“Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company – Saul Bass”
When WhiteFang approached us with a branding requirement we had not anticipated it to be a project that will be so demanding and yet tremendously rewarding, all at the same time. Here we will take you through the various stages of the process and hopefully that will give you a closer understanding of our methods.
The first step in our design process is to try and understand our client. We definitely believe that in order for us to get the mood and the branding right we need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the brand we are working for. What motivates them, what makes them tick?
Getting a requirement sheet filled up will not necessarily give us a complete idea but it’s a good starting point. This understanding is what will guide us through the process.
In case of WhiteFang, the knowledge that the brand’s target demographic is young men who appreciate good design influenced the choices we made concerning the mood of the logo. Client was clear that they needed a logo which can stand alone. The example given was the “Apple” logo. The benchmark couldn’t get higher, but we were up for the challenge.
The name WhiteFang itself had grabbed our attention and we were sure that if translated into graphical language, it will be a stunner. The initial requirement sheet shed further light on the origin of the name and how it represented the brand.
WhiteFang is a brand of the modern times that focuses primarily on adventure and sports gear. Their core belief revolves around the concept of transformation. The name WhiteFang was drawn from the famous novel by Jack London by the same name. The idea is that human beings at our fundamental selves are adventurous creatures and the brand encourages the unleashing of that very spirit.
- Mood board and inspiration
As far as the inspiration of the first concept is concerned we tried to bring in a couple of elements. The wolf is one of the primary elements we tried to incorporate. Going along those lines we tried different stances that the wolf takes. The one image we all are familiar with is the silhouette of a wolf with a background of a full moon. We decided to further explore that idea and discovered the Moon hill, a hill with a natural arch through it which is located in southern China which is where the brand operates. We believed that this tourist attraction not only has the visual aspects suiting our concept but also stands as a place of attraction for hikers and people seeking adventure. Also we were certain that the geographical proximity and familiarity will play to our advantage with the target audience.
The final product of our imagination was a play on all the above mentioned concepts. The elements told a story of a wolf with the backdrop of the Moon hill, on a starry night. We believed that the logo was a different take on the unleashing of the wild spirit in you, which was soft and serene. The logo is an amalgamation of abstract elements which narrates that peace and wilderness exists together.
The client’s feedback to the concept was specific. They said:
“While we do like the story behind the logo we think that the logo itself is too complex. Moreover the target audience might not be familiar with the story of WhiteFang. We feel that a simpler logo will do more justice to the brand”
We as a team reviewed the logo and came to a conclusion that it had too many ideas going all at a time and that took away the clarity of the core theme. We decided to approach it a different way.
Trials and errors
It is often very easy to fall in love with a logo that you created but the key point is to be able to take a step back and look at it in perspective. The logo can be a masterpiece but if it doesn’t suit the brand, it is more a liability than an asset.
We went through several ideas after the first concept was shot down. Not all of those ideas were completely thought through but we had fun with it and gave us the freedom to be not confined by certain set rules and expectations.
Here are a few of them:
One of the initial thoughts we had was to incorporate the wolf into the logo, particularly the face. This was not entirely an impulsive decision; we had the belief that it will be a powerful branding element. We even tried to bring in the letters W and F to form the face.
The general feedback we received was that when the whole face of the wolf is used, it loses the impact. We decided we needed to go with a simpler and much vivid image.
When our second attempt at the design didn’t turn out the way we wanted, we decided to switch it up a bit with the teeth as an element. We did realize that making an aesthetically pleasing yet powerful logo from that element was not an easy task. We tried several variations of it.
Though the client did like the logo we weren’t quite satisfied with it and wanted another go at it. We decided to try a much more technical and cooler version of the current logo. And after a month of going back and forth we came to the final logo.
We decided to go with a graphical and minimal representation of a fang as we believed that it will best capture the aggressive and beastly nature of the brand. Logo was conceptualized in accordance with the golden ratio. The energy symbol became a starting point for this concept.
The typography was as important an element as the logo and we did spend as much time developing it. We decided to custom develop it to suit the logo mark. Here are the different variations we went through.
We also came up with a tagline to go with the logo. “Fight you” was a simple concept with its many different interpretations. Man is always in constant competition with himself, to do one better than the last time, to break out of his shell, to win over the wolf in him. This constant battle to find his adventurous self is what the line signifies and it is based on this tagline that we developed the final presentation.
The creation of the tagline did give us a nudge in the right direction as far as the final logo is concerned. It set the mood and rhythm of the branding process. We were certain that the tagline can be used in innovative ways as far as branding and advertising is concerned. It is this potential that the tagline carried that prompted the client to welcome it.
To wrap it up
We could go on and on about the process of this logo because it involved several iterations, a lot of back and forth and several drastically different concepts. Every branding project teaches us something and this one was no different. It taught us perseverance. It is easy to arrive at a logo and stick to it and try to sell it to the client. But only if you are a 100% sure that it is the logo that their brand requires if not there is no shame in taking your time to go at it another time. As long as the ultimate result is truly right for the brand, it will all be worth it.