Ashford: Parts of the Brand

I have spent the last few days creating different parts of the brand. I decided that deliverables I will hand in are:

  • Logo & Tagline
  • Business Cards
  • Letterheads
  • Email Sign off
  • Street Banners

The above are all compulsory, the below are my decision.

  • Carrier Bag- Acts free marketing if somebody is carrying your logo around.
  • Mugs- A quick product to mock up and produce, cheap and always a big seller in tourist/souvenir shops. Every place to visit needs a mug!
  • ID Badge- For people who work in the council, a nice little element that is often overlooked.
  • Car Decal- Drive a car around for a day and it will reach thousands of people. Make it interesting enough, for people to notice, and you can really begin to raise awareness.

Here are my elements:

Logo & Tagline

This logo took me weeks to reach, and hours to create. It is in no way what I thought I wanted at the start of the project. I thought I would created a fast and dynamic logo that serves to emphasise Ashford’s fantastically speedy travel links but, as I got further into the project, I realised that this is just one small aspect of Ashford in terms of it’s location.
Yes, it is fast to get to from France and London but there is so much more to Ashford’s surrounding towns than one would think. The story of Ashford’s growth is one that involves the absorption of it’s neighbouring towns and villages. All coming together to create something bigger. This, to me, seemed like a perfect jumping off point as whenever you hear about Ashford, you hear about growth, prospects and the future. All 3 elements that I knew I would have been stupid to ignore in my logo.
The below logo can be seen as one of two things, but the thing to remember (whichever way you look at it) is that every single shape is connected to the any other shape somehow.Ashford- Rebrand LogoFirst of all, the larger green ring that is looping around all the other shapes can be seen as “Ashford”. It is the one larger thing that holds all the smaller elements together. It protects all within and creates a ‘Citadel‘ within itself.

Or the other (slightly less appealing) way the logo could be look at, is like a virus…
No one has actively made this association with my logo but I am wary of any connotations between Ashford and “The Blob”. Always expanding, absorbing all within it’s path and will never stop growing.
This is actually something I want to say in the logo, but put a positive spin on it: “Ashford is growing, expanding and merging. Creating futures, jobs and bettering the economy. I think the pretty colours help to distract from any negative thoughts.

Furthermore, the logo has so much room for expanding and creating “sister” hybrids from just the shapes and colours alone.

Business Card

Front 03 Back 03

In the last post, I mentioned I was going to see if I could make one easier to produce, or help the other to reflect the concept of growth better. I opted for the slide out business card because the other one felt so flimsy and just not very special.
The idea of having a little wallet for the business card is a nice one and the fact that it expresses the idea of growth, within itself, adds a whole new element o

Letterhead

This is actually unchanged from what I first showed (after I decided on a logo). It completely worked for me and, after I designed it, I knew just how strong my logo was! I think it looks great and can actually imaging getting a letter through the door with this design.

Letterhead

Email Sign Off

This is where I really begun to make use of the, before mentioned, “sister hybrids.” I was looking a lot of the other, existing, sign offs out there. They are sooo dull! Below is a perfect example of what not to do.
I had so much room to play with the shapes and colours I created in the logo. I realised that these, somewhat random, shapes are actually meant to represent surrounding towns, so why not (like a map) dot them around the white space. A few odd shapes just looked weird, so before long it became how it looks below. A busy and vibrant collection of different communities and life.

Email Sign Off

Street Banners

The street banners are intended to say “Ashford: A Great Place, Well Placed… In fact (with the great transport links) it’s right on your doorstep!” The idea would be that you walk past the closed door and then further down the street is the same image, just with an open door. Each time the door opens up on a great place to visit within Ashford.
I thought that having a closed door, if somebody doesn’t see the other banners, would seem like a terrible piece of design work. “Closed Doors” have so many negative connotations but then I realised that it could simply be saying the same message. It is a doorstep.

Mug

My logic behind making a mug: “I want people to come and visit. Anywhere you can visit has a souvenir shop. Any souvenir shop sells mugs.”
It’s not the most cleverest of decision making processes but it took literally no time to make and, strangely, I can see this on shelves! Little effort, a lot of profit. No need to thank me shop owners!

Mug Mock Up

Mug Shot!

Mug Shot!

Carrier Bag

I heard that carrier bags are like free advertising. You give someone a carrier bag to carry their stuff in and they are walking around showing your companies logo to potentially hundreds of people!
I realised that the best thing to do would to make it out of something that is reusable and lasts, and in today’s kind of Eco-mad world, I decided that a recycled, Eco-friendly material is easily the best option.
The mock up was actually real easy to make. It was simply a case of popping the artwork into Photoshop (over an image of a bag) and distorting the shape a little. I then finished it off with some transparency effects to let the texture come through.
Unlike the mug, I didn’t want to just plop the logo into a design. Doing that just felt lazy and I knew there was more to be had with the logo. I opened a square illustrator file and put all the elements in (the logo, the town’s name and the tagline). As I went through each part I decided that the only element I was going to keep was the slogan!
The brand is beginning to become the shapes, not just the logo I created at the start of the process. And the town name, it just seems fun not to include that. I want to instil curiosity and wonder, I want people to see this bag everywhere and the shapes and that sentence to become second nature.
Visually I think it is more than enough to captivate you and I would definitely buy one (and I am not just saying that!)

Bag Mock Up

ID Badge

I created an ID badge as I thought the council members (who would be using the letterhead) should be proud to wear the town they represent on their chests.
The design itself is extremely simplistic, but I tried to keep it very similar to the letterheads, with the larger logo watermarked behind the text.
An ID Badge isn’t meant to be fun and fancy, it is very much about being able to see the information quickly, that is why I decided not to crowd it up with too much art.

ID Badge Artwork

ID Badge Mock Up

Car

I wanted to create an element to this part of the project that was different and, stemming from the carrier bag acting as mobile advertising, I felt like a car would be a fun thing to try my hand at. It is a large canvas and I have never even considered car artwork, but I figured “why not?!”
This began to prove very hard! I, first, had to find a car that would appear friendly and welcoming. I thought a Smart Car would be a good choice, but then I realised most people get annoyed by them! (I certainly do!) So, I decided to go for a Toyota Yaris. It is small, environmentally friendly and it looks pleasant (unlike a van or pick-up truck).

Yaris Template

Working from the above template I firstly had to remove all the white, leaving only the black lines, in Photoshop. I then imported that file into Illustrator and coloured in the black and grey parts of the car, to make it feel more 3D. Believe it or not, them three lines took almost three hours!!

Yaris Before Decal-01

Finally I was ready to begin placing my shapes into the template I had made.
I created a spray effect from the front wheel, the sprays were obviously the colourful shapes and they fly up above and below the word “Ashford” to add a 3 dimensional  and dynamic feel to them.
I decided I would add the slogan on the boot and the logo on the bumper, just so anyone driving behind would be able to see.

Car Decals

Summary of the above

I am really happy with how the logo developed into a whole brand! They colourful shapes, originally meant to represent the community and togetherness of the villages that merged with Ashford, are now beginning to take on the town’s identity in themselves!
Blob-01I am very happy with how this has happened, it is exactly what a brand should be.
I think that before long you would see this and you will think “Ashford”.

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