Editor’s note: Matt Yow is the newest member of the Focus Lab team. He lives for design and is constantly expanding on his knowledge and design skills. He loves his morning Coffee, tweeting what’s on his mind, and sharing his work on dribbble. Stay tuned for more interesting articles by Mr. Yow and the Focus Lab team.
Since I am the newest member of the Focus Lab team, let me introduce myself by saying I LOVE branding. I love the process and the possibility of extensions of the final product. So, I was pretty excited when my first assignment with Focus Lab was a branding project for an attorney. While I try not to be awed or intimidated by the work, I would be lying if I said that a project of this stature wasn’t a little daunting. I knew it would be a departure from projects like a friend’s coffee shop logo or branding a hipster clothing line, but I was ready for the challenge. Thankfully the Focus Lab atmosphere set the tone nicely.
Concept & Direction
Since I am the new guy, I embraced the typical Focus Lab process for a branding project, and had the client fill out a simple questionnaire. The questionnaire contains 15 questions that enables us to get a clear understanding of the client, their company, target market and other matters that can affect the brand. As designers, it helps us drill down to the overall aesthetic and direction the client may have in mind.
Questions include: “What is the desired persona of your company?” and “What three words do you want people to associate with your business when seeing the new identity?” This quick form is essential to us starting out on the right path toward creating a successful final product.
The initial concept was simple: create a mark that represented a young, unconventional lawyer suitable for use in an industry know for its dry and corporate aesthetic. Strangely, many of the early obstacles didn’t come from expected places, and instead I found myself deciding whether or not to use all three of the client’s initials in the mark, and how her title would be represented. I didn’t plan on using the the middle initial “G” at all, but it wound up fitting nicely in the arrow lockups. Results like this demonstrate the benefit of the Focus Lab process. By not dismissing an idea that we weren’t sure about immediately, we discovered an element that ultimately became a significant part of the design.
With a plethora of visual opportunities and rabbit trails to follow, I chose to focus on crests or some form of heraldic display to provide a traditional, professional base for the design. Early explorations ranged from clean monograms and nameplates, to banners and other animal forms. While we were happy with many of the directions, we had to make sure the direction we headed in was the best fit for the client. We narrowed the choices down to three main concepts and the rest were left in the sketchbook.
After exploring any number of elemental permutations, the final mark chosen was a crest form that utilizes the dove, olive branch and client name/initials. Ultimately, we felt the images represented our client’s personality perfectly, while still providing the professional look that the industry demands. The fact that the final mark allows for a great deal of flexibility in creating extensions of the brand played a big role in its selection as well. Since most extensions will be print, the flexibility to transform this mark into patterns and iconic peripheral layouts will serve the client well in the future.
The typography chosen sets the mood for neutrality and trustworthiness. Laura’s name is set in Brandon Grotesque (Black). The low x-height and mean line create a sensible typeface for her name without losing a sense of authority and assurance.
The title, Attorney At Law, is set in Feijoa (Medium). The warm, curvaceous nature of the individual letter-forms adds a touch of femininity and individualism, while maintaining necessary professionalism. Feijoa is also a great workhorse font for the future applications that will come in print and on the web.
Based on our initial questionnaire and in speaking further to the client, it was clear the color purple was a client favorite. We didn’t want to limit our design by heading straight to purples though, so we explored all the archetypal palettes relating to trust and sincerity. Blues were a comforting go-to with a few oranges to highlight. Greens were explored for their naturalist qualities and growth. One of my favorite palettes was a subtly patriotic collection of colors: light peaches, maroons & deep blues.
In the end, the client’s wish synced nicely with our design. A healthy spectrum of purples, blues and a complimentary peach was chosen. This helped reinforce the formidable and sincere visual aesthetic.
The final solution successfully captured the client’s needs for a new professional identity delivered with a personal touch. Working with Laura was a pleasure and I am very excited to continue to produce great work with my new team at Focus Lab.
“By not dismissing an idea that we weren’t sure about immediately, we discovered an element that ultimately became a significant part of the design.”
“Working with Focus Lab is a breath of fresh air. All of the team members are smart, creative and fun to work with, as well as dedicated, hard-working and passionate. The guys’ great qualities really come through during the collaborative process: Focus Lab strikes the perfect balance of seeking client input and knowing how to run with it. I am truly as excited about my logo as the potential for working together again in the future. After the positive experience I had working with Focus Lab on my logo, I wouldn’t dream of using anyone else for the future projects. I’ll pursue in both digital and print formats as my business grows and evolves.”