, , , , , , , , ,

A quick post regarding the Cardiff Half Marathon Icon competition that was set as part of a brief with Barnardos, the children’s charity. All designs have been completed and submitted, ready in time for the deadline tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to seeing the chosen winning design.

I have found this brief a challenge, especially due to the short time frame that also had to be juggled alongside other briefs, but feel pleased with the overall outcomes produced. This brief has enabled me to explore the areas of logo and brand identity further, and enabled me to develop my skills with Illustrator as well as the process of refinement, using multiple drawings to take my initial concepts on a journey prior to digital realisation.

The process of developing a visual icon, that has to be used in conjunction with text as well as on its own requires a great deal of simplification in order to ensure that the symbolic message/visual identity is clear and succinct. Aspects of scale and the addition of colour are vital factors that play a key part in the making or breaking of a successful icon, one that not only embodies all of the characteristics needed for the brand but also is able to be easily identifiable and remembered by its clients for years to come without looking out of date. The importance of scale was evident throughout this brief, bearing in mind that the winning design would need to be placed onto not only posters and flyers, but also large-scale banners and memorabilia.

Taking all of this into account and combining with it elements of Welsh tradition alongside the running/half marathon context made the process of simplification even more of a challenge, especially as the ‘ideal’ was to convey a contemporary and professional outlook of the CHM towards its regular public runners as well as the professional athletes that the event also attracts. Working to within the limitations of the Barnardos tonal theme, alongside the welsh red restricted creativity somewhat yet also helped to provide a focus rather than becoming caught up in the designing rather than staying true to the contexts of the brief.

Exploring concepts that were able to convey elements of both contexts yet that still retained a degree of uniqueness gave way to a number of possibilities and yet rendered some irrelevant due to the need for the icon to be simplistic and contemporary. The hourglass concept was an aspect that others in the group hadn’t undertaken, and helped to combine the time element alongside routes and directions. Although fairly simplistic in terms of construction, the process of achieving a curved outer form that sufficiently resembled that of an hourglass proved more difficult than I had first anticipated. Although I am happy with the final result, the outline could still resemble skittles or maracas as well as an hourglass! The Celtic knot provided a curved form that worked well alongside the accompanying text and helped to illustrate welsh traditions as well as the marathon. Using the welsh red as a spot colour to fill the background sections helped to achieve a subtle, more professional appeal, referencing hints of the location rather than overloading the icon. The flagpole design was probably the simplest idea, triangular components acting as abstract dragon spikes as well as the form of a person running. This said, when working alone in future years without accompanying text, the design could be too simplistic and not retain enough depth upon the page to sustain impact.

I will post my three final logo designs once the winning icon has been announced by Barnardos.

Overall, an enjoyable yet challenging brief that acted as a learning curve and as an eye opener into an aspect of the design industry that could be explored further in future projects.