Friday, October 22, 2010

Panel Discussion 3

Being at the refinement stage, the feedback today mainly revolved around the details of the project and the importance of presentation.

I have listed below the feedback for each of the products.

Identity Crisis Book:

-       There should be breaks in the monotony
-       The cover page portrays a confused hierarchy, which needs to be fixed
-       The placing of the parallel men need to be thought about instead of being placed on intuition.
-       The rope on the last page should be extended
-       There could be similar iterations on the same page
-       When the final logo is displayed, it should look as if it is the chosen one. Perhaps some sort of specifications could come alone with the page.
-       On the cover page, I should give myself credit

Brand Manual

-       The cover needs to be refined in terms of margins, placement of the pig and the abstractness of the sky
-       Some of the headings need to be kerned properly

-       Impossibility poster has too many words, there could be fewer.
-       Placement o type and layout
-       Minor adjustments to make the message clearer
-       The size of the Newspaper poster should be reconsidered.


-       The cover should be in sync with what is inside which is not the case right now

-       Think of how the whole package will work together
-       How the two books will look together in terms of size.
-       How everything will be presented.

-       There are a lot of ideas that are just doodles, and hence need to be digitised properly for the documentation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Some fun badges and stamps using the pig.


I like the overall look of this poster, especially since it doesn't directly link to the identity and is independent of the pig.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A whole lot of things part 5

Poster/tshirt artwork: My Brain is your publisher

A whole lot of things part 4

impossible landscapes: poster

A whole lot of things part 3

Official collaterals for the studio

A Whole lot of things part 2

The little book of logos, printed, checked, and corrected. However, the single spread pdf just refuses to publish certain elements, hence there is an annoying line on every page instead of a light grid, which is there because all my iterations took place on that kind of paper and I decided to bring forth that element in the final book.

A whole lot of things part 1

Final logo, lettering & pattern

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flying Pig is being impossible as always

More refining.
Well, there were a few problems with the previous one,
this is the next stage of refinement, where the shape has been further simplified
and stylised.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The entry of the Flying Pig

There has not been anything up for some time now, because the project kept changing, and again, an idea generation stage had emerged, wherein additional elements to aid the identity were to be thought. The key words moved from contrast and customisation to words such as surprise, impossibility, curiosity and larger than life.

These key words proved to be far more interesting and could actually lend themselves to something more visual. Here is where the flying pig comes in playing the role of a mascot, that stands for the firm's vision of achieving the impossible. If pigs were to fly is a common phrase, and one can find its reference in music and literature.

The red one is the refined one, though there may be more refinement that comes with it.
The first one is what I had started with. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

02 Panel Discussion

My progress this time has been pretty much in terms of quantity, however, when looked as something which is final, there is only one logo symbol that has been finalised. Since I have been spending all my energies in creating an effective type integration, I have paid little attention to the other aspects of the branding project. Alison suggested that I work on things simultaneously, and even if the visual language has not been figured out completely, I could work on other things like the content flowchart for the website, or things that do not require the visual language to play a major role.

They had a look at my rejected logos, and liked the graphic design tool kit idea a lot. If some personalised DKM specific icons could be created, it could be taken forward in terms of application. They also liked the cluster idea, in which many DKMs seem to be fluttering... they suggested that it would look nice if the logo was disseminating like that.

Looking at the book of rejected logos, many ideas emerged, and the four of us brainstormed a little on how there could actually be booklets of my rejected logos, since they kind of show how much work goes into making the identity, and how the evolution of the final logo could actually be a flip book. If put simply, the process could be a collateral. Alison showed a poster that she had done which was an infograph on the making of the museum. Danika suggested some websites which print these booklets at a cheap price.

As far as the application of the visual language is concerned, they like the idea of visual collages a lot, since the logo too is a collage in a way. There should be stories behind each of these graphics, because that automatically adds value.

The review panel thought that I was thinking at various levels, one being the logo and the identity, one being the experience of creating a visual language for DKM, and one being the long term promotional ideas, which actually wont be part of my project, but they are still part of my thinking. I should perhaps, make a choice now. I should either start thinking of the "me" bit in this project and the "he" bit... if for any reason, the collateral and work is not enough then I should make collateral on my own, heedless of whether its taken forward as final production or not.

Mr. Ravindra suggested that it was time for me to define objectives and ask him a few questions, which though I have considered before, I haven't asked him properly. How much is he planning to expand? Is he planning to expand in terms of business or services? I should get his statement of "purpose".

And most importantly, I should chalk out my deliverables and the whole visual application alongside.

As part of the visual application, I was wondering if there could be a series of posters which everyone in the studio could produce on a particular topic. This would show variety and would be an interesting contribution. This would also show how the medium changes the message. This idea too was liked.

This meeting was also very important in terms of me familiarising the panel with what dev kabir malik design is all about, and the kind of work they do. This helped in everyone understanding the scope of the project.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Final proportions: the symbol

After such a long and winding process, this is the final symbol for the identity for DKM.

// I have to figure out a whole unit for the symbol to go with. // The collateral and visual system for the identity to work in. // Additional, slightly disconnected elements to aid the identity, because this identity is not the kind that can be taken forward. For example, a monogram, or a pattern. //The "underlying" source of inspiration is too generic, and hence it is very very difficult to come up with an entire visual system, and there is very very little time at hand.

Let me know what you think!

concept: The key word used here was contrast, and the fact that DKM's work is structured, yet is unstructured. The 'k' is derived from Dev's signature, adding a memorable element to the whole logomark.

Typeface: TYPEFACE SIXPOINTFIVE, and hand lettered K

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feedback and New directions II

When I presented my key findings to the client, they added a few more, which included restraint. They also said that I should get more familiar with the way they handle their clients and about how they like their clients to trust them completely and they tell them what to do unlike ad agencies where what the client says is considered true.
These elements of course do not need to come into the logo, but they need to come out in the whole branding.

We decided that we will keep the logo the consistent element in all the applications, and everything else can really be "out there".

Contrast was decided to be the key word that would be worked with to create the positioning of the firm. Again, we tried to find other design firms who had interesting logos, and were surprised to find that most of them had a plain, neutral, minimal logo type. Here the discussion went to hand writings and the starry "k". Here I happened to mention to Dev that my review panel thought that his signature would make a whimsical identity, and he decided to give it a try.

I am unsure about it, but I think the starry K idea has been fixed upon. I have to wait for Dev to give me his version of the K, since it is from his signature, ideally he should do it. I will then contrast it with a bold typeface.

Currently, I am staying away from the logo for a while. It is really time for me to put my head into the whole brand and consider how everything is going to be applied and where will the visual inspiration come from.

My head is usually brimming with the wildest ideas, but now that I have been asked to go wild, I find myself coming up with the sanest solutions. How very ironic.

research and findings

To guide our clients in choosing effective solutions and making communicative material more engaging and easier to comprehend
Having a name not only in the design world, but also in the local, national and global scenarios

Why was this company created?
To translate thoughts into effective visual communication media that is backed by multi-layered meaning and concept.

What products and services does the firm have to offer?
Communication Media in print and web.

Who is our target market?
Broadly put, people looking into new business ventures, revitalising their existing business, events organisers, publication houses, content organisation related fields, campaign and awareness related  organisation.

What is out competitive advantage?
Contemporary work which is excellently executed and based on the classic principles of design, yet different. Bold and sophisticated, contrast is brought out in different ways in all outcomes.
Customers who wants something younger, more engaging and distinct.

What is out there?
There are a few broad categories in which the existing firms in India could be placed. These include conventional and traditional, quantitative, minimalistic, contemporary and individualistic.

How do we currently market our services?
Website, word of mouth, clients, market reputation and goodwill. 


traditional vs. untraditional
bold vs. elegant
familiarily vs. unfamiliarity
structured vs. unstructured
big picture vs. details
typography vs. image making
personalised and individual attention
translation of thoughts into visuals
bold, sophisticated 

Feedback and New directions I

I had a brainstorming session with Dev and two other firm employees, Sakshi and Rashmi. They went through the options and we discussed what was good and what was not working at all and why. The problem that came out of this was that in an attempt to create more options, a concept was lacking in the iterations.

First of all, Dev asked me to go back to the research phase of my project, and really chalk out what they as a firm stand for and what tone of communication they want to use. How do they want to position themselves? They did not know, it was my job to figure that out. 

What he did know is that he wanted a compact unit which would fit like a seal. He pointed out that this did not mean that I should necessarily put DKM in a seal like I had done in one of my iterations. A logo should be able to communicate it without the extra visual baggage of the seal itself. The current identity does not look like a logo, because of which the firm is losing a lot of marketing. 

He also said that when a project is done in college, there is no responsibility attached to it. If the assignment is type integration, the sole purpose is to create one, and there need not be a full fledged concept behind it. Not everyone gets the entire concept behind every logo and it does not matter if people do not get the concept behind their logo, but what matters is that they should know what story lies behind their identity and if some one asks they should be able to say more that it being just a type integration. 

Decide which type of typeface to use according to the key words of the firm. Is it going to be a serif or a san serif. The details of weather it is humanist or transitional or classical can be decided later, those are just details which should come only after the idea has been finalised. What I have been doing till now is "treating" a logo, not creating a story behind it, except for the "starry" K, which has some idea behind it in terms of it coming from his signature, but why does it juxtapose to more variation? There work is not always all out, it also has a lot of restrain and an implementation of a classical principles in design. It is not completely "funky", but is made memorable through the tweaking of something more traditional. 

He asked me to think of the ideal clients the firm would like to reach out to. What I need to do is come up with a set of key words, from which a story can be derived. A logo is just the tip of the brand triangle.

After this there was a brief discussion on how other design firms have positioned themselves in the market and how DKM should position itself. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Identity Crisis

Options I did in the last two weeks, and am now going to start afresh again. Best of luck to me :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

The wandering mind

Everything, like the weather outside is still cloudy... and I have no idea where my project is going. Corny and Vishnu-like as it may sound I am waiting for some "sunshine"... (metaphorically, ONLY metaphorically, but yes, sunshine)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Restart. Refresh

More than a month has passed,
and I need to re ideate everything from scratch.

I am really scared.

Monday, August 9, 2010

01 Panel Discussion

August 4

After showing my progress so far in the project, certain core points came out of the meeting. Everyone encouraged me a lot to bring out the ‘wild’ side in me, and to try to push my thinking beyond the restrictions placed by the client. As a designer I should be confident about my ideas and convince my client, and if there is something that I feel about, I should go ahead and execute it, if not for the client, then for myself.

Both Danika and Alison gave me some references to look up, and questions to consider. They asked me to think about patterns of people surfing the web, and what is it in a website that keeps them coming back. Each gave their own example, and it was very clear from those examples that the basis of the concept for the website is going to be such user flows.

Currently it turns out that what I have done so far is very basic, and not revolutionary in anyway. I do have some ideas, but they have not been defined yet in terms of a concrete branding strategy. There was a lot of debate over one such idea, which revolved around having monthly themes for the website and product range. What is the point of such themes? How are they going to be applied? Is the logo going to change according to the theme? If the theme is, for example, pop art, then how does the medium change the message? Does the firm do a lot of pop art? To someone the appeal may be purely visual, but to someone else, it could have a political context to pop art. Can the themes be more in context to the firm?

Though I unable to clarify then, I wanted to say that pop art was just one theme from the top of my head, and not necessarily something that I was going to execute. There were other themes that I had thought related to typography. Here again, they helped in widening my horizons, by giving me more outlets in which type could be used like the history of type, letterpress, printing and so on.

Here, I also told them about the idea of having a website which has a blog like and personal feel to it. This is where a lot of suggestions came up as to what people around the world are doing with the power of the blog already.

Another such idea was the fact that the value of graphic design comes across only when absent. And this is one direction that I want to work with. Mr. Ravindra had pointed out a very important question here. My ‘strategy’ up till now works around ‘users’ and not potential users. When a firm decides to do a rebranding, the purpose is to get more clientele. How am I going to use graphic design to attract such clientele? Currently it is word of mouth and the portfolio the firm has. Mr. Ravindra also reminded me that being revolutionary does not necessarily need to be something that has never been done before. Just because a t-shirt has been designed before does not mean that I cannot design one now. However, there should be some meaning in that, and an idea which makes it unique. He also told me to think about the content of the website, because that will gravely affect what I do with it.

Since I am rebranding a design firm, I should be able to go beyond the boundaries. My logo iterations till now were considered a bit old school, where the argument came up that the client anyway wants something which would last forever, and young doesn’t last forever. They also suggested that I push the idea of using his signature, because it had a certain quality which kept them looking at it for more time than my type integrations did.

Here I realised that this was maybe because I have not styled my iterations yet. They still have not been taken forward. A lot depends on how a logo is executed. I still have faith in what I have done so far, and will make it work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Type Integrations: Second Set

The above is work in progress for an exploration in integrating characteristics of handwritten letters in the logotype. For example, the d is handwritten and is integrated with an existing typeface. This is just initial work.

Typefaces used: 1. Memphis 2. Didot  3&4. Bodoni Poster
More iterations after first feedback, The direction is towards the last option of bodoni poster 

Type Integrations: First Set

Typeface used: Gotham HTF Light & Helvetica Neue (bottom most)
Here, Gotham worked better because the 'k' and the 'm' flow into each other, while in Helvetica the unit is not flowing into the other. 

Typeface used: 1. Baskerville Cyr, 2-3. Adobe Jenson Pro 4. ITC Galliard.
Here it was finally decided that DKMD are too many letters to integrate, but the way the distinction is used in the first one with the italic D, maybe something could be done for the final identity, but as an additional unit. The serifs are not working because there is not much contrast in the strokes. Some thing with a heavier contrast in stroke width could work better. Here there is a slight debate between using a san serif or a serif, and currently both options are open.

Typeface used: 1. Calvert Bold, 2. Din 3-4. Archer
The slab serifs give the firm a very young look, but again here the argument was that the firm is not going to be young forever, and the logo is meant to be forever. so it necessarily doesn't matter. 
The integration here may not work, because though liked by the client, it is a possibility that it is read as CKM instead of DKM.

Typeface used: Futura Bold and Baskerville
The integration of the second one was found interesting, but the typeface needs to be reconsidered.
Nothing is finalised yet, and I am supposed to work on the identity a lot more. I am going to be trying out a few new things, but will mainly be concentrating on making these type integrations work.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What next?

I have spent the last week and a half looking through hundreds of typefaces and trying to find the characteristics of the alphabet that would be apt for my type integration options as well as fit in within the firms image.

There are a lot of things that affected my decision making
  1. General considerations such as stroke variation, width, weight, scale, form.
  2. Legibility vs. readability vs. recognisable symbol.
  3. How can the type be flowing into the each other, and yet be distinguishable?
  4. What can be done to make sure that the 'd' does not look like a 'c'?
  5. If a serif, then it should be one which does not disappear when scaled down
  6. The brackets of the serifs should not be rounded, but more angular.
  7. Each initial needs to be given equal importance, and needs to provide a linear eye movement. This  eliminated possibilities of exploring design principles such as hierarchy and visual anchor.
  8. How recognisable is a typeface? Is there a need to alter an existing typeface or create a new one?
  9. Is there a typeface which is used extensively in the current logo trend? Can it be avoided, or treated differently?
I wanted to reach a point where I could go no further in my progress before I asked for my mentor's feedback. After exploring options, trying out things that were experimental and not so experimental, and finally condensing my list to a few typefaces, and a few options, I waited for another two days, so that I could really stretch my mind to its fullest.

Today, a little apprehensive but nonetheless I had a meeting with Rashmi and Dev. I will be putting up the feedback shortly.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Initial doodles for the type integration unit. Please do give your feedback here. Thanks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Feedback

After looking at my initial brainstorming, I have to do the following

- Start coming up with typographic integrations of DKM for the logo. This integration should act like a symbol, which can later be used independently of the name of the design studio.
Roger Federer initials -- an example of type integration

- Chalk out the promotions aspect a bit more. I should think of two aspects of the prospective product range. Instudio and for the general public. If a product range then how is it going to reach the masses? Who is going to buy it and how is it going to be sold? It is all very good to produce postcards, posters, t shirts and other paraphernalia, but is there a point? 

Ideas that have potential:
- Having monthly themes to the website, which would deal with a new application of the logo, and keep the visitors coming back. One of these themes is breaking type and zooming in. 
- Having a personalised feel to the website, where the employees could upload details of their projects, including process. 
- Integrating the personal characteristics of the studio in the identity. There are certain inherent characteristics about dkm -- music, typography, flexibility, youth... How can these factors be integrated within the identity?
-Having a dynamic identity -- Keeping different avatars for different categories of work doesn't work, because these categories keep changing, and the clients look at work project wise and not category wise. Categories such as "print" "publication" and "typography" make more sense to the design generation, not the target audience. Dynamism could be achieved instead, in its flexible application. The ideas of having a theme every month is one such way of going about it. 

My Workspace

My workspace in the Dev Kabir Malik design Studio

The Big Mindmap of Everything

Bold fun young simple clear cut flexible iconic quirky different visual aesthetic crisp fresh
Music library typography detail image making aspirations



            Client presentations

Design movement inspired
Embodying the visual style of the studio
Dynamic :
Different avatars for different categories of work.
Application of the identity
Promotional Videos on Youtube, Vimeo
Play your own music, play what we listen to, updates
Interactive ( creating a simple interactive space where the viewer can interact with “our world”. Examples:, what type are you?
A space where the team can update or upload their work and so on (Blog)
How often can the website be updated?

fun: tshirts, badges, posters, postcards, car stickers, calendars
utility: pen drives, stationery, planners, organisers, notebooks, bags
random : playing cards, matchboxes, cigarette boxes, storage boxes, customised music cds,
Promotion: tie ups with boutiques and shops, online, in studio, order & shipment
Themes: A theme can become a statement that is identified with the design firm. For example, Design Temple products are known for “sophisticated” kitsch Indian theme and some firms are known for doing “cute” work. Themes could be Indian, social, illustrative, typographic, design awareness, sustainability etc.  
It should be more than just a signboard.
Public Art, graffiti, a

A design palette: references of visual templates for clients, in order to help them articulate their needs better.
An yearly ‘festival’? Sponsors?

The client is often not familiar with design terminology and it always helps if the client knows exactly what he/she is paying for

            CLIENT SETS
            Illustrative, graphic, bold visual (kitchen, tabularasa, elevate, chi)
            Publication (Sunday Guardian, Covert, Inspire One)
            Social (Vaatavaran, Sttep, Lemon-aid)
            Luxury Branding (kidology, blues)

            Packaging, inforgraphics, motion graphics, web applications, exhibition design

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Most of my research is coming from here. Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler.
It provided for the gaps that I am not able to fill in my process of designing a brand.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Repositioning the Identity - initial brainstorming


Questions that came out in the meeitng:
What are the main forms of outgoing communication media?
In what position does the firm want to project itself?
How far and wide can the collaterals be stretched?

Qualities of the studio

- bold
- fun
- young
- simple and clear cut communication
- flexible
- iconic
- quirky, different
- aesthetic
- crisp
- fresh

Team qualities/characteristics or random things..
- typography
- music
- coffee
- library (in comparison with other places, it stuck out)
- image making
- aspirations

Reaching out to the masses
Very often design termanology means nothing to the client. what does he/she have to do with type, grid layout? Intricacies such as these should be translated into simple language.

Possible outlets

Identifying a market niche for a brand
client sets:
- illustrative, graphic, bold visual (kitchen, tabularasa ink, elevate, chi)
- publication (sunday guardian, covert, inspire one)
- corporate 
- social (vaatavaran, sttep, lemon-aid)

Expansion in terms of clientele:
- packaging
- infographics
- motion graphics 
- web applications
- Exhibition Design

music updates
fun links
interactive ( there are a lot of applications online which enable
users to form art with a few given tools.. is an example. 
Pentagram has a feature where you can find out which typeface are you. 
Blog like
Personal : Could the designers have their own personal page or something? Some sort of insight of the work environment in the studio?

setting a sort of an entrance...
hauz khas village is filled with these numerous shops and each one is a "design" store.. 
can there be graffiti or public art posterish boards outside which is part of the dev kabir malik identity and is integrated with signage?

How is the website updated and how often?

Technical questions: 
logo should be minimum what size? black and white? dual colour... etc? Is there a need? how can it stay consistent and yet dynamic..


small campaigns that people can participate in? The plausibility of this idea is still not sure.

Utility items and keepsakes like

some top of the head ideas for the identity:
- Definite form, but different fillers - colour, textures, medium (type, paint, vector pen etc), collage of work, 
- A unit made out of smaller units (each unit a different quality or something) the elements of which could flow out...and be more dynamic. which could form the whole unit.. and could flow out, deform, too.. like some of the dutch identities.. 
- sections. having sections of work, and each section has a different identity, ofcourse following the main identity... here things like substitution, metaphor, similarity in form, but dissimilarity in medium.. colour...texture stuff like that could work...Basically, having something common and something different
- different avatars.


types of identity and what message it brings out:
 typographic unit
simple bold clean clever, contemporary
rounded, flexible
inside joke?
experimental playful
dynamic, 3d
geometric, modular
complicated, busy
ornate, contemporary
hand drawn, though not necessarily child like?
calligraphic, cursive?

what sells? how does the "public" percieve things differently from us?

"word of mouth" is an important tool in promotion. public relations. keeping in touch with clients helps maintain public relations. Could there be something which the clients of dkm get yearly or something..I dunno actually.. this needs to be economical and not some sort of a giveaway thing... 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some reading in the library

Graphis Logo -- Rex Peteet
Graphic Design Referenced
Marks of Excellence -- Peter Mollerup
Graphis Poster -- Dr Frieder Mellinghoff, Paul Davis, Shin Matsunga
Design Matters// Logos

Some logo units I thought were interesting. I have no examples to show, since they are not online,
but what made them interesting was the unit, and how some of them were decontextualised completely and broken down to create some interesting quirky icons that would have a lasting impact. It all comes back to strategy and the way the firm wants to position itself in the market. Only when that is finalised, can an execution take place. 

In short,
Idea --> Execution --> Styling

Another excerpt that I found interesting in Design Matters//logos was about considerations.

Testing a logo
- emotional response
- Competition
- Brand Attributes
- Cultural Connotations

The very first meeting

July 8, 2010

The first review meeting really helped define the project for me. Up till now, I was still a little confused despite it being a simple project brief.

The first question that Mr. Ravindra asked me was "What is the design challenge in your project?" This question could be answered in two ways, one being the challenges faced while doing the project itself, and the other being what challenges I would be facing with my current set of skills and beliefs. Though at that time I only considered the challenges of the design brief, on retrospect I think there is more to it.

In my proposal my research questions revolved solely around branding. What about application? What was I going to design alongside? It could be a website, but it could also be something else. Mr. Ravindra also asked me to get into the skin of the company. What are their ideals? What is their mission statement? Do they want to project a funky image or something more suave? He suggested that I prepare a set of questions that would help me get a direction for the overall visual language of this project.

Alison and Danika both gave a lot of stress on finding out the expectations of the client and my own, and documentation. They really helped me spell out some of the loose ends of the project that I need to take care of. They suggested that I document even the slightest ideas, since each idea represents and depends on the experience of that particular moment. Even if these ideas are not taken forward, they could be the beginning of another direction now or later. My documentation will show how much I have travelled in the project, and how much I have been able to grow with it. They also gave me some feedback on client based project based learning, and how I should make the most of it. These are the months when I should make full use of my interaction with other designers in the field and learn from them.

There are a few things that are still not sorted out. These include:
-- Deliverables
-- Timeline
-- Expectations

The common feedback was that I should not forget myself in the project. Client based projects often become the do's and don't's of the client, and since the client here itself is a graphic designer, I need to make sure that the final outcome is me, and not him. This is perhaps going to be one of my biggest challenges through the project.