When we had the first lecture, Dr Corrine Beaumont brought two loaves of bread to class. I was baffled at the idea, firstly because I had no clue what this had to do with branding design and secondly since it’s not every day that a lecturer uses such an approach. As it turned out, this was a metaphor in helping us understand the building blocks of branding/graphic design. We each had to take a slice of bread, taste it, feel it and make observations about it. In reality this is what we as new students in the world of branding design had to adapt to. This meant that in conjunction with the six elements of design, which are space, form, colour, value, texture and time (Beaumont, 2011) we had to be aware and observant of our surroundings. Personally I already follow a number of design websites such as www.dezeen.com, www.behance.net and www.designtaxi.com, however having realised that I only viewed them at face value I can now articulate a better understanding thanks to the aforementioned six elements.
Thereafter, each of these six elements of design together with the multitude of design principles, were incorporated into our lectures in some way or another, making us ever so attuned towards design in general. While the lectures on typography and colour where inspiring, I have to say that we haven’t even touched the surface. For me a typeface resembles a character that expresses itself in the way it is written. This means that the interplay between each element in the anatomy of the typeface represents how it is personified. Therefore choosing the right typeface has to be congruent to the design of the whole project in order to express and convey the message. Furthermore, I recently came across a blog by Brown (2014a) that illustrated the ten commandments of typography. To name a few, these are to know the different font families, having a maximum of two contrasting fonts is key, not to mix different moods and to use different weights of fonts in the same family (Brown, 2014a).
Selecting the right colour is equally important. While to designers colour is second nature, I for one found it quite daunting in understanding how different colour schemes complement each other, keeping in mind that colour also has psychological properties that evoke emotions and behaviours (Wright, 2008). Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn use the colour blue in their logos since it is associated with trustworthiness, safety, dependability and reliability, which are particular traits that one would want when sharing sensitive information online (Haller, 2011; Brown, 2014b). Furthermore apart from choosing complementary colours and finding the right balance in the hue, saturation and brightness one must also consider that colour is also culturally dependent. For example the colour red is associated with luck in Asian countries and power and fear in European countries (Behr, 2014). It is apparent that colours have contrasting effects.
That said we only skimmed the surface. However, having garnered as much knowledge as we can, this was sufficient enough to help us kick-start both our individual and group assignments. My observation is that design is limitless creativity within the confines of its own rules.
Considering that all of my other modules were purely research and theory based, I lacked a certain creative edge. Such a skill like any other skill is cultivated over time and is built through Confidence, Experimentation and Observation, especially in both of our assignments. I came to understand that these three terms are reciprocal and cyclical in nature, building confidence through experimentation while keeping abreast to your surroundings through observation. I undertook this approach in both of my assignments. My first assignment involved creating brand guidelines for Ġin – the concept was a Maltese Gin with Mediterranean heritage and botanicals. This was achieved through a trifold approach. Firstly, putting pen to paper – sketching whatever came to mind in order to have a visual representation of my ideas; secondly, creating a mood board (just like planning an essay) with all the elements that I felt were an inspiration to my brand; and thirdly getting to grips with Illustrator and Photoshop. I came to realise that the first idea that pops to mind is not always the best; you need to dwell on it, get constructive feedback and most importantly be patient. The Ġin project took me roughly two weeks to complete and I am very pleased with the end result.
The group assignment in which we had to take photographs, create three different posters and online content took a whole different approach. After a couple of brain storming sessions we came up with the idea of repositioning microwavable meals as a healthy food option, as a good alternative to home cooking and a meal to be enjoyed by oneself as well as with friends. We had a sound concept but the execution left much to be desired. After testing the campaign with our colleagues it was apparent that the hidden message was not coming through. This was very frustrating, however it motivated us to sack the entire campaign and start from scratch. A very challenging feat that we managed to accomplish in one night. In the end we created a campaign to reposition Estée Lauder for men by creating adverts with images of men that have rough textured skin and after having smooth skin, signifying the importance of moisturising cream for men. Overall feedback was very positive and both my team and myself were proud to deliver such a campaign.
The most challenging aspect in each assignment was that I knew what I wanted to achieve but the process of getting there proved to be difficult, especially getting used to the different tools and functions in Photoshop and Illustrator.
I found the speech given by Andre Campbell – a Brand Strategist for Wolf Ollins – very inspiring to say the least. In actual fact it’s a role that enthuses me and as such I would love that someday to work for a creative agency here in London. Eventually I would like to be self-sufficient and build a brand for myself. I very much like how food and drink are integral to one’s own culture bringing people together. Indeed my aspiration is that one-day I would open my own restaurant, the place where food, drink and culture are moulded together.
In retrospect even though the module was a challenging one, it did meet my expectations. It was challenging partly because I had no formal training or background in the subject matter and partly because my educational upbringing was very much theory based. I strongly suggest that this course should be integrated with the Masters course right from the start, allowing students to fully comprehend and shape their creative minds.
Beaumont, C.E. (2011) Basic Design Anatomy. 2nd Edn. Ellsworthio Press.
Brown, E. (2014a) [INFOGRAPHIC]: The 10 Commandments of Typography. Available at: http://www.designmantic.com/blog/infographics/ten-commandments-of-typography/ (Accessed: 21 April 2014).
Brown, E. (2014b) Why Social Media Sites Prefer Blue in their Logo? Available at: http://www.designmantic.com/blog/social-media-sites-prefer-blue-logos/ (Accessed: 22 April 2014).
Behr, S. (2014) Colours and their meaning to design. Available at: http://sumse.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/colours-and-their-meaning-to-design/ (Accessed: 22 April 2014).
Haller, K (2011) social media branding – the colour psychology of blue. Available at:http://karenhaller.co.uk/blog/social-media-branding-the-colour-psychology-of-blue/(Accessed: 22 April 2014).
Wright, A. (2008) Psychological properties of colours. Available at: http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours (Accessed: 22 April 2014).