Ralston Vaz

Brand Strategy & Design

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2

Soul Athletics, Brand Identity

Hey, classmates. I decided to go through this great class using a brandmark I only just designed with a non-profit recreational ministry for kids. They're called Soul Athletics. I've never really developed a visual identity to support a mark, so this was an awesome opportunity to enrich my craft.

Soul Athletics has been in development for years, but is picking up steam and interest. To better secure the support and funding they need to thrive, a face and feel to the name is in order. They tapped my identity design consultancy, Thinkory, to help them define and express their brand. Yayness!

I totally welcome your feedback on everything. From the brandmark to the identity presentation and everything in between. I'm in this to learn!

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BRANDMARK, BRIEF AND MOOD BOARD
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THE BRANDMARK (UNCOLORED):

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THE CREATIVE BRIEF:

Background

Who is the client and what is their current situation?

Carlos and Amandria Preston have a heart for the spiritual development of children and have founded Soul Athletics to express that heart through athleticism. But there are like organizations and theirs doesn’t have a memorably distinguishable identity.


Objective

What are you trying to accomplish?

To energetically introduce Soul Athletics to parents and school-age kids with an identity that excites, inspires and resonates. And to capture that energy and organizational beliefs in a symbol that kids can own.


Target Audience

Who are your client’s ideal customers?

  • Kids, grades 1 - 8, who appreciate high-energy good times, movement and stories. 
  • Faith-grounded parents and guardians of kids in grades 1 - 8 who want for an increase in their kids’ exposure to the Word as they mature with ever-increasing worldly influences.
  • Unchurched, “inner-city” urban parents, guardians and kids (grades 1 - 8) of low-income households who will come for the activities and return for the integrity.


Message

What is your client trying to say?

"Let’s have an AMAZING time of play while learning to be the awesome boys and girls our creator made us to be!"


Competition

Who are your client’s biggest competitors?

  • Adventure Camp
  • Upward Sports
  • Beach Club
  • Other afterschool-targeted programs and organizations, faith-based or not.


Distinguishing Characteristics

What makes your client unique?

  • An organization laser focused on the health of kids’ souls (minds, bodies, spirits)
  • A small organization with founders “on the ground” and shaping experiences.
  • A place where scripture is taught and experienced within the context of fun athleticism.
  • An organization on mission to talk about the Bible, lead kids to salvation and have fun doing it.
  • An organization determined to meet kids where they are—physically, mentally and spiritually.
  • An organization that believes it takes a village to raise a child and fosters the development of relationships with all staff members.
  • An organization with a heart for homeschooled children.


Creative Considerations

Does the client have any specific directives that should apply to the work?

  • Nothing specific to a sport.
  • Nothing trendy.
  • Aim for timeless, classy and multi-generational.


Tone or Key Words

What personality does the client want to project to their audience?

  • Really highly energetic
  • Crazy fun
  • Likeable
  • Selfless
  • Devoted


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THE MOOD BOARD


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COLOR PALETTE AND COLORED BRANDMARK
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THE COLOR PALETTE

The identity for Soul Athletics needed to be energetic above all. I felt all other character attributes would fall in line if I got the energy right. And color was a big part of making that work. 

Adobe Kuler (especially how well it's integrated with Illustrator CC) and Courtney's spot on advice about pulling colors from the mood board were the best help here. In fact, I flattened my mood board—exporting it as a jpg—and imported it at kuler.adobe.com to have the app create color palettes. There was still plenty of try, fail and try again, but that was a productivity booster, let me tell ya. Here's where I landed, something sort of triadic that I hope projects energy, optimism and trust: 

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COLORED BRANDMARK

And here's the color palette applied to the brandmark:

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TYPOGRAPHY
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THE TYPE SYSTEM

Typography is pretty dear to my heart, but Courtney's module on type pairing deepened my love a bit. It was great thinking through pairing typefaces by comparing x-heights. Never thought of that before. 

This being a non-profit, money is going to be regularly tight. So I wanted to create a type system that would be easy for the founders and managers to keep consistent. For me, that meant Google Fonts. Freely available for use in print and online, it was the ideal tool for finding the perfect pair of typefaces. Here's what I came up with:


I've gotta say, what I love the most about the type choices I've made here is the "e" in Bree Serif. It smiles. It actually smiles at you. That's dope to me.

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GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
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PATTERNS

This was an interesting challenge for me. I know from Courtney's teaching that there can be many components to a graphic language, but I saw the usefulness of energetic, fun patterns for this brand and identity. Problem was, I haven't intentionally developed a pattern for anything in about 12 years! I wasn't sure where to begin. 

Following Courtney's tip, I looked to the mood board and one idea led to another, and another, and another. Not counting the brandmark itself, this was the longest portion of this identity project. A couple of days of development, experimentation, learning, culling. But I had a wonderful, wonderful time with it all. Here are the five final patterns:

I have to say, if you havn't played with Illustrator's Pattern Options palette for making and editing patterns, you need to! I don't know if the way it works in Illustrator CC is unique to that version, but this feature/tool is a pattern making LIFE SAVER. For realz. 

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PRESENTATION
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THE FINAL PRESENTATION

I was excited to finally make it here, to assembling the final presentation! I so enjoyed bringing together all the elements of the Soul Athletics identity that I crafted along the way. Good times seeing it all live together here. Like a design block party in Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn block parties. I miss those.

Anyway, there one diversion I had to make from Courtney's awesome tutelage; identity collage. I couldn't make it make sense for me. I understood the concept and the point, but, try as I might, I could not make a simple collage that didn't make me want to insert my monitor into the nearest trash receptacle.

Still, I rely on an old and trusted design principle: Never present work out of context. So I knew that it was important to do more than show my client their new identity on a crisp, white canvas. The vision of its potential would be harder to see there. But in stead of an identity collage, I did what I knew to do best; real-world mock ups of the identity living out in the wild. 

You'll see those on the last seven or so slides of the presentation below and you can download the entire PDF here: Soul-Athletics-Identity-Design.pdf

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THE REACTION

It was only just last week Friday (March 7, 2014) and they absolutely loved it! The presentation did well to help them understand what Thinkory and I care about; the 'why' behind the 'what.' They understood the mark and how each element of the identity works together to set the mood, tone and preception of their organization. They can't wait to put their brand identity to work for Soul Athletics. 

Feedback is so welcome, guys. And BIG props to Courtney for this class. I learned way more than I imagined I would.

Next stop, Style Guide. 

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