How can a message be enhanced by the medium in which it is delivered?

Good question that! I started this week stuck on the most pointless part of the challenge what emotion do I associate with my city? Silly question that, I associate a mountain of emotions with the city I live in. I’ve experienced joy here, I’ve experienced loss, i’ve laughed, i’ve cried, i’ve felt curious and intrepid, scared and free. The wonderful nature of living in a busy city is the range of emotions that go with it!

I turned to the city itself, self-described once upon a time as the “city of discovery”. Why? 400 years ago (401 now actually) a crew set off from Plymouth to discover America aboard the Mayflower Ship. I walked to the steps that now symbolise this occasion to think about what the emotion they might have felt was.

Gazing out to sea and the great unknown, it is impossible not to feel the spirit of adventure. Perhaps my motivation for moving to Plymouth from a much smaller town was the same, I wanted adventure. Of all the things I’ve felt about Plymouth, i’ve never stopped feeling adventure. So if there is one emotion I have for this city it is adventurous.

Portraying a brand

Early into this process, I knew I wanted to create a brand for this weeks piece. But how does being a brand convey a message, can a logo mark enhance the message? I’d argue it does. I looked at some bigger brands and the way their logo marks and messaging convey their message more so.

image: Nike

Nikes famous swoosh and “Just do it.” slogan work together not to portray what it is they make (clothing) but to convey their brand emotion. Positivity, drive, determination. By selling the message, they sell product.

image: Apple

Before updating their logo, Apple applied the rainbow colours across their logo mark. There were countless rumours to the reasoning for this, notably as a reference to Alan Turing, inventor of the computer and gay man in a time when being so was frowned upon by others in society. A reference by Apple to being ahead of their time, forward thinking whilst paying homage to the origin of their industry. This is the story I first heard, but on research an interview with the designer of the logo stated that this isn’t actually true.
A bit of a shame but regardless, that a logo can conjure such emotion and story is a perfect example of brand portraying emotion.

developing the logos for the Adventure brand, I used a compass point to represent the emotion and the red/white stripes of Plymouth’s Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse for the location. There’s not much more of an iconic landmark in Plymouth than this, so even if subtle it would be a nice reference.

I liked the idea of an adventure brand implying a location and I took some inspiration for this from the brand NorthFace who my fictional brand Adventurous Co. would see as their main competitor. The logo for NorthFace feels like the perfect research. Designed in 1971 by designer David Alcorn I found out the history of the logo here: https://www.cgain.co.uk/the-north-face-logo-branding/

To summarise, the simplistic mark represents the Half Dome rock wall at the Yosemite National Park, California.

I trialled a grid based approach with an angled mesh grid to develop the logo mark, but felt eventually like it took some of the free form feel away from the logo.
Inspired by comments from my colleagues on the Ideas wall I reverted to a version that included the compass dial points to further hint at the compass iconography of the brand. Ultimately this made the logo feel messier for me and it lost some of its abstract appeal, but I wanted to follow the advice of my peers to best portray the logo mark.

Reflecting on this I was really interested by the connection that brands create to emotion and message over product. As a studio manager I see a lot of logos that reflect what it is that the company does which is an easy trap to fall into. But a lot of the most interesting brand work comes from the mark reflecting the core message and principles of the brand instead. In this way I’ve half achieved what I set out to do with this adventurous co. brand. I managed to combine an icon associated with adventurous and an iconic mark for Plymouth into one logo. I like the outcomes, but I wonder if adventurous actually implies more emotions freedom, anticipation, a little fear, how could i instead portray these?

In much the same way that North Face does, I think perhaps you need to know a little depth to my brand to understand the Plymouth connection. But it is nice to include these depths to a logo!