Never just stick to the brief when pitching design concepts

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I don’t often write about my failures, but this one really had me kicking myself, so if anyone else can learn from it, then all the better.

Over the past few weeks I was pitching for some brand identity work, which might have lead into other work. I knew I was up against at least one other competitor, so I made sure I presented plenty of options, all within the reasonably restrictive brief the client had given. I spent time experimenting outside what clients ask for before, and I have found it invariably to be a waste of time, particularly when the client has been adamant about it – until now.

In this case, the existing logotype mark, which was constructed from a lower case Goudita Sans (yes, wait for it), had been letterspaced to painful degrees. Surely it would have earned the now commonly misattributed Goudy quote “Any man who would letterspace blackletter [often misquoted as ‘lower case’] would steal sheep.”

Letterspaced, lowercase

Well, I chose FontFont Meta to start with, because it was reasonably similar in proportion, had arguably more character, and I already owned a copy. However, then I thought Museo would offer far more character, so used that indstead – it’s terminators were largely horizontal, which help keep the flow along the long logotype.

A long horizontal logo had to remain the case, as the website had already been built, so concepts were submitted on this basis. Also, the colours had to be blue and grey. However, the tracking was tightened to give a sensible appearance, and a number of graphical elements were developed to accompany it.

I tried a couple of permutations

Long and thin...


Slightly less long...

So far, it was neck and neck…. until…

Failure through adhering to the client’s brief too closely

The client went with the other guy – why? Because he had competely ignored the need for a horizontal logo, and also dropped the similar typeface too boot, going with something completely out of the box – The colours, gone, the typeface, gone – the result> A client who admitted to me to having been “blown away”…

Never EVER listen to what the client is telling you. Instead, listen to what they are SAYING – pander to their whims with a few ideas, but ALWAYS come up with something YOU would be proud of. If I could have dropped the chunky type, and gone with something more sophisticated, it might have ended up like this.

A more sophisticated concept based around HFJ Gotham, which lends a slight art nouveau element

The moral of this note, mainly to myself, is – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

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