April 19, 2009

Set your standards

As you prepare to compile and design your company's standards manual, you will want to look around for inspiration. Today, many graphics standards manuals are available online– a perfect place to host design guidelines that will need to be accessed by a variety of people inside and outside of a company. This also helps to ensure that anyone who is using and implementing your identity can do it correctly– given that your style manual is easy to read, navigate, and apply.

nycStandards-thumb.pngAn interesting historic example that can be found online is the New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standard Manual, documented in these photographic details. Unique to this standards manual are factors such as height requirements for signs, type spacing for particular signs, and reversal guides for the symbols.

ucla1-thumb.pngA more typical style guide can be seen in the UCLA standards manual (.pdf), developed in 2004. It outlines the importance of a clear and consistent identity for a university of this size, as well as proper color uses and size requirements.

Read pp. 101-111 in your text and browse online to see examples of other unique standards manuals. Post at least one inspirational guide on your own blog.

April 2, 2009

Looking for a job?

Applied Environmental Solutions is looking for a graphic design student to help create a brand for the organization. AES is a non-profit student organization dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions by applying technology. We are currently working on electric vehicle projects, but are looking to tackle energy efficiency in a more general way. To do this, we need to expand our presence by establishing an AES logo, theme and/or brand. If you are interested in volunteering for our cause, please contact Matt Oehrlein at oehr0008@umn.edu. This is an excellent chance to meet new people, get involved on campus, and build your portfolio!

March 23, 2009

Jump if you're from 'Sconnie!

sconnie.pngEverybody knows what Wisconsin is famous for: beer, cheese, the Packers, and of course cartwheeling men! The governor just revealed the new state logo, much to the dismay of myself and others.

Read complete article >

March 9, 2009

And the winners are . . .

rebrand.pngReBrand's list of 2009 award winners for redesigned identities is now up! They showcase the original identity, the redesigned version, and some results as well as a summary of the process and results.

In the 2009 Best of Awards, check out ICFJ's redesign for its color palette and business system, and LOVE 146 for its complete overhaul– from name, to story, and overall emotional quality. Awesome.

The story of a brand

What does origami have to do with athletic apparel? The history and greater story of the ASICS brand is told in an incredibly imaginative and captivating way– all through the universally inspiring medium of paper.
Origami In the Pursuit of Perfection from MABONA ORIGAMI on Vimeo.

More resources

The following have been added to the links on the right (Blogs of interest), but I'll mention them here as well:

21 color palette tools: A list of online color choosing tools

Logo of the day: http://logooftheday.com/

Brand New: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/

Logo Design Love: http://www.logodesignlove.com/

March 4, 2009

What's in a name?

miskeeto.pngDavid Airey is a Northern Ireland-based logo designer with an extensive portfolio and an affinity towards process. Upon perusing his site, I stumbled upon the logo design for Miskeeto, a socially-minded web design firm. Not only is his process interesting (he reveals his process for each piece in his portfolio), but the name is fascinating as well:

Miskeeto is dedicated to working with clients ... to improve the world in some way. The company name, in fact, comes from the quote, “If you ever think you’re too small to have a big impact, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”

Read more about this project >

March 2, 2009

Styling Google

marissa.pngApparently, style guides can exist more than in just paper or digital form. Meet Marissa Mayer, Google's in house styler, who ensures that every piece of information Google puts its name on is consistent with its brand identity and message. Whether it's "avoiding first- and second-person pronouns" because it sounds like Google is "picking words for [its users] or avoiding "gray-on-gray text" or italics because they are hard to read on screen, Ms. Mayer stands guard as the reinforcer of Google's ubiquitous search engine and related internet tools.

drSuess.pngWhile Google is known to modify its wordmark according to holidays or special events– today it is celebrating Dr. Suess's (Theodore Seuss Geisel) 105th birthday– it is otherwise stringent in its use of language, color, and style to keep its brand identity consistent and clear. Ms. Mayer plays an important role in this brand consistency, even if its means being looked upon as a "zealous copy editor or meticulous art teacher." While some question her plans for the future (is she leaving Google?), she is clear on one thing: "she and a team of designers are creating a style guide so that she can quit repeating herself." Get the point?

Read Putting a Bolder Face on Google >

February 25, 2009

GD Internship meeting

395 McNeal, Monday March 2

A little bit o' history

vizual.pngA brief and interesting article that speculates as to the history of branding as well as outlines why it is important– both as a brand and for consumers as they sort through loads of visual information each day.

Read What is Branding... and Why Does it Matter?

OBD: Obsessive branding disorder

Yesterday on Midmorning programing on MPR (91.1 FM), guest Lucas Conley discussed his observations and research regarding our culture's obsession with branding. He discusses extreme examples of applying brand identities to humans (i.e., via tattoos or baby naming rights) as well as the symbiotic and almost passive relationship between consumers and brands.

Listen to the broadcast here:

February 23, 2009

On this day in history . . .

J.P. Morgan formed U.S. Steel Corporation, the first billion-dollar corporation in the world. [Source]

For Wednesday, February 25, you should have:

1. Five digital roughs (logotypes, symbols, and a combination), one per page in a 5-page .pdf
2. One printed sheet of all five roughs
3. Read pp. 72-87 in your text
4. Reviewed the blogs of those in your small group (at least)

This will help you be prepared for our small group critiques and maximize discussion time.

February 21, 2009

Letter love.

lettercult.pngLettercult, a blog that showcases the work of people who are 'obsessed with letters,' is a great reference when considering proprietary type and custom logos. The custom logos section of the site has some inspirational examples to get you started thinking outside of the box of traditional type and the typefaces already created for you. Get to know the inherent shapes of your letterforms while working on your logo designs and have fun following the standards of your brand's personality!

February 16, 2009

Visual weightlifting

ibmLogo.pngPowerful symbolism can speak volumes and carry your product, company, and service to success. Understanding how humans use symbols to sort through visual information is critical to creating a simple, memorable, and unique logo symbol. Maggie Macnab analyzes two logos you are likely to be overwhelmingly familiar with: Apple and IBM. These two symbols cater to completely different audiences and it is evident in the shape, form, and meaning they employ.

Read Ms. Macnab's article, The Apple Core vs. Linear Logic at aiga.org.

February 9, 2009

Like water for chocolate.

howLogo.pngMastering the metaphor may be the key to some great logo ideas. Understanding the idea of a metaphor is critical to using it. George Felton's HOW article, Master the Metaphor, helps to explain the different types of metaphors (pure or fused) and different ways you might come about some visual metaphors for your company. The 'metaphors in a grid' exercise we did in class should get you thinking, but this article has great tips as well, including:

Put your client's product (or the benefit we derive from it) into these formats to help you make connections and create images: "It's like a ____."
"It's like a ____ for your ____."
"Think of it as _______."
"If it were a ____, it would be a _____."
If you called the product something else, what would it be?

Read the complete article >