Host an event and have your organisation shine
12 April 2023
Sometimes, when so much energy is focused on the event, it can be easy to forget events are a great opportunity to showcase your organisation as well.
MOTHandRUST find these three questions are useful to ask of any event design project:
What event design work do you need exactly?
Of course this seems obvious. However, we are often surprised at how often this is not as thought through well as it could be! Consider all the places the event visuals may exist at the beginning of the project when everyone is still fresh: site, emails, signage, name tags, podium, social, registration page, program, invitations, PowerPoint presentations, to name a few. Of course, it is often not possible to know exactly what will be required and things change. However, your future-self will be thankful that a comprehensive—and editable—list was at least made.
Are your designs flexible?
Event visuals need to extend across a variety of media while still being having a consistent look-and-feel. It must also exist in many shapes and sizes. A flexible format is one that can be scaled up to a large size or down to a small size. A design that works well on an invitation may not always work well across the event as a whole, particularly if it relies on imagery that can not be increased in size or seen properly from a distance.
Are your designs on-brand?
Some think their event must strictly follow their branding—no exceptions. Others think their branding is not necessary at all. We usually suggest the answer lies somewhere in between. You are showcasing your organisation, and as such its brand should be easily recognisable. However, if you follow the brand very strictly, there is a risk that all events will end up looking the same. Some flexibility is often necessary. Use the brand as a base and expand it out, with the help of a designer or your design team.
The photo above is a recent event designed for the Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research.
Photo credit: Erik Jacobs, Anthem Multimedia
Posted in: MandR work events
Graphic Design for other Art and Design Students
5 April 2023
Isn't it disappointing when you've got a really great project, but those you share it with don't seem to think it's that great? Isn't it even more disappointing to discover that they don't think it's that great because you didn't communicate it very well?
What is the point of calling out the key part of your project—if no one will take the time to read it all in order to understand it? This key part may as well not exist, right?
Have you thought about the people you are sharing your project with? What are the top three things they are looking for? Are you giving this to them? How long will they realistically need to read through everything?
These are some questions I bring up in a portfolio workshop I've been teaching to architecture students at Central St Martin's here in London for a few years now. It's popular and I really enjoy it! I would like to open this up to other universities in London, so if anyone out there is interested, please contact me to discuss.
Design students all have the software and skills to put together a portfolio of their work. However, because they haven’t studied graphic design, they often don’t know how to communicate what they need to in a really effective way. And if they are not showing their work in its best light, they may not be getting that job. Or they may not be selling that idea to a client.
Five ways of looking at Comic Sans
3 March 2023
Having gotten to know more about this typeface, I actually appreciate it a bit more—just for what it is!
1)When Microsoft designer Vincent Connare saw a beta version of the cartoon Microsoft Bob that used Times New Roman in the word balloons, he thought: "Comic dogs don't talk in Times New Roman.” In 1994 he created Comic Sans, but unfortunately this was too late for his typeface to ever be used in the Microsoft Bob cartoons.
2)The comic book type of Dave Gibbons was one of the inspirations for Comic Sans. Gibbons has said that it was "a shame they couldn't have used just [my] original font, because [Comic Sans] is a real mess. I think it's a particularly ugly letter form."
3)In 2012, a Dutch World War II memorial called "Reconciliation" was revealed, on which the names of Jewish, Allied and German military deaths were written in Comic Sans. This caused an uproar as the font was deemed inappropriate. Comic Sans’ consistent use over the past thirty years in contexts that it wasn't intended for is one reason why it is thought to be so despised.
4)As part of the United Kingdom's Brexit debate, the Conservative Party tweeted an image stating "MPs must come together and get Brexit done" using Comic Sans. The tweet was heavily ridiculed—but some commentators saw it as a deliberate attempt to use the typeface's notoriety in order to bring their message to a wider audience.
5)These days Connare lives in the French countryside, where he grows olive trees and practices calligraphy in his spare time. He is not overly concerned about people's opinions of him, or his typeface. "Most people are friendly and nice about it," Connare says. "It's like it's a song that they don't want anybody to know that they like." Perhaps Comic Sans has a secret following?Posted in: typography
What is the logo design process exactly?
6 December 2022
This is a good question, and one our clients would often like to know. We always emphasise the importance of investing as much as you can in a logo for your institute or organisation. A good logo should serve you well over time. Often a lot of time. As the backbone of your brand, updating it can be more work than you think, as anything with your old logo would need to be changed as well.
I’d like to note that this process is not exactly the same for all designers, and what is outlined below is not comprehensive. Of course I am happy to chat about this further (and I often do!)
Research + Strategy
The design of the logo is always part of a wider brand strategy. The depth required varies tremendously. It can require days, months, or sometimes even years. The appropriate scope of work depends on the individual project.
Starting with a set of questions, we discuss (and sometimes debate!) an organisation's essence: who it is, what it does and what it will deliver. We also examine such things as the target market and competitors. Once complete, our clients often comment on how valuable this clarity and insight is—despite how much they thought they understood their brand previously.
Concepting + Design
As a designer trying to put words to this phase, I realise how fascinating it is! And challenging. Clients can be surprised at how long this phase can take.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Often visuals are sketched or found online. They are pieced together, taken apart, elaborated on, grouped, left for a few days, brainstormed, and worked on again and again to form logo concepts. The best concepts are grouped into design directions and developed further. Some clients think that the first design round is simply a presentation of all the work done to date, but this is not the case! We only present the most successful design directions.
Crucially, this phase is also very much guided by the Brief + Strategy phase listed above.
There are usually at least four design rounds, more depending on the project scope. So that they can be prepared, we always tell our clients that one of the biggest delays is the amount of time it takes to get feedback after each round.
Files + Guidelines
The final logo is delivered in various file formats and sizes. If you require any additional file format in the future, we are happy to provide this free of charge.
A brand guidelines document is provided that sums up the brand work. This helps anyone using the logo, or any other brand elements, to prepare high impact materials that are consistent, whether it is a PowerPoint document or an email newsletter. The brand guidelines can be anywhere from one page to dozens, depending once again on the project scope.
Above are examples of a few of the logos we have designed recently for various scientific organisations.Posted in: MandR work identities branding
MOTHandRUST is 12 years old
4 November 2022The design studio of MOTHandRUST is 12 years old today! Feeling particularly grateful for all of our clients, many of which we have been working with for many years. Bring on the next 12 years!