Logo design

New In Portfolio: Monument Advisory Brand Identity

Monument Advisory  business cards, by Grafika Studio

Monument Advisory business cards, by Grafika Studio

I love working with professional service businesses as they take me back to my years working as brand manager for EY. When the director of Perth-based financial advising company, Monument Advisory, approached to me in September last year to design their brand identity I immediately felt excited about this new project.

The brand was aimed to a high-end market, and needed a corporate professional and smart look and feel... No problem, elegant and stylish design is my specialty!

 
Monument-Advisory-logo-design
 

I designed a mighty and solid logo that suggested confidence and professionalism, combining an M, for Monument, and A, for Advisory in the same mark. Then we selected a sans serif font to give the brand a modern and clean look.

Monument-Advisory-logo-specs

To break the formality of corporate logos with straight lines, I intentionally broke the symmetry in the logo to make it look a bit more casual, but still professional.

One of the requirements in the brief was to combine two colours in the logo, blue and silver, so that we could add a foil finish when printing the business stationary and marketing collateral. So I reserved the triangular area inside the logo and the word 'Advisory' to add a subtle touch of silver foil.

Below, Monument Advisory logo from the Illustrator drawings to the final print with embedded silver foil.

 

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The logo was also designed to bleed in printing materials, when used only with the mark and without the typography below, as it was used in the email signatures (below)

e-signature

The business stationary combines white paper with dark blue elements and a touch of silver foil wherever was possible to incorporate. The result is a clean and smart brand identity with a luxurious touch of silver.

Monument-advisory-business-stationary
Monument Advisory  business stationary, by Grafika Studio

Monument Advisory business stationary, by Grafika Studio


Grafika Projects: State 28 rebranding

Client: State 28
Project: Rebranding, Business Stationary, Web Design and Development
Date: Launched in September, 2015
State 28 New Brand and Website designed by Grafika Studio

State 28 New Brand and Website designed by Grafika Studio

State 28 is an interior design company based in Perth, WA, with a strong focus on commercial design and office spaces. I'm very passionate of interior design, and I was thrilled to be chosen as their designer to re-brand their business and build a brand new website.

The new brand was completed in August and the new website launched in September this year. Today I'm sharing a bit of the logo conceptualisation process for this client, as this is a great example of how a simple icon can be full of meaning and significance, becoming the heart and soul of a brand.

 

The concept

I started working with Miriam, State 28 Director, and her team around June this year. Over the first couple of weeks I spent time getting to know the company personality, vision and values, as well as understanding how they wanted to be perceived by their clients and prospects.

They wanted a modern, fun and elegant new brand. My first ideas revolved around vibrant colours and curved lines to reflect the fun side of the company personality. But as many of their clients were corporate organisations I thought we should also look for a minimal and geometric style to connect with that market and communicate professionalism and reliability.

I came up with a few concepts first, no luck (see below). I sketched for hours, did lot and lot of visual research, and came up with a few more concepts. Still no luck.

 

 
 

 

After two rounds of concepts, I went back to their office and met with the team again to get a deeper understanding on the business personality, vision and core values.

In this second meeting I got to know more about each individual behind the scenes of State 28. I learned interesting things about them, like that Miriam had spent many years living in Texas, the State 28, and hereby, the company name.

Back at home, a map of Texas gave me a final clue: why not creating a logo that speaks about that emotional connection with Texas? The company director certainly had a strong connection with this place, and this could be a great concept to play with.

I created a more abstract idea of the map of Texas that had that geometrical and minimal look that I was going for.

They loved the concept! So, did I. Not only it was a meaningful concept for the company owner, but also talked about its origin and history.

 

The brand mood board

To create this mood board I used some images of their recent projects mixed with some bi-dimensional and tri-dimensional patterns, curved and straight lines and contrasts.

The colour scheme has a base of black and white to communicate sophistication. To give the brand a fresh look I added shades of silvery blues and some metallic finishes.

A bright aqua blue achieves a relaxed mood in line with the team personality, breaking the formality of the black and silver blue.

State 28 Interiors brand mood board

State 28 Interiors brand mood board

 

The typography

A sans serif font style was the perfect match for the straight lines of the geometric logo. We love the Epitet family with plenty of styles to choose from (regular, light, bold, ultra-light, italic, etc).

By increasing the tracking (the space between characters) I added a sense of sophistication to the final logo design.

 

 

State 28 team suggested to combine the Epitet family with a hand-writing font (Bad Script) to break the formality of the straight lines. We loved the final result.

 

 

Icons and patterns

The brand identity was completed with a set of outline icons for the website to match the hand-writing font style.

The logo triangles also inspired the patterns for their business stationary, which is currently under development.

To see how this new brand came together online, you can visit their website at www.state28interiors.com.au.


Designing An Effective Logo

A logo always seems like an easy thing to do for any designer. However, although a good logo may be simple in its construction, it’s not in it's concept. Behind every professional logo there are many hours of research, sketching and testing. Understanding the process behind a logo design can help small business owners to know:

  • what makes a good logo and what doesn’t
  • what to expect from your designer when they design a logo for your business

I’ve been recently working on a logo design for a new business in Perth, WA Mortgage Advice (website coming soon) and I thought this work could be a perfect opportunity to take you through my logo design process.

My logo design process has five stages:

1.    Discovery

The first step of any design work is getting as much information as possible about the client’s business. This information can be obtained through a conversation with the client, through a design brief questionnaire and by researching their market.

By way of example, my latest client is a mortgage broking business, a completely unfamiliar professional field for me. Learning as much as possible about my client’s business was my first mission. To do this I first held a one-to-one meeting with my client.

During the meeting I gave my client a list of descriptive words to select the three that best describe the business personality and core values. My client used words like trust, knowledge and honesty that would give me some clues of what design elements I should consider to visually describe this business.

I get the information I need from a few carefully crafted questions in my design brief questionnaire. This questionnaire helps structure my meetings and formalise the information gathered in a document. When I cannot meet the client face-to-face, I send the questionnaire by email. I could skip the meeting if necessary, but I cannot skip the design brief questionnaire.

A good brief cannot just rely on the information obtained from the client; you also need to research their market. This is always a good chance for me to do visual research, reviewing logo designs of my client’s competitors and seeing how their brands look.  
 

2.    Sketching

During this phase I sketch dozens and dozens of logos. I start conceptualising the business in a few simple ideas, then I play with the business name or the acronyms, and mix ideas and concepts with letters and shapes.

logo-sketching

When someone talks about “mortgage broking” you immediately think of homes, banks, and approval processes. But my client highlighted ideas like offering guidance and giving clarity, security and confidence to people to make lifetime decisions. Listening and understanding clients to give this advice was one of the core values of this business, what gave me the idea of using speech bubbles in one of my logo designs.

 

3.    Designing

After a few hours sketching concepts, I eventually picked the three best concepts that I came up with and drew them in Illustrator. Why only three concepts after sketching dozens of them? Because something I learned about clients is that the more ideas you present the more difficult is for them to make decisions.

At this stage I don’t add colours or anything else just yet. I present the logos to the client in black and white to focus on the concept rather than on the style.

Here are the three concepts presented to this particular client:


4.    Polishing

This is my favourite part: the client picked the concept, so now I could go back to Illustrator and refine my logo design. I measured every distance; made every size proportional and every angle identical.

wa-mortgage-advice-logo.jpg


5.    Development

Now that the logo is finalised I can complete the entire visual identity with colours, fonts, logo variations, etc. To do these final selections I can go back to my design brief and use the descriptors that the client gave me.

wa-mortgage-advice-logo-variations.png


For WA Mortgage Advice I picked a light orange as the primary colour. The client highlighted the importance to communicate a very genuine intention of helping people in the best professional way. According to studies on the emotional meaning of colours, orange is the most suitable colour to communicate friendliness and client care. Orange also would give the brand a modern, young and energetic edge.

 

 
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During the development phase it's important to test the logo in different media. To do this I create a few mock-ups of business stationary, advertising or other marketing materials that the client may produce in the future. This way I can see how the logo will look and whether it's necessary to make any final changes.

wa-mortgage-advice-business-cards.jpg

The objective of my design process is to ensure my logos always meet the five principles of any logo design: simplicity, memorability, versatility, timelessness and appropriation.

Now, that you know the different steps involve in a professional logo design and what makes an effective logo, you can put your own logo under test.

 

Is your logo right for your business?

1. Is your logo simple?

Good logos are uncomplicated. The more detail a logo has, the more information the viewer has to process and retain. Simplicity will make a logo easy to recognise and to remember.

As explained in stage 3 (Sketching) I design my logos just with a pencil first, in black and white, to ensure effectiveness in its simplest form. Colour should be left to the end of the design process.

2. Is your logo memorable?

A good logo is easy to describe. What's difficult to describe, is also difficult to remember. Recognition brings familiarity, which assists in building trust and loyalty in your brand.

3. Is your logo versatile?

As I mentioned in stage 5 (Development) a well-design logo will translate well across different mediums. When printed in small sizes, a complex design will lose detail, making it harder to recognise. A good logo must be simple in order to reproduce well on small scales, such as favicons.

For this reason, logos should be always designed in vector format, that is Adobe Illustrator, never Photoshop.

4. Is your logo timeless?

An effective logo should endure the test of time. A good logo designer doesn’t follow any design trend. Trends come and go and ultimately turn into cliches.

5. Is your logo appropriate?

A good logo design will be relevant to your industry, clientele and target market. Even though your logo doesn’t have to describe what your company does, it has to reflect your business essence and values (as I illustrated in stage 3, Sketching).  


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