Design project showcase: Angela Jarman
One of the things I love most about designing a new brand identity is the power it has to help the brand reach its full potential. The right branding is transformative and empowering.
I thrive on collaboration, so it helps when I work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do. Introducing Angela Jarman – I loved working with her for those exact reasons!
Angela is an award-winning contemporary studio glass artist. Her work is inspired by natural forms and is breathtakingly beautiful. Each piece she creates is unique. Literally one-of-a-kind. She also uses a niche production process, only used by a handful of others. Together, this gives her artwork premium value. She exhibits internationally and has work in many museum collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Amazing!
I’m delighted with the results of Angela’s branding project. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the complete process of how it was created.
STEP 1 / DISCOVERY
My clients know their business best, so they have a valuable role in the design process. Before the start of each project, I set them a brand discovery questionnaire to complete. I need to get to know their business inside out before I can begin any design!
Angela is driven by her creativity, not the commercial side of things. Although she isn’t a business in the traditional sense, she still needs to be viable as an artist. To thrive, she needs to act as a business.
Angela partners with specialist galleries, so doesn't need to market herself directly to sell work, but wanted a gallery website to showcase it. She also plans to launch glass making workshops in her studio.
That's where I came in!
My insight helped Angela to clarify, develop and define her objectives.
After a chat, it was clear she actually needed branded collateral to communicate clearly and marketing materials to promote her new workshops, as well as a website. And, most importantly, she needed a brand identity to form the visual foundation for these new communications.
A visual brand identity is the distinct look that makes a business instantly recognisable and is the basis of any design.
Consistently styled visuals create the right impression and provide credibility, but many people don’t realise that they need a brand identity to achieve this.
STEP 2 / STRATEGY
My branding design approach is rooted in thorough industry research and business strategy. The initial research helps me clarify the clients strengths and what makes their business special.
Next, I create a written brand strategy to define how we can communicate that. This forms a creative brief and guidelines to refer to when design starts.
Within Angela’s discovery questionnaire, I asked how she’d describe her desired brand image. She answered:
Together with my research, these words informed the brand strategy for this project.
So, what makes Angela stand out? In one word… her!
As an artist, her aesthetic style is associated with her name. Her audience – peers, collectors and students – seek out Angela Jarman for her unique glass creations and expertise.
With this in mind, it was clear Angela’s artwork must be the central focus of her branding. Her visual identity should be understated – simple, neutral and ordered – to set a tone of authority, show professionalism and act as a backdrop that compliments her work.
Next, I curated a mood board and colour scheme (shown below) to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the brand identity and, very importantly, ensured that that Angela and I were in agreement on visual direction upfront.
This mood board focuses on form, structure, texture, simplicity, and classic lines; similar to how Angela’s artwork is inspired by those aspects of the natural world.
Colours are strong brand identifiers. A restrained, cool colour palette was selected to provide a serious, accomplished tone that allows Angela’s artwork to stand out and take centre stage.
STEP 3 / CONCEPTS
After defining the visual brand direction, it’s time to begin developing logo creative concepts – my favourite part of the process!
My strength as designer is creating a brand identity that translates my clients vision and brings their message to life in a visual way.
The greatest challenge of creating a logo is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.
I had several considerations in my mind during this stage, including:
Showing Angela’s unique qualities
Keeping the design versalite and functional
Figuring out the composition of Angela’s name and descriptive strapline
Not appearing too corporate!
I started, as always, by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas, as seen in this sneak peek of some early sketches.
I then chose the ideas with most potential to refine and digitise. Because design is subjective, I like to give my clients a choice, by presenting two completely different concepts that I confidently believe answer the brief.
Getting the actual composition right is my priority. Colour can be a distraction, so I start development in black, adding colour later using the previously agreed colour palette.
However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system. Other components can include logo variations, colours, typography, icons, patterns and textures. The same visual elements should be used everywhere a brand interacts.
So I continued Angela’s project by putting together additional visual components, all considered to deliver a streamlined, comprehensive and versatile brand identity.
When the full concept designs were complete, I presented them to Angela. To showcase my vision, I included mock-up images of her potential branding items to demonstrate how the logo and other components could appear in real life. The concept images below show business card mock-ups.
The big unveiling is always a tense moment – exciting, but nerve wracking! After pouring all my energy into creating concepts that I believe are a great solution, the client’s response has a major impact on the ongoing direction.
So here goes…
logo concept one
Angela engraves every one-of-a-kind piece she creates when its complete. I only found out this fact as an off-the-cuff remark during our discovery consultation, but it's so relevant! What better way to add an individual touch to branding than using Angela’s personal handwriting? This concept speaks for itself, as it replicates that authentic mark.
logo concept TWO
This concept uses a distinctive monogram that combines initials A and J to convey an accomplished, timeless and stylish image. The geometric structure of this logo is a memorable and easily recognisable symbol.
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. But the relevance of Angela’s unique mark made the first option the stand-out choice – for us both! Angela had no hesitations in choosing her preference. Often the simplest ideas are the ones that work the best!
The only refinement the chosen logo required was some smoothing off of the lettering.
Because of my considered design approach, I usually only have minimal design refinements. This can really speed projects up!
Other brand identity components
The brand board, shown below, completed this design stage. It gives a complete brand identity overview, showing all the components at a glance. It also acts as a great visual reference for the next stage when building brand collateral.
I’ve talked about the rationale behind Angela’s main logo and colours, but here is the low down on the other elements:
Sub marks: These alternative logo versions are set in a circular composition. They’re used where the primary logo would be unsuitable (like a social media profile icon or watermark) or as a design accent to add versatility.
Typography: The brand typeface is Futura, a design classic chosen for its enduring style and distinctive geometric forms. This font family has many different weights available to add contrast to designs.
Textures: These beautiful textures are close-ups of glass patterns from Angela’s sculptures. They add depth and personality to the brand identity.
STEP 4 / BUILD
Next on the agenda is building the collateral. To put it simply, that’s designing all the other items that Angela will need to communicate – for this particular project at least.
But for a brand identity to do its job properly, it’s important to use it correctly. That’s what brand style guidelines are for! They are essential to:
Establish how the brand’s distinct look is achieved
Set rules how the logo should be applied
Govern the individual components that visually represent the business
Ensure visual communications are consistent
Be a reference for other designers or employees for the future
I compile style guidelines for every brand identity I design – a snapshot of Angela's brand identity style guidelines are below.
Let’s see the finished brand identity in action…
A networking essential, Angela’s business cards also display her artwork. They act as a mini gallery! The minimal styling allows her artwork be the focus. I also organised printing on Angela’s behalf, using Moo, one of my preferred suppliers.
A letterhead uses texture from one of Angela’s distinctive artwork pieces to give authenticity and a sneak peek of her creativity.
Address labels, delivery notes and invoice were also designed. They all use consistent brand styling to help achieve the professional image Angela required, and are practical for in-house printing using just black ink. Good design is functional too!
I use the Squarespace platform to design websites, which is both fully responsive and simple for clients to maintain. The last step in the creative process for this project was to design a new website. It was quite a big step though!
During the entire design process above, Angela and I were also collaborating to plan the content and structure for her site. A successful site, like anything, relies on good preparation.
The primary function for Angela’s website was to be an online gallery that displays her work, but with the versatility to add information for her workshops in the near future.
As it’s is the main emphasis of the entire brand, Angela’s beautiful artwork is showcased on every page. The large banners with close-up textures are a great way to highlight her artwork, while the gallery images show each piece off in the optimum way.
The minimal look and clean design also work towards the brand strategy. Lots of white space indicates premium quality – and makes viewing the site just like walking into an actual art gallery – take a look!
STEP 5 / LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 12-weeks. With all designs complete and all the clients files delivered, the project is ready to be launched into the world!
Thanks to the brand guidelines, Angela understands how to use her new brand identity going forward. We also got together for a Squarespace training session to enable her to make simple website updates whenever she needs to.
But there's more to come – I offer an ongoing design service exclusively to my brand identity clients to ensure that all future projects align with the new branding.
I'm looking forward to teaming up with Angela again to help her launch the studio workshops!
Angela’s consistently styled visuals now match the premium quality of her skilled creative work.
This project has been a real success, not only does it look the part, the bespoke visual identity and website enhance her professional image, help a wider audience see her and clearly demonstrate her expertise.
Angela is now creating the right impression – her branding has taken her to the next level and effectively communicates the value of what she does.
Don’t take my word for it though! Here’s what Angela had to say…
“I love all the elements of the design – my website, letterheads, choice of font, colours… everything. Thanks Andrea for nudging me along to get images and copy ready for you too – just the right balance of efficiency for me to cope with. Loved the whole journey.”
I had great fun working on this collaboration!
What do you think of the new brand identity, collateral and website created for Angel Jarman? I’d love to hear your thoughts!