Logos & Brand Typography

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Studio Saudade

CREATIVE DIRECTION

Rebecca Mullins

OVERVIEW

Studio Saudade* borrows its name from a Portuguese word that has a complex meaning with no direct translation to the English language.

 

The company offers creative pathways for people to integrate love, loss, and grief. Its founder, Rebecca Mullins is a talented creative director who understands and values every step in the process of creating quality visual communication. So when it came to developing a visual identity for her own company, she was able to articulate precisely what it should be standing for in a detailed creative brief.

 

She had already worked with a designer to nail down a logo when we met, but it was not quite there yet. So, I brought my typographic expertise to finesse her logo to a clear, harmonious solution with a correct hierarchy evoking the ideas of a timeless quality, completion in the face of an absence, craft and attention to details, and compassion and warmth. Who would imagine that this would be  the first project of a years-long creative collaboration?

To help bring the Studio Saudade brand to full fruition, I first analyzed what was missing or not quite working in the current solution and why. Guided by SS’s core values, vision, and mission, I then redesigned and finessed all the visual elements to reflect the brand’s established principles.

Before

After

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The first step was working on the main logo lock up. Here are some challenges and solutions:

  • The weight of the name was too light | Reducing the ascenders and increased the x-height, making the Saudade feel more prominent, like it's closer and larger.

  • The upside-down e created confusion | Redesigned the "e" to match the S, which reinforces the theme of completion in the face of an absence.

  • Unbalanced name mark S felt too tall, weak, and disconnected to the rest of the letters | Redesigned the S with matching weight and adjusted placement, so the word Saudade looks equally balanced.

  • The sharp serifs on the top of the letters u and d were too long, expressing speed, in dissonance with the desired message | Reduced the serifs, decreasing the overall energy in favor of reflective qualities.

  • Secondary typeface Ringside with its rational design contributed to a fairly cold look and feel | Introducing Ideal Sans, a humanist sans type family, to the bulk of the branding communication and limiting Ringside to legal documents only, added warmth while preserving clarity.

  • The word "studio," composed in Ringside, was too weak and cold | Switching it to Surveyor (like in Saudade) balanced the logo top to bottom, adding weight and integration between the elements resulting in a cohesive combination.

  • The plus sign in the tagline was a point of interruption to the line flow and could be associated with a medical field. | Switching this sign for "and" with "love" and "loss" in italic improved readability while highlighting the keywords of the branding message.

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Before

After

Next, we moved to create an artistic element of an ink/brush mark for the symbol. Again, the idea was to highlight the concept of healing through a creative process.

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We experimented with various shapes to find a good fit where our distinctive S can be nested comfortably.

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As part of the selection process we tested how the symbol would behave in the brand’s colors.

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Original image

Vector BIG version

Vector SMALL version

After a series of refinements to the final versions, we generated this final versions:

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Then it was time to test it in real life. Rebecca printed a series of booklets to start marketing her services.

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Big sizes versions

Small sizes versions

Generating optical sizes guaranteed that her brand can be represented at it's best at any scale.

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Horizontal business card

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Collateral marketing materials.