Symbols – Angus Hyland

This is a video recommend to watch about branding. A short talk by Angus Hyland covering lots of interesting case studies on branding and how far it has came.

The first study was on Apple. A brand instantly recognised across the world. Hyland shows us the original version of the logo, something not what I was expecting.

Left is the original which features an illustration of Issac Newton, created in 1976. A more minimalistic approach was needed, Rob Janoff created the iconic apple logo we still have today a year later (1977). Hyland also describes how this logo is called a Rebus; a representation of a word or phrase by pictures, symbols, etc., that suggest that word or phrase or its syllables. Creating a rebus of a well known word and making it a logo you own is very powerful.

The evolution of the Shell logo from 1990 to present day. Having an object and having text to reveal what it is makes the branding lose its power, thats why todays current logo for Shell is just a bold clear illustration. – Thinking about this research in context with our lesson recapping semiotics and looking into BP’s logo there is a few comparisons I can now make.

Both companies are of course fuel companies, both logos feature naturally occurring objects, BP has a flower and Shell has a shell (relating to the oil and process) Both have also changed lettering to lowercase, which creates a more friendly and welcoming look.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 11.35.37WWF is another study in the video, developing from sketches to cleaner and more minimal illustration. Also to note is the change in serif to sans serif typeface, I have a feeling this was because the previous logo from present was designed in 1986, where traditional serif typefaces were common in braining, however sans serif creates a more up to date and modern feel to show the charity is up with current times.

The black and white aspect of this logo is also purposeful, this can be reproduced across in any developing nation in any situation. Mobile perception is another phrase used by Hyland which means where your eye draws in the pieces that aren’t there (negative space).

British Railway is something I have researched into from Hyland’s video.

The British Railway original logo was again a detailed illustration that moved into a more minimalistic feel. Something really interesting I discovered is the British Railway corporate manual, which gives refined details of how the logo should be used in a variety of situations, from logo placement and colours to how staff members should dress.


Conclusion from Hyland’s Symbol Video:

“Commercial symbols are like people, some are reasonably put together but lack personalities, others are aggressive, pompous and some our unpleasant. A trademark must meet a certain criteria, the utilitarian values of being relevant, appropriate and practical with the inaudible qualities of being memorable and distinctive and that little something extra (little tweak) that creates a unique personality.”


Study of Signs

  • things that communicate
  • interpretation
  • signifiers – the object that communicate with us
  • signified – what it triggers in our heads

intentional fallacy: no guarantee of target audience understanding what you mean to convey.

signifiers need to be clear and strong enough for people to agree on. Make relevant

when designing think about audience, shape/colour/texture – signifiers work in groups, are they working? are they understandable?

Ideas in a paradigm are syntagms.

Connotation – what it makes you think of (audience/everyone)


Existing Business Cards

For the branding brief one thing needed is to produce a business card. Here is a selection from Pinterest of unique business card ideas to give me some ideas of what is possible to create. Something I really like the look of and an effective style is cut out letterforms/symbols. I would like to experiment with this in my celebrity branding, as Banksy is an anonymous character and cut out letters could reinforce this.

The ‘BLACKBIRD’ card is also effective, using a black card with black gloss creating a subtle, professional look that also looks expensive.

Business Card Sizing:

3.5 x 2 inches finished size.  (85 mm x 55 mm)

3mm bleed when designing to avoid white cut marks

Shapes in Logos

It is important to look at logo design theories before getting into my own designs. Here I have found really useful information on shape in logo designs, not only in the physical logo but also in chosen typefaces:



‘Our subconscious minds respond in different ways to different logo shapes. Straight lines, circles, curves and jagged edges all imply different meanings and so a skilled logo designer can use shape to infer particular qualities about the brand.

Think, for example, of the Nike Swoosh: the combination of curves ending in a sharp point offers a strong suggestion of movement.

Particular logo shapes send out particular messages:

  • Circles, ovals and ellipses tend to project a positive emotional message. Using a circle in a logo can suggest community, friendship, love, relationships and unity. Rings have an implication of marriage and partnership, suggesting stability and endurance. Curves on any sort tend to be viewed as feminine in nature.
  • Straight edged logo shapes such as squares and triangles suggest stability in more practical terms and can also be used to imply balance. Straight lines and precise logo shapes also impart strength, professionalism and efficiency. However, and particularly if they are combined with colours like blue and grey, they may also appear cold and uninviting. Subverting them with off-kilter positioning or more dynamic colours can counter this problem and conjure up something more interesting.
  • It has also been suggested that triangles have a good association with power, science, religion and law. These tend to be viewed as masculine attributes, so it’s no coincidence that triangles feature more prominently in the logos of companies whose products have a masculine bias.
  • Our subconscious minds associate vertical lines with masculinity, strength and aggression, while horizontal lines suggest community, tranquillity and calm.
  • The implications of shape also extend to the typeface chosen. Jagged, angular typefaces may appear as aggressive or dynamic; on the other hand, soft, rounded letters give a youthful appeal. Curved typefaces and cursive scripts tend to appeal more to women, while strong, bold lettering has a more masculine edge.e2c0104aaf2835a1ac1b1157b624a185-650-80.jpg

Industrial Revolution

In Sancha’s lesson we looked through a powerpoint on the industrial revolution. This was because we will start to write our essay surrounding this topic.

VTS – Visual Thinking Strategy

What is happening? – What makes you think that? – What more can you find?

Metacognition: outside of own understanding, knowing the methods you are using to learn. Rely on knowledge and feelings, looking for signifiers and what has made me have that connotation .

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.34.25

What looks like is happening is a man, possibly a traveller, being served a drink in a pub by a barmaid. I think this because of the bag tied to a stick, the lady serving the drink and the long tied outfit she is wearing.

It looks set in  rural area, the background behind empty land, set away from the industrial revolution in the countryside.

Essay notes:

Due 27th March 2018, 2000 – 2500, last 500 words on why it relates to own design practice. Keep all research links, compare two cases. Society vs Design

Gestalt Theory

In the 1920s, a group of psychologists in Germany developed a series of theories of visual perception. The Gestalt principles – or Gestalt Theory, as it’s also known – form the basis of many design rules we follow today.

Gestalt means ‘unified whole’, which is a good way of describing the over-arching theme behind the Gestalt principles. These refer to the way in which humans, when looking at a group of objects, will see the whole before we see the individual parts.

Six Gestalt principles

0be17bd565038a7adc09f23e19139424-650-80.jpgSimilarity – The similarity between different elements can be shape, colour, size, texture or value. The more commonality that individual elements have, the greater the sense of coherence, thanks to similarity. The similarity between different elements can be shape, colour, size, texture or value. The more commonality that individual elements have, the greater the sense of coherence, thanks to similarity.


Continuation – Continuation is the principle through which the eye is drawn along a path, line or curve, preferring to see a single continuous figure than separate lines. This can be used to point towards another element in the composition, and is seen where a line is cut through one object, often in a curve, aligning perfectly with a secondary element.


Closure – is often used in logo design; this is when an object is incomplete but there is enough detail for the human eye to make the whole picture. A good example of this is the panda logo used by the WWF


Proximity – uses the close arrangement of elements to create a group association between those objects. If individual elements are also similar, they will tend to be perceived as a single whole, even though they are separate elements. Proximity or grouping can be achieved with lots of different commonality including shape, colour, texture, size or any other visual attribute.


Figure/Ground – This principle describes the eye’s tendency to see and separate objects from their surrounding background. A classic example uses a vase/candlestick illustration to show two faces peering at each other, but you can also see this effect in a variety of logo designs. It works because human eyes want to see the figure (foreground object) and background (ground) as two different planes of focus.

Symmetry and Order – put simply, this principle says that a composition should not provide a sense of disorder or imbalance, as otherwise the viewer will waste time trying to locate the missing element, or fix the problem, rather than focusing on the message or instruction.

Pre School (Nursery Branding)


Before my meeting for the charity branding project I have quickly researched existing branding for nurseries and preschools. There is a mixture of local nurseries and some across the country to give me a broad range of what is currently out there. There are a few reoccurring themes that I have discovered.

From my mood board of branding here is a colour pallet capture from some of the logos above. The main overall feel is bright, mostly natural light colours.

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.54.14.png

Trees are a big illustrative part in a lot of nursery branding and here is why:

the definition of nursery is:

1. a room in a house for the special use of young children.
2. a place where young plants and trees are grown for sale or for planting elsewhere.
this second definition for a nursery relates to the preschool aspect, where children are helped to ‘grow’ and nurtured until they are ready to be moved on (primary schools, ect.)
Hands and feet are also incorporated into a lot of branding, this relates directly to the children and a playful and exploration feel behind.
This is something I will need to talk to the nursery about and what aspects they would like me to explore for their branding.


IMG_8289The task was to create a tower from spaghetti, with a metre of tape and string to help is, and the tower must support a piece of banana at the top. The tower had to remain standing and not fall after the time was up. The point of this task, which we completed a few days back into the course was to rekindle our creativity and help bond the groups together. There were numerous things to learn from this activity, the first being time management, we were up against the clock so we had to organise our time wisely otherwise we could miss the deadline. Learning to work in a group and listen to everybody’s ideas was also needed in this task, I found myself being decisive over some decisions that were said due to the short time we had. It was quite stressful at first when creating the tower as so many ideas were bombarded into the team we didn’t know which one to use. However when we got going it was rewarding to see our ideas and teamwork come together.

I have created a tower before and what I learnt form last time is that the base should be the most solid piece and not to use one stick of spaghetti to hold the banana. We was however competing for the highest tower that held a banana. This is where we got carried away and took the tower to high which is where our tower got ruined. Through this task it relates to my role/identity and processes as a graphic designer in a few different ways, looking back on the task it showed me that I was decision making a lot, and trying to include members of the group who were taking a slight back seat to get involved and listen to their thoughts.


My Celebrity

My randomly selected celebrity was Banksy. At first I was quite optimistic as Banksy has a lot of iconic artwork that is well known across the world, and I have a fair few ideas and paths I would like to explore. However with the fact that Banksy is ‘anonymous’ which is one of his selling points makes it harder for me especially in a branding sense to design for him.

I’m also thinking about the appearance of my  portfolio and something I feel will happen is it starting to look cliché as another graphic/art student is trying to replicate Banksy’s style, something I know this project isn’t asking me to do however I’m worried about future viewers of my portfolio will think of the work.

This is something I would like to discuss with Tim and Sancha before progressing any further.

Revised thoughts (6/10/17): 

After talking with Tim and Sancha I have decided to keep my first choice of Banksy as my celebrity artist to brand. I discussed with Sancha about following the routes of activism and Banksy as a politician rather than ‘graffiti artist’.

Having this concern has set me back slightly however I’m confident I have enough time to continue my research and produce an outcome that is suitable for the brief.

Tim’s Powerpoint Branding

Brand – Identity – Logo

  • The idea – what I the essence of your company/person?
  • Values – what is the ethos, mission statement or beliefs?
  • Vision – what does the future look like for your company/person?
  • Personality – how does your company/person want to be seen?

A logo is an instantly recognisable symbol that represents your company’s values and personality.

Identity – a combination of all the visual elements that represent your company.