My Methodology for my volunteers/charity work experience

For my work experience project I was tasked to design for Water In The Wells, a group based in Tunbridge Wells that aims to restore the town’s history by bringing back water features which Tunbridge Wells was originally known for in the past, hence the name Tunbridge Wells. The group Water In The Wells believes that restoring its signature water features will help enhance business and the area surrounding the town.

My given role as a graphic designer is to create a logo for the group and in the future to potentially create designs for notepaper, business cards and compliment slips, though since my first negotiation with the group creating a logo for Water In The Wells has been taking top priority. We negotiated by having a meeting to discuss what were the requirements of the logo design as well has discussing what not to have in the logo design. This was also emphasised in the brief which presented the following requirements-

 

1.To be clear, simple and powerful, with text and logo immediately recognisable.

2.Usable both on the web and in print for letterheads and other small branding.

3.Effective both in colour and black and white.

4.With comfortable, clear, unfussy font.

5.Conveying a sense of upward and downward movement

6.Perhaps with an association with the wavy water lines with the current TWBC logo.

7.Modern and classy.

 

Requirements for the logo were discussed further by observing past design examples that were initially rejected but contained some design traits that my client would like me to bring into my own design. This included creating a logo that was reminiscent of a water fountain while maintaining simplicity and having the group’s name in the design, with a particularly strong emphasis on “Water” and “Wells”. The way I was required to illustrate water in the logo was also quite specific- in one rejected design which resembled a water feature, my client thought that it looked too much like a blue plant because of its ‘sharp’ looking water effects, I was required to make sure I do not repeat design traits like that. I was also encouraged to come up with my own ideas if I had any as long as it retains simplicity in the design and has emphasis on water and the company’s name.

 

My methods of research for creating a logo for Water In The Wells mainly consisted of researching water feature traits and existing logo designs with emphasis on the letter W such as the Volkswagen and WordPress logo designs, I was particularly encouraged to take ideas from Volkswagen’s logo if I struggled with coming up with new ideas. With the types of water features in particular, I looked up the architectural traits of water wells which would be especially appropriate since the groups name has the word wells in it and it’s referencing the town’ name Tunbridge Wells. As for other existing logo designs relevant to my project, I also looked at the design of the arms used for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council “Do Well Doubt Not”- along with the crest within the design is a water well and that’s initially where I decided to research and consider including a representation of a water well in some of my logo designs. Other parts of my research involved revisiting the rejected designs to remind myself what not to include for my logo as well as reminding myself of the little design traits that my client liked from them. For my last part of my research I studied more about the history of Tunbridge Wells, particularly during the 17th century where Tunbridge Wells still retained its water features.

Among other parts of my research, researching the history of Tunbridge Wells gave me insight to the significance of working for a company that is aiming to restore water features in Tunbridge Wells as it would especially let the town live up to its name again and overall to make Tunbridge Wells are more attractive place in which to live, work and play. Since part of my research involved studying water features, this motivated me to conceptualise ideas that involved creating designs that resembled water features, more specifically a water well. With that in mind I went about conceptualising a design which depicted the letter W inside a water well viewed from a top-down perspective, with the group name surrounding the outside of the water well. Alternatively I also considered removing illustrated walls of the well and have the text simply take up the space of the walls instead, for the sake of simplifying the logo design.

As of now I have produced a wide variety of logo designs for my client, ranging from my said ideas to eventually working towards something completely different. The first logo designs I created resembled a water fountain viewed from a three/quarter perspective; The main purpose of this logo was to focus emphasis on the letter W, so I illustrated the W to take center stage by drawing it to resemble a water feature. Surrounding the water feature would be the walls of what could be interpreted as the outside structure of a water well, I illustrated the full name of the group wrapped around the W in a circular fashion to make it resemble this. After my client received these early designs, he suggested that I should simplify the illustration of the letter W as he did not want the logo to look overly fancy. When it came to having the name included in the logo, he had no problem with the no-nonsense typeface that I used but he suggested that the words “In the” should be in a smaller font size to show more emphasis on WATER and WELLS. Later on my next designs were adjusted to meet my client’s suggestions- I continued editing the W to make it resemble a fountain while keeping the appearance simple and I neatened the typeface by having “In the” adjusted to a smaller font size.

Since I was also encouraged to experiment with other ideas, I conceptualized an idea that steered far from our original design idea but it got the attention of my client. It involved having the full name in plain sight while having parts of it obscured and magnified by water drops. It was after submitting revised versions of my first idea that my client suggested that I experiment with the use of calligraphy in combination of my new idea. So for this design process I went about using a typeface that closely resembled hand-written calligraphy and used the tools of illustrator to create “bubble” effects for areas of the logo that will be magnified by the water drops. I also experimented by making different variations by still keeping the magnified effects but without drawing the water drops and instead changed the colour of the magnified text into blue. The typeface also changed radically depending on whether or not it was typed in capital letters so I made different variations where the whole name would be typed in capital letters to one that only have the first letters in capital letters. My initial impression for the versions typed all in capital letters was that my client would view them as too fancy, which was correctly predicted which led to my client favouring the logo with fewer capital letters.

While discussing with my client about the new design ideas, he grew a liking towards the way the two Ws were illustrated in the designs and we made a decision to try creating a logo design that uses just the calligraphy-style Ws. The outcome resulted in me designing a logo to the clients needs while I also attempted to position the letters to resemble the shape of a water drop. This approach was well received by my client and suggested that we continue building up on this design idea- I made different versions to have a water drop background illustrated around the letters as well as the inclusion of adding the rest of the name into these logo designs. My main challenge for both my client and myself was finding the right size and positioning for the typography for the rest of the group name.

The main issue we had to tackle with this design was that when the full name was implemented into the logo design, was that it appeared to be read out as “Water” and “ells” to some viewers because of the way I illustrated the second W to fit into the curve of the water drop. This led to us coming to an agreement to use just one W instead of two, which would allow more room to fit “Water” and “Wells” closer together. Another reason for this to make the logo compact enough to be displayed in the corner of a letterhead.

On the topic of print, the logo is also meant to work in print form as well as digital form. It is also meant to be designed work in both black and white and in colour. So with these new requirement taken into account, we had to change the colour schemes to make it work equally well in black and white. The main issue we had with blue and dark blue colour scheme as it is now is that it turns out as shades of grey that blend into each other too much when printed in black and white, we also had initial plans to have the small words “In the” in a lighter shade of blue but we soon scrapped this idea as it would fade into white too much if it was printed in black and white.

We soon settled on focussing on a logo design that emphasised on depicting a single W wrapped inside a water drop moving in an upward motion with the colours adjusted to make it look presentable when printed in black and white. While it was received with positive reception, my client was also interested in further experimentation in which he was curious to know how it would turn out if it had 3D effects. Other members of the group thought that this would be an experimental design effect to look into to add a more water-like effect to the logo design.

While figuring out new technical abilities with the colour options in illustrator, I learnt how to add colour gradients to create this 3D effect for the logo. I personally thought that this new effect made the logo look more presentable than it did before but when printed in black and white, it was unable to meet my client’s standards. As of now, the majority of the group and my client are still favouring the previous simple design that uses flat colours.

While we believe that we are getting closer to developing the logo to the standard we want, further improvements that have been suggested for the logo we are steering towards right now are to experiment with a deeper blue for the background colour used on the water drop and to try using a lighter shade of blue for the text, see if the whole logo could be enclosed inside a line or a box and possibly increase the font size for “in the” to make it more readable when reduced to the size to be used when printed onto a letterhead. Although the suggestion reduce the font size for the said text was a suggestion from another group member, my client however does not think it’s that important as he thinks that being able to read “Water” and “Wells” is more important. Though one design trait that has consistently remained with each design is the depiction of a W, those we almost steered away from this after coming up with a logo design that uses two Ws. We shortly reverted back to depicting a single W again within the logo design for the sake of making it more compact and easy to present when printed onto a small branding such as letterheads.

While continuously designing these logo designs, keeping in contact and regularly discussing with my client played a crucial in shaping the logo designs to the client’s needs. This ranged from specifically delivering what the client required when they asked for it and also sharing design concepts to receive their input before I went about investing time in a design that might be rejected in the end.

 

While making my logo designs for my client I relied a lot on using Adobe Illustrator to create my work, a highly appropriate program for creating vector-based graphics to make my logo designs as clear and as neat as they appear. This therefore was the right software to use to create logo designs. I mainly applied skills that I had already learnt when making these logo designs but I along the way I gained better knowledge on how to use colour gradients in Illustrator.

 

I’d say one of my main strengths for working in this project was punctuality and organisation skills as I did my best to deliver designs to the client before set deadlines even while working on other projects at the same time. I already had skills in using Adobe Illustrator but I feel like working on this project has helped me develop my knowledge further. I also feel like I made a great effort to build a good relationship with a client, a trait that has become new to me since this is my first project in which I used graphic design in a work-related practice. It became a valuable strength to learn for me as it makes it easier to keep in contact with the client and from my experience so far, maintaining contact with the client makes it easier to discuss new and potentially better design ideas. With this new experience gained, I intend to carry on this habit with future clients in graphic design. I also did my best to generate design ideas on my own as well as following and delivering the requirements for my client. While my design ideas were generally favoured by my client and the rest of the group, I feel like there could be more room to be more adventurous with the design ideas but this could simply be due to the fact that I made a big effort to stick to the set brief, which was probably for the best to meet the client’s requirements without unnecessary distractions.

 

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