Feb 5, 2015

Graphic Language: Bad Publicity & Brand Destruction



“There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

"Bad publicity is good publicity"

These quotes are true if you don’t care about your brand. Your brand is what people think of you and what they associate you with. It is their opinions, connections, and connotations. If people are "hatin' on" and complaining about your product, about how awful it is, how low quality it is, and you think all that noise is a good thing just because its noise you're completely wrong.

If someone were to say “I just had the most horrible day ever thanks to Delta Airlines. First, Delta cancelled my flight. Then, Delta made me buy a ticket for another flight. Then, Delta lost my luggage and after landing we sat on the Delta plane for another hour waiting to dock and unload”.

How does that make you feel about that product? Sound like something you want to use/experience? Would saying "Delta" more times make it better?

You can’t go around ignoring the bad publicity and negative comments (if they're warranted) thinking just because your name is being said that it’s making you relevant or making a good impression.

It is building your brand though. Whatever direction it's going, it's always moving. If your publicity is crap, your brand is crap, and then no one cares about how good your product might be. Brand isn't everything, but it's almost everything.

Forget the hypothetical airline example. Just look at what has happened with SeaWorld. Since the documentary 'Blackfish' came out (highly recommended watching) the company has tried to shift their brand focus to the good things they do with rescuing animals and spin their Orca show as a way to protect the whales from the dangers of the open sea. It was not enough. 

The company has recently experienced record losses, laid off workers, and the CEO has stepped down. All of this from a film that shed light on the companies practices and redefined the brand in the public's mind. 

Bad publicity = bad brand.

Jan 30, 2015

Case Study: Orlando City FC Lions



When Orlando City Soccer got the news they would be moving up to the MLS, the club knew they had better get their logo game on par with the rest of their soon-to-be Pro soccer competitors. To achieve said goal, they hosted submissions from a number of local agencies. One of those agencies was Three21 Creative, who I worked with on this proposal.

Time Table

The first obstacle was the schedule. We had about a week and a half to put together a package presentation with a kick-ass logo. This was made more difficult because I was doing independent design work only “part time” while holding down a full time position at J. America. I would come home and work 2 to 4 hours each night, plus a weekend. The downside of that is I didn’t get a lot done in 1 day, but the upside is I got to pick up the project each day with a fresh perspective. Having some time away from a project is important because when you come back to it, it’s easier to see mistakes and where it needs to go next.

Deliverables

The most important thing to accomplish was the design of the primary logo. The whole project would be for naught if the primary mark was weak. On top of that, we also wanted to submit a secondary logo, word mark, home and away uniform, and an idea for a marketing campaign.

Goals


The main goal here was to keep the things that would work for the team in the MLS and evolve the identity to reflect a sense of pride, professionalism, and MLS quality.

We decided to keep these things:

1. Lion theme.
2. Shield containing shape.
3. General color palette though, there was room to explore new colors.

Immediately, I decided to change these identity characteristics

1. Use 1 lion instead of 3 for stronger, simpler design.
2. Change “Soccer” to “Football Club” for more European brand.
3.     Add a star to represent a USL championship

If I had to do it again, I would have left the soccer moniker because it seems MLS fans do not want a European football brand after all, but instead prefer the straight forward American terminology of “soccer”. With such a tight deadline, there wasn’t any time to research this type of thing.

Colors


I instantly hated the red, gold and purple colors and wanted to change them. After discovering this picture of the Magic Kingdom, I thought it could work wonderfully for the soccer team. We could keep purple and gold, but replace the red with light blue and make a fresh palette that was a subtle nod to the city’s most recognizable landmark and brand. I also liked how it was an aqua color and could be representative of water, which covers central Florida with all the rivers, lakes, ponds, and pools.

Although I made a concept with those colors, the red and purple started to grow on me. I realized the problem was the specific swatches, especially the gold they were using which was really tan. I selected new swatches that worked better with each other and were more attractive, starting with purple. I wanted the purple to be a medium value; something that wasn’t too annoying or feminine and not so dark that the jerseys might look blue or even black when players started to sweat.

While the gold Pantone might be considered an “old gold”, a flat brownish color, I imagine it changing to a metallic gold or even a gradient whenever possible. I would love to see a metallic ink or nylon thread used on the uniforms.

Type


I usually like to use 3 fonts together for sports projects. That will give me a nice headline font, logo font, and something to use for general purpose.  I first chose Onramp because “Lions” looked great in it and had a wide, modern look that I thought I could warp easily over the shield and not be too tall.

The supporting font is Bebas Neue chosen because of it’s contrast to Onramp (taller and thinner) and common qualities with the shield (tall straight sides and gentle curves). They also pair well because they’re both mono-weight, so I wanted to bring in one more font that was mono-weight, but this time with more roundness for contrast and something I could use in more varied ways. With Gotham having so many weight options, it was the perfect finishing touch and can be used in any application.

Primary Logo


Going with a single lion design presented a new challenge. How do I make a unique, original lion logo? There are soooo many I have seen, it will be hard to do something new. I started gathering all the lion logos I could find from Behance, Dribbble, and Google images. The goal here was not to copy what had been done before, but to use these references as a “what not to do” list.

After some consideration of doing a full body lion, I decided it would be best to do a headshot and crop it into a shield. This would be a more pleasing composition and better reflect the old logo.

I made sketches of lions trying to infuse more Florida personality into it. I was close to doing a forward facing lion with palm tree leaves in the mane, but thought that would be too cheesy. Maybe it would work for the USL, but not the MLS.

I wanted the lion’s face to show a certain amount of confidence and personality. With the mouth closed it would have been boring and with him roaring would have been over the top and cliché’. I thought the subtle growl was just the right spot and turned about 7/8 to create a little more depth than he would have if just a flat side profile. I was able to get some valuable feedback on twitter to flesh out details in the face that finished it off nicely.

The shapes in the mane were drawn hinting at the idea of water (if i went with blue) or fire (if i went with red) as some organic, free flowing shapes that were in motion rather than just being hair. The white highlights are drawn according to the star being the light source.

I felt the old shield didn’t communicate the right personality visually, or our goal words or "pride" and "professional". The lines needed adjustment, so by giving the shield tall straight sides it accomplished that. I kept the bottom and top of the shield lines the same, but the new taller shape was much stronger and masculine.

The decision to play with the key line and blend the lion’s mane into the shield was purely aesthetic, but it provides a unique execution and a memorable element, it makes the lion feel a bit larger and not so constrained by it’s borders. This is an artistic decision and shows why graphic design is not just “problem solving”. At some point, you need an artistic spark, and some sexiness.

Secondary Logo


This logo would be a supporting mark that would be seen on the sleeves of the jersey and on a lot of apparel. I wanted this logo to be more Orlando specific rather than nickname specific so I felt a circle, or an “O” would be a great base to start with. With more time this would have been a great logo to develop further but I was really up against it at this point. It couldn’t be a great logo, it just had to be good enough for now. The stripes I used here I planned on using on the jersey all along as a mnemonic devise that would always make it read as the Orlando soccer team’s logo and not some generic Orlando mark.

Marketing



After trying a few different things for billboard designs and logo mock ups I wasn’t so happy with the color anymore. I thought I would just try something really different and take 2 colors and make a gradient. After blending the red and purple and getting a really great mix it seemed “hot” and had a lot of energy. Placing some fire and smoke textures on top of it really finished it of nice and made a very attention grabbing design. It was also branching off the lion's mane shapes; the abstract flames.

When thinking of a campaign slogan for the team I immediately was drawn to “pride” because a family of lions is named as such and it’s one of the key words we wanted to reflect with the identity. I arrived at “CITY PRIDE” and I really liked it because it blends the team name (Orlando City) with the mascot concept together well.

Uniforms


This is another part of the project that really deserves much more time, but for the proposal it had to be quick and dirty. A traditional, simple soccer design was in order and I did nothing too fancy; just used the 3 colors I had while emphasizing purple. The stripes run vertical for the same reason I made the primary logo tall and straight, just reflecting those same ideas here on the jersey.

Conclusion


Orlando City did not go with our proposal. We were extremely time crunched and some pieces just needed more time devoted to them. That said, I am so happy how the primary logo came out and feel it is my best work. I wasn’t upset or too disappointed by not having my logo selected by the team because I knew I gave it my absolute best and don’t think the primary logo could have turned out any better.  You just can't worry about things you can't control.

Jan 26, 2015

Graphic Language: Graphic Artist



I’m not a rock star. I’m not a design guru. I’m not a Photoshop Wizard or an Illustrator SamurAi. I don’t really know what I am honestly, but I know I’m not any of those things.

I despise the terms “consumer”, “storytelling”, “problem solving”, “content” and “creativity”. Especially content which just means “things and shit” and creativity which is just “making things and shit.”

I’m not like most designers. I know most designers feel they’re not like most designers, but most designers are the same thick-frame glasses wearing, Starbucks drinking dorks sitting in offices filled with the same IKEA furniture. And they say shit like like “what problem do we need to solve and how can we tell this story in a creative way?”

That’s a graphic designer, and maybe even a very good one, even some I know and like very much. (don't take offense to my attempts at humor) But it’s not me and we certainly don’t believe the same things about design. I believe good art is well designed and good design is artfully done. I believe good design should be interesting, beautiful, entertaining, expressive, emotional, or informative and so should be good art. Anything else and you’re just wasting time conjuring a bullshit reason for it’s existence. It’s about expressing ideas, messages, and thoughts that make us feel understood, feel pride, or make us laugh, or angry, or shake our beliefs, or make us feel connected to something. There has to be a reaction from the audience. Well, at least that’s what I believe and no doubt, most designers will disagree.

So, what does that make me? Because I’m certainly no graphic designer. I’m not a problem solver or a storyteller. Brand Moore Art isn’t just a play on my name; it’s a statement. I’m just doing my best at branding more art.

I like designing because it lets me explore and express many different emotions, personalities, histories, cultures, and ideas. It allows me to bring people together and spread messages and products I care about or at least that I think are interesting.

In the end, maybe I’m wrong about it all. Maybe design really is just about solving stupid problems and spreading stupid content to stupid consumers. And if my design career goes down in flames for it, it will be a fire fueled by an independent spirit and a curious mind and because I thought things could just be better than what they are. I thought things could be more expressive and original and beautiful. In the movie Midnight In Paris, Gertrude Stein says “The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence”. Yea, I think I like the title, Graphic Artist.

Jan 13, 2015

18 And Life



I don't write about football. This is a blog about art and design. But, today I write about my all time favorite player, because I believe I have seen him play his last game and because what others will write, won't be the whole truth.

Peyton Manning is the most accurate QB I've ever seen play and undoubtedly the most cerebral. Sportswriters who never played the game and armchair quarterbacks who only see ESPN highlights and read ProFootballTalk articles will say his arm strength wasn't good enough, or his spirals were not tight enough, and that he can't win the big game even as a Super Bowl MVP and 6th all time for playoff games won by QBs. They'll say he chocked in the playoffs, even though his worst post season performance is only 49th worst all time (worst performances came from Staubach, Tittle, Brady, Marino, Elway, and Favre twice).

Manning has shattered record books and leaves a football legacy as one of the best to ever play and yet somehow will be remembered underrated, because its not the coaches and players, or anyone with decent football IQs that write the history, it's the sportswriters who never played the game and the armchair QBs who base their opinions on ESPN highlights and ProFootballTalk articles.  But when I talk about Peyton, it will not just be about what he did on the gridiron.

Manning is the kind of person we should all want to be. That is why I would never trade him for another as "my QB". It's been a privilege to watch him play and an honor and inspiration to know him as a man, though only from afar as a fan.

He has an appreciation for football, his opponents and teammates, and fans that has kept him humble and thankful. That is very hard to come by in professional sports, especially with someone who has had so much success. He writes hand written letters to retiring players, takes time to meet fans face to face because they asked him to, and built a children's hospital in Indianapolis. You certainly never had to worry about him raping someone (Roethlisberger), beating someone (Peterson/Rice), or wild'n out in the club (Manziel). And this is only the tip of the iceberg of why people love him and why he will be so missed.

While others will go on to talk about whatever misconception and half truths they want about him as a player, I will always talk about him with a sense of pride, respect, and gratitude. There are other players with more trophies but none I could ever feel the same way about as a person. That's how you leave a great legacy and how you win in life. And I have truly enjoyed having Peyton Manning as my quarterback.

Dec 8, 2014

My Favorite Brand Identities of 2014


December means it’s time to look back at all the great brand identity and logo work done this year. I’m getting this list out a little later than planned because there were 2 identities revealed in December that I had to include. First thing to know about this list is that it is my list and a collection of my 10 favorite identities of the year. It is by no means a list of “best” work. It is not all new either, some of these logos have simply evolved into an updated mark.



10. BrewDog
Brewdog.com

There were many good beer identities this year, but what makes BrewDog my favorite is the simple 2 color labels and embracement of a grunge aesthetic, which becomes more rare every year. I love the approach to the label design; each one is identical in layout/composition and each have bold black text. But, each label is easily distinguished from the other because of the color applied to it.


9. Glenfiddich
Purple
Glenfiddich.com

I’m someone who loves animal logos and although this is technically 1 of 3 animal logos on the list, it’s the only logo that takes a realistic approach to it’s rendering. At least in the sense that it is designed to look like a real deer. It’s a beautifully elegant rendering of a classic “hero pose” composition where the deer is looking up and off to the distance which sells a sense of pride and strength. It also shows that gradients can work when done well and in the right application.


8. IFC
Gretel
Ifc.com

Not only is this my favorite on-air brand of the year, it is some of my favorite network branding ever. It is a perfect blend of modern and retro style. They took modern fonts and used them in a classic way along with a great vintage teal color, but left all the textures out of it so it feels new and clean. It’s really an example of how a good font and good color can carry a whole identity.


7. Football Club International Milano
Leftoff

This logo is the least original of all on the list as it’s just a better execution of a previous logo, but it’s so well done it now feels perfect. Leftoff also has designed some supporting elements for the new identity and shown how some advertising could work. As much as I love circle logos I’m a bit surprised I only included 1 this year, but this is definitely my favorite of the whole bunch. It’s hard enough to do a good 2 letter monogram, but getting 4 letters together so perfectly is really impressive.


6. Mr Parker
Stromme Throndsen

You can’t go wrong with a good red, white, and blue palette. It’s another example of mixing classic elements with modern ones and shows that identity work doesn’t need to be complex; it just has to be recognizable and memorable. Also, you can see how important and useful a pattern can be for an identity. It’s not the logo or the typography that grabs your eye, it’s the red and blue stripes.


5. Brand New Conference Chicago
Under Consideration

I love identities that are so ingrained with a local culture that they could not exist anywhere else. There are some stronger examples of that coming up, but the Brand New Conference is still a good example. The heart of this is based on the Chicago stock market, from the type to the color, to the patterns created with the type, and how it all works in motion graphics. I think Armin Vit is one of the best there is when it comes to critiquing design and it goes to show that he’s not all talk; he can back it up by creating great stuff too.


4. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Brandia Central

Brandia is one of my favorite agencies in the world, their whole portfolio is filled with inspiring work. They’ve taken the Brazilian World Cup composition and mixed it with some beautiful Russian decoration. The World Cup and Olympics consistently have some of the best design you will see around the world so it’s not unusual for it to be really good but there’s such a unique look to this one. It’s my personal favorite World Cup logo yet. 


3. Deviant Art
Moving Brands

The brand archetype they’re going for is a mix of “outlaw” and “creator” and I think the new logo expresses that very well. I love that at first sight it is an abstract symbol that doesn’t make much sense but like all good art it appears to be one thing but is really something else. The logo is the middle of 2 “A”s, one being turned upside down which makes the mark an ambigram. Or you could see it as a monogram-ambigram of a D and A.

My favorite part of the identity is that it gets its members involved, taking things they’ve created and using them as branding pieces. It gives the identity authenticity, promotes their artists, and is truly unique. It’s a community of professional artist and hobby artists who are all extremely talented. It just says “this is what we’re about”. It raises the expectation of art here, showing that it is not only for amateurs and 7 year old cartoonists.


2. Dungeons & Dragons
Von Glitschka
Dndwizards.com

I’m not sure how much of their identity has changed; this is just about the new logo any way. The typography is fine, but the ampersand by Von Glitschka is my favorite logo of the year. The first time I saw it, my jaw dropped. Not only very smart, but masterfully crafted and the added chrome effect just makes it mean as hell! It’s the type of logo that only comes around once a year at best and makes all other designers jealous that it’s not in their portfolio.


1. TUSK
The Partners
tuskawards.com


The TUSK identity is my number 1 because it shows how much more an identity is than a logo. The logo itself is very cool, but look how it’s created, inspired by African patterns, the colors too. Look how it translates into cropping devices. And look how the logo translates into a beaded bracelet. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better logo application. This identity proves that it’s not about what a logo looks like on a blank white page; it’s about how it can work in application and in the real, tangible world; where it really “lives”. If I were doing a list of my all time favorite identities, this would be in my top 10 there as well.