Monday, 9 January 2012

She's Leaving Home

The aim of this exercise was to design a brand image for the stationery of a housing association set up to help first time buyers get onto the property ladder. It needed to be modern, welcoming and reproducible in papers, magazines and across all stationery used by the organisation.

I started by researching some local housing associations. As with the logo exercise, I was surprised at the simplicity of the designs - and the related importance of communicating quickly a brand image to the potential customer/audience.

I started to work on some possible designs which I sketched out and have included below. I started by playing around with the capitals, creating symbols out of the shapes of the letters, etc.

I had come up with a horseshoe for the C, two chairs for the H and a house for the A. I showed these early sketchings to a few friends and the consensus was that it was too busy and that I should work on one of these. I felt that the house was the most relevant and started to look at how I could fit this into the overall design. It was only with some more messing around that I realised the capital H fitted into the A making a house shape and a ladder up to it - a visual metaphor the step onto the housing ladder.

After further jottings I came up with the design below:

I decided to compare the layout with some other alternatives just to make sure before resolving to go with the third of the three designs below. In practice I would provide the three as options to the person commissioning the work.

The next stage was to think about colours I wanted to use. I went back to the part of the course on colours to see what sort of colours would be appropriate. I wanted to go with a modern yet homely feel and decided that a green brown-red combination worked well together. The green was fresh and therefore worked well with the word 'chance'. The red-brown for 'housing association' provided warmth and reassurance - important for a housing association. I decided to bring out the logo in black as this worked well with the other two colours.

I tried a few typefaces and settled on Century Gothic which gave it a crisp, modern readable look which I felt would appeal to the target audience. The overall look still seemed to be missing something. I decided a yellow circle as a sun would balance the logo nicely - it adds an optimistic note and balances the composition. I went back and looked at the examples of other housing associations and decided to add the final touch - a tag line underneath explaining what the organisation did. I settled on Century Gothic, but this time in bold lowercase - partly to contrast it with the rest of the logo, but also to bring out the black of the house-ladder logo.

I then started to design the letter head. To reinforce a house style I used Century Gothic (Regular) for the address and used green. I then sandwiched this with bold lowercase black for the website address. I feel this gives the letterhead as a whole a nice balance a contrasts especially effectively with the sun. At the bottom of the letter I used the brown-red as the dividing line and small print, sandwiching contacts details in black in between - again all in Century Gothic Bold.

Although I'd almost finished I still felt I'd underplayed the key house-ladder logo and so used this again very faintly on the paper itself. I printed this off and was relieved to see that it did not obscure the other aspects of the letter head.

Designing the business card, it was important to maintain uniformity. I kept the logo the same and went for a similar balance of colours, although I did have limit the rest of the card to green and black to avoid the business card becoming too busy and looking unprofessional. I retained the feint logo in the background and, overall, am pleased with the result.   

For the newspaper advert I was pleased how easily the original design transferred into a different format. The only change I had to make was to use Arial as the body of text, but was pleased how well this sans typeface worked with Century Gothic. For the advert, I used mainly black and, because I'd picked the shades of green and red-brown with reproduction in mind I was happy with the effect photocopying it onto cheap paper had. Although the sun lost its colour I was stil surprised how it still worked in balancing the composition of the logo.

Overall I'm really pleased how this exercise went. I'm glad I went with a fairly simple logo design and felt that this enabled me to adapt it easily for the various formats.

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