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.
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!
In the last entry, I wrote about how we had developed the campaign to the point where we were now in the studio, taking photos in preparation for the poster campaign. Unfortunately, having looked at them over the following weekend, I decided that they weren’t good enough to use and so on the following Monday, we went back to the studio.
Photoshoot Number 2
On our first trip to the studio, we had to set up ourselves and as I’ve already written, I’m not a photographer. We struggled along and did take some shots that were adequate, but none that stood out. Luckily on the second visit, we managed to find Mike Pumford, Kingsway’s technician who generously took a moment of his time to help us out and set the equipment up correctly and we started taking much better shots.
As you can see, these images proved to be much more professional, even at an unedited stage. We ended up taking a lot of photos. Some good, some bad. But there were quite a number of them that stood out.
In order to get people to pay attention to the posters, I felt that some tight closeups of his face were important. His costume was secondary. His green, over-exaggerated face was what would attract people to look at and read the posters.
Making Viral Man larger than life
The next day, I began sifting through all of the photos we had taken. With three photos picked out, I set to work on making him larger than life. It was important that the character only resembled a normal person, rather than simply looking like a person with green facepaint. So, in order to do this, I started exaggerating his eyes to the point where there was no doubt that these eyes could never belong to a normal human being.
I started by performing a digital makeup check on the eyes, improving the coverage of the facepaint on the eyelids to the point where they looked much more naturally blended. Also, I have brown eyes and they looked out of place on such a green character so I changed the colour of them. Finally, I exaggerated the entire area of the eye to much larger proportions. Of course, the beauty of Photoshop is that you can do these modifications seamlessly and it did the trick. I also increased the size of the character’s nose and mouth, and did the same makeup checks on the lips, while digitally pulling the sides of the mouth up a little to make it look as if the character was grinning more than humanly possible.
As I showed in an earlier entry, I wanted the character to have a logo of some sort. Something that would tie all of the various elements of the campaign together and I knew roughly what it should look like:
Now that we had taken lots of photos, I had something to reference. It was important that it wasn’t just a generic silhouette like in my above sketch but adequately referenced the character. And of course the thing that stands out most about the character besides the fact that he’s green, is his hair. And so this is what I came up with:
You’ll notice that it says Viral Man, not Touching Man, as I’ve been referring to throughout these entries. And I’ll get onto that in a moment.
After designing the logo and writing the copy for the posters, I was very happy with how they looked. And here they are:
You can view larger versions in the project area, which will be going live within a week of this post.
After four weeks of working on this project, surprisingly, we had still yet to actually show anything to the committee responsible for giving it the green light. We had wanted to keep it secret until a point at which we could properly present it i.e. The above posters and photoshoots.
On Wednesday, I spent the day designing a screen-based presentation which I was to deliver the next morning to introduce the committee to what we had so far. I travelled to Chester for an 8am start and set the presentation up in the meeting room. At 8:30am, everyone arrived and the reveal took place. I had designed the presentation to slowly describe why the character looked the way he looked by cropping various photos of him, starting at his green shoes and working all the way up to his face. At the final reveal of his face, everyone seemed to like it.
In addition to the reveal Touching Man’s face, I had also been practicing my voice for the character and recorded a basic example script so that the committee could get an understanding of how he would sound in videos. Have a listen.
Unfortunately, there were concerns about the voice sounding too much like a speech difficulty and because it was a university-produced campaign, they didn’t want to offend anyone. This was understandable and the voice was scrapped for something more recognisable and normal.
Overall however, everyone was really pleased with how the campaign had been developed so far and were looking forward to seeing the finalised videos.
One of the things that came up in the meeting was the creation of the website. I hadn’t been looking forward to designing the site as there wasn’t much time to do create it and a Flash website takes time. Luckily however, the c0mmittee expressed their interest in using social networking instead of a website because they were worried about maintaining the site. It meant that we could focus on building the Facebook profile and more time to film the videos.
One final thing that the committee asked for was a second poster campaign that ran with the government’s national campaign’s slogan of “Catch it, Kill it, Bin it”. This meant another trip to the studio on the same day, where Hannah and I spent the afternoon taking more photos.
Photoshoot number 3
Just before we went to the studio, we spent an hour looking for props to use in the three new posters, showing how the character could be caught, killed and binned. That meant buying a net, anti-bacterial gel and a large bin. Quite a strange shopping list.
The photoshoots are fun, but quite tiring. It’s much more than a case of just taking three photos and that’s it. It’s getting the right photo, with the right focus, lighting etc. And this takes a hell of a long time to do. We spent a long time getting shots to look right.
A friend came to help/watch us take more photos in the studio and literally provided a helping hand to hold some anti-bacterial gel to look as if he was killing me with it. I also took some shots of his arm on its own so that I could play around with it in Photoshop and add it to a photo of myself.
At the end of the day, we came away with nearly 300 photos. That night I started to develop the photos into posters.
The name change
The next day, I recieved a priority email alerting us to the fact that the committee had changed their mind about the name “Touching Man” as they felt it had too many negative connotations, especially for a university-led campaign. Instead, they asked if they could use “Viral Man”. This change came after I had already designed the posters, logo and set up the Facebook profile. Admittedly, the four of us responsible for running with the name (And telling the committee about it at an early stage) weren’t happy with the name change and I tried my best to persuade them to keep “Touching Man”. It wasn’t to be though and “Viral Man” was chosen as the new name.
In retrospect, it’s completely understandable. I think that because we had been working on it on our own for four weeks, we had become quite accustomed to the name, regardless of if it was suitable enough for the project. While “Viral Man” is a little more tame and obvious, “Touching Man” does indeed bring too many negative connotations and the name change was justified. And so Viral Man was born.
I made the required changes to the posters and logo and set up another Facebook profile, this time in the name of Viral Man. Luckily, the 2,500 stickers which had been designed for the campaign had not been printed yet and they needed to be changed to reflect the change of Facebook profile address.
And so the penultimate week was over and there were now two poster campaigns, a Facebook profile, stickers, a logo and a countless number of photos that had been taken over the course of three photoshoots. Next week would be all about filming and finally, signing, sealing and delivering the whole campaign to the university in preparation for its launch just a few weeks later.
In the final entry: Two days of filming, an interview with Viral Man and taking delivery of 2,500 spikey balls.
Today I took some new photos of the things I had designed for Chester Gateway Theatre. These include a letterhead, business card and even a performance ticket. I really enjoyed working on this project because I’m a huge fan of corporate design. I love designing logos and in particular, the media on which the logo will be applied to.
There are so many creative possibilities when it comes to business stationery and any budget can be accommodated. Having an identity for your business is crucial to establishing a presence in your target market, regardless of what it is you’re selling. With a stronger identity than your competitors, you’re much more likely to receive business and if your business doesn’t have a strong identity, then I would love to help you come up with one. Just get in touch if you’d like to work together.
If you’d like to check out the project, click here.