The development process
The brief must be crystal clear at the outset
If a clear brief is not available, we will help develop one in partnership with the client. During this process, Chris may provide quick sketches as visual aids to assist in the formulation of the brief.
An informed overview of the whole project, including, for example, brand projection, target markets, usage, style themes, colours, and print materials from the outset helps greatly to ensure the final creation is designed fit for purpose.
The successful creation of an illustrative brand icon will always benefit from clear communication, insight and support from all those involved in the development process
It is important to keep the development process efficient and focused on a result which not only meets the brief but is also imaginative, engaging, relevant and functional. To that end it is crucial that the thinking stage of the process comes at the right time to help keep to time and budget.
Chris generally conforms to the tried and tested methodology for engagement that creatives appreciate and understand
The process is not a neat linear one, but trying to treat it as such provides a discipline which ultimately helps to keep everyone on track.
Although every project has a different starting point, in all cases Chris develops an idea from a well-drawn sketch. The chosen sketch route remains the point of reference to design throughout its development.
The focus is important because the task ahead can sometimes be difficult. There is generally little time for ideas just to drift in so loose thumbnail ideas are generally sketched out initially just to maintain discipline. We may advise against producing too many alternative options as this can sometimes confuse the direction.
For further information see useful links below.
Stage 1 - Exploration
Well executed, presentable line sketches are the most efficient way of presenting different concepts for early discussion. For many projects, this stage can be regarded as the most important.
Stage 2 - Development
The development stage may include one or more concept routes to help establish the most appropriate way forward: a number of routes may have merit. The illustration can then start to evolve in a well-calibrated manner, presented as a stand-alone icon or in position with the brand word marque, where required.
Stage 3 - Development review
While it is important to continually assess the development work, it is important to formally review the chosen design route in order to properly establish the way forward with certainty.
Stage 4 - Final execution
Once the chosen design has been approved, we refine and move to the creation of the master artwork.
Stage 5 - Other artwork versions
If required, the creation of other artwork versions, for example, light on dark artwork, single colour options and artwork versions created exclusively for smaller reproduction sizes or embossing.
We never work on the basis that something will just have to do, as expectations are high!
BRAND CORE VALUES
Appreciation of the three core values during development is crucial to the brand icon's impact, ownership and longevity in the market place.
Unique. Original, imaginative and differentiating.
Impactful. Relevant, expressive and memorable.
Functional. Identifiable, practical and readable.
The benefit of sketching is the power with which it can articulate original thought
Drawing still remains the most efficient way to communicate original ideas, and is completely unconstrained by the need to source and edit other material.
Time can easily be wasted by having to corral pre-existing material. Modern technology allows us to edit extremely effectively but can undermine the ability to create original design.
We believe the sketch is key and is the result of a creative mind, a passionate heart, a skilled hand and a critical eye to communicate an idea.
The industry has gone through enormous change in my working life, principally as a result of computer technology. I now work mostly with digital pen, which are now every bit as good as a pencil for quick sketching. A key benefit of working with a digital pen in illustrator is that it allows for scalability, crucial for maintaining the integrity of the craft at all print sizes.
PREMIUM BRAND MARQUES
Our clients do appreciate that where an illustrative brand logo represents a premium product, reaching high standards of craft in the creation of the marques is extremely important. Where the marque engages with its audience on an emotional level, by nature it adds value.
Excerpt from an interview with Chris Mitchell, published by Logo Lounge
AH: Why is an investment in craft particularly important in branding?
CM: Work that has a degree of longevity such as brand identity is an area where craft can excel if given the chance. The roll-out cost related to the distribution of a major global-brand identity across all material can be huge, so the benefit of craft for the relatively small investment that it entails should be prioritised.
APPRECIATING THE LIMITS OF PRINT
We work with our clients to understand their print process before we start art-working.
At Epic Icons we have the technical appreciation of the wider brand production issues. We have the experience to interpret and deliver on, what can be a complex brand design brief for different print platforms and materials. This is especially true for foiling, dye cutting, blind embossing or where debossing or embossing might be used.
The Illustrative artwork is crafted for print clarity, without compromising on the beauty. Where we can we do like to see client print proofs, especially for the commission of the more intricate art work where clarity at a small print size is most crucial.