Representing a product, store, company or brand in a simple visual system is a great graphic design challenge. Logos, typefaces, and colors are all important ways in which we attempt to communicate the essence of something, to a consumer or end user, and make an impression in those critical first seconds of engagement.
Every so often I have the opportunity to craft a graphic identity, whether it be for the re-branding of a shop along Lamb's Conduit Street in London, a leader in wearable technology development in California, an emerging men's clothing and lifestyle brand, or a charity that is just looking to raise their profile.
On the larger commercial side, I also designed the wordmark and logo for Ma.Strum, a technical outerwear brand originally developed in collaboration with the Massimo Osti Archives in Bologna.
Now based out of Leeds, England, Ma.Strum continues to thrive, and has a robust on-line business as well as freestanding stores in London and other key European cities.
I've designed graphics for many different parts of the apparel industry; t-shirts and patches, hang tags, labels and hardware, all the way to packaging and point of purchase displays. Tees are such a subjective and wide ranging medium that it's been interesting to do independent lines, as well as much larger runs. When I had a small boutique in Brooklyn I would print about 25 of each design. I also remember doing a package of 5 graphics for a major retailer and they ordered 250,000 units for their outlet stores. Kind of hard to imagine.
In the sportswear world there are all kinds of patches and embroideries that can be fun, and even though POP materials and packaging can sometimes come with lots of restrictions, there's room for creativity there as well. I think my favorite design challenge for apparel, though, is the hang tag.
Since I already love infographics and icons, hang tags are a perfect place for me to experiment with communicating precise information while also being aware of materials, shapes and tactile elements. For very complex products, the challenge is almost akin to designing a small book, and since space is at such a premium economy of line and typography is essential.