I was tagged in my a client to work with a new organization as they developed their business model and messaging.
The creative brief outlined the purpose of the group to better utilize the various grants provided by the Province of Alberta. It's mission is to create opportunities for various sporting organizations to work together to apply for grants to create more impact in sport and recreation in Alberta.
They serve all ranges of sport from recreational to competitive as well as inclusive of all ranges of abilities and ages. So yeah... how do you create a brand that reflects all elements of such a wide range of groups. I mean, creating an icon with a man running was too narrow and trying to include even a fraction of the variety of sports would ultimately make someone feel unheard.
I started the process by grabbing my favourite Field Notes pencil and House Industries graph paper to start sketching out some directions and let my inner creative muse start to play with the idea.
Once I got some idea about concepts to try to build I picked the ones that resonated with my ideas and created 5 working concepts along with an idea of colour themes to also get the client thinking about how it would all come together.
I will share my secret tool that makes creating colour pallettes so much less daunting, Color Index XL by James Krause. Best resource book for a creative ever.
Option 1 was inspired by the previous and no longer organization, Alberta Recreation Parks and Wildlife Foundation, as well as tag in the idea of the two A's in the acronym to look like mountain peaks. I also threw in an idea of a framed badge look. Because the organization is new - I wanted to show that the full name of the organization to be part of the design.
Option 2 was inspired by the idea of molecules. When you mix and match molecules you come up with a new and unique outcome each and every time. This was to mimic the concept of the coalition of combing recreational and sports organizations together to come up with a new and more effective impact.
Option 3 was inspired by Aaron Draplin and his love of thick lines. He is a logo king in my books and I value his take on making sure a design looks good large as well as small. I also incorporated the idea of a crest to mimic yet not replicate the provincial crest. The mountains in the crest represented the idea of the two A's again and the addition of the lines to show movement.
Option 4 was a minimalist take on the angles of the A without getting too literal. I wouldn't say it was a brilliant direction, but a simplified one.
From here, the client chose two directions to further develop, the molecules in option 2 and the crest in option 3.
These were my takes on the idea of embracing the 'molecule'. A couple different directions.
Then I developed the crest idea that included a more literal action figure since my client was comparing our designs to what was already out there.
So I took the feedback and worked the concepts out with colour so the group could get a better sense of the brand look and feel and the variety of options. We showcased two colour themes.
I hadn't hit the mark yet, so they had me dig back in and flush out the ideas a little more. The molecule version I showcased the idea of a flexible graphic that could be used in a variety of ways using the colour theme they leaned towards.
The next version below, I was asked to show varying size and differences which would elaborate on the idea of the different levels and sizes of recreational and sport groups. Then we created an option that was more generic as far as action and movement. Arrows up for jumping, sideways arrows to show forward movement and then semi circles to represent wheels and balls - basically equipment from the various sports.
My client was still keen to see more literal interpretations of sport, so I tried to find generic images to represent competition (strategy x's and o's), fitness (dumbell), and disability sport (the running icon with a prosthetic leg). Sometimes it helps to show a client why things won't work instead of just saying so.
I think the most befuddling feedback I got for adjusting the 'crest' design was if I could please tweak it so it didn't look like a crest but they liked the look and feel of it... hmmm. Now that was one to ponder. I started back a step by bringing out my pencil and paper and started playing around with how to remove the 'badge-like' feel while still keeping the design.
So here is the thing... one would think after all these revisions creatively I would be frustrated... and okay a little, but that is when the creative muse really kicks up a notch. As I began to dismantle the 'crest' frame I began to see a cube instead. This opened up the concept to relate so much better with the multiple personalities. The idea was the swoosh represented both water sports/activity and outdoor ones on snow and off. The circle could be the wheel of a wheelchair or a ball of any of the sports, then the arrows were all about moving forward.
Below are the final designs that came out of the process.
My favourite element of the whole project was the unique placement of the icon, almost like a lightbulb to represent ideas and the way the graph elements could be used in the marketing materials to keep the brand consistent and flexible. The cube could be used as a structure for a photo collage and the organziation can use photos of sports and activities that are working together as well the graphic elements of the arrows, circles and swoosh can be used to create patterns to further define the brand.