It is a rare thing for a designer to be responsible for a set of visuals that brand a company from its very inception. It is far more likely you are going to come in and use what has already been designed, or even what is currently being designed. Often that brand was developed a very long time ago, and fitting a new style with an old logo, for instance, can lead to a dissonance in composition, not to mention a identity problem for the company. Finding solutions to these disparities is a skill that surely defines the finest designers.
With Ambrosia, my current developing client here at Monthly Brand, the story is a little different, but still an adventurous dip into the pool of tar that can be the supplementation of an older brand. I was actually the designer for the previous brand that Ambrosia is supplementing, and thereby have a lot of the work already completed (understanding the client’s goals, the mood and tone of their products, the tools and explorations used for its original brand). This means that we can take some of the ideas from Satyr, the sibling brand to Ambrosia, and extend it. It’s required that they appear to be from the same family, that their products unite on a shelf, but that they are distinguished in title and in approach.
For the most part I am going to move past my usual system of developing a brand from the start. I’ve created a mind map however, in order to help me solidify the words and ideas that are indicative to Ambrosia. But an inspiration board seems to, once again, not necessarily be of much help in this project.
Something I underestimated while building the brand for Satyr was the time I spent searching through type choices. I wouldn’t say it bogged my process down, but if you’re a designer, even if you aren’t a designer, you know that there are a lot of fonts in the world in the present age. The choices are stupid. It’s impossible to feel secure that you’ve found the right choice. There is no right choice anymore; there are good choices, there are educated choices, but there will always be new faces out there that inspire a very similar, sometimes merely minutely better than the choices you made before.
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Lapidaria is the name of the font I landed on with Satyr. I came to the decision over rigorous digging and balancing the nature of the brand with the options that I had before me. In the end, I decided that, because it had a handsome uncial form, it evoked an antiquity and an almost otherworldly feel; it would need very little alteration to make the logotype a characterized identity—the typeface was doing a lot of the work already. Because I feel like many of the same themes apply to Ambrosia, I’m excited to lean on the typeface again, in all its ancient and irregular glory.
I’m not going to lie, I began thinking about Ambrosia a long time ago, back when I was nearly complete with Satyr. I believed that if I didn’t have enough time in the month to complete Satyr, that I could always come back to the client to extend it. When you have a Mother Ship concept, it is sometimes a shame to see it speak to only one brand. If it has a thematic focal point, and you really dig that central idea, why not appreciate it again—extend it into something more? Therefore, I come to Ambrosia with sketches and musings (as it were) at the ready.
I intend to sketch into the typography and themes that I used with Satyr into Ambrosia next. After that, I’ll seal the logotype in so that I can get moving with the packaging for both of the brands. That’s the plan at least, though the upcoming months appear dauntingly crowded with things to do, it would be a nice feather to explore the realm of packaging design, even as study project. I suppose we’ll have to see where we get.