From the starting point of wanting my website to look like a magazine, I thought about how I could take that idea further. I wanted to come across as unique so what approach would be unique? What if I made it look like a comic rather than a magazine? What if I found a way of breaking down the ‘grid’ structure that every website uses? The comic strips I love the most are by illustrators like Dave Gibbons (Marvel), Frank Bellamy (Dan Dare) and Chris Achilleos (Target Books). But the one that struck me most for inspiration was the work of Ron Turner in the 1960s TV21 comic. The way he broke up the panels to make them non-linear was the perfect visual metaphor for my message, to be reflected on my website.
I plotted out the essential content and started to work out the shapes that I’d use to display the various clickable areas that would visually show the visitor what the website was about.
You can see the sketches below.
The next phase was to get new photography. I wanted photos of me (after all, it’s me the website is selling) but since there was to be so many panels, the photos had to look interesting and dynamic, almost like shots from panels of a photo strip. Working with Haddon Davies at his studio, we came up with a large variety of shots that could be matched up with the uses I had in mind. What I didn’t want is a generic portrait shot, that would have been no use to me. We shot the images on white and black backgrounds to make it easier for me to cut the images out and apply them to a variety of backgrounds. We were also keen to avoid clichés where possible and yet get the balance right between interest, irreverence and professionalism. Everything about my brand needs to capture my uniqueness, and that obviously has to include the photography.
See what you make of the result: www.aydinstone.com
Let’s go back to the questions I posed in a previous article with my own answers:
1. What is the point of the website?
To attract visitors looking to book a unique and dynamic speaker on creativity and branding.
To convince those people who have met me or been referred to me that I have what they’re looking for and have the credibility to back it up.
To scream the essence of my brand: creative, exciting, dynamic, fun, different.
2. What do I want people to do when they are there?
To easily click through to the section relevant to them so they find the detail they need easily.
To watch my videos.
To sign up to my mailing list.
To contact me to book me for an event
To buy a product.
Any design I came up with had to fulfill those aims. The first question is stylistic, the second functional. (Interesting that the first is ‘right brain’ and the second ‘left brain’).
So now to the actual design…
Click here to see what I did next.
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For my re-brand, the three elements I needed to sort out and update were:
1. My logo
2. My photographs
3. The design and structure of the website
It would have been so easy to keep the same logo, keep the same structure of the web and just swap in new photos and information. But I knew that wouldn’t be good enough. There’s a great temptation with re-branding to fiddle but not wield the knife. Sometimes you have to be brave enough to roll the dice again, to be brave and see how far the changes could go. You can always pull back to safety and comfort from there, but approaching re-branding by saying ‘we want to keep such and such’ can put the brakes on. BP spent £2 million on rebranding in the 1990s for the result of keeping their logo as the shield but putting the letters ‘BP’ in italics. It was a few years later (and another large sum spent) to be brave enough to change the logo to the green ‘sunflower’.
When I created by logo in 2007 I’d gone through an exhaustive process of choosing the right font. Being your own client isn’t easy! I was still happy with the choice of Eurostile in 2010. I liked the ident of the reversed out A and I of my initials. Not many people have initials that resemble A1 so I wanted to retain that. I’d never been happy with the letters reversed out of an ellipse. What else could I try? How could I make it sharper?
I tried various shapes, squares, circles, hexagons, triangles. The answer was a diamond. It worked. I’d been using my stylised initials as a logo for a long time, all my life in fact. But the idea of putting the diamond device between Ayd and Instone was a new idea and you can guess where than idea was lifted from.
The logo was ready. Now what? Find out here.
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