Inks & Scribbles

A visual identity system for a fictional stationery company, Inks & Scribbles.

The Problem

How do brands stand out in a world of similar products?

Objective

Create a document that codifies the brand of a nonexistent company —what it stands for, what it looks like, how it behaves, and what it looks like in the world?

As an avid lover of all things stationery, I decided to create a brand for a make-believe stationery store.

Background

This was a final project for the Brand & Visual Design course. Students were tasked to either a) rebrand an existing company or b) create a brand for a fictional or real business venture.

Project Duration

Nov – Dec 2020

Tools

  • Illustration
  • Illustrator
  • Photoshop
  • InDesign
  • Sketching & drawing

What I worked on

  • Market research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Sketching & drawing
  • Icon design
  • Typography selection
  • Iteration
  • Mock images

What I learned

I learned how to conduct market research in the stationery industry to create branding standards that exceed competitors. In our world where products excel based on consistent and exceptional branding. I learned how to design a logo, choose color schemes, and combine all varieties of visual design to create a company’s personality that shines against competitors.

Design & Iteration

Name of Brand

I first brainstormed a list of potential names & taglines for this stationery store. I created categories to help spur my ideas such as: descriptive names, metaphor names, and imperative taglines.

A list of potential taglines.

A list of potential names for the brand.

I decided upon the name, “Inks & Scribbles” as I wanted the stationery store to be fun, bright, and imaginative. I felt this name incorporated those feelings. Plus, I love that it describes what products are sold: anything inky & stuff to scribble with and on!

The tagline, “good stationery, good life” reflected my personal philosophy of stationery. Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, a new pencil, notebook, or gel pen usually did the trick. Since I began collecting stationery items, I feel like my life has improved and I wanted to bring this joy to others (even if it’s for pretend).

Brandmark

After confirming the store’s name & tagline, I worked on designing a logo to match the theme. Since a stationery store is a creative zone, I knew the brand archetype had to be an artist/creator. I wanted the entire vibe of the brand to be: imaginative, creative, DIY, messy, expressive, trial & error, and fun. With these keywords in mind, I sketched over 40 thumbnails for potential logo ideas.

I then selected five sketches that looked visually appealing and spoke to the essence of the brand. My favorite ideas were: 1) squirrel holding a pencil, 2) a mini version of me holding a sketchbook & pencil 3) an ampersand pencil.

40 quick sketches using a graphite pencil.

The squirrel was selected as a potential brandmark. Here are a few variations.

Girl using pencil & notebook was based on my hair at the time. This mark literally represented the ink & paper of the brand.

The ampersand made from a pencil highlighted the “and” in the brand name. Here are a few variations playing with width and movement.

An extension of the ampersand pencil.

After selecting and reworking my favorite sketches, I scanned those illustrations and used Illustrator to create vector forms. We were required to submit three different ideas in Black & White, color, large, and small. While this was a lot of work, it was definitely worth the time! Originally, I wanted to use the squirrel with the pencil as the brandmark. However, after creating the vector forms in Illustrator, I decided the strongest mark was the Ampersand Pencil. As such, I took that idea and ran with it!

Working with an Ampersand is a tough business. In this course, I learned that typography is the artistry of illusion. I experienced that first hand. No matter how balanced the mark seemed, it just wasn’t right. I spent countless hours adjusting anchor points. Below shows the long, yet amazing transformation the logomark went through.

Color Scheme

Simultaneously perfecting the logomark, I selected the color scheme. Using the artist archetype as my backbone, I wanted to have a color scheme that was flexible, bold, and able to transform. Personally, I’m not afraid of bold color choices – or even clashes – so I tried to select colors that were bright and cohesive. I learned this is a difficult process and spent a lot of time selecting the colors. The slideshow below shows the countless color combinations as well as my notes on the color scheme.

I decided upon a color scheme that had five colors that offered high contrast with warm and cool colors. This way, the brand will have flexibility with future campaigns as well as maintains the “bright” and “fun” vibe that Inks & Scribbles is all about. Further, the different shades of blue help tone done the bright orange & yellow, without it reading as “medical” or “boring.”

Imagery

To add to the fun and artistic atmosphere, I wanted to create DIY-style illustrations of example objects that will be sold in the store. These illustrations would be used for marketing materials, stickers, and could be expanded upon in the future.

Using wax pastels in the brand’s color palette, I doodled potential patterns that the brand could use in marketing materials.

Building off the pattern doodles, I found that simple illustrations of common stationery stools within the color palette stood out. They are “fun,” “bright,” and have the “DIY” style the brand represents.

Final Product

The slideshow below is the final branding project.