This project, brand and identity development, was for long time friend and photographer Ian Matteson. Ian is an action and commercial based photographer out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Along with Ian’s action and commercial work, he shoots a lot of film/fine art photographs. As the project progressed, I realized just how great it would be to incorporate these other areas into core components of his brand. We both have put in endless hours working on this project and really are excited to have this portion of it completed.
Objectives & Goals
Our first main objective was to develop an identity for Ian that really complimented his style of photography also keeping his long and short-term goals in mind, while at the same time, enabling him to stand out among others in the photography industry. After talking about these goals we came to recognize that simplicity was key in this case. We needed people to remember his name through his work and needed to be unique in the way that we were doing it. A brand that was cohesive would in itself set Ian apart from his competition.
Round one sketches
Before diving into headfirst into the design, Ian and I sat down (mostly via iChat) and researched current and past photographer logo trends. Based upon our research, we saw a pattern. It showed that generally the more successful photographers opt to utilize their name as their logo. In some cases, Ian’s competition also did this, but completely lacked the visual stability throughout their brand and the uniqueness of the logotype.
The few sketches above show alleys that were explored. Although my initial icon sketches didn’t make the cut, they still provided a point in which I could look at how an icon could assist or take away from the main logo. This was the point where we really questioned tradition and steered away from using an icon. There would be no case where Ian would need to use one and going back to our original goal: We want people to remember his name–not an icon.
Round two sketches
Once the direction was established for the logo, I began to use tracing paper over my round two sketches. Have you ever used tracing paper for logos? I find it to be a huge time saver when repeating sketches over and over. After hashing out several versions of the original sketch, I visited the personality of each letterform. The biggest issue I saw with using just logotype as the main logo was that we really needed it to sing. Ian is such a character that we really needed it to do him justice. The beautiful hand drawn type and driving idea of simplicity fit perfectly into the recipe that both Ian and I were envisioning.
Selecting color was a no brainer for this project. The use of a highlight color deemed inappropriate for this logo considering there was no icon to utilize a seconary color. Also, to add a secondary color to the logo would ultimately take away from our main goal and lastly, it would cause problems when using the logo as a watermark directly over color images. The solution for the color scheme was to bring in Ian’s film and fine art look to enhance the brand. We focused on what imagery would be where and on what application (print or web). In the case of printed materials, the type and logo will be black on white with the exception of the business card (black on black).
The website however, will use white text on dark imagery. This is where we really bring in Ian’s work. All of the images that require a substantial amount of text overlaying them, are greyscale like in the above diagram. The other imagery are portfolio works that have no overlaying text. To create the base colors I blurred out images until they only viewable as splotches of color. Another way to do this is to select your image and use the mosaic filter in Photoshop. I hadn’t used this method prior to this project, but it really helped narrow down the amount of greys, whites and blacks.
Typefaces used in both print & web applications
The typefaces used throughout the collateral pieces absolutely enhanced this project. Interstate was used in the printed material as it bonded beautifully with the final logo; the angular design of each letterform also complimented Ian’s action photography. For online collateral, we utilized Klavika. Once again the type reflected the work by both the angular and rounded letterforms.
Even though there is becoming less and less of a need for a printed business cabinet, we still felt like it was absolutely necessary. Ian still needs to present himself to clients whom aren’t fully immersed in the digital age. In addition to the traditional business papers, I designed templates of Ian’s business papers as an extension of the identity: Invoice, Contract, Model and Property Releases.
This project has been awesome to work on and the end result is something we’re proud of and thrilled to have it out on the table for viewing. The whole visual aesthetic and logo fit exactly to who Ian is as a photographer. Not to mention Ian is in love with his new look. I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to chime in if you have something to say.