Behind the scenes of my new visual identity created by StudioDBD

Creating a new visual identity was always part of my business reboot plan. After ten years with the same look, it was time for a change. But more importantly, I wanted a new identity that would more accurately reflect my refreshed business direction and approach, as well as give a nod to my roots. More specifically:

  • Direction — shift in positioning to the arts, culture and heritage sector
  • Approach — creating connections (for, with, and between staff, organisations, audiences, volunteers)
  • Roots — personal heritage, pride in my hometown and representation of what a ‘typical Blackpool kid’ can achieve.

Working with the super-talented Dave Sedgwick at StudioDBD, this is the story of how the new identity was created.

Image: Chris Payne

Starting point

Dave began by looking at various relevant reference points which would encapsulate the above three elements. In the end, the iconic Blackpool Tower from my home town was an obvious choice to run with.

Initial reference points used by StudioDBD

He then focused on the the tower’s angles and lines. By constructing simple layouts of type and letters using the architectural structure, the ultimate approach was kept as simple as possible.

“Finding reference from old schematic drawings and original plans, I was able to find consistent angle references to start work. The identity needed to be confident but not over powering: something timeless that would fit comfortably with the variety of cultural clients Marge works with.”
Dave Sedgwick, StudioDBD
StudioDBD’s inspiration for type-based logo using tower structure

Type-based logo

Following the initial research and development phase, Dave created a type-based logo drawn directly from the tower structure and schematics. It was absolutely vital that any connection to the tower wasn’t obvious. It needed to be subtle — a talking point rather than a distinctive and blatant tower icon.

“Marge has such a distinctive name that I wanted to use her first name for the brand.”
Dave Sedgwick, StudioDBD

In addition to the full first name and initials logo, a stand-alone mark was also created. A simple cross in a box icon next to the letter M again referenced the tower, and gave the symbol some sense of confidence. As well as acting as a full stop, the icon can be used as patterns and structures across marketing collateral.

“The cross symbol developed into more symbolic icons which can be used in a variety of ways. Again taking reference from the tower structure, it’s a small play on the kiss sign-off given at the end of text messages and email exchanges. Albeit a little tongue-in-cheek it gives personality to the brand and suggests that Marge is a personable character who works closely with all her clients.”
Dave Sedgwick, StudioDBD

Lock-up monogram

The new identity also includes a lock-up monogram which draws on letters created in the early stages of design. We both really liked the symmetrical structure of this symbol, the sense of connection, and felt it worked well as a repeated pattern. The reverse of the letter-pressed business cards uses this device.

Business cards

We both wanted to create an agile logo which would work across a variety of online and offline formats. The resulting identity is flexible enough to apply across a range of marketing collateral, and has the potential to evolve well beyond the initial roll-out.

“I wanted to give Marge some choice with her branding and not stifle her to using one individual logo in all circumstances. There is consideration to how the brand rolls out, but it has flexibility. What ties it together is the connection to the tower and subsequent connection to her heritage. The resulting identity is contemporary without being too fashionable.”
Dave Sedgwick, StudioDBD

Colour palette

We were both inspired by the interior of the tower, so Dave used derivatives of the tones found in the beautiful tiled corridors and world-famous ballroom for the brand palette.

“The resulting palette has a classic heritage feel without any stuffiness or conventional associations.”
Dave Sedgwick, StudioDBD
Inspiration for the colour palette
Final colour palette
Image credit: Chris Payne

With huge thanks to Dave Sedgwick at StudioDBD, James Seddon at Cotton Creative and photographer Chris Payne.

www.margeainsley.co.uk