Old Brand Elements

A breakthrough

I think (I hope) we’ve had a bit of a breakthrough today with the Flourish branding.

We were getting so stuck, going round and round in circles trying to create something that looks better than the website we have, but with the spirit of the original brand identity. I think we were all really struggling to move forwards whilst building on what’s working. It feels a little like baring my soul showing you one of our early ideas, especially since it’s not finished, but we’ve moved on fairly far from what’s below and I think you need to see the context of why we’re struggling so much!

An idea that isn’t working…

This website mockup (unfinished by the way… just look at those icons at the bottom of the page and the signpost all over the place) had the gravitas and wow factor we wanted, but as Bronwyn, our Brand Strategist pointed out, if you cover up the logo it doesn’t look like Flourish. And it doesn’t feel like Flourish either. I guess that’s part of the journey. Working through what’s working and what isn’t is twice as hard when you’re the designer, creative director and client isn’t it?

Moving forwards

I’ve found the last couple of weeks really frustrating. Knowing what I wanted to achieve but not really being able to give any specific direction on how we get there. And I think the team have found it equally annoying because they want to get this as right as I do. It felt like we were continually taking two steps forward and one back.

And then just like I have all my brainwaves in the car, I had a lightbulb moment this afternoon when I realised that if we break down the current brand identity, and remind ourselves of why we did what we did in the first place, that we might just be able to move forward. Simple when you put it like that isn’t it? Why we didn’t do this two months ago I’ll never know ;-)

The starting point

Here’s our brand identity as we launched it in 2010.

Rosewood (the circus font) in particular captures the quirky exhuberance of the brand. It’s distinctive, engaging, warm and energetic. But it’s been overused lately and we need to move on. Personally I never loved Mepp but it was very “of the moment” and as I suspected back in 2009, that moment has passed. And that’s ok…

Perec was all about us being taken seriously. It’s beautiful, legible and a great body copy font. But we have since cheated on Perec with our new font and it’s wonderful.

Purple: quality, vision, purpose was also about us being taken seriously. I love the colour and I think it still has a place, but I don’t think it should feature as highly in our palette as it did two years ago. I think we’ve ticked the “take us seriously” box now.

Green: fresh, energetic, approachable and reassuring. This is still a core part of our brand colour palette.

Orange: creative, abundant and sociable it’s there for all the right reasons. I wonder whether (thank you Tracy!) it’s too masculine for us?

Pattern adds texture, approachability and warmth. We are going to be using pattern moving forwards, but we need those wobbly lines that work so well for us now.

Illustrations add a quirky personality and still get me in the heart. I love them. But I worry they look a bit scruffy. And I think we can do better than that too… So we need illustrations that communicate the warmth, energy and engagement of those old line illustrations whilst continuing to inspire us. I still love that magic wand though…

It’s interesting because breaking down what we did before and why makes it much easier to evaluate why what we’re doing to move things forwards doesn’t feel right.

I mean, I can see the website at the top would look fabulous if we tidied up the design, but it doesn’t feel right, and with what we do, our brand needs to feel as good as it looks. It’s too Winter as well isn’t it? And it’s missing all the great bits that worked so well about the original Flourish identity. And in trying to move forwards from an identity that we feel isn’t doing us justice any longer, we lost sight of what worked so well about it.

We finished our meeting feeling very optimistic and (I hope) clear on what we need to do. We’ve agreed on the colours (in comes a more optimistic and friendly yellow, out goes purple); in comes a much more fabulous font which I hope will add the much needed exuberance and energy of Rosewood and in come icons with energy and movement. I’m excited! Really excited!

Do you want to see the new brand elements as they stand? I’m not sure I’m ready to share them with you. It makes me feel a little bit sick…

01483 401818
Flourish, 5 Millmead,
Guildford, Surrey, GU2 4BE