Category Archives: Illustration & design

Artwork. Commercial illustration, private commissions, etc.

How does a brand begin? – The story of the Fresnel Theater

A brand design is much more than just a logo. It’s all the considerations of what the product or service is – what it stands for. A good brand should tell you what you need to know at a glance. A good brand tells a story.

Matt and Krista were looking for a designer for their new community theater space, the Fresnel Theater in Portland, Maine. I met Matt through Comedysportz, a comedy improv show.

He’s a really enthusiastic and smart guy and it came as no surprise on our initial chat that he already had a mission statement, which is a great starting point for a designer.

It answered the questions that I’d initially ask – designer to client. What are the goals of the business, what makes your company different? Descriptive words. So that I can read and listen to the language they use and tune into their frequency and start creating visuals

Branding Design Manchester

So in designing the logo it was important to look for something was welcoming and incorporated The keywords of playfulness community and compassion. Which also why we went for opting for purple and orange using a colour psychology guide.

From a practical point of view It needed to be a bright and chunky, so that when transferred into signage on the building, it’s seen clearly from a distance.

Matt was keen for the logo to reflect the lighthouses that portland is known for. The name fresnal comes from bevels in the lens of a light house main lamp that helps focus the beam. As a designer I love that kind of creative thinking.

Once the colours and typeface were finalised I created and branding guide. This is a reference document for printers. Most large commercial brands have very detailed branding guides, but really every business should have something like this. It’s helpful to printers and is a reliable way to future proof the consistency of your brand over time.

Here’s the final logo that Matt and Krista approved.

Branding Design Manchester

Idioms, eponyms and learning new words

I’ve been working with Manchester Children’s University, creating fun new illustration and games for their online learning platform.

Taking their original content from the older flash format and converting it to new standards was a challenge, but also a great opportunity to get really creative with illustration, and I wanted to push the boat out on this one to enhance what is one of the largest sections of the website.

Professor of linguistics  Kersti Börjars and students at the university created a rich teaching tool covering everything from nouns and adjectives to  eponyms and idioms for the platform,  designed to support  key stage 2 children (7-11) at school and at home.

The team at Manchester children’s University have a great passion for learning. Since first working with them back in 2010 when flash was still flying high they’ve always been very trusting in my creative input, letting me add a little character and humour here and there, without disturbing the the practical learning exercises.

The ‘adjective detective’ and ‘noun monster’ were already part of the original content and it was great to give them both a little bit of a makeover, putting the ‘noun monster’ in the John Rylands Library – where I’m sure a word monster would want to live, made sense. It’s been a refresher for own knowledge too, I’m sure back in school I learned that  to “talk the hind leg off a donkey” was an idiom and not an eponym, but it helps to be reminded. That and also finding a way of drawing a legless donkey in a way that’s not too grim!

Check out this module for yourself over at the Manchester children’s university website along with many other great learning modules they have there. I’m proud to be a contributor to this great online learning resource for children.