• 19 Jun 2016

    Heroic Labs in Net Magazine

    At the end of last year I was asked for my ideas on 'web trends for 2016', by the nice people at Net magazine. In March this year (issue 277) they printed the piece, which features along with my own, thoughts from 22 other designers and developers on trends for the year. (Also available online here.)

    My contribution to the piece was around how I'd like to see more bespoke illustration being used online, from the article:

    Illustrator Oli Lisher hopes to see more bespoke illustration in 2016: "Custom assets make brands stand out. This is essential online, where everything is starting to look similar."

    He says the explosion in popularity for massive header photography is becoming samey, and that illustration is a memorable alternative that can "set you apart and help describe difficult concepts".

    They printed some of the design and illustration from my work with Heroic Labs as an example of the point I was making.

    My design work for Heroic Labs

    To expand a little further, I feel the thing that makes a brand or company stand out most, even more so than the company logo, colour scheme, or typography choices (which are all important too, of course) are custom assets. Usually on the web, these assets come in the form of photography — in recent years we've seen an explosion in sites using large header photography, making everything start to feel a bit familiar.

    Don't get me wrong, I've used this technique myself and there will always be a place for great photography of course. And there is even the argument that this 'sameification' is a good thing, that the general public will start to see it as a pattern that they understand, like a style guide for the web almost.

    But I'd argue that Illustration can set you apart, help to describe difficult concepts at a high-level and makes a memorable alternative to photography.

    You can read more about my work with Heroic Labs here.

  • 02 Apr 2016

    Branding Ambie

    I worked with ambient music service Ambie, on a new company logo and visual look and feel.

    Ambie logo

    Ambie provide music for all kinds of different spaces, from salons and shops, to juice bars and restaurants. Their music not only sets the tone, but creates an environment for businesses and their clientele.

    My initial idea for the new Ambie brand was to use 'orbs' of colour to represent the different sonic environments Ambie creates, with each colour also representing a different genre of music. I paired this with a 'high-tech' feeling word mark, a combination that together aimed to create a union of the more playful supporting assets with a more clean cut logo.

    Ambie original option My first pass at branding for Ambie.

    We eventually went in a different direction, but I was really happy with the way this came out as an overall concept and package. Even though it didn't get used, sometimes it's necessary to play out different routes in order to get to the right one.

    I like to show logo ideas in context (on a t-shirt, business card, mock home page etc) as it helps to show the full potential of what the brand could look like in the end. These are only initial ideas really, careful consideration would need to be given to each of the separate areas of course, but these early visualisations can be helpful for both the client and me.

    Ambie original option The brand in context.

    The final direction for the brand again uses the idea of gradients to represent the different ambiences that Ambie creates for it's customers, but removes the constraint of 'orbs'. Any of the colours can be selected and used as a colourful gradient overlay for photography, or anything to do with visual marketing. Generally I try to stick to a limited colour palette, I just feel it creates something more memorable and lasting, stripping back the number of colours always seems to have a 'tightening' effect on any piece of work.

    Ambie colour combinations Colourful gradients represent sonic environments.

    In this case though, multiple bright combinations of colour makes total sense for the brand, representing all of the many combinations of styles of music that Ambie can create.

    The final word mark moves away from the more high-tech feel of the original option, to something slightly more friendly, but still with a streamlined clean feel. Hopefully this achieves the best of both worlds, professional, competent, trustworthy, modern but not overly technical, friendly but not too playful. The 'A' in Ambie can also be used as a mark on it's own, perhaps for avatars or anywhere that a smaller logo is needed.

    Ambie brand-guides Ambie brand guidelines.

    As part of the branding process I also created icons for use on the Ambie in store apps. Ambie supplies music to venues through it's suite of apps for iPad, iPhone and other devices.

    Ambie iconography Ambie iconography.

    Ideally I would always create an illustration or iconography style like this as part of a branding project. Although the final logo is very important, in the end it's everything else that the company does that defines how it looks and is remembered. Being able to create assets like this helps toward the goal of creating a clear message and overall look and feel that represents the company.

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