Three projects have been waiting in line to have their brands fully realized and concluded over the past few months. All three are fully developed and on the verge of committing to their final visual. It’s always been a challenge for me as a designer to look at my work and say with 100% confidence that it is done. Done is a word that both drives me and frightens me. I aspire to breathe life into idea, so that others can see its beauty and purpose through the language that is graphic design, but I also constantly feel that it is never quite perfectly spoken. The longer I view a piece of artwork that I’ve been working on, the more refinements and developments I wish to make. I probably wouldn’t consider myself a perfectionist however, since I know that nothing is perfect, and imperfections bring humanity and therefore truth to my work. I’m talking about the journey of a project, and how I constantly pine for it to continue.
Perhaps “monthly” wasn’t the most suitable framework for this blog. The projects I explore here are fictitious, and therefore recreational. There’s no real client expecting a delivery of compositions, there’s no print deadlines or launch dates, and although I meet that professionalism every day at my real job, I’ve been ignoring those rules of engagement for Monthly Brand. Without a doubt, some brands just take longer than a month to develop, but the real thing I’m learning about my process is…how I don’t want my process to end. Perhaps this is what I enjoy most about the industry of branding: the exploration and adventure of identity. When an identity is established, when it is committed to, for me, it looses some of its luster. It’s difficult for me to fully believe it. I don’t believe an identity can tell the whole story, because of constant change (both the entity is changing, and my perspective of an entity is changing).
Alas, we must commit to identity. If a visual identity cannot tell the whole story, it may, however, tell the best story. And that story is the one that they want you to remember. Three projects I have yet to complete in the past linger at the finish line because I’m attempting to find their best story, the best light in which to present them. I’ve listed the three below and hope to conclude them all in the upcoming weeks. As part of their journeys, I’ve even come to them with some new perspectives, or potentially come to a resolution about what is indeed their best representation. I don’t actually want their exploration to be over (hence their incompletion), but the promise of new brand stories hopefully allays that apprehension.
This brand lost steam when I fell into a sea of fonts to accommodate a simple arrangement of type that I felt was homing in on a solid finish. I was on the verge of locking up a typeface that seemed like it had the blood for the company, but it didn’t seem quite versatile, or mature enough. Perhaps I shouldn’t think of comics as mature, perhaps I should take the risk of allowing a font with limitations in style to become the voice of the company. I’ve also wondered how the speech of the company would develop—that Conflict Comics would be known simply as “Conflict”—and whether the word comics is even needed in the final branding. Though this publisher isn’t the kind of storytelling you might see translated into blockbuster hero films of the day, the concept of a comic brand seems to have a lot more gravity when it’s referred to by its base name. Dark Horse, Vertigo, Marvel, DC, Image, etc.
This cutlery company is so close to being complete. It’s truly just a few shaves away (sorry, it’s still the brand of puns). Clyve Cutlery seems to roll off the tongue really well (kind of like Conflict Comics…), and so this convention would be more appropriate for the target to see in the branding. Since I set this project aside I actually committed to a chef’s knife of my own. My god it makes the world of difference in the kitchen. Why do people settle for cheap knives? Anyway, it has reinvigorated me to return to the type treatment I had all but tied a bow on and complete the design. The final treatment of Clyve may not seem like a lot happened along the way—I simply drew some letters and then sliced off their corners—but the evolution was thorough and sound, and I’m satisfied with the solution. So I got a little sidetracked with other projects…cut me some slack.
I’ve been drawing a lot with this brand, hoping that the box element unfolds something. Some of the drawings are worth a gander at cleaning up, so this brand is the most distant from completion of the three. In terms of application, I would love to design a tag for this gadget company’s products, and although I envision they might have a catalogue, I’m sure the more appropriate method of sale for them would be web based. It’s also worth noting that after all my looking around I have fallen in love with a company that is in fact the paragon of wonder and gadgetry: Kikkerland. They’re pretty much the real version of Curio, and though I cannot live up to their pure invention and intrigue, I am happy to have found such an inspiration for my own study. Hopefully some of the design that they set sail will filter into my own work.