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Amelia Bolin Design & Lettering

UPDATE 10/11/13

Final Presentation

UPDATE 10/8/13

After a busy month spent on projects and even a week of vacation (!!!), I finally have an update. As I began working on my final presentation, I couldn't ignore the voice in my head that kept insisting on revisiting the monogram part of the logo. It felt too dark and too generic, as though it could be on the back of anyone's iphone case. I began to play around with the concept of wrought ironwork, figuring out how the A and B could work together, and decided to lay the B sideways on its back on top of the A. The new monogram called for a new pattern, also inspired by wrought iron. I added a decorative border to the top of my Web site and put together a revised graphic language. Is it working any better than the previous version?

CREATIVE BRIEF

BACKGROUND

Amelia Bolin Design & Lettering is my fledgling graphic design studio. Currently a publication designer, I would like to transition to freelancing with a focus on custom lettering and possibly brand identity design. I’ve already designed the logo (which can always be refined), business cards (of which I’m considering a redesign) and a custom-lettered alphabet (which can also be refined).

OBJECTIVE

To finish creating my brand identity, one that reflects the type of work I would like to provide for clients.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Regional, national and potentially international clients in food, lifestyle, publishing, art and design who offer high-quality goods and services.

MESSAGE

Custom design and lettering bringing together influences from history and world cultures to reflect unique identities and perspectives.

COMPETITION

Other lettering artists and small brand identity studios.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

– Want to help clients create beautiful visual communication that supports their mission.

– Enjoy collaboration and problem-solving.

– Use my own collection and knowledge of design history to create one-of-a-kind visual languages.

– Love the process of creating and refining lettering and pattern.

– Attention to typographic detail, pattern and texture.

CREATIVE CONSIDERATIONS

– The business cards already exist, although I’d like to work on a redesign for the future. (A little backstory: I discovered a letterpress shop that offered an affordable option for black ink-only, one-sided business cards. The cards also feature a subdued gold edging. Louise Fili was coming to town, so I went ahead and had them printed, even though I didn’t feel they were quite finished. And she very graciously appreciated my effort at custom lettering and my choice of Lettra 220!)

– I used the Art Deco-inspired alphabet that I created for my logo and business cards for the headers in my print portfolio. I chose a similar Web font for the headers on my Web site.

– The black and white of the business cards carry through to my Web site and print portfolio, which allows my colorful work to stand out. I found that kraft paper works well with the subtle gold edging on the cards, so I’m leaning toward using white paper, kraft envelopes and black ribbon for my printed stationery. This could change!

TONE

– Historic

– Modern

– Elegant

– Utilitarian

– Tactile

My portfolio site is ameliabolin.com. Most of my past work is publication design, although I'm beginning to move in a different direction and will be updating the site with more lettering-focused work. The identity needs to bridge the gap between past and future work. Also, here are the logo, a quick shot of the business cards, and the alphabet:

Mood board:

Color palette:

Obviously, I don't have a lot to choose from as far as color! I still want to stick with the kraft paper along with black and white, for both economical and aesthetic reasons. I used Courtney's method to create some swatches taken from the mood board that could be used in future elements of the identity: a lighter tan, a lighter gray, and a slightly darker gray. It may be a good idea to plan for a fourth "real" color (not a neutral) for future applications, so I included a light gray blue and a burgundy. I thought the gray blue contrasted with the brown kraft without being too jarring. As for the burgundy, I'd like to pursue food-related work in the future (my husband is a chef, I'm a wannabe foodie) so I thought I'd try a wine color. My past work has included extremely bright, saturated colors, but I actually prefer more subdued palettes that I've been using in personal projects.

Type Choices:

Always the hardest part for me. When I set out to design my logo, I chose a simple, rounded Art Deco style that wouldn't be too fancy or detailed. I didn't want a generic-looking logo; nor did I want it to create the assumption that all my work is frilly and feminine. (Although I do love fancy lettering!)

Once I had created the letters in my name, I moved on to "Design & Lettering." Then I thought, why not do the whole alphabet, I can only learn from doing it. It's been tricky to scale it to different sizes because even when the paths are outlined in Illustrator (to avoid having small letters with really fat strokes), it still looks darker and heavier at small sizes and lighter and more open at large sizes.

To compensate I have to minutely adjust the weight of the strokes after I size the letters, rather than outlining them before resizing, because it gives me more control. But it's not feasible to do that constantly, so if I continue using this alphabet I'm going to have to invest in font software and learn how to use it. So that's the story behind my main font, for any of you type nerds out there.

When I started looking into a secondary typeface, I wanted something to work on my portfolio site as well as in print. I don't own very many fonts and can't afford to buy them at random without being pretty committed. I use Squarespace for my portfolio site, and they offer a wide selection of Google Web fonts, as well as the option to use Typekit. I haven't yet figured out the ins and outs of Typekit, so I decided to stick with Google.

I wanted a classic serif text face that wasn't too narrow, because my alphabet letters are pretty wide. Sorts Mill Goudy was one of the Google choices, and I have Goudy Old Style for use in print, so all things considered, that's what I went with. Here's a sample from my print portfolio:

It was designed in 1915, so logically it would have been used during the Art Deco era, but I'm not too in love with it here. The thin strokes are a little too thin. I looked at some other classic style typefaces, Athelas by Type Together (top) and MVB Verdigris Pro by MVB Fonts: (I placed a sample of my alphabet above each one for comparison purposes)

I also looked at the ever-popular Mrs. Eaves by Emigre:

So that's where I am on typefaces. I feel like I need to be more certain before I start investing, not that I don't want to support type designers. More research needed. Any suggestions are welcome!

Graphic Language:

My patterns are pretty geometric ... I'm playing around with some wrought iron-inspired curves (I'm from Charleston and I've always loved blacksmith Phillip Simmons' work) but none are ready to post yet. In the meantime, here's what I have so far. UPDATE: Revised patterns:

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