Brandworld: Being the Client

I am looking forward to being the client in a project, designing a brief and job bag and then seeing what one of my peers creates for my company’s brand. I got given the category ‘fruit and veg shop’, which I have been researching and developing in order to create a company which needs branding. During my week as the client, I have been developing my company in order to form a job bag which will include:

Company Name & Proposition: 

My company name is ‘Narna’ and it is a student cafe/diner using almost only fruit and vegetables to create vibrant and tasty dishes, specialising in breakfasts, healthy snacks and desserts. I knew I wanted to aim my company at students when I thought about who may benefit most from a fruit and veg based shop, knowing that families generally already have a reasonably good fruit and vegetable intake and it is students who lack most in this category. Being a student myself, I loved the idea of a diner serving affordable healthy dishes to encourage people like myself and my friends to eat healthily, as I understand that this is difficult to maintain when you move out. My unique selling point is that my company will use completely edible/biodegradable utensils and bowls, in order to ‘minimise washing up’ (mirroring student life) and also to do good by the environment. I found a company attempting to gain the money to kick start their 100% natural, biodegradable, rice and wheat utensils and thought this would be a great thing to incorporate into my hypothetical company to instil the values that I wanted to be portrayed.

The background of my company was that it was a family run cafe started up in Birmingham, a city brimming with 65,000 students across 5 universities. The founders now want to expand to other student populated cities such as Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool due to high demand after gaining a large social media following.

The proposition I have written to go into the job bag is as follows:

‘Narna’ is a diner in Birmingham town centre named after the most frequently used ingredient on our menu; banana. It was opened in 2014 by two sisters and it is a small family business, hiring only a few employees and an expert pastry chef. The idea was born out of a conversation about student life and finding inventive ways to avoid washing up and other household chores. The sisters decided to use only the fruit and vegetables themselves to serve the food, using fruits such as coconuts, hollowed melon and dragon fruits to serve the food in, and edible, eco-friendly, biodegradable cutlery made from a blend of rice, wheat and flours of jowar. The diner was created for students to enjoy affordable healthy meals where you can eat quite literally everything on the table, leaving customers happy and energised and staff with minimal washing up! The sisters want their customers to enjoy eating healthily as they understand this is hard to maintain as a student. ‘Narna’ specialises in breakfasts and desserts, the menu featuring fruit and vegetable salads, smoothie bowls, sorbets and ice creams. The atmosphere in the diner is always vibrant and positive, manifested in everything from the music played to the choice of furniture and décor. The only ingredients used are an enormous variety of fruits and vegetables, and the occasional use of chocolate, nuts, cheese and dressing. ‘Narna’ has a large social media following and to satisfy demand, are hoping to open up more diners in other highly student populated cities.

Brand Values

An obvious brand value for ‘Narna’ was that it is eco-friendly and environmentally friendly throughout. It is a family run business so I wanted it to feel like a friendly environment. In order to attract the target audience, I knew it had to be affordable food, and to keep up with food standards and to be of a high quality, the food had to be fresh.

  1. To encourage healthy eating in students.
  2. Eco-friendly by using edible/bio-degradable bowls, plates and cutlery.
  3. Positive and friendly environment.
  4. Affordable fresh food.

Target Audience and Persona

The target audience for ‘Narna’ is students. I created a persona for the designer to be able to understand the ideal consumer. I used the six categories of behaviour to create my persona.

Moodboard

When researching existing fruit and veg/smoothie cafes, I found most to involve the colour white on their websites and in their cafes, presumably to evoke the idea of cleanliness and health. Most logos/signatures use one vibrant colour. As the name of my company is ‘Narna’, taken from banana, I used a lot of images of banana leaves on my moodboard as ideally these would feature in the design of the cafe and somewhere in the branding. The company’s food would be vibrant and bright and so I would want the interior design of the restaurant and the branding of the company to be bright and vibrant too.

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Completed Design Brief

Finally, I had to fill out a design brief for the job bag, outlining exactly what my company does and what they want from the designer.

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BrandWorld: Introduction to Naming

Almost every existing company name can be categorised into one of the ten groups giving insight into how the name came about. The categories are:

Descriptive Names: ‘pizza hut’, ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’, ‘British Airways’

Acronyms: ‘IKEA’, ‘BBC’

Associate Names: ‘Google’, ‘twitter’

Evocative Names: ‘Innocent’, ‘Go Ape!’, ‘O2’

Invented Names: ‘Kodak’, ‘Xerox’, ‘Aviva’

Founder Names: ‘Ben & Jerry’s’, ‘McDonalds’, ‘Disney’

Place Names: ‘Evian’, ‘Fujifilm’

Esoteric Names: ‘Tango’, ‘Egg’, ‘Goldfish’

Latin, Greek or Mythological Names: ‘Nike’, ‘Ambrosia’, ‘Volvo’

Heritage Names: ‘Friendslife’, ‘Clerical Medical’, ‘Scottish Widows’

For the naming of my fruit and vegetable cafe, I initially mind mapped some names and put them into the above categories. I wanted something quite silly and humorous, not serious or highly sophisticated so to fit the target audience of students and informality.

I came up with ‘Top Banana’, ‘Melon-cauli’, ‘Narna’ and ‘La Pina Piripi’ (the tipsy pineapple in Spanish) whilst playing with a few different ideas for a unique selling point. Many of my ideas, including ‘Top Banana’ and ‘Melon-cauli’ actually already existed as fruit and vegetable shops or cafes, which ruled them out. Latin, Greek and Mythological names didn’t feel appropriate for my brand, as I want a brand value to be that the food is fresh and locally sourced. This meant ‘La Pina Piripi’ was now less appropriate; more suitable perhaps for a cocktail bar. I went with ‘Narna’ because I felt it was informal and worked for my target audience. I felt it gave a designer room to experiment with different levels of sophistication, as I pictured it as a vibrant and fun place for students but could also be a quirky, independent student cafe.

BrandWorld: An Introduction to Branding

Todays lecture began with the fundamental question; what is branding?. Branding is something we are exposed to every single day in almost every aspect of modern life, however it’s definition is something less often completely understood, less easily comprehend into words. A brand is an organisation’s personality, attitude and identity, their way of expressing their values through a visual language. Brand values explain how a company would like to be perceived, and these are incredibly important in understanding a company before branding it. We discussed the many ways branding can be applied. This could be through print based platforms (leaflet, flyer, stationary, press advertisement, brochures), PR (events, sponsors, brand ambassadors, staff, press release) and product itself (materials, eco-friendly, finish, packaging, price point, experience). These platforms are known as touch-points.

For this project, it was important to understand the order of design. A design begins with a client, who hires a designer to create work, which is then output to a target audience. Often it is mistaken that the work created by the designer is for the client, but this is incorrect. The work created needs to be aimed at a target audience, who could be a completely different demographic to the client. To aid the designer in creating the product to be aimed at the ideal audience, a client may provide a persona; an example of the ideal user of the product with details about their life separated into 6 categories: psychographic, geographic, socio-economic, behavioural, motivations, product-related. These are all characteristics which influence behaviour, determining if a particular person would be interested in what you are creating based on their upbringing, personality, interests and so on. The introduction of these categories was new to me but is a great way to categorise audiences and give the designer a person to aim for when creating material. The psychology behind why a person may love or hate your product is incredibly interesting to me, and so this lecture on these six characteristics of behaviour was incredibly interesting in understanding the way that the brain makes decisions on products based on past experience, amongst other things.

Another thing to consider is a theory created by anthropologist Abraham Maslow called ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ which refers to how people are motivated. Maslow’s theory suggests that there are levels of satisfaction, and another cannot be reached until the one before is completed. The first level is biological and physiological (breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, excretion) and highlights human functions that are required for the most basic of survival. Once achieved, the next level is safety (security of body, employment, resources, morality, family,  health, property). This is essentially to be able to feel safe in a lifestyle in which you are able to live without concern. The third level is love and belonging (friendship, family, sexual intimacy). The fourth is esteem (self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others); reaching a point where you are proud of the achievements you have made in your life and are receiving respect from others. The final level is self-actualisation (morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts). Maslow’s theory is applicable to the existence of human beings in general but can also be applied to consumers. It is widely believed that consumers build brands, not companies. The contribution of consumers to the life of a brand is essential is its longevity and so the ability to understand your consumer is vital. Consumers give brands their value by developing perceptions of the brand and its products.

Before the brief reaches the designer there is a lot of work to be done by the client in order to ensure the designer has all they need to create work that the client would be happy with. We will be gaining an understanding of this as we spend the week as clients, creating a job bag for a designer containing all the information needed to brand our company.

My First Wacom Tablet

Recently, I purchased the Wacom Intuos Draw. This is my first tablet to aid my design and so far it has been brilliant! It is quite tricky getting the hang of drawing on the tablet whilst looking at the screen and getting the two to coordinate perfectly, but I am practising everyday using the tablet for everything I do on my MacBook from browsing Facebook to Photoshop tutorials. At the start of summer, I was determined to improve my Photoshop and Illustrator skills as I often feel that the lack of these skills limit my work. In order to do this, I have been following free tutorials online and researching tips and tricks on the two pieces of software, as well as trying my best to understand all that the two are capable of and becoming a pro with features such as the Pen Tool and Anchor Points.

One of the things that I felt last year surrounding my work was that despite being in the first year of university and being just two years away from finding a ‘real job’, I did not yet feel like a designer, nor confident enough to design things for other people as I still feel I need the help and support of peers and tutors. This feeling of dependency is something I want to change so that in the coming months and years I can gain work experience at design companies and feel I actually have something to offer them.

I still have a very long way to go but by following tutorials online I feel my skills and knowledge are improving. This helps my confidence as a designer to grow and slightly reduces my nerves and doubts for upcoming projects.

 

First Year: Reflection

This past year has been the most terrifying, challenging and exciting year of my life so far. Arriving in Cardiff last September I felt clueless and nervous; the decision to study in Cardiff had been a last minute change in my plan, I knew nobody and having never studied Graphic Communication before, I had no idea what to expect. When I met my class and we began workshops, I remember feeling instantly inferior to these passionate creatives, all older than myself as the youngest. There were times when I felt lost, like I’d stumbled into the wrong room and was sat among people far advanced to myself. Having just finished first year, I must admit there are times when I still feel this. What I did know was I was amongst some of the most creative and vibrant people I had ever met, people with interests and passions just like my own.

Before University I was studying English Literature, Fine Art and Spanish at Sixth Form. I had almost decided I wanted to become a fashion designer, and when I was younger would spend hours designing outfits, however it became an easy answer to the question “what do you want to be when you’re older?” because the truth was I really didn’t know. I gained a interest in graphic communication after I took part in work experience at Jaguar Land Rover and Bernardo’s Children’s Charity, visiting and speaking to graphic designers at both. I fell completely in love with the design studio at Jaguar and could picture myself there, turning computerised graphics into life size clay car models, designing and constructing television and advertisement adverts and creating presentations for VIP sales evenings. For a long time I was desperate to meet Ian Callum and knew that I was after his job as Directer of Design at Jaguar!

From a young age I always knew I wanted to have a career in design and I was always known as ‘the arty one’. Recently, I found a series of magazines that my sister and I created in 2006 when we were eight and, while its fair to say my skills and tastes have progressed considerably since then, my interest and love for editorial design has always been apparent.

Every project in my first year of University was a new exciting challenge that I put everything into, even when I wasn’t sure if I was even doing it right! I am very proud of the 2:1 I achieved in first year and hope for the same success and more in second year. I am terrified all over again for second year and the new challenges it promises. I have many doubts in my abilities as I look around me and see so many advanced designers, but it is only myself who can push my abilities further and develop my skills in order to produce better work. I hope to research into my interests in and around the subject of Graphic Communication this summer and also to develop my skills on Photoshop and Illustrator, as often in first year it was the lack of these skills that I felt limited my work.

Editorial: Submission and Feedback

The following three spreads are those which I submitted for the deadline on Friday 13th May.

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I eagerly awaited feedback as, while I am proud of these spreads and do like them, I needed some more advice as I felt I had tried almost every variation of my spreads. I have a habit of going to centred text when I feel nothing else looks good, as in my opinion it always makes text look neat and readable.

I took the following from David’s feedback:

The background colour of the first spread was too dark with the black text. The body copy was very heavy and could do with being broken up with more call-outs. On the second spread, I needed to explore pace with text more, though the imagery was strong visually. The border of the third spread was too narrow and it was not easy to tell what the border was made up of if you didn’t already know. I could also conduct more exploration with the text. I also needed to add a subheading, possibly extend the body copy, enlarge my margins and make more use of my grid.

I spent a lot of time experimenting further with the advice given on my spreads. I applied changes and played around for a long time, and finally, the following three spreads are those which I have printed and will appear in the exhibition.

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On the first spread, I lightened the background, which I think looks much better. I also added a subheading at the bottom of the page, connected to the title using the asterisk. I added a second call-out and shorted the columns so that there was slightly less text on the page. I changed the second spread quite considerably and it was definitely the most difficult. My task was working around the hand image which I knew I wanted to include, as it had to sit at the bottom of the page because of the way I took the photographs and where they cut off. I would’ve placed the body copy at the bottom of the page if it weren’t for the image, however I am glad now that I didn’t as I feel this would have looked too similar to the first spread. I used the quote from the original spread and edited it slightly. I played around with placement of this quote a lot. I tried placing it behind the hands, as if they were holding or grasping it, but not enough of the text was visible for it to be legible. I tried with the text in different colours over the hands, across the top and bottom and staggered in a more abstract way across the page. I looked back over post modern typography workshops and research and experimented with some ideas, however I felt that ultimately these attempts didn’t fit well with the overall theme of my spread, and the theme and tone of the article itself. I like that this page is almost symmetrical, because the other two are so asymmetrical. The third spread is my favourite to look at as a whole spread. I think pulling a few windmills out and widening the border worked well and it gave more room for white space and abstract positioning. I think the right aligned quote works well next to the column of text. I liked the idea of picking out the speech between the men in the article in red as I feel it not only makes it easy to read as a conversation, but it adds to the tone and emotion in the conversation. I added call-out on the right hand side to break up the body text. I experimented with the conversation portion of the text, making each piece of text look how (I imagine) it was delivered, illustrating tone, volume and emotion. However this was difficult to create whilst still maintaining suitable line length, line spacing and kerning.

I am happy overall with my spreads and I have thoroughly enjoyed this project. I feel like I could work on this project forever and never think my spreads were perfect, so I’m glad there is a deadline to stop me going insane from type detailing!