I've been working on all sorts of paper based sketching, tweaking various other projects and generally being very busy. I decided that whilst it can be good to be busy, juggling a dozen different things meant that I've been spending more time juggling things than I've been able to spend actually doing anything. So I decided that I'd dedicate as much of my Saturday as I could to working on something regarding my Major Project... in particular my brand.
Branding is Important
I'll say this up front... if your brand is crap... your project will be crap. If people can't connect your brand to your product then something isn't right. As Brian Hoff says:
A memorable logo is just the beginning—yet an extremely important beginning —that sets the overall tone for your new or existing brand.Brian Hoff in an interview on http://lucidry.org/. 1
This is something that you will find is pretty consistent across the board when it comes to branding... it's meant to tie in with what you're about, or what you do. The brand you have and the product you create should be tied together, with the logo or even colours 2 helping to conjure up images of your company and it's products.
As such, when it comes to branding I want to do everything that I can to ensure that what I use fits with what the branding is for. If I fail to do that then I've done something wrong. This is also one of the reasons I tend to avoid branding related work myself. I can appreciate a strong brand... but that's easy. I have a much harder time of actually creating a strong brand.
I think that this is also a part of why I try to keep things simple as it cuts down on the amount of things that I can screw up. Of course the flip side of this is that if I do mess things up then it is infinitely more evident (which tends to result in things being corrected much quicker).
What should my Brand be?
I want to ensure that the brand that I have, and the all-encompassing branding that I make use of, fit together perfectly. This is a part of why I've spent so much time sketching out ideas and pulling things together in a general form before trying to create a brand... If I have a stylish brand for my project, but the branding is very minimal... that would create a clash and that'd suck.
As I covered in my blog post on Thursday I want to create a rich, book-esque, user interface for my major project, as it will provide me with an opportunity to break away from the more clinical styles of web design for referencing as well as giving me a break from my own more minimal designs. I want to push both my technical and graphical capabilities with my major project whilst providing a usable, useful, tool to users. Yes, I want it all. 'Cause I'm crazy like that.
Starting with my Brand
I'm a big fan of paper. Paper is great for letting me throw down ideas quickly without worrying too much about quality. I have whole books filled with sketches of web site layouts that I'll almost never user, and I've got a fair few branding ideas for myself sketched out over the years. Plus, it's really fun to be able to just create without thinking about what tool to use, or how I'll code it up.
Another influence with the brand I am working on for ReferenceIt is a fantastic font, that Simon Fraser stumbled across, called Scotch Roman. The moment I saw it I knew that it was the font that would perfectly fit for my branding, which quickly came together to look like the following:
I then took the ideas I'd pieced together to create the above, and opened up Illustrator. Why Illustrator? Vector Images make for a more easily scalable logo, which is useful if you need a different sized logo for different things, such as web site branding, business cards, billboards... and so on. After a little bit of playing around I quickly came up with a logo that I was happy with (as it's built using a really nice font to begin with) and I'd even seen how well it would hold up at various sizes. I also decided to see how it would look in both black and white, as these are the most common colours I would be using the logo. This was aided by my decision to try and only use a single colour for the logo, meaning it can be easily switched between the two:
I also knew that I wanted to produce a rich user interface for the site that I'm going to be working on. This met up with my recent trent of making sure that site's look nice on mobile devices, particularly iPhone, to the point of making an icon for users of mobile devices. The result can be seen below:
This leaves me with what I feel is a rather nice, if simple, logo for my Major Project. I might revisit it before I'm 100% pleased with it but at this point I'm quite happy.
Importance of Branding with Branding Expert Brian Hoff | Lucidry - Connecting The Inspired. 2010. Importance of Branding with Branding Expert Brian Hoff | Lucidry - Connecting The Inspired. [ONLINE] Available at: http://lucidry.org/business/media/importance-of-branding-with-branding-expert-brian-hoff/. [Accessed 06 November 2010]. ↩