Spaces for Ideas: The Brand
This product has launched! Get your sketchbook at the Spaces for Ideas Store now!
If you have not already, do check out the earlier posts first as they will give you a greater insight on how this design came to be.
1) Spaces for Ideas: The Beginning
2) Spaces for Ideas: The First Prototype
It is time for a long overdue update on my Spaces for Ideas Project. This time I like to share with you the brand that I am building for this product. I have always been a strong supporter of branding and this time around it is no different. Understanding the value of branding, motivated me to create a log that could communicate instantly what Spaces for Ideas was all about.
I started out speaking to a few graphic designers and branding houses, but due to cost issues and not having full clarity what I wanted, I decided to put the money into my product and carved out some time to really thinking about this brand. If I did not know what I wanted, budget was likely going to be wasted. However as I got deeper into it, I realized I was enjoying the process, and decided to take it all the way to the end.
So without further adieu please have a look at my brand development process after the jump. (Warning picture heavy, but image size managed). Oh by the way, I’m no typographer, so I would love to hear your feedback and ways I can improve the final design.
I started out with an objective of creating both a brand name and a brand icon. I saw naming and logo creation, as a combined activity as there was a chance that the name itself could become a logo. As with all of my design development activities, I often approach it from a commercial angle by establishing a marketing tagline or elevator pitch as part of my design brief. This gives me a good idea of what this logo or product has to stand for. (Top right)
I also like to anchor some basic descriptor keywords in my brief to further flesh out the design direction for the brand. I wanted Spaces for Ideas to be simple, clean, minimal (reflecting the product’s industrial design) and not look like the typical web 2.0 “chicklet”. I also wanted it to have, what I like to call, the “Fedex Arrow Effect”. This logo had to represent what the product stood for in a clever and but almost cheeky way. Before I forget, I also had to consider my functional constraints. This logo also has to be able to be de-bossed as well as fit the usual range marketing collaterals like name cards, with compliments slips etc.
After settling with “Spaces for Ideas” as a brand name I started to look at how the logo icon can succinctly represent that brand name. As you can see, some of my initial ideas stylizing how the sketchbook worked.
I took the most obvious route with this logo design. I needed to somehow represent a “space” with an icon. Easier said than done. A space is essentially that, a void filled with air. Taking up the challenge, I explored some ideas, where I cut up some font lines and used a human’s ability of “closure” to fill in the blanks. I soon settled on a concept that uses the interplay between positive and negative space.
I quickly mocked up the concept in Illustrator to see how it would look like in a controlled manner. I did like the paint lines very much, but this is not a design that is going to work de-bossed.
I realize, after playing around in Illustrator for a bit, I was stuck at a dead end. Also illustrator was not a program for me to design easily in, so back to the drawing board or sketchbook for that matter.
I continued to explore the meaning of “Space” with known representations like mountains and hills. Unfortunately all the concepts still lack the impact I desired.
Hey an empty box is a “space” to put stuff in right? I seriously considered using perspective lines to mark out a “space” before an object is drawn into it.
More box inspired concepts, this time with the words to represent lines. Ugly.
Even more boxes. I’m really struggling here!
I even experimented to cutting words horizontally in half. People only read the top half of the words anyway. Still this concept did not give me that Fedex effect I wanted.
I need to break out of this box thing. So I started to brainstorm other representations. A good one that I liked was how empty space was created between a bookshelf. (Bottom left) So Space is created between things. However, if I articulated a bookshelf as my logo would be just amateur work as it has little relation to my product. However liking the bookshelf concept very much, I parked the idea in the back of my mind and continued to explore.
As you can see, I’m still struggling to break away from boxes. I thought these box hole concepts might do the trick, but a box icon was a pretty common thing to find in logos. (I did some online research on the number of logos that had a box in it, and it was a lot!) Overall it’s still not good enough.
I finally realize that it might be near impossible to create a logo icon to represent “space”. So I went back to the tried and proven: Typography logos. That is when it hit me; the Bookshelf concept combined with typography produced a word with each letters representing a book.
I knew I finally got it. As with most solutions in design, you just know when you got it.
I wrapped up the concept phase by creating a definitive sketch of the design. This is something I also always do, as it catalogues one clear sketch to represent the concept or idea. Always as a precaution, it is also always a good idea to list the keywords from your design brief to make sure that the final logo matches your design objectives.
Time to select some fonts with the help of my keywords in my design brief. Also, I like to quickly thank a number of you who recommended font sites to visit on my Twitter stream.
I continued the refinement by picking a font and explored some placements. Slotting text in between other text has potential readability issues. So I really need to make sure I refine this direction well.
I selected the best potential arrangements and applied them 3 fonts that I short-listed.
So late one night, at 2.55am, I jumped out of bed with a solution to what I think is the best arrangement. This final layout (above) naturally aligns to how people read. “Spaces” is read left to right, and then “for ideas” read from top to bottom. If you notice, I went with a much cleaner font, even though I like to the first one I used that had “spaces” on each character. I felt that made the font look too busy and complicated.
All in all, I really enjoyed this brand creation process, and I hope you did to. I find it interesting, how much I could apply some of my Industrial Design methodologies, such as looking for insights to the natural behavior and expectations of people, to this logo exercise. I think understanding your process and the application of methodologies are key to success of any design, not just a logo design. Finally, as mentioned in the beginning of this post, look forward to hearing your comments and feedback.
Edit 2: Check out the final installment of this project, Spaces for Ideas: The Final Prototype.