For design research I focused on research that explained how to make a series of projects cohesive and how to make connections between a brand and the subject. In Emotional Typography: The Effectiveness of Current Typographic Design Categories in Eliciting Emotion, I used the information on how the shapes of the typography can elicit emotions (Ho, 2017). This led to finding a header that implied motion and was similar to a road. For the sub header and body fonts I focused on a typography with simple shapes since the voice and tone was going to be relaxed. I also found a piece written by Müller (1996) where he explained how graphic design can work as a short hand for communication. When applying this to my work, I focused on trying to get the message or the feeling across in the least number of strokes. It was important to learn to get the message or the brand across without overloading the viewer with a ton of information.
The biggest design problem for this project was coming up with a brand identity that did not override the identities of the businesses. The businesses are the heart of this district so it important not to take away what makes them so successful. I addressed this problem by asking in interviews what made the businesses appealing and I looked at what services they offered outside of products. The common factors were the events that allowed customers to socialize with the owners/employees and their proximity to each other. I shaped the brand of the Andover Strip around their common strengths. This allows for the businesses to identify with the district’s brand but still be able to promote their own.
When looking at other works, I focused on districts that would be in competition with the Andover Strip. I found areas that promoted shopping and dining. I looked at what kind of people they pulled in and what atmospheres they projected. The commonality they had was that they had more of the big city feel. They had upscale shopping boutiques, clubs, high end restaurants, etc. Andover Road’s biggest asset was that the customers knew who most of the owners were and they had developed some sort of relationship with them. So, I focused on a brand that promoted that relationship and focused on the people in the area.
The two competencies that I learned was how to develop a voice and how to keep products consistent. I knew how to develop the visual identity for a brand, but I had to learn how it would sound. I learned to think of the brand as a person and then envision how that person sounds or how they react in different situations. Then I had to learn to keep every decision consistent. I learned to reference my base projects more, for instance my tone and voice chart and my vision boards. Every project I made I then checked to make sure if this person (the brand) would talk this way or if they would decorate the piece this way. It was also important that it was recognizable to the area. After finishing a project, I would have someone form the district or familiar with it to see if they could make a connection between the project and the area.
Moving forward I want to focus more on how to translate the voice and tone into visuals. I still have a disconnect between connecting the language with the visuals. I also want to nail down the design elements for my district. I’m getting close to nailing down the rule for the brand but I still need to experiment more with assets.
Müller, P. (1996). Communication through Graphic Design. Cross-cultural Communications. Retrieved from http://www.prmueller.de/downloads/GraphicCommunication.pdf
Ho, A. G. (2017). Emotional Typography: The Effectiveness of Current Typographic Design Categories in Eliciting Emotion. International Journal of Visual Design, 11(2), 37–44. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.oclc.fullsail.edu:81/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asu&AN=123948873&site=ehost-live