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Designing in change – A view from the design studio

April 2019Tom

Times of change can bring new perspectives – and the potential for refocusing a business. With a change in outlook can come a change in look. Moving into 2019 you will see us here at FIG embracing change and opportunities with our new FIG brand look and perspective.     

We caught up with Senior Designer and FIG Studio Manager, Callie Nicholls, to find out more about the creative process behind a brand invigoration and how our creative team is re-telling the FIG story.     

Designing change is more than a change in design. A brand is more than a logo.  A re-brand can energize a company. It allows you to position (or re-position) your vision and values. Think about the core of your business in partnership with a design team.

A brand design will also impact on every touch-point your customer will have with you – your logo, packaging, signage, flyers, ads – through to the ways they engage with you across digital, social, print and broadcast media channels.  As designers we balance all those needs to create a brand identity which will engage and resonate with customers across all channels and resources. 

That’s why we as designers and digital creators ask so many questions.

We need to understand what a brand is wanting to do, which direction it’s going in and why it needs to do it. Then it’s time to great creative…  

Logo:

It’s more than a name or image it’s also about what you do and how you do it – all in a brief snapshot. Translating these elements visually is the key. Does a name help or hinder that snapshot image?  Are you linking to the past or forging a brand new path? Reflecting a heritage or legacy is important – unless you’re going for a wholesale change in direction and want to stop people in their tracks. Does a name help or hinder that snapshot image? These are all considerations for a designer. In terms of FIG, our name is our logo – and it demonstrates the journey of our company very neatly.  Originally known as First Impression in the early 1990’s we changed our name to FIG Creative, the FIG standing for First Impression Group which reflected how we had grown and developed in the marketing and communications sector. The recent decision to drop the ‘creative’ came about as we felt it undersold the breadth of the services we offer our client, particularly growing digital, marketing and communications technology. Reflecting our award-winning expertise in the B2B sector we’re re-positioning our look to match; updating the FIG logo with a contemporary sleek look and reinforcing our B2B Marketing & Communications credentials in our strapline.   

Colour & palette:  

Colour is so vast that narrowing down the choices to suit your messages and tone of voice is always difficult. The use of tints, accents and gradients can hep to create a colour palette that stands out from the rest. It is also important to find a palette that translates well across different media. Often choosing a pantone first gives you a solid base to work from. Then finding a conversion for CMYK and RGB helps with printed collateral and digital mediums. 

We’ve always had a bright colour palette, bright, bold colours that jump off the page. The direction of our new colour palette adds a bit of sophistication which ties in with the change of tone of voice. The colour palette was extended out so that we had a palette of colours that we could use to reflect what we do. 

Words are pictures:

Typography can be a key element to a logo, it needs to be strong, clear and legible, there is no point picking a really fancy font that nobody can read or is illegible when scaled down. A logo font needs to work at billboard size and business card size. But that’s not the whole story.

Your font will speak across your brand – think banners, client correspondence, website and presentations.  FIG is communication – clear and focused. Our Client Services team’s expertise and skill in writing for a range of industrial, tech and manufacturing is our specialism. We wanted the way those words are presented to reflect that.  We’ve extended the font palette in our toolkit. As well as choosing a font that would work well on headers and body copy we wanted a type that had a choice of weights to keep our designs fresh and dynamic. We also took the step to introduce an italic accent font just to add something a little bit different to the FIG brand.            

Work and rework – Target and test.

The key factor in our re-branding process is that we’re not working in silos. Integration is at the heart of the FIG brand and it’s also one of the most important pieces of advice to pass on. A brand campaign works best when it works in partnership with all aspects and perspectives in a business. It’s also about challenging, reworking and re-versioning designs – and so you may want to test it with trusted customers or new potential audiences. It’s not a necessarily fast process but that’s because it has to be right and right first time it’s launched – get it skewed and that can impact on your business position, authority and conversation with customers.

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