In my last year of college, I collaborated on a brand identity design with a college mate, Lerato Zwane, who was studying fashion design. She wanted a brand identity that included a brand designed for her clothing line.
Working with other designers can be challenging as both designers know what they want and what can be done and this could create a clash of ideas as both will have a visualisation of what they end product would look like and it might not tie in with the other’s visualisation. However, two creative minds mean that there are more, and great, ideas to go around and if they manage to work together effectively, they can create something amazing.
It was my first time working on a brand identity with a real person instead of just being handed a design brief packet, which meant a series of meetings which were nerve wrecking at first but I soon relaxed into the flow of things.
While consulting with the Lerato to get an idea of her visual personality in relation to her designs and to also get a broad idea of what her clothing line is about, the Lerato said that her line, named Native Opulence, is a clothing line targeted at working class women who are, or aspire to be leaders. She said her primary inspiration for the line is Native American culture, reasons being that Native American women are well respected in their tribes and possess positions of power in that they are mothers, healers and also spiritual entities. Not only this but when required, they are warriors in their tribes. The designer said that her line aims to embody the very strength that women possess and to also encourage them to seek leadership positions with her line keeping them looking good, feminine and fierce.
For her overall brand, Lerato said her brand is strictly for women and that she wants to dress them so they can be encouraged to be the best version of themselves and also to showcase their strength and confidence.
Using the information gathered, I decided to center the campaign message on the strength of women using turquoise (Lerato’s favourite colour) and white as brand colours (to keep it simple and clean) and turquoise and brownish-purple as the clothing line colours. What made this easier is that Lerato provided mood boards of her own that she used for her clothing line designs and I was able to have an even broader idea of what she was aiming for.
In Native American culture, the feather represents many things. Tribe chiefs and spiritual entities wore headgear made out of bird feathers, usually hawk and crow feathers. Feathers were also used to make jewelry and to also attach on clothing. I decided to use a feather as an icon to the logo. The feather is also applied to the fashion identity in that a feather is light and very soft. This ties in to the feminine quality that the fashion designer wants to show in her brand. A feather is also underrated by itself, but when it’s with other feathers, they give warmth, and they also help birds to fly. Incidentally, when women get together, they are a force to be reckoned with. This ties the feather icon to both the Native American influence and the brand ideal.
The fashion designer stated that she wants the brand name to be her real name, Lerato Zwane. She was adamant that chevron prints be used in many designs as possible including the logo; so I incorporated the prints into the spacing made by the letters making up her name. Light thin font was used to further strengthen the feminine concept.
The business card, being one of the first methods of communication with a prospective client, needed to be clear and simple but also not losing the Lerato’s brand. The front of the card consists of the logo and the information centered in the same font as the logo. The chevron print was placed at the back of the card because of it being visually heavy and with the potential to clash with the logo if placed on one small surface (the same side) together.
Other than the usual stationery, this brand also included marketing collateral. The letterhead, like the business card, was kept fairly simple so as to not clash with information written on it. The envelope had to be exciting and different from the business card and letterhead; instead of the traditional flap that opens at the top, the envelopes makes use flaps on the sides to open and close it.
The clothing line had a lot of collateral, namely swing tags for the clothes, line catalogue, promotional items, packaging, invitations and press advertisements.
The swing tags were comprised of Lerato’s feather logo icon with the barcode printed on the bag. The feather is also used again as a promotional item (which were to be included in the press packs), which is a feather necklace (and which I’d very much wanted to own, just look at it!). As for the packaging, it was to be a very simple burlap bag which could be reused as an everyday bag too, with points for promotion!
Overall, this was a very strong brand identity to work on as the Native American theme was present in every design. Even though it was hard work in that it included so many collaterals, I had a marvelous time working on it and I can’t wait to collaborate with other designers again!