Qwick Creation — Week 1 & 2: Self Branding
When we first decided to do a design stream, we had no idea what it would be called or what would even come out of it. We just had an idea, and looking back at the first week of Qwick Design, we are in awe at how quickly the design community has rallied around what we’re doing.
So thank you everyone for supporting us, we look forward to creating amazing content in the future.
When developing a brand, it’s very important to understand the core values and the emotions that you want to convey to your audience. You do this through font choice, imagery and name selection. Obviously there are many features and decisions that can be made to influence and sway your audience, but those core three are the quickest and most impactful.
The first thing we wanted to figure out was what we would be called and what font we would use. Name and font choice usually come hand in hand because it’s very difficult to choose your name without seeing how the final product will look.
We discussed if the branding should be composed of ALL CAPS, Title Case, or all lower case. Each of these options offer their own effect on the viewer, but because we wanted something with a heavy weight, is impactful, and is “loud,” we went with an all caps variant. The next step was to decide the specific typeface we could use that would hit all of those previous points.
We eventually chose Lemon/Milk, we had used this font before on previous projects and it always preformed strongly. The font features a very heavy weight, strong angles, and geometric curves: it makes a statement and is instantly recognizable.
Adam had suggested that we should have a three letter brand, something similar to Vox: short, eye catching, and quick. We spent a few minutes typing random combinations of letters, but either landed on something that was already taken, or was just ugly. Eventually we looked at the letter spread of Lemon/Milk to see which letters we really liked. Both of us agreed that the ‘Q’ was very strong and started brainstorming ‘Q’ words.
Qwick had been an online persona of mine, and we both agreed that it was relevant enough to us; we’re pushing out quick, weekly designs, and Qwick conveyed that message successfully.
And so Qwick Creation was made — a weekly design stream where two guys would work together through the design process to create a new product or brand every week.
The font for “Creation” came shortly after, and it is Aktiv Grotesk, we used the hairline font to contrast Lemon/Milk’s heaviness. Aktiv Grotesk’s presence provides the composition with an air of comfort that plays along side Lemon/Milk’s hard angles, allowing the viewer to breathe a little and rest.
Imagery is a component of brand identity that ties everything together and solidifies the culture and emotion that you are trying to have your brand reflect. We wanted Qwick Creation to have a clean aesthetic that, as mentioned previously, would be impactful.
One service that we may be relying on too heavily is Unsplash. It has been difficult to find another site where we can find free, high quality images that are as beautiful as those found on Unsplash. And in reality we’re just Unsplash/Crew fanbois.
We jumped over to Unsplash to find a backdrop for our name — usually I tend to rely on landscapes or cityscapes, imagery that gives the viewer’s eyes a lot to look at, a deep viewing experience if you will. Well, Adam threw this image at me:
Right off the bat I was wary; I never use pictures of people, and this image just seemed so… hipster. But we tried it and instantly fell in love; it was too impactful to ignore.
We tweaked the photo a bit, added a vignette, and positioned it just perfectly enough to cut off some of her face but not align the tail of the Q with her nose. The composition is breath taking, and we could not have been happier. It’s aloof but deep, a woman drifting in the water, suspended, and surrounded by flowers. Is she dead? Was this a funeral service? There’s so many questions asked, but it still tells you what it’s for; it’s for Qwick Creation.
Now, Adam choses most of the backgrounds.
The next step for developing the brand was to create images for the various social media networks out there, specifically we wanted to target Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. We looked up the image sizes and started seeing where we could use what — it’s important to reuse where possible so you’re not doing extra work.
It turned out that Twitter’s header was too small for the image we had created initially, so we quickly made a banner that fit their dimensions.
This image reflects the deep and panning imagery I normally utilize. We also used a cream color for the lettering so that it wasn’t as harsh as pure white. It also gives the image a nice 80's feeling, which is always enjoyable.
Logos are obviously an integral part to any brand because they go everywhere. There are four types of logos, the word mark, pictoral, abstract iconography, and logo systems. Everyone would love an abstract logo to represent their brand, but because we’re in a rush to design something, we decided to go with a word mark for Qwick Creation.
When creating the logo, we initially had just “Qwick Creation” over a black background. A lot of creative companies and groups are using this formula and it’s proven to be successful.
Obviously this is really boring and pretty lazy, it was quickly done, and it shows.
We soon learned that the excitement for this project wouldn’t allow some of us to sleep, the ideas constantly racing around, acting as anti-sheep. The only solution was to create, to design something, anything. At 3 am on a Friday morning the new logo was created. The letters arranged in a fully justified stack, laid over a pastel flower background, and held together by a white border. Sometimes inspiration strikes while you are working, other times while you are trying to sleep — it is important to never miss a moment of inspiration.
“It reminds me of early Instagram in the best way possible…” — Adam
The core vehicle for our content is our stream on twitch and it’s important to have a completely fleshed out channel. Empty channels will leave visitors confused and bored, two things every streaming personality wants to avoid.
Twitch allows streamers to chose an image that is displayed when the stream is offline. Many use this image to give viewers information about the stream, social media links, stream schedule, etc.
This was the first version, it features a serif font, and a very conversational tone. This was also created at 3 am, the font inspired the entire composition. The goal was a conversational, comforting, and almost airy feeling, and while it may have met these guidelines, it was too contrasting to our main theme; we decided to change.
We returned to our established branding. The copy was all changed to Lemon/Milk, the girl was exchanged for a symmetrical building photo, and the logo was slammed in the center. The final product is much more inline with our main branding and doesn’t confuse any viewers about who we are.
A good stream has an impactful overlay that quickly gives viewers information about the streamers and the stream’s overall goals. Normally streams feature a streamer playing a video game. The context either comes from the player’s reputation as a professional gamer or because they’ve built a reputation as a quality streamer over a long period of time. In either case, gaming streams don’t require too much context for their viewers, but as a design stream, we do.
This iteration of the overlay was too plain, and didn’t stand out from the rest of the stream. We needed a way to visually break the overlay away from the workspace. We decided to add a background image (from Unsplash of course), and a border.
The second version stayed in line with our previous guidelines of having white text over an image. It disconnected the overlay from the rest of the stream and added some beauty for the viewer to enjoy.
So that’s Qwick Creation’s brand. We created the brand in two weeks and we’re absolutely in love with everything we’ve made.
The future of Qwick will be interesting, we’ll be designing some amazing products. We can’t wait to move forward with all of you.
Qwick Creation is an ongoing show where a couple designers work together to push out a design in a week. The goal is to quickly go through the entire process and shed light on the ideation process involved with creating different types of brands, products, and other online presences.
Tune in Wednesdays at 6pm PST @ www.twitch.tv/qwick_creation