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.