Developing brand character and why it matters —
How much does it cost to design a logo? This frequently asked question concerns me for a few reasons. The biggest being that a logo is just one small (albeit important) part of a brand, it cannot communicate clearly on its own. I understand the thought process for a new business – start lean and expand on the brand as the business grows – however I can’t agree with the approach.
The most important part of a brand is what you can’t see, the things that define character (for example, values and vision, a defined target market, tone of voice). It’s these factors that dictate the visible design elements (typography, colour, imagery, etc) and help your audience connect with the business.
It shouldn’t be left up to potential clients or customers to guess who you are and what you stand for, this is an aspect of the business that you can (and should) take control of. A considered branding process provides a great deal of insight, clarifying brand values and developing character helps you make confident decisions and places your business in a better position for growth from the beginning.
In our branding process the top priority is to help people define and understand who they are, so their audience can too. In all studios, thorough discussion between designer and client before the creative phase begins should be non-negotiable. Uncovering the who, what and (the all important) why allows for the development of a strong brand character which ensures meaningful communication. When you understand who you are and who you’re talking to, the words come easier.
For further information on our branding process and costing, please get in touch.
The importance of review and reflection in design —
A recent visit to a premium Melbourne yoga studio prompted me to consider design process. The business had spared no expense on the branding and fit-out; a respected design studio developed the identity and the space was shaped by a very well-known interior designer. There’s no doubt that considerable thought went into the creation of this business.
Developing character is one of the most important stages of branding, it dictates design and helps your audience connect with the intangible parts of your business. I’m confident this would have been a key factor for all involved, however what I found troubling when I visited was the lack of attention to small details. There were a number of minor things that damaged the experience for me as a consumer – tattered posters stuck up with tape, chipped furniture and products within that didn’t seem to align with the business character – all which add up and devalue integrity.
Great branding can be undone or diluted when the day to day running of a business isn’t taken into account as a part of the original brief. Infrequent promotional material or activities can be left to non-design staff and urgent solutions often take over from considered brand consistent solutions with a negative result. Poor housekeeping can destroy branding intention.
This can be easily rectified. In all areas of life review and reflection are crucial to maintaining balance and order, design is no different. This experience forced me to reflect on my own processes and review them, as a result all JAC& projects now include a review phase. A time to sit down after a few months or a year and assess how the brand is serving its original intention. Through these meetings, we aim to add ongoing value and help our client’s businesses grow design integrity.
JAC& x McKellar Renown —
We recently collaborated with McKellar Renown Press on The Make Project; a monthly collaboration showcasing the unique marriage of process and design to demonstrate the power of print to communicate.
Focussing on tactility, we created a composition of some of our favourite BJ Ball, Spicers and K.W. Doggett stocks. We used a combination of complementary colours, weights and textures to encourage the reader to focus on the subtle differences across each stock.
Print was kept simple and limited; the cover printed in white ink on translucent stock is a dedication to the late Ellsworth Kelly’s Circle Line, with some of his wise words hidden within the booklet – “The negative is just as important as the positive” – this quote represents our thinking at JAC& well. A lot of the time, it’s what isn’t on the page (or screen) that speaks the loudest.
We documented the work with the wonderful Natalie Turnbull (stylist) and Willem-Dirk du Toit (photographer). Working with such a talented team was a great way to finish off an already rewarding collaborative project.
We have a very limited number of copies to send out, if you would like one please email us with your postal address.
See the full project here.
New beginnings —
Jac in a Box was founded in 2007, since then the business has gone through many periods of change and growth, our projects and relationships have helped shape and define who we are, what we do and how we do it. This past year has been our most successful year yet, so it feels appropriate to look inward and ensure our identity reflects our values and ambitions.
The name JAC& has been adopted to better reflect the studio’s position and ethos. It is a nod to our network of suppliers and collaborators and our ever-supportive and trusting clients. This is our way of saying thanks for the part they play in making the studio develop and thrive.
Very special thanks to those who have helped with the rebrand. Namely Willem-Dirk du Toit for his fine photography skills, Natalie Turnbull for styling, Taylor’d Press and McKellar Renown Press for being so great with all things paper and Michael Cairns for his site building wizardry. Also to my partner, friends and family for your constant feedback and reassurance. You are all very patient!