• 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.

  • 07 Jan 2016

    Designing for HeroicLabs

    Throughout the 2nd half of 2015 I had the pleasure of working with the amazing team at HeroicLabs on their new marketing website, illustration and taking forward the overall look and feel of the company branding.

    HeroicLabs are a backend platform for game developers - they provide everything you need to get your game up and running - supporting achievements, leaderboards, messaging, instant player login and much much more.

    Heroic Labs Website HeroicLabs website

    Branding

    The guys at Heroic had already worked with the very talented Deividas Bielskis to create a great logo mark for the company, and had chosen blue as their main company accent colour.

    We used this as a starting point, working on a bold colour palette with a custom line illustration style, used together to create a unique look and feel for the company.

    I've always felt that the assets created for a company website are as important as the logo, probably even more so. Assets such as custom illustration in this case, are not only used to convey a high-level message - but serve to become part of the 'bigger picture' of how the company looks and feels.

    These assets 'are the branding' as much as the logo is, in my opinion. Particularly nowadays, and in an area such as game development, the only interaction users will have with a company, is scrolling through it's website before choosing to use it's services or not. The way the company chooses to represent itself, though assets such as illustration, can be key to it making it's mark and not becoming lost in a sea of look-a-like competitors.

    In a way, it doesn't really even matter that the assets are created for a website - they could be used for any type of company marketing (such as a poster, below) - which is actually the way I like the think about website design. The site itself is the container and must of course be functional, but it's the assets and messaging that are making a statement about the brand and what it stands for.

    Heroic Labs Website HeroicLabs poster design, check it out full size here.

    This effect is created really simply, using the dissolve mode with a feathered edged paint brush in Photoshop. Liberally adding dark areas to the corners of rooms and places that I imagine shadows might fall helps to add a little bit of extra depth.

    I'm really happy with the final outcome, it was great fun experimenting with a slightly different style to normal. Check out the final image below or view it full size.

    Messaging

    The main function of the site is for users to quickly and clearly be able to see the amazing features that Heroic offers, at a high level in an easy to understand way. To achieve this we used a combination of simple copy with bold understandable headings, alongside illustration and iconography that hints at the high-level concept behind the wording. This is all the more fun to illustrate while working with classic gaming conventions, such as platform games - combined with the idea of Heroic providing a safe structure, or framework that their features rest upon.

    Illustration style

    The style of the illustrations themselves are all based on that initial idea of Heroic being a platform for developers. I started by creating a line based scaffolding type structure, then used white and a main accent colour to highlight elements held in place.

    There are actually 3 distinct illustration / icon types that feature on the site, these all are based on a set of simple rules to keep consistency.

    Illustration style guide Excerpt from HeroicLabs illustration style guide.

    I ended up creating dozens of different icons for different sections on the site, it was great fun building a small library of iconography like this.

    HeroicLabs iconography

    Marketing site

    The overall style of the marketing site uses areas of white space, with panels of bright colour alongside illustration and easy to understand copy - hopefully creating an experience for users that is fresh and memorable, but ultimately very clear and easy to understand.

    Other HeroicLabs pages

    I've loved working with the team at Heroic on this project, the end result is something I'm very proud of and is hopefully only the beginning of what is in store for HeroicLabs and it's users.

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