This is quite funny… only if you don’t see or hear your charity in this – that is…
Archive for the ‘branding’ Category
I know this analogy sounds like a stretch but bear with me.
I’ve been reading with great interest for the past few days about all the brouhaha surrounding IKEA. In case you missed it, you can read it all here. But allow me to nutshell.
IKEA, famed makers of cheap Swedish furniture change font on their catalogue from Futura to Verdana. Thousands of designers moan everywhere. IKEA basically tells them to shut the hell up and stop being such babies because most “normal” people, aka non-designers could give a rat’s butt about what font they use.
So who cares right? I’ve argued this point before – no one really cares what size your logo is, what font you use, that you are rebranding your business (did I mention I am doing that?) or that you have a brand new website.
Do you know what your donors, clients, customers care about? How are you better for me today then yesterday. How are you better, cheaper, faster, more relevant than before?
So the designers – why are “we” getting all worked up in a sweat? Because we like to think stuff like fonts matter. Futura is sleek and elegant – Verdana is 100% PC ugliness… no class, no nothing. How could a worldwide company like IKEA who obviously see the importance of clean, elegant and – sometimes cheap – design, not see why so many would be up in arms.
So – the question remains – does design matter?
I say yes, of course it does. But it only matters SO much. And it matters when it is relevant and appropriate.
Case in point. Direct Mail: Designers HATE direct mail. Especially for charities. Why? We know that more often than not, boring, white #10’s with a logo and maybe a return address work. We know that courier will still whup some serious butt when in a letter. We often know that using two colours over four is just as good. I remember being chastised at a gathering of “art directors” when I mentioned I designed direct mail for charities. Like I was lesser of designer than they were.
It’s HARD to be this good -if I may… By understanding the rules of what makes the medium of direct mail successful makes me a good designer. And it makes the design I do matter. It makes the pack do better. But it only plays part of the role as we know.
Design matters – but only when it’s done with your audience in mind. And how many designers can say they design with the end user in mind? I hope you can.
Well not at everything, but as I’ve discovered making these videos, I mumble a lot, I have trouble pronouncing my name, I have some weird eyebrow thing whenever I say “Idea Design” and I lose my train of thought very frequently. Let me be a lesson to you.
Mock and retweet at will.
About two months ago, I advertised that fact I was giving away four free hours of studio and design time to any charity, anywhere that needed it. To say I was overwhelmed with the response would be an understatement.
At one point I had it in my head that we had, in Canada, over 60,000 registered charities and nfp’s. But according to Imagine Canada, we have over 161,000… that’s incredible. We all know about the big ones of course, they act big, they spend big, and well, they are big. BUT, using the 80/20 rule we can assume that the majority of those 161,000 charities are small. They are run by volunteers, they have no budgets, and are being run by people just trying to do the best they can.
I’m not pretending to be some sort of charitable Robin Hood, as striking as I would look in a leotard, but I take great satisfaction that I work with some of the best agencies and fundraising consultants in the world, and every time I work with a new client, especially the small ones, I can bring all the knowledge and resources I have to the discussion. If they want it.
Mark and I have discussed many a time, that we would love to be able to donate all of our time, resources and knowledge to charities anywhere for free – basically operate as a nfp design studio – but we need to make a living somehow right?
So – anyhow, back to Blue Beauty.
As I went through all of the emails that I received, one was from a woman named Candy Silvasy from Cincinnati.
“Spa4Diabetes is partnered with the United Nations’ Int’l Diabetes Federation, we raise money and awareness for the global diabetes epidemic. Our BlueBeauty initiative seeks to encourage recognition, prevention and self care as the pink ribbon does for breast cancer.”
Candy needed some help coming up with a professional identity for the Blue Beauty initiative.
The problem for me is that it is impossible to design a logo in the course of four hours. I’ve discussed my process before here and here. But I liked the challenge, the cause and Candy had a real passion for what she was doing.
After reviewing her answers to my questionnaire that I use for new logo design projects, I sat down and got to work.
Two key things that stood out to me were Blue Beauty’s target market and demographics. She was targeting spas, beauty manufactures, upscale hotels and women who would generally partake in Blue Beauty spa treatments or buy the products. Age range of 18-35, upper middle class.
Candy explained: “BlueBeauty has taken off so rapidly that companies, including beauty manufacturers, are contacting us to participate. We need a high impact, recognizable logo for BlueBeauty that will motivate companies to create and customers to buy BlueBeauty branded goods. I want it to be the young, fresh, modern look of diabetes. Someone told me recently, that diabetes is not a glamorous disease – the pink ribbon, the Red Dress campaign of the American Heart Assn. have done that for their causes. Though no disease is glamorous – I want this logo to put our BlueBeauty Initiative on the map as the way that diabetes stays top of women’s minds and gets them excited to do something about stopping it.”
So the challenge was clear.
Doing some research was in order.
Candy was right. Breast Cancer has the pink ribbon, Heart and Stroke has their heart, Lung Association has their cross… what does diabetes have? What sort of visual clichés did that section of the sector use to represent themselves.
Well the colour blue kept coming up (which was going to work well considering the name) and the circle also kept popping up. I also discovered that the International Diabetes Federation has started a global campaign to come up with a symbol for diabetes.
So that was settled. I knew I couldn’t ignore it for the sake of being different. As a logo designer I have acknowledged that fact that visual clichés are clichés for a reason. It would be stupid to ignore it. The challenge is always using the cliché in a new, original way.
But there was second piece to this. Giving the logo a upscale spa look.
We’ve all seen those before.
I had the colour blue. I had the circle. I had striking type. I had water.
Now what? Well as usual for me, I started with the type.
There were two faces that stood out pretty quickly. One was called Sparrowhawk and the other was called BauderieScript. They had the qualities I was looking for. Soft and feminine shapes, uniqueness, upscale but not perfect.
Ordinarily I would present two to three ideas, all in black. But in this case, Candy and I knew that we would always have to use the colour blue, so using these two faces I presented Candy with two concepts:
The first one I wanted to keep keep that idea, or cliché of calming water, as well, the roundness of the characters worked to the round circle of diabetes. It was striking and upscale.
The second one, I really wanted to do the blue circle but – not the blue circle. The type was great because it was imperfect. It had flow, it was natural… and I wanted it to feel like it was part of a pool of water.
Candy decided pretty quickly that she really liked option number two and I went ahead and finalized the art direction and cleaned up the concept to work in a number different formats.
“John created the logo for our non-profit’s main initiative. What impressed me so much, was John’s thorough and enthusiastic interest in what we’re doing. His research and creativity meshed to produce the ideal logo that’s not only aesthetically beautiful, but also on target with helping Spa4Diabetes reach it’s goals. Thanks so much John and we look forward to working with you in the future!“