One Day Branding Task

Dave arranged for Gareth Strange, a notable designer, to come in and work with us for a day. In groups we randomly selected a brief for a fictional company to update and re-brand. Our group, consisting of myself, Laura Fieldhouse, Angharad Wallace and Tom Collins, selected a Bristol based barbers shop called ‘Craft & Kin’.

The brief outlined a number of considerations and aims for the company’s brand identity. The company consisted of two members. They wanted to emphasize the close and personal nature of the company’s services and the wide range of treatments on offer. They also wanted to move away from the now, ironically, mainstream hipster barber look, while maintaining the gentleman’s barber atmosphere.

This was a deceptively complex brief in the end. Owing to the fact that all the barbers shops any of us could think of, find online or imagine were exactly the hipster stereotype that we were specifically asked to avoid. The concept of establishments aimed at ‘gentlemen’ is a very classic and vintage notion i.e hipster.

We decided to start from the bare basics. Starting with the etymology of the words ‘Craft’ & ‘Kin’.

  • Craft

An activity involving skill in making things by hand.
“the craft of cobbling”
  • Kin

One’s family and relations.
“many elderly people have no kin to turn to for assistance”


These words have imply a personal, friendly experience, tailored to the individual customer’s preferences. We decided to compile these and the keywords from the brief into a kind of mood board.

Here were some of my initial sketches with the thought process noted besides them. We did a large quantity of research on Bristol: it’s history, culture and major events. Unfortunately Bristol is a very fashionable city, which, unfairly, means hipsters. I asked our local bristolian, Dan Butler for his ideas on the topic. Besides cider and hipsters we couldn’t come up with much else.

After some more digging, Laura discovered that Bristol is the worlds largest manufacturer of hot air balloons and hosts the annual International Balloon Fiesta.


On its own, this would not be enough for a logo as the company was hoping to expand and grow. Should they open locations outside of Bristol, the relevance of this would be lost. We decided to explore the idea of combining a balloon with the traditional Barber’s pole. I set about creating a number of sketches.

These images were what we based our pattern and colour scheme on. We also needed examples of balloons to work from. There were two primary designs we wanted to explore.

My preferred design was the perfectly spherical model. However after exploring the two designs in colour, we decided they featured too much similarity to to logos such as Colgate, with the blue, white and red colour scheme. And too much like Google Earth in form.

We decided to change the form and colour scheme to something less aesthetically clean and more hand drawn in order to avoid the likeness to the existing logos, as well as conform to the artisan feel the brand was expected to achieve.

After some adjustments of the number of stripes across the balloon. We decided to digitize the logo and begin mocking up ephemera and a shop front.

Here are my shop front mock ups. I can’t say I’m overwhelmingly impressed with the outcome. We had some level of creative disagreement throughout the design process which left us very short of time to produce a final piece to present. But we made the best of what we had.

wallpaperPrice list

Here are our mock-ups of:

  • Pricing list
  • Appointment Cards
  • Interior Wallpaper
  • And Business Cards

My thoughts

The feedback we received was generally positive. There were some concerns that the logo looked, at first glance, like a light bulb. This was a worry I had prior to our presentation, however we were happy to receive any and all feedback to help us improve. We have already agreed to refine and perfect this idea in our own time as a group, to create something worthy of displaying in our portfolios.

As I said previously. This assignment was deceptively difficult as  we were asked to create a non hipster brand in a very hipster location and in an overwhelmingly hipster industry. We had a lot on our plates and very little time and the internal disagreements we suffered reduced our effective team to three. We did have another concept to display, but I haven’t had access to any of the relevant files and had little to do with that project in any case.

Given time I would be eager to have a crack at some of the other re-branding tasks set in the session and see if I could make something of them. I am happy to go off and do independent work, but not the best and making up a brief for myself. So these mock tasks are ideal for me to improve my work and fill out my portfolio.



100 Marques – Conclusions

We recently presented our finished 100 marques project. I was surprised by the immense learning curve it was to increase the quantity of work produced so drastically, but this was not a bad thing. Theo’s rationale was that if we had one hundred pieces we would be able to explore far more options than if we had five and the far more variation could be achieved and evaluated. I could certainly see the benefits this brought, I was very impressed by the work produced by others in the course, and I will create a separate post highlighting my favourites.

We were all provided with six stickers each; three blue and three orange. The blue were to denote the marques we found to have immediate professional appeal. Well executed ideas with promise. The orange were to denote the pieces we found compelling and instantly communicative. I was surprised to find a few stickers on my work.

In the process of creating my marques I started rather off target. My initial fourty designs were simply variations of my initials ‘D R’, my design initial ‘R D’ (Rothwell Design) and simply my name. In our first tutorial two days into the project, David explained the error of my ways. I was thinking in to much of a linear, basic way and not exploring my style as a designer.

This was actually a double sided page so the second image went unseen, sadly. But given the slightly rushed nature of the pieces, I’m very happy that some of the ideas themselves were well received. Regardless of the fact that they are initials, I think some of them contain the basis for a good design.

All of the designs up to this point are pre-tutorial and so they are rather constrained in their design. I was largely caught up trying to hybridise the letter forms, which can only be done so much before I started running out of ideas. Again, the second image is the reverse of the first and s o it went unseen, although it wasn’t anything special.

After the tutorial I began working from a more abstract perspective. Try out shapes and weights. Addressing variations in complexity. Knowing I couldn’t make things to complex or they wouldn’t be vivid enough. The rule of thumb provided by Dave was that if they were shrunk to the size of postage stamp and were still graphically strong, then they were appropriate.

None of these marques were ones I intended on taking further into the design process, at least without significant alterations. But again, a couple received stickers, which was a pleasant surprise.

Here re my final two pages of designs. Again, I didn’t want to get caught up making endless variations of the same thing as I did at the beginning of the project. Very few of these designs are even vaguely similar, which for me was one of the main objectives. I’m very happy to see that on these two pages, all of my personal favorite marques received some attention.

My thoughts

I really found this task enlightening. to me, design has always been about quality over quantity, but quantity can throw up quality that wouldn’t otherwise have been achieved. I think the only downside of creating so many logos, is your ability to discern what works and what doesn’t begins to wain. So the addition of fresh perspectives really helped me. I’d never have thought of  the marques that received stickers as my best designs.

Brand Identity

Our course has begun with an emphasis on branding. Not simply the image that signifies and brand, such as the Mcdonalds ‘M’ or the Olympic rings. But the emotions and associations engendered by the contemplation of that logo. The immediate, unthinking beliefs that people hold about companies, that are so carefully cultivated and managed by those companies.

To illustrate this, we were asked in groups to pick a brand and explain our preconceptions about it. My group chose Google as we all use its services constantly throughout our lives.

Google Brand Identity

Here is the document that we created. The emphasis we wanted to give with this was the huge range of services Google provides. They are getting their hands into every area of the digital world through software but are also making great bounds into the world of hardware too.

They began as an internet search engine in 1998 and gained success by being the most comprehensive, user-friendly and information rich search engine and they currently dominate the industry. Since then they have branched out and as with many large companies today, are seeking to become an ‘everything’ company. Any web service you can think of, there is almost certainly a google product that caters for it. Not only this but every google internet product appears synchronised.

We were asked to come up with three key brand attributes for the company we had chosen. Ours were:

  • User friendliness – Google has become expert at creating simplistic, minimalist interfaces to give maximum ease of use while maintaining functionality.


  • One stop shop – They provide such a range of (largely free) services that are all interconnected, that it would make little sense to use a third party app or programme for these tasks.


  • Innovative – Google is constantly and very deliberately making headlines with new investments and innovations in all kinds of futuristic technologies. They’ve already introduced an interactive voice assistant, everyone’s had a go at checking out their house on google street view or maps. And they’re nearing ever closer to fully self driving cars, which has been a Sci-Fi dream for decades.

My thoughts

This project has really helped me to understand that a brand is more than a mark that helps you define yourself in a sea of different marks. That a brand is the entirety of a company. Without its brand a company doesn’t exist. People need to have you in their subconscious, to have an instant reaction to hearing your brand name or seeing your logo. It’s as if companies rely on an unthinking kind of twitch response from people to draw them to their product or service. They need to feel a subconscious niche that makes them part of consumers every day.

First Post of Level 5

After a long summer I am eager to return to my course, reinvigorated and ready to work. Not only will my blogging this year be far more thorough and in-depth as I will be utilising it as a mandatory learning journal to accompany my submitted work and document my process. But I will also be sprinkling in the work I have undertaken during the summer break.

I not only spent a good deal of time illustrating and learning during my time away. But set up my own commercial website and began selling my services as a portraiture artist. This does not strictly come under the the guise of Graphic Design. But there is a great emphasis on transdisciplinary study throughout my course. Gaining knowledge of all forms of art and design to expand the scope of  my learning and widen my perspective to best prepare me and hone my practice for a potential, future career.

Changing Faces – Finalising the Piece

The deadline is right around the corner and so my Changing Faces Project is just about completed. After receiving feedback from David I had a few final changes to implement. Some of them were technical issues to do with misalignment from columns and some were design alterations of a more subjective perspective. I made all the essential changes and did some other alterations to compromise between what I had envisioned and what was recommended to me.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.54.56

The next stage was printing which caused me some issue as the recommended printer was overcapacity. I found a new printer promptly but was unable to get my work cut to size by them. The cutting process with scalpel and ruler was tense because my crop marks had not printed correctly and £15 and a lot of time was in the balance.

Thankfully my margins were large enough to cover any errors in cutting. I could simply trim slightly closer in to correct for any mistakes. This is something I’ll consider whenever I have to do this in future. The gluing and binding went rather more smoothly with some help and final adjustments could be made one all three spreads were together.




Here is the finished piece. I was overwhelmed by how perfectly it turned out. The print quality was exceptional which made every tiny detail included and adjustment made, stand out. It really made my work look better than I could have hoped.

Across the course of the project my design has fundamentally changed due to constant edits and improvements. It really seems strange the amount of time it took to design three double page spreads. But completed,  it really allows me to understand the difference using professional methods can have. I feel I have learnt a great deal throughout this year and here is the pinnacle of my work. Looking back to the work I produced at the beginning, it really looks quite poor now.

Despite how stressful it was to have to create my own imagery, I’m very pleased it was a condition of the brief. It took ages but I developed my ideas and refined my images to a point where I could not see how to improve upon them. The colour scheme is clear and allows the piece to flow and remain uniform while not being repetitive.

I learnt a great deal from my research, not only into the topic of climate change but into typography and layout design. I am especially happy with the design of my pullout quotes. I used a bold serif font and reduced the leading to near zero, the size of the font allows it to remain clear while being compact, chunky and powerful.

The quality of all the work I have seen during this project has been exceptional and I am eager to see it displayed as part of our end of year exhibition.

Constellation Overview

During the course of my study in Constellation my understanding of the wider implications of my practice and the interconnected nature of all the topics I have covered. I have learned about the context in which views and attitudes change, allowing me to approach work from a more educated position. When I first understood that I would be learning what I saw as unrelated work as part of my studies I wasn’t overly keen. But it has taught me a lot. If nothing else, simply a uniform and fundamentally sound methodology for research and study.

During the course of the academic year I studied two distinct topics. My first course was Sustainable Practices. This was the study of the societal changes and technological advances of the past two centuries that have brought us to where we are today, the negative consequences of the systems that are now in place, and the methods and difficulties with trying to limit and reduce our impact on the world around us through technology and changing perceptions.

I really learned a lot from Sustainable Practices. I am very conscious of the impact my lifestyle may have on the world around me and do make the effort to limit it. And I’m sure everyone understands that we’re living in an unsustainable way. But this codified the issue in my mind. Let me understand each stage at which we dug ourselves a deeper hole from which we now have to emerge. I had understood that many constellation subjects were quite philosophical but this was factual and measurable which appealed to me.

I do think I took a lot on board during this first course, my blogging was reasonably consistent and I made a conscious effort to raise questions and start discussions about various topics raised during class. I don’t recall getting the finest mark on my formative assessment essay, this is simply due to my dislike of essay writing and lack of motivation. Given the opportunity to redo it I think I could improve it significantly.

In my second Constellation course of the year I learned about subcultural trends during the past century, largely from a fashion perspective this was Smells Like Teen Spirit. Learning the motivation behind various aspects of peoples dress. The significance of small details in terms of their perceived meanings and the fluidity of style which is an ever changing amorphous thing which is an expressive, symbolic method for instigating change on a cultural level.

Prior to this course I had never had much interest in fashion, in many ways I still don’t. But the significance of fashion as a tool is something that I had never before understood. Subcultures like goths, chavs and in particular punk had always seemed to be a form of tribalistic identity politics played by attention seeking idiots. I still feel that many of them are. But in particular the punk movements history, origins and accomplishments really surprised me. The liberalising of many Western cultures, Britain’s in particular, is a great feet and something from which I greatly benefit.

I enjoyed the process of analysing images of various people dressed up in strange ways and learning about the significance of small symbols and objects. The colour of clothing, the material, the level of ware, it’s previously held meanings. I do wish I had blogged more effectively about this topic. But it felt like repeating what I already knew for the benefit of others who most likely already knew it so I didn’t do as much as I should have.

My formative essay for Smells Like Teen Spirit was actually a pleasure to write. I found sourcing very difficult as finding the appropriate material to bolster my statements was a nightmare. Overall however, the whole experience was a positive one.

At the beginning of the academic year I really was skeptical of Constellation is general. I thought it would be a distraction from the job of creating pieces of visual work with which to fill my portfolio and I have to admit I was really happy to believe Graphic Communication would be very slim of written essays. However I have come to understand through the course of the year that I need to be aware of the wider picture to be the best designer I can be.