Monday 20 March 2017
Each of my clients is unique. The projects for which they commission me vary widely, but so do the ways in which they prefer to work. Some choose to entrust the whole process to me, whilst others like to remain closely involved throughout.
Back in January this year I was commissioned by London-based textile designer and illustrator, Kate Marsden of Made by Mrs M, to look at refreshing the branding for her business. As a designer herself Kate had lots of ideas about how she could take this forward, and was able to provide a great brief.
However, I felt that Kate’s own unique way of illustrating needed to be central to her branding, and so we decided that I would work with her on a consultancy basis, providing specialist advice which would allow Kate to design and implement her own identity.
Kate and I began by discussing exactly what she wanted to achieve. Kate’s fabric designs are mid-century inspired, and often architectural, and while she was keen to reflect this, she also wanted something rather more abstract for her branding which would allow for future flexibility of content. Yellow is almost synonymous with Made by Mrs M, so that was definitely staying.
Next, we moved onto Pinterest to populate a shared board with things that had the right visual qualities. I began by identifying typefaces which met the mid-century brief, and testing them for suitability.
Using Pinterest works really well as a way to communicate with your designer as it’s often easier to show them something which you like, rather than to try and describe it.
With Bodoni ultra selected as the typeface, the next stage was for Kate to draw up the ideas which she had for her new logo, and to start piecing everything together. She was then able to send me lots of ideas for feedback.
When you’re working alone it’s often beneficial to have a second pair of eyes to look at something you’re designing, as someone else will often see the problems that you no longer notice. In the early stages of the design process the advice and suggestions I provided were broader issues based on what I knew Kate was aiming to achieve.
But it can also be valuable to have your work reviewed by someone with specialist knowledge. As Kate’s artwork developed further my feedback became more and more detailed. The final few rounds of amends focused on what I would call ‘micro-typography’ – in this case the individual placement of letters. These sorts of changes, whilst in themselves tiny, are what lends a design its professional polish.
Of course, it’s important to have a brand, not just a logo. Kate has done a great job of pulling together complementary visual elements that achieve this beautifully.
Using a specialist design consultancy-based approach worked really well for Kate who is visually aware and has design and draftsmanship skills, but who is not necessarily as confident with typography. You can see her identity in action, and read her blog post about the process over on the Made by Mrs M web site.
If you think this kind of consultancy would help you to design marketing materials for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Putting a freelance designer at the heart of your project
Branding for Scottish Borders Heritage