So, you have a fantastic idea for a logo and you start looking for a designer to help you with it. The designer delivers you a fantastic logo and…then what? Where do you use that logo? How does your logo tie in with whatever it is you’re selling to your customers? How do people know that it’s you that’s selling that product and not your competitor?
This is the difference between designing a logo and designing a brand.
But why do you need branding? If you stick your logo on that flyer you’ve been dreaming of and make it nice and big, that should be enough to attract people, right? Not quite.
Let’s think of that flyer as Level 1. At Level 1, no one knows who you are, what you sell or why they should trust you. At Level 1, you’re beginning your journey into convincing people that they should buy from you.
Now let’s think about Level 2 – A level where you should be able to target the same audience that remembers your business and/or the products you sell. In this example, we’re still only using a logo with no branding. Let’s say you send out a second flyer a month later. At that point, your audience from Level 1 have forgotten about your first flyer and you’re essentially repeating the the Level 1 process. You gain no extra visibility and recognition, despite spending money on a second flyer.
Let’s add a level of branding to these flyers. Let’s redesign the Level 1 flyer with the same colours as the logo and use elements of the logo to influence the overall flyer design. At this stage, we’re at the same level of brand recognition as we were before, but we’re setting up the elements for when we want to start thinking about advancing to Level 2.
At Level 2, we send out our second flyer a month later. This time, we’ve got a whole range of complimentary colours and design elements to choose from to advertise our products. In the first example of Level 2, we lost our brand recognition because our flyer had nothing on it that was recognisable from Level 1. This time, we’ve got some memorable visuals, allowing people to think back to our Level 1 flyer and link them together. By doing this, you’ve just improved your customer relationship because they already know who you are and what you do.
Brand consistency helps your business retain a lot of value when you commit to repeat marketing. It helps establish who you are and what you do without necessarily saying all of that every time you produce marketing.
So, the next time you’re thinking of developing a logo, think about developing your brand too and your marketing will have much more chance of success.
I have two fantastic friends who, after quite a long time of being engaged decided to finally tie the knot this year on November 27th. As part of their celebrations, they asked me to design their wedding invitations. You can see the final invitation here.
There were a few key requirements for the invite. Firstly, what it must contain. This included some way to RSVP, an invite to the wedding itself, an invite to the evening reception and a poem chosen by the couple.
As the budget was very small, the invite needed to be small enough that it would fit on A4 so they could be printed without any trouble. However, they also liked the idea of using a square format with a gate-fold and with this in mind, I came up with the idea of using a four piece suite of invitations all housed by one larger container.
There were also some requirements as to what the invitations must look like. It needed to have a baby blue theme, must have swirls and must somehow incorporate a butterfly or butterflies. The bride gave me a very simple example of a graphic she had found online as reference. This was the only thing I had to go on but I was confident that I could deliver something that the couple were happy with.
Although not a requirement, I felt that it’d be nice if the invitation had some sort of logo and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to incorporate the couple’s initials – C&D – into it. My first port of call was of course plenty of sketching.
After a number of sketches, I finally came up with a potential way of how to use a C and a D to form a butterfly. It certainly wasn’t going to be as easy as I first thought, however. Currently, it didn’t look anything like a butterfly. More like a strange insect with very large antennae.
After experimenting further on paper, I felt that I would be better scanning in the above logo and creating it in Illustrator.
I started to tweak the initial sketch, working on just one side of the illustration and then mirroring it to create a perfectly symmetrical graphic. The problem was that the tail of the ampersand was getting in the way and in the end, I felt that it worked better without it. I also shortened the antennae and tried to harden the outside corners of the two characters. Eventually, I ended up with this:
I wasn’t happy with what I had come up with by a long shot and I didn’t feel that this was elegant enough to warrant a place on a wedding invitation. It needed to be softer, more rounded and much more butterfly-like!
This is where many iterations began. My aim was to make the characters look more like wings but retain enough legibility that the characters weren’t lost altogether. I also sought advice on how to refine it to a point where I was happy with it.
It took a while but I eventually got to where I wanted to be.
I felt that this logo worked the best because although other iterations looked more like a butterfly, I felt that this one looked like a butterfly and C&D equally.
Once the logo was finished, it was time to work on the invitations themselves.
As mentioned, one of the requirements of the invitation was that it must contain swirls of some sort. With this in mind, I went on a hunt for some interesting flourishes to take reference from and ended up finding an excellent collection of swirls from All Silhouettes.
And then the painstaking process began of duplicating and placing all of these swirls over the whole of the page to create a unique pattern and one which had as little repetition as possible. This meant placing each of the swirls individually, rather than copying and pasting whole chunks. It took quite a whole to cover the entire page, but eventually, it was completed.
Above is the entire invitation laid out and a crop of just the front of it. I wanted there to be something special on the front as there wouldn’t be able to be anything central on the back due to the way the invitation opened. By using two of the swirls I had already chosen and enlarging them, I was able to form a heart and in it, place the first draft of the logo. I stuck with this idea for quite some time. However, after a while, it felt as if there was something not quite right about it. I felt that although the heart was a good idea, it wasn’t allowing the main element – the logo – to breathe enough and so eventually, the idea was scrapped and I came up with something much lighter. Something with more room to breathe.
Instead of the heart taking up too much space around the logo, I reduced it right down and instead, used it to house the date of the wedding. I also tweaked the colours so they felt a little more vibrant instead of rainy day and I felt that things were now coming together enough to then move onto the four-piece suite that would be housed within the container.
For each of the pieces of the invitation, the couple had already given me the text including a poem. However, some of the words didn’t quite match the tone of voice of the invitation and I suggested a change, which worked much better both visually and logically when reading. The new text was able to be bigger and a little more spaced out. Some of the invite has been omitted for privacy in these shots.
From here, the rest was plain sailing and all came together really well. The last thing to think about was what the invitation could actually be posted in. Luckily, there’s a fantastic site called Square Envelopes which has a fantastic range of, well, square envelopes! Their range happened to include the exact size I needed put one of the invitations.
Upon showing Claire and Dave the invitations, they loved them. I feel really lucky and pleased to have helped in some small way to making their wedding a success.
Chester Charity Beer Festival is an annual three-day event that takes place in Chester. Run by Round Table, It raises money for good causes and charities through selling festival tickets and of course beer. You can see the project here.
I had already worked for the festival last year. In 2009, I developed the front cover of the programme, along with some A1 posters that were hung up at the festival. You can see that work here.
Before I began to work with the festival, they did not have any sort of true identity or promotional materials, with most of the posters and programme design being very sporadic each year. With no tight branding integration, the festival was lacking that spark that made it more appealing for people to attend. It was my job to design all of this year’s promotional materials.
Because 2009’s logo proved to be successful, I decided that instead of starting from scratch, I could use some of the equity of it and update rather than redesign it.
One of the things that was added to the cover last time was Round Table’s own logo, seen above just below “2009”. Because the festival is run by Round Table, I thought it was important to keep this association as part of the new logo as Round Table do much more than host the festival. Eventually, this is what I came up with:
As you can see, it’s quite similar to 2009’s design, but with some improvements including the integration of Round Table’s logo directly into the festival’s logo. There’s also more refinement in the placement and sizing of all of the type. For those that are interested, the fonts being used are Cheboygan and Arno Pro.
The programme cover
With the logo complete, I moved straight onto the cover of the programme, which would be distributed to 2,000 people over the course of three days. Again, using a little equity from last year’s cover, I designed it in the style of a beer label.
I wanted this label to have much more detail than the 2009’s. Last year, I only had a few weeks to put the cover and poster designs together all whilst getting my coursework done as well. This year, as the project began in February for a May launch, I had more time to put something together. With the programme designed, I could then use design elements from it to influence everything else that needed to be designed.
The first thing that needed to be designed was the poster so the festival could begin its promotion. I started with something simple as the information that was going on the poster was a little scarce to begin with.
Once I had sent this over, it was clear that there was more information to go onto the poster and everything needed to be reworked for everything to fit on including ticket prices and of course where about the festival was being held. As I was struggling for information, I removed the frame altogether and went for something even simpler.
It was pretty clear even as I was designing it that it didn’t feel right. It got across all of the information, but it wasn’t very attractive and it didn’t contain any of the design elements that were present on the programme’s cover. So, I redesigned again.
After sending this over to the client, they were happy with it but I felt that there was still something not quite right about it. I felt that the logo was far too small and the dates were out of proportion and it still looked a little empty at the top. So, after another redesign, I ended up with this:
Widening the top half of the frame meant that I could move the logo up and make it a touch bigger. By adding some feature circles, it reduced the amount of blank space that was causing a problem and I could also make the dates a touch bigger to go with the larger logo. After sending this over to the client, we were both happy with it. In total, there were 8 redesigns of the poster that got me to this version.
Along with last year’s A1 posters, the client had asked if the design could also be used on t-shirts. Again, at the time, I didn’t have much time to come up with something but what I did come up with was a design that formed a pint glass out of beer-related words. With more time this year, I felt that I could improve on the design and make it look a bit more glass-like, as the previous version looked a little too blocky.
With three different nights for the festival, one ticket design wasn’t enough. Not only were there different prices for each ticket, but on the first day, there would be two events. The festival also offers all sponsors of the event free tickets and so a ticket design was needed for that too and so in total, there were 5 tickets designed.
The sponsor ticket proved a bit of an issue to begin with. Sponsors are allowed to attend any of the events that are on over the three days. They’re also invited to the special sponsor’s bar and buffet. All of these days and times needed to be on the sponsor’s ticket which meant reorganising things on all of the tickets to allow for more space for all of the dates and times to be written on the sponsor’s ticket.
The back contained a map of where the Festival was, with directions from various parts of the surrounding areas.
The beer card
Having attended last year’s festival myself and actually gone through the process of going to the bar area to get a drink, I quickly discovered how annoying it was carrying around 3cm wide raffle tickets which were very likely to get ripped or simply lost. The client had asked me to come up with a better way of exchanging money for tokens for beer. Initially, I advised that it probably wasn’t worth redesigning the tokens because ultimately, they were going to get thrown away anyway a few minutes after being purchased. However, after a bit more thought, I realised that there was a good opportunity to come up with a better concept of mere tokens.
Since the price of the beer tokens had already been set at £5 for 4 beer tokens, there was no need to have any less than that. In other words, regardless of how many tokens you might want, you always bought in sets of four. With this in mind, I came up with the idea of having a beer card, containing four tokens. This way, the card itself could be designed at the same size as the ticket (A6) on card. This meant no more misplaced tokens or tokens torn because they had been covered in beer. Additionally, instead of giving in a raffle ticket, the customer would give in the card, have it marked by the bartender and then have it given back. The client really liked this idea and so I went ahead and designed it.
With everything else out of the way, the programme was the last thing to design. Although the festival began on May 13th, I had to wait until May 1st to design it because there were sponsor adverts and a full beer list to go in it, which weren’t finalised until late on. The design was influenced by the things I had already designed, using the thick yellow and red frame on each page.
As a final touch, the client asked for a ranking system next to each of the beers as some of the die-hard festival-goers enjoy rating them. Scores were placed next to each of the 70+ beers.
With everything now designed, it was now time to look forward to 2,000 people descending into Chester to take part in the festival. I decided to take a trip to Chester myself and see my work in action.
As a designer, it’s always fantastic to see my work ‘live’ and to know that so many people are not only looking at it, but using it, picking it up and reading it. It’s a fantastic feeling to see a room full of people all with the above programme in their hands.
Throughout the evening, I took photos of people having a good time. Thankfully I got some shots of people with the guide in their hands.
It was also fantastic to see the t-shirts that I had designed on sale at the front of the marquee, as modelled by staff above.
It conclusion, working with the festival has been another fantastic experience. I enjoyed my minor role in working with them last year and I’ve enjoyed developing an entire campaign with them this year even more. In particular, I’m very happy with the beer card idea, which was very successful on the night, as I saw many people buying more than one card every time they bought some. It’s also quite an unusual experience for me as a designer seeing someone hand over money to buy a piece of card which is then valued at £5 each.
As mentioned at the start of this post, the festival’s profits all go to charity. This includes charities such as Claire House, who support families with sick children. Because these types of charities rely so heavily on donations, I decided that early on in the project, I would donate my whole fee to the festival’s fund. I am proud to support the festival for free because I believe that my fee will be put to good use by the charities that the festival supports. It’s also fantastic news that the festival this year raised over £10,000. A great festival and a great cause. I look forward to working with the festival in 2011, should they wish to work together again.
It’s difficult to describe what Round Table is and so instead, I shall quote from Round Table’s website:
The first Round Table was formed in Norwich in 1927. …a need existed for a club where the young business men of the town could gather on a regular basis to exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues and play a collective part in the civic life.
Today, Round Table hosts a number of events and has numerous organisations (or Tables) all over the UK. They are also responsible for producing the annual Chester Charity Beer Festival, which I worked on last year. Chester’s Round Table hired me to develop a flyer to promote their 75th Charter Night. A celebration of Round Table open to anyone. In addition to being their 75th Charter Night, it was also a black tie event and the flyer needed to reflect that.
Round Table also needed a ticket to go with the flyer to send to those who would be attending the event. The ticket was designed at A7 so 8 would fit on an A4 page, reducing printing costs. Nick Wheeler, Chairman of Round Table took responsibility for printing.
Although a small job, it’s always nice to add a touch of design to an event which may otherwise not have any. I hope that it does the job at getting people to the event.
Firstly, I hope everyone is having a good new year. Welcome to 2010. That’s “twenty ten” and not “two thousand and ten” according to the American National Association of Good Grammar (NAGG).
To kick off January, here’s a new identity for Impossibly Stupid, a blog run by Doc O’Leary. Doc writes about many things, but with a particular interest in some of the mindless things that people do that make you think “Well what was the point of that?”. Here’s his original logo:
It’s not actually that bad of a logo, but it was lacking communication between it and the blog name.
This was a very short project, but one which still required the sketching of ideas between any digital work was done. I started by trying to incorporate the ‘i’ and ‘s’ of ‘Impossibly Stupid’ into one solid logo and I think this is where a lot of logo designs start from. Some are fantastic, others don’t work at all. I also tried to play with the idea of taking one step forward and two steps back to reinforce the idea of something being stupid.
That wasn’t really working as well as I had hoped it would so I moved onto something else, playing with the simple equation of 1+1=3. Something so obviously wrong that everyone knows it’s wrong. It was a simple equation, but one which I felt reflected the tone of voice of Doc’s words perfectly.
I tried a number of variations of the equation, trying to design it in such a way that it looked more like a graphic, rather than numbers but I found that the message became too complex, making people look for the connection between it and the name.
I also tried different placements of the equation, including a vertical alternative.
But in the end, I came back to something much simpler – I+I=III
Using ‘I’ instead of ‘1’ and using ‘III’ instead of ‘3’ helped the logo to stay unique and relate back to the name. With three ‘i’s in the name, it just gives a little nod, but not so much that it’s too obvious.
From the final sketch design, I then worked in Illustrator to refine it, trying different varations. The final logo:
I manually kerned the equation using VAG Rounded as a basis for the numerals. I also enlarged the plus/equals symbols and tightened up the words a little bit so that the logo as a whole wasn’t too elongated.
Doc was very happy with the final result and was kind enough to leave a permanent credit link back to my site, which I appreciate.
A quick, but enjoyable project to work on and one which had a very simple solution!