Our first project for the second year was the Brand Identity Project. It was a very thought-provoking and rewarding experience, that gave us a clearer picture about what a Brand is, what its main elements and influence on customers are, how important research is and last, but not least, proved once again that the power of Graphic Design to transform things is significant.
After the introductory lectures in which we went through what a Brand is, our project was divided in two parts:
- In the shoes of the client: Company development, Completing the brief.
- In the shoes of the designer: Brand identity development for another company
FIRST STAGE. Working as a client
In the beginning of the project all of us were randomly allocated to a different industry.
I had to work on a Pharmacy.
The initial task that we had to complete was to imagine we were on our way to setting up our own business. We had to do an extensive research of the competitors on the market, to think of what we would offer that could differentiate us from them, who we are aiming our services at, in what ways we are going to sell and where.
The research stage took a really long time for me to complete. Being a healthy-eater, walk-instead-of-bus, tree-hugging, anti-medicine, kind of a person, I did not want to set up a business against my own beliefs. Needless to mention that there are enough boring pharmacies already, so that possibility was instantly excluded.
My own perspective on the question is the following: What medicine does is that it cures symptoms. Fighting against symptoms instead of the reasons for those symptoms is, in my opinion not only temporary, but could also be harmful. Symptoms are the warning signs of your body to tell you that there is something wrong with it. It’s like telling a person who is crying to shut up and believing that the problem is solved. Also, there are less than 10 symptoms that could be recognised by you, and thousands of illnesses. How can one believe that taking a pill against a symptom really heals the reason?
Don’t get me wrong – of course, there are many illnesses that could only be cured by medicine – and medicine is a huge step in the development of society. But I think that we have misunderstood and exaggerated it – many people take medicine for the tiniest reasons, without asking – why did it happen in the first place? My question is – if medicine was that beneficial, why do we keep getting ill after all the invented medicines (even more often), and yet more illnesses keep appearing? I believe that we should ask ourselves about the roots of why our bodies give us those symptom signals – to warn us that there might be something wrong with our lifestyles in the first place, and we should try and change that.
Leave the pharmacy for helpless situations. Medicine is sick-care.
What we need is health-care. We need to look after our health not after we get sick, but while we are still healthy. We should be more careful about what we eat, what we think, how much we move. So this is the philosophy that I chose my company would have.
Providing information, bio-food, recipe ideas, supplements, friendly atmosphere, events, talks and community, it would be aimed at all those who believe that taking care of your health is better than taking care of your illness.
Completing the brief was not an easy task. Imagining something that doesn’t exist, describing it in detail and making it sound realistic is a hard task. It has always been a challenge for me to work on something if I do not know about the exact available tools, budget, time. However, all the specific questions provided helped me get more clear with what I would like my business idea to be. This form we were given is a true treasure, in my opinion.
A very interesting exercise that we did with Olwen was the elevator pitch. We set up a nice and friendly simulation of an elevator using objects from around the studio, found a nice ding-dong elevator sound, and started pitching. Each one of us had to enter the elevator and have a casual conversation with the other person inside, introducing him to the business and giving him an imaginary business card, all before the elevator has arrived. As you are leaving the elevator, somebody else is immediately entering, so it is like a dynamic chain.
To me, this exercise was very interesting because of a few reasons.
- I was really, really happy to see Olwen in our studio again.
- Hearing about all the other people’s business ideas was lovely.
- Trying to explain your idea quickly and in an understandable way, at the same time as part of a casual conversation is a challenge. You really need to be clear on what your idea is!
- You can’t start with “Hi, let me introduce you to my business” – No. It has to be done in a more clever way, to fit in the conversation and in a friendly tone. Jokes are excellent tools.
After we completed the brief and were more clear on that we would like our company to be, we were allocated to another student who had to build its brand identity. So each one of us was the client of somebody else, and the designer of another.
The designer for my company was Bethan Lewis.
When I found myself sitting there trying to explain the whole idea to her, I found out that this is not an easy job at all – and at the same time so very crucial, because what I told her would be “tatooed” right on the face of my company and would determine its success. Using the right words is more than necessary. In this moment I found how important the questions of the designer are, how crucial is his deep understanding of the company in order to be able to realize what the client wants to have.
Here is what she delivered for the final presentation. Definitely a lot different than what I had imagined!
SECOND STAGE. Working as a designer
The company that I had to build a brand identity for was Adriana Mora’s “In-Vitro Meat”. One of the hardest I believe.
In-Vitro Meat was a new concept to me, so I had to do a lot of research. Briefly, it is a new scientific idea about producing meat from a single cell by expanding it. What the result is is that meat is developed instead of gained by killing animals. The answer of the question – “Is this a real thing” – Yes, it exists, it has been done by NASA, but the process is really slow and pricey, so it is not functional nor wide-spread yet.
During my research I came to the conclusion that if this concept becomes readily available and replaces the need of killing animals, it would change the whole world. A concept such as the Internet I guess – unpredictable.
- It would transform the whole economy, having in mind that a major part of it is engaged in producing meat. Farms would not be needed anymore (26% of the total land surface is currently used for livestock), all the farmers and cowboys would go to the cities.
- You would probably be able to have a Dinosaur burger, or Seagull burger.
- No more killing of animals
- The meat is going to be healthier because it would be 100% muscle and no fat
…and much more, but who can know
The brief given to me by Adriana was very confusing and not completed in a detailed way. There were many things that clashed with each other.
According to her, the company would be a research laboratory that would investigate In-Vitro Meat and would invest in trying to improve the technology so that she can hit the market in a few years. In the first 5-6 years she said, she would not sell anything – she would only do research, scientific tests, etc. To the question “Why do you need branding then? Who is your customer?” she answered that she would not have any customers. “Will people be able to enter the lab?” Nope. “Who are you going to aim your services at?” Nobody… Everybody.. She will sell in a few years, but not now. So why would you need branding, isn’t it aimed at people? In the sheet she said her target audience would be animal rights supporters, vegetarians, Earthy people, which is the complete opposite of the idea for a Scientific laboratory.
Furthermore, the name of the company would be “In-Vitro Meat”. This was something else that made me think a lot, because the parallel would be calling your company for apple production “Apples”, or strawberry farm – “Strawberries”. It has nothing to do with the identity.
That put me in a self-destructing puzzle, as I was trying to trying to understand in detail something that had not been planned realistically and consistently. It was so chaotic in my head. I did not want to undertake a graphic approach and represent the company without using any of its components. It sounded to me as if that is a way of avoiding the problem. And I wanted to solve it so much!
Here are my initial scribbles and ideas:
I could have designed an identity for a Research Laboratory – the idea she had. But how would that relate to meat?
I wanted to include the idea of meat, but how could I do it when there are so many types of meat? How can I know what she will, eventually, specialise in? I was also interested in including the scientific part of it. I somehow desired to design an identity for two companies at the same time – a Research Laboratory one, and for another that sells in-vitro meat (aimed at tree-hugging people), so it could be universal and could fit her idea not only now but also for the future. But literally, let’s face it, a single identity containing two other contrasting identities has a name and it is called schizophrenia. It was impossible.
So I couldn’t really get to know this brand, I could not befriend it, I could not hear what it wants to say, I could not fall in love with it. And this is something so important if you want to produce meaningful work! The message, the concept must become your own mission. And it couldn’t.
And I actually blamed myself for that, even though the tutors also supported me, saying that they fully agree and let me undertake a graphic approach. And keep my soul away from this emotional energy sucking company 😀
But all the time I was thinking – what if one day somebody gives me a brief and asks me to design for a completely fresh and new idea, that nobody else would understand? It is up to me to make that connection between it and the world. After all, this is what us, designers do after all, is this not true? We make that connection possible.
The different opinions of the tutors were also a bit confusing, even though I knew that everybody has the right to see things in his own way, through his own perspective. Especially on such a strange project like this one. But in this moment I needed guidance more than opinions. Two pieces of advice I remember so clearly, the ones that helped me most – the first one was by Ian – when he supported me and said that the graphic approach is not avoiding the problem – and he completely supports me to do it. The other one was by Ray, when he said that this could be self-destructive, trying to solve this puzzle. Why these two opinions were so special to me was because they helped me understand that I can’t solve everything and that I should have my healthy boundaries, to know when I need to stop. That it was not my fault for not being able to do it. I have this bad habit of sometimes completely disappearing and melting in the work that I do, which could, unfortunately, make me lose my soul.
And in my struggle to do it right, I was taking a looong time, I was far behind the others, and I was also on my way to missing the deadline.
However, like we’ve seen, I tend to also get too philosophic about basic things. 😀 But that’s why every little thing is a lesson for me.
The final three concepts that I decided to present are the Incorporated Bird, Scientific and Graphic approach.
For the Incorporated bird, I used the V shape from IVM to represent a schematic bird, only by a circle that would be its eye. Contrasting opinions by tutors on that one – one liked it, another said it would not work well in the market. However, this was one of my personal favourite decisions, so I decided to try it anyway.
The Scientific approach – The main idea was to write IVM like a scientific formula. However, I am not too happy with the outcome and I would revise it because the lines are too thin and would be unrecognisable if small. Furthermore, I would rethink the use of colour.
The last one, the Graphic approach uses the main shapes of I V M to fit them together almost like a puzzle. I multiplied the shape to create a pattern, which I am pretty happy with.
I would like to include more examples.
In terms of presentation, I think I would be happy to rearrange the pages and the layout, but the final days before the final presentation were so rushed that I could not think about this a lot.
My final work was not complete for the crit and I would like to further improve it.