Design Solution: Indie Coffeeshop Corporate ID


Design Solution: we give an imaginary project at the Go Media designers, and ask them to give us an overview of how they would approach the project. Not so much a tutorial on how to create the artwork, but rather how to tackle all of the logistical details. This installment features Go Media’s Adam Wagner.

The Project:

The indie coffee shop liked your WordPress design so much that they have asked you to design their corporate identity. They don’t have a huge budget, but are interested in experimenting with different printing techniques and on different papers. They’re also going to use this logo on their site.

The Solution:

When designing an identity for a business, I usually do not start on any of the print or web based material until the system is established. However, this situation is somewhat unique in that I would have already designed collateral material, the WordPress design, before I created the identity system.

• Do your research

Under normal circumstances, my first step would be to have a consultation with the client about their business. I would find out as much as I could about how the business functions and what their business does, who their customers are, who are their competitors, what their future plans for the business were, and why their business matters. In general I would just collect as much information as possible about the company. In this instance, a lot of this information would probably have already been collected in preparation for the WordPress site design.

• Concepts

Next, I would brainstorm and try to come up with some interesting concepts for the identity. These could be informed by the way the company operates, what their name is, or their specific industry as well as numerous other aspects of their business. I would narrow the ideas down until I had one to three directions to explore further.

• Sketches

The next step would be to start doing some rough sketches of the various logo concepts. I typically like to set up a page with multiple boxes and in each box I sketch a unique mark based on the concept. The most important thing when sketching logos is to never erase. Even if you make a huge mistake, just move to the next box or section of page and keep sketching. This process helps you get as many ideas out on the page and lets you weed through the bad ones and refine the good ones until you have a few really solid directions. Sometimes I find something interesting in forty sketches and sometimes it takes many more to hit on something interesting.

• Refine your sketches digitally

When I have my sketches narrowed down, I then scan the pages into Illustrator and begin roughing out the shapes. At this point I may have a more developed idea in my head as to how the mark is going to come together, or it may come together naturally as I am working on it. I also start thinking about pairing faces for the mark if I haven’t drawn a custom treatment for the logo.

• Present logo to the client

Once I have the mark to a point that I am satisfied with, I would propose the concept to the client. We would begin the revision process, if necessary, and refine the mark until we are both satisfied with the outcome. In this case the end result would probably be a one color logo, because the client has a tight budget and needs something that will work both on the web and in print.

• Expand the identity

With the logo being finished, I would then move on to the creation of all the collateral material. In this case it would probably involve menus, table top cards, cup sleeves, cups, parchment paper, take away bags, and environmental graphics. The most important thing to remember when designing these items is that they are all part of the system and should relate to the feel and tone of the branding and the logo. Since a lot of waste is involved in the daily functioning of a coffee shop, from an environmental standpoint, I would seek out sustainable materials and eco-friendly inks to use in printing. I would go through the entire design and review process with the client until all the materials were completed and approved.

• Double check everything

Before I sent anything to print, I would review the website and make sure that it is totally integrated with the system I created for the rest of the store’s branding and graphics. If there were any inconsistencies, I would correct them before there was a costly printing mistake. After everything looked great, I would pass the final proofs by the client for approval. If everything went well, I would send it all to print. Don’t forget to ask the printer for proofs, and check them carefully to make sure there are no mistakes or things that need to be changed. When the project is done being printed, make sure to ask for samples to add to your portfolio.

• Send files

After all the printing was complete and the project was fully paid off, I would send the client all the final files for everything in the identity system. It never hurts to send a thank you note as well to let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to work on their project.