds a lively quality to it all!
And that’s all three! Here are the three concepts added to various touchpoints:
After displaying my finished designs, I received some great constructive feedback. Most people found my first concept to be the strongest (and I agree — that was my personal favourite), but felt the other two were a little underdeveloped. Perhaps I got caught up in my own pride at the first concept, who knows?
This project was a fantastic learning-experience. I had particular fun designing the logos themselves, the business cards, and the website layouts. I can’t wait to try my hand at branding once (or twice, or three times) again in the future… perhaps with a real company!