Saturday, 20 January 2018

Summative Feedback

There has been very good acceptance towards the final outcomes of this project. After publishing it on Behance and sharing it to see what the people that gave me formative feedback thought, they seem to understand the visual identity and their comments are very positive.

The only downside is that some people say it's the white text on gray background or viceversa is not very readable. But that aspect has been justified in the production process, and it somehow makes people look twice to read it.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Time management and original organisation

Time management was key for both writing the dissertation and making the practical work. It was predictable that the months between September and January were going to be pretty intense, so I wanted to make sure I didn't get stressed out by the situation and started the research during summer.

Watching videos, e-mailing professionals and reading books started in this period and by October all the research was done and it only needed to be written. This took more time than I imagined, as the way the dissertation is written is more strict than the past 2 years.

My plan was to have the dissertation finished by the end of November, but due to how the module is structured this was delayed one more month. Although, by the beginning of December the essay was pretty much shaped and it only needed a bit more of work plus revisions to be completed.

The practical work was started during the period of Christmas and it took shape by the beginning of January, a bit after we were back. It was considered the time for feedback sessions, as I of course get from peers in the studio but also from diverse communities on the Internet. These ones require more time to gather the information needed, which was something considered as well.

The time was organised by using a bullet journal, which in the picture might look messy but helps to getting things done and not forgetting about what is needed to do for every tutorial and checkpoint.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Final Tutorial

For the final tutorial I had a couple of questions about the conclusion. Ben suggested me to talk about how products use to add things to our lives and now it's about how brands are a way to represent a personality instead of changing it. I thought that was interesting, but that seemed to me like a big claim for a conclusion that hasn't been backed up throughout the rest of the essay. Apart from that, only a few mistakes were left to be corrected.

Making an animation was another suggestion he made, which it was eventually created to see how this visual identity would express itself in digital media. Some ideas were that the text could breathe, as an extension of the visual identity to a time based format.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Practical work - Production

As it was mentioned in the essay, the signifiers that are going to be designed and the ones that are to come have different meanings for different persons, so the opinion that has more importance over the rest is the one from the target audience. Since there's no access for a research at that level for this project, there will be some room for interpretation of what consumers like Donovan or Yu Yan (please check the blogpost Practical work - Research) might think of these signifiers.

The production of this visual identity relies on the creative axes previously analysed:

- Premium
- Motivational
- Emotional
- Private
- Perceptive
- Science based


The logo of the brand needed to include a word, as it's a brand that is not known by the public and needs a name to be recognised by. The first step was to sketch out different ideas and write down/draw everything in mind and also exploring ideas with the books "Logo" by Michael Evamy, "Symbol" by Angus Hyland/Steven Bateman and "Alphabet logo" by counterprint. These are some ideas taken from those books.

The next step was to type the name in different basic typefaces (Bodoni, Clarendon, Din, Helvetica, etc) and analyse the connotations of them.

By analysing the word Essence in combination with the typefaces is possible to tell if it meets the creative axes. On the left side, the sans-serif typefaces could be easily seen in the context of high fashion, perfumes and similar environments. The ones on the right hand side are more flexible for use, and they can be seen in different contexts. Some of them are written in full capital letters just to see what would work best.

The chosen typeface is DIN 1451 Std Engschrift as there's an element of sci-fi to the long shape (an interpretation of science), but not as noticeable as Ailerons, one of the fonts considered and showed right below. Din it's easy to read, clean and robust enough to be readable from a distance and to stay premium. There was a search of similar typefaces that had the elongated shape, but DIN was the one with more pleasant proportions.

After choosing the typeface as how it can be seen in the notes previously shown, the space between letters should be quite considerable as it is the visual identity for a company that sells something intangible related to air, emotions and luxury. These three characteristics can be related to freedom, which is another connotation a spaced tracking can have. The golden ratio was used to find a good balance between the size of the typeface and the space there should be between the characters.

As in the sketches, it was applied to the text a gradient/duotone effect to emulate the particles of the smell emanating from the letters. The tall typeface was also useful for in order to play around with how the transition would take place, but the result was not what was initially expected and it looked more like a led screen instead.

Another idea was to change the dimention of the dot, and make a circle around the word Essence, emphaising on a single particle.

The word 'Essence' was placed in a rectangle that was measured with the proportions of the golden radio. This was in order to represent a safe space, like a room. The spaced word represents, as mentioned, air, emotions, luxury and freedom but all of it in a private space. The upside down triangle means to represent an abstract inflated chest. The symbol doesn't provide much consistency to the rest of the components. The design needed a more considered symbol that went along with the rest of the components.

Before drawing any symbol it was important to keep in mind the values and the interpretation of these. Different symbols were considered as it can be seen in the notes at the beginning of the blogpost. One of them was the container of the scents. The problem with representing the cointainer is that it would be an attribute, which goes against the nature of this project. In the end, it was decided that the symbol will be a swirl representing the smell. It's an attribute as well, but a more flexible one that allows manipulation to represent certain meanings like delicacy or something ethereal and intangible. The shape below was constructed using circles from the golden ratio in order to keep consistency with the way the other elements have been also constructed.

The new symbol replaced the triangle above and below the word. Also, it was doubled to see if it increased the feeling of motion, but it looks like a flame and it can be confusing.

Other alternatives, similar and different to the ones explored earlier, were also tried out.

Someone suggested to add text on the sides of the 'S' symbol as it looked empty, so the design tried different typefaces with the words breathe and memories.

Many of the feedback made reference to how obvious it's the fact that the symbol looks like an 'S' and it feels like it needs to be used as part of the word. Used the space below for a tagline that explains in 3 words the experience a user can have with this product: breathe · remember · feel. It's been said that human beings make connections more easily when they have 3 points of reference. The typeface used was eventually the same as the one used in the logotype, Din, but the different tracking and size created enough contrast to establish a hierarchy. The two versions are essentially the same, only the one below is more compressed as some of the feedback pointed out that the tracking was too much.

Colour Scheme

Based on the research, the colour scheme should be reduced to black and white with a chosen gray. To make it a little bit more distinctive and to avoid being too generic, one colour will be include to the scheme like Gucci did with gold. The first idea was to use a light colour, dark enough to work well with white text. Also, bright and desaturated colours make reference to the delicacy of the smells.

I used the book "A Dictionary of Color Combinations" to find these types of colour. After picking some of the brightest and desaturated colours and trying them with the logotype, it was very noticeable that the colour codes for perfumes became more relevant, so colours with this brand must be handled carefully in order to avoid a confusion. For example, reds are for passion, blues for serenity and green for nature.

The two options that seems the most adequate are a blue that can be related to the sky and the concept of air. This blue makes the white lines look in a sand-ish colour, so it's kind of warm. The other one is a seashell pink, in the spectrum of reds, which is more related to the emotions themselves. Pure red was a bit too agressive and pink might be confusing. The blue was going to be the final choice, but it is a choice based on material connotations. The seashell pink tackles down an emotional element, which is exactly the nature of this project.

Interesting that how mixing fashion and science we've got to a combination that resembles cosmetics and it's very difficult to get out of the established mission and values. But when reviewed the reasoning behind the colour choice, it's actually made upon an attribute of the product (the delicacy of air). If it's a product about emotions, then it has to use a more vivid colour. That should keep it away from looking like a cosmetic company.

The crit session was very valuable. The colour was presented as shown below. The concern was the fine line between science fiction and a cosmetic product and how to find an alternative to make it look less like a cosmetic company.

Peers suggested to change the colour to something darker and red-ish as the product is meant to be private and based on emotions. After some experimentation with different tones of red, this was the result.


By just changing the colour the whole feel of the images was more science or future related instead of cosmetics.


As it was experienced before, oblique angles, fine shapes in typefaces have connotations of futurism. Science, luxury, futurism and science fiction are concepts that are very close in visual identity. Since it was a bit too much to choose a typeface that was too futuristic for the logo, it could be an opportunity to use it for header text.

These were some of the typefaces that were tried out:

Among all the drafts, these were the shortlisted ones:

For headers it was needed something that referred again to the scientifical background of the product to balance the possible misinterpretation of the colours as cosmetics. Eventually, the choice was Helvetica Neue 33 Thin Extended which had thin lines but a wide body, which removed some sophistication from the overall look. After testing other typefaces for the body text to go alongside the header, the choice was Futura Book, which is a sophisticated typeface but with enough lack of ornament to make it fit right in this context.


Making an animation allows the brand to use time to express itself and how it would be applied on digital platforms. This was a good opportunity to express breathing using the opacity of the letters.

This is the footage that is laid out onto the animation. This mixture of lights, colours and motion represents the memories in our brains. They are behaving randomly and Essence brings order to that chaos.


An important step in every branding project is to check how the developed ideas would work in the real world. It's probably the most important part in this project, as it was mentioned, it's as if the visual identity would be lying the audience and make them believe there's an actual product that sells this product.

Since the packaging was not the important focus of this project, it was kept very simple and minimal, using a lab vial for the liquid to make it look more science than cosmetics related.

The purpose of the final outcomes is to see how the brand works in real contexts and they show in third party mock ups how the brand would express itself through the visual identity from its advertisement to the purchase of the product.

The mock ups were chosen according to the context this brand would best represented in. For example, on a Tesla truck, MacBook Air, etc, but also on regular types of advertisement, like a bus in London, a Shopping centre or a newspaper. The mock ups for the shop signs have been chosen for being clean as they make the logotype and isotype stand out more.

Many mock ups were considered and tested, but only a few remained as they were the best to convey in what way the brand could be represented in its best way. A shortlist of mockups is shown in the design boards.