(Full disclosure: This logo is not mine, it’s designed by Alfonso Giraldes).
IDENTITY MANUAL | BIGCHILD CREATIVES | JANUARY 2017
00. The Briefing
Back in 2015 I was contacted by Bigchild Creatives, a young creative studio based in Madrid, to design a packaging for their upcoming Black Sailors miniature collection. By the time I got there they had some ideas about their branding and identity and some versions of a logo, but did not have a clear branding concept (as it’s normal for starting companies). Since then I’ve been working with them as a freelance designer and creating some designs responding to their different brands, slowly building up their identity, until recently I decided it was about time we had a proper identity manual, so I set out to doing that.
Also, it was important that I left a folder with all the branding material in an organized fashion son everyone was clear on what the latest version of the material is, what we don’t use anymore and how to apply it.
This case study is more like a revision of the work I’ve been doing with them and how everything fits in a scheme that was in my head, but not written, and some guidelines about how I would handle it should the case come that some other designer makes any piece for or based on their brands.
It’s also a map of their brands and how they relate to each other, which I think is really interesting and fun.
01. Bigchild Creatives
01.01. Brand values
I summed my impression of their values in three main points, just to make it as clear and workable as possible:
- Enthusiasm, because they’re very passionate about their job and their products,
- Quality, each member of the team is actually handpicked from the best creators in their field in Spain,
- Creativity, they’re always open to new ideas, trying to surprise their audiences and setting themselves apart from their competitors.
In their manual I included some more detailed explanations, examples about how we had been communicating those ideas and suggestions on how to expand on those in social media.
The way I had to represent this was with a combination of very rough, passionate, childlike and handmade graphics (such as paintbrush strokes, paint stains or the logo) combined with very clean, white spaces and a serious typography (as is Helvetica), and some middle ground with condensed, heavy versions of Helvetica which are passionate but still controlled.
By the time I got there they had many versions of the logo. I took them all, cleaned them up, selected a bunch of them, discarded the others and presented them in a hyerarchy, because although I think it really fits their brand to have a liquid logo that can adapt to different spaces and sizes, which one to use should not be picked at random but rather we should try to fit one and if it doesn’t seem very adequate, skip to the next in the list. From left to right:
They all come in black and white and color and versions for putting over white, black and irregular background, trace only versions and some tips on how to apply them respecting blank space around them etc.
01.03. Brand expression
I go into more detail in the manual, but to sum it up:
I also included a part which I think is kind of important which is to propose that we always refer to it as Bigchild Creatives and never Big Child or bigchildcreatives or anything like that.
01.04. Other source material
I prepared some backgrounds, stains and strokes to use on different applications whenever the need arised.
For instance, I made some business cards for some members of the team:
As you can see, they fit not only with the same colors bit with the same overall scheme and graphic language. A Facebook ad would go like this:
You can also check out the catalog case study to see another application in detail.
Hopefully both here and in the Blue Flame case study you can see how once having some solid bases well established it becomes really easy to design applications that communicate the values and are coherent among themselves.
Once this is clear, let’s complicate it a notch.
02. Black Sailors
Now this is where it gets interesting.
Black Sailors was their first product made for their own. This was the first time they were going to be released to the public instead of as a mercenary studio that creates products for third parties (and still today it’s their main product), so it was going to be the main promotional vector for Bigchild Creatives but at the same time, from a conceptual point of view, “Bloodthirsty Orc Pirates from the Storm Coast” doesn’t have much to do with “Enthusiast Creatives from Madrid” so my solution was to separate both brands and give them both a space, layering one on top of the other while making them both visually compatible.
02.01. Brand values
Again, only three bullet points:
- Black/absurd humor,
- Agressive, with diagonal and rough lines and dirtier textures,
- Rebel, as in slipping the typography or the humor where the audience expects it the least.
These three values were layered on top of the Bigchild Creatives brand, so all their brands will be represented keeping those core values in mind but expressing a different personality.
02.02. The logo
In this case they only have one and it’s kind of hard to apply, so I wrote down the ideal way to apply it and what conditions were most important to meet when the ideal ones weren’t met (right here the conditions are not met: white background is probably the worst). If you want to know more about the logo, you can visit the whole case study right here.
02.03. Brand expression
Again, to sum it all up:
02.04. Other source material
I didn’t have to make much yet, apart from the black flag and a desaturated version of the Storm Coast map.
And if this is all established well enough, let’s take it even one step further.
03. Storm Coast Marauders
Since Black Sailors was such a success, Bigchild Creatives decided to make yet another derivative collection, which was not Black Sailors but descended from it: game scale miniatures of the same characters, playing football, so people could use them on their games.
So let’s go again:
03.01. Brand values
This time around, only two bullet points:
- Sports brand, as in talking about the miniature line as a sports team and present the miniatures as commentators talk about players, and
- Anachronisms, because we represented it more as a orc pirate themed sports team than the other way around.
I didn’t want to put more brand values because these would have to be layered on top of Black Sailors which at the same time were on top of Bigchild Creatives so I didn’t want it to get too confusing. Also, we really wanted Black Sailors to be able to be visible through Storm Coast Marauders so we could make use of its popularity.
I called them Marauders because it’s a heavier, more intimidating, more violent way to say pirates, so it feels like a name that would fit them should they hire a modern sports team designer, which is what fits the anachronism. The Storm Coast part is because that’s where they are from, of course.
The red color was meant to contrast and look very rebellious and aggressive, but also when I got to the studio that’s the color they were painting the miniatures (probably because it looks rebellious and aggressive) so it was logical to just flow with it.
03.02. The logo
This time around I made two versions of the logo, for convenience:
If you’re curious about it, take a look at its case study!
03.03. Brand expression:
Simmilarly to Black Sailors:
Should we expand on other sport lines, maybe we should reevaluate and replace the Quahog BB Bold in some instances with some modern, sport font; but since for now this brand lives basically off Black Sailors we want to keep it as derivative as possible.
03.04. Other source material
I just prepared a couple of backgrounds at the moment:
Which mean to present the miniatures as players on the field.
Again, the catalog has some, but also the Bigchild Creatives people have done some applications by themselves:
And you can see how they kind of fit the brand that I designed for them. Now this was done before the identity manual was written and at a time in which part of the resources were not fully accessible, but should we follow the guidelines, without even changing anything else in the design, I’m sure you can see how we would have been more coherent by adjusting the fonts, the traces on the edges, the colors and the logos:
And in both cases you can probably tell how this is a design by a brand that’s excited about what they do, who are creative and make high quality material, that the miniatures are humoristic, agressive and rebellious in some way and that the team is a sports team with some anachronic appeal to it.
And if you can tell all of that by looking at that image, it means that I’ve done my job right.
04. Rum & Bones: Legends
Now let’s look into the future for a minute. Recently Cool Mini or Not contacted Bigchild Creatives to make a line of bigger scale, more detailed miniatures for some Rum & Bones models, so we’d have to brand that specific line. But that’s not Black Sailors! Those brand values would have to come from the Rum & Bones brand, with a little Bigchild Creatives twist.
04.01. Brand values
We’re still commencing to investigate it but if I had to estimate three bullet points right now, they would be:
- Cartoony, as in naive and adventurous,
- Cheeky, most characters are pirates and thieves,
- Nautical, even more so than Black Sailors, the sea is always present in a Rum & Bones game.
04.02. The logo
So after making it also excited, high quality and creative, I’d say let’s make it a series of monuments to legends of the seven seas!
[IMAGE COMING SOON]
My proposal is under revision at the moment so we’ll see what happens with this.
04.03 Brand expression:
Again, we’re working on it and we can’t show anything just yet, but if you want to start imagining, you’d probably think that:
- We would use their fonts,
- We would use a lot of textures as they do,
- And we would try to slip the color green anywhere we could.
So I’ll leave you imagining that for now and let you know when I know more.
I am really enthusiastic about this kind of work at the moment. I like to sit down with the clients, see what they do, getting to know their own idea of their brand and help them slowly express it and build it up. I’d love to help people, help you, find your own voice if you’ll let me.
So if you have or know of a brand that could use a hand with this kind of expression, and you like my way of facing and solving problems, contact me, I’d really like to talk to you!