Alien Disco

I am a big, big fan of fun house parties and designing posters for them.

Your Label Part II

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Dado and Pia liked elements from all the studies. To start off our next round of revisions, we took away three things that they liked — the two bar icon from study 1, the use of Helvetica from study 2, and the awesome shade of blue from study 3.

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Between the two color palettes that made the final cut, the navy blue won out for how crisp, reliable, and strong it looked.

Only it doesn’t end there. Your Label wanted to make the bars look more distinct and liked what we did with the study 2 icon (where there was a pair of scissors embedded inside). We would’ve gone with the study 2 icon but the cousins thought the scissors was too specific of a key visual for a mother brand. We decided to keep it for another use.

The challenge was to figure out something neutral that we can embed in the same way within the two bars.

We opted to go with a monogram and insert a “Y” and an “L” in. The effect made it look like threads woven in together, which reinforced the value of client and supplier coming together and working together, not to mention the thread also symbolizes Your Label as a supplier for the garment industry.

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From there we started cascading the logo to other materials. Spot their sub brands Your Fabric, Your Laundry, and Your ID featured in their sales kit!

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See the scissors from the original study 2? We ended up using it for Your Fabric and we had to think of other icons for Your Laundry (a laundromat) and Your ID (a supplier for corporate materials). Because Dado and Pia pay special care to detail, we also had to make sure that the icons for the sub brands follow the two bars AND form the same “Y” from the mother logo.

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Here is the Your Laundry logo in action for a discount tag.

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I also created graphics for Your Laundry’s laundry guidelines.

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Your Label Part I

Cousins Dado and Pia approached us to create a new brand for their family business. They own a corporate apparel company which designs, produces, and delivers the uniforms of some of the most recognizable brands in the country (Maybank, HSBC, Philippine Airlines, to name a few).

It was exciting to work with a company of this scale, and it’s one that happens to be a supplier so they speak with a similar vocabulary like us. What’s even more exciting is the fact that Dado and Pia are our age and it’s always interesting to see young blood take a family-owned business into a different direction.

Prior to this move, the company has been known as APL Corporate Garments. They still go by that as their official name but both cousins knew that as one of the newer players in the industry, they would have to employ moves that would pull them ahead of the competition.

They already had the right idea about professionalizing their sewers, account executives, down to their workshop. They’re also the first garment supplier to employ a tracking system similar to a courier service so clients can monitor the deliveries. Now the only thing missing is to have an identity system that would encapsulate it.

For this project, I pulled my sister Ana in to help us come up with a strategy for our design approach. We presented an 81-slide presentation, which included talk points such as this:

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Dado and Pia already had an idea for the direction of APL and decided to give it the new name of Your Label. “Your Label” summons the idea of being able to customize things and be able to make it your own. The previous APL name didn’t have such a story (the name came from the initials of Dado’s sisters).

From there they intend to expand the business into other offerings using the new “Your” name. It makes for good recall.

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Because they want to pioneer the business of being a garment supplier, they’re big with communicating the idea of clients being partners. They want to be able to walk the client through the process of conceptualizing uniform designs, start to finish — they envision themselves as brand aids, as another channel to showcase a company’s culture. We couldn’t agree more.

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For my first study, I focused on the idea of suppliers and clients partnering together — about coming together as equals, as opposed to the standard relationship of employer to employee. Your Label wanted to create a culture of balanced partnership so I experimented with the equal symbol. I slanted it as well to make it seem like it’s moving fast, to show dynamism and quick turnarounds.image

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Then I showed it with a simple, clean san serif to highlight the icon. I’m also got into the habit of showing marks in black and white first so that the client can focus on the design and not select a study based on color.

With that in mind, I proposed owning vermilion as a color scheme for them. I thought orange was too friendly. I wanted friendly, but not too friendly, so a touch of red into the mix made it feel more alert and official. I made the “your” and “label” two different shades of gray to emphasize “your.” Instead of using the usual black, I opted for grays because it looked cleaner and more harmonious.

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With all the studies, I also showed how the logo can work as a system with the rest of their sub brands. I wanted the palettes to be bright and distinctive.

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Now we were originally just suppose to show two studies, but another idea came about while I was doing study 1. As a new option, I incorporated another icon within the bar icon. My sister and I decided to feature an icon that would make your think of garment making.

I thought of a scissors and I rendered it in such a way that you think of a “Y” in the first bar and then an “L” in the next.

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For my type selection, I chose Helvetica Neue. I don’t use Helvetica a lot but I’m no hater. The reason why I don’t use it often is the same one as to why it would work so well for Your Label: ubiquity.

If you are a brand that wants to be synonymous to being everywhere and being part of the collective consciousness, then Helvetica is your best bet. It’s the font of super brands and there’s no denying its clear, strong readability.

For color, I remembered Pia mentioning that “pool water blue” is her favorite color. I decided to give it a shot since it made the icon look really fresh and new, which goes perfectly with Your Label’s personality as the new kid on the block.

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My last study is all about using a button as my key visual (the cue coming from the idea of garment materials). The button imagery is rich in meaning because not only does it make use of a circle (unity, wholeness, oneness) but the holes in it provide a subtle narrative of keeping things together and embodying teamwork.

The holes form a “Y” to reinforce the “Your” brand.

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Then I experimented with combining two different weights for the Futura I used. Then if the circle cue wasn’t obvious now, I tossed more of it into the logo. I figured it would make for an interesting key visual for merch.

As for colors, I honed into blue being known as a trustworthy color. Blue summons up feeling of security and reliability (that’s why a lot of banks, schools, and hospitals use it) and it would be great for enhancing Your Label’s professionalism.

I used this really attractive shade of navy blue and then complemented it with pops of jewel tones just so that it doesn’t look so stuffy.

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Then finally, I placed the three logos together so Pia and Dado wouldn’t have to go back and forth.

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Which one do you like?

Carlo & Steph’s Wedding

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My friends got married last January! The bride Steph is a good friend of one of my best friends and her husband Carlo is a family friend. They’re a very straightforward couple who really knew what they wanted.

Pinterest wasn’t very popular yet when I got married so when I asked Steph what kind of wedding invitation she had in mind, I was directed to one of her Pinterest boards to gauge her taste. She and Carlo wanted something very hip(ster), modern, and fun! It’s a far cry from my own wedding invitation but it was great to be able to try out a style that’s really popular right now.

What was really cool about this couple is that they really wanted their friends to take an active role in their wedding — which was all too easy because they have such creative friends and a creative network to boot (Carlo is one of the guys behind ZeroThreeTwo, the website that “shows the cool in Cebu”)

Not only did I have a Pinterest board to take inspiration from, Carlo and Steph also had a wedding logo made by Blue Cuevas, another one of their friends and a talented logo designer. I had my tools and parameters and buckled down to work.

My challenge is to incorporate Blue’s logo and to make use of their color palette, peach/pink and gray.

They were such a breeze to work with — no bridezilla moments here at all. There were no drastic revisions and everything was smooth sailing for the most part.

This is the wedding invitation:

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The Save-the-Date card:

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Envelope lining options (I showed them all the possible color combinations):

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I marveled so much at the work Carlo and Steph put into their wedding and at the fact that so much has changed since I got married. I didn’t have Instagram (not even a smart phone) in 2011 and only got savvy with wedding hashtags when I worked on their invitations.

Even better with this couple is the fact that they have a website detailing all the behind the scenes work they did.

Where I talk about my design process: Prints & Design: Marla Darwin

Blue’s Interview: The Logo Master: Blue Cuevas

Twenty O Four (the printer)’s Interview: Invitations by Twenty O Four

Oceanchild’s Interview (the web developer who took her cues from my design): The Oceanchild Behind Our Dot Com: Ria Redulla

Pablo’s

Pablo’s is a pub and restaurant (as seen in the logo’s description, heh) owned by a group of young people that includes two pairs of siblings. One of them, Tania, is my sister’s best friend.

She approached us and thus began a series of meetings where the stakeholders explained to us the concept of a bar/restaurant they wanted to open. We all graduated from the same small high school system where everyone kinda knew each other so the rapport was easy and fun.

A well-loved bar in Valero St. in Salcedo Village was closing when we started meeting and we all realized that it was a void that needed to be filled — a place that’s in between a dive bar and a throbbing, pulsing club. A place where people can freely talk and then dance when they feel like it; whereas in a dive bar and club setting, these factors become mutually exclusive.

But since those same kids have grown up a bit and are chasing new life paths (law school, jobs in the corporate world, etc.), this new bar will have a bunch of upgrades here and there, but with the same comfortable familiarity from college.

Pablo’s is named after Pablo Escobar, the (in)famous, Robin Hood-esque drug lord. Theirs was a vision of where Pablo Escobar would hie off to for dealings and meetings with the dark and influential.

The interiors were already set, and the team had the vision for the atmosphere nailed right away. They wanted leather and dark, aged wood. They wanted to feature a secret book case that would lead to a private room and a liquor cabinet to store scotch for the regulars. So, this is a couple of awesome notches up from college — but not quite up there with sleazy uncle territory.

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As always, I took to visual driver making to figure out the personality of the bar. I think the selection of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and poker summed it up while the rest reinforced the existing ideals. With a guy with JGL, we have a dapper dresser who exudes a strong masculinity but with a youthful, playful, and forward-thinking touch.

With poker, we have a traditional game that had new life breathed into it in recent years where it became a fun past time in friend’s houses during weekends. The personality of the brand is really about carrying over time-tested tenets of masculinity and suaveness and making it fresh and this generation’s own.

Once I got that straightened out, I began my first study:

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I wanted to play around the Latin American element to Pablo Escobar. He was Colombian (and the face of the Colombian drug lord stereotype) and I figured it might be interesting to give a tinge of something rustic to the place. I couldn’t go all out native Colombian since it would fight with the macho, high-end look of the place, so I took some liberties with my references — all of them just having mild touches to a rustic, Latin look.

I started with Rick’s Cafe Americain from one of my favorite movies Casablanca. I figured if Pablo cleaned himself up (looks-wise and values-wise), he’d be more like Bogart’s Rick. I infused that with machuca tiles (another favorite) and considered trying to make Pablo Escobar’s visage into an iconic graphic similar to Che Guevara — which was requested by the client.

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I came up with this. I combined a slab font with a vintage feel with his face enclosed in a shape that I derived from tile patterns. Now, from the get go, I had an uneasy feeling about using his face. Unlike Pablo Escobar, Che Guevara was GUAPO. He had a mug that was begging to get plastered on things. With Pablo (double chin, hairy chest, pornstache), he embodied the sleazy uncle persona I was running away from.

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It wasn’t so bad on merch. Illustration is not my forte and had I been handier with rendering faces, I might have given Pablo a fair shot.

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After my attempt with Study 1, I figured that I had to commit to the dapper interiors of the bar. I tried to explore Pablo Escobar in a less grassroots look and had to figure out creating an option that didn’t have to make use of his face.

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It was simple enough figuring out a color scheme for this study. Black is macho and gold is luxe — together they made a fine pairing. I got my inspiration from vintage and modern objects that had the color palette.

The easiest way to personify a person is to create symbols for them — a family crest was just too much (and to me crests are synonymous to honor, which Pablo had a questionable lack of) and the symbols attached to him didn’t cut it for me either. Do I do a mound of coke? (In more ways than one… ahaha.. bad joke)

I went with the idea of a monogram since it had neutral connotations and it was a natural symbol for affluence and power. Let’s have him leave his mark this way..

Lastly, I got the idea of using a modern and sexy typeface from a funky Pablo Escobar poster. Pablo can be modern and sexy! Let’s do that!

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I did my own take of a monogrammed “P” and “E” that I came across my compiled pictures of monograms. My illustrations need work, but I’m pretty handy with anchor points and symmetry.

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I’m not too pleased with the white space I gave the logo but the print materials looked very promising. I liked this study better because you could put the logo on ANYTHING and at any size and it will still be strong and memorable. That’s the stuff of good logos.

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Fortunately Study 2 was picked but they wanted more tweaks. The pass looked very flat and the P and the E weren’t recognizable as two letters. I used that opportunity to stop cutting corners and to throw myself into it. I took on the challenge of finding a way to split the two and make them pop. Again, I studied my monogram references and figured out where to place the shadings. The trick here was to make sure everything was only in one color so I had to punch the shadings well.

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We also included the description and I became more mindful of the negative space. Look at how much better this one turned out:

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Graphics need to breathe and just like people, when you give them their space, they shine.

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I also had to propose the signage implementation. I didn’t realize that the location had a strict format for all the tenant’s signage and I had to think of a way to break up a vertical logo for a horizontal format.

In a perfect world, we shouldn’t have to do that, but in the real world, we have to adjust and make the best we can do based on the given parameters.

I proposed in keeping the type elements in the same proportion and grouping and then used the monogram as key visuals. I played around with the negative space to make all the elements stand out, then I proposed mounting gold sconce lamps on top as their light source. Sconce lamps are so classy.

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I suggested to have a vertical signage installed as well to maintain the branding, but it’s too bad that building didn’t allow it.

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Pablo’s Pub and Restaurant can be found in Forum South Global, 7th Avenue corner Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City. Check it out!