I love beautiful clothes. On a Saturday, when the high street is buzzing with people looking for a bargain, I can be found in the quieter parts, trying to find that little independent shop that sells beautiful, high quality clothing and statement pieces that you won’t find in the high street.
Designing a Visual Identity for a fashion boutique has been at the very top of my ‘projects wish-list’ for a long time, so when Arabella from Truffle – a new fashion concept store – approached me, I was thrilled. Arabella and I had great chemistry and enthusiasm for each other’s work and our ongoing collaboration is thoroughly enjoyable and very successful.
With the store now opened, it’s great to see how the output of all our hard work is appreciated not only by Truffle's customers, but also by my peers. Truffle’s visual identity concept was featured in the curated Behance galleries of AIGA (The Professional Association for Design) and Adobe InDesign in both December 2017 and January 2018.
Here’s how we did it.
WORKING OUT THE USPs
Working out the USP of your new business and the vision for its future is where it all starts. Why are you here? What do you do? Who are you here for? What makes you unique? What do you value most? The answers to these questions, are what defines a brand.
Truffle aims to create a special shopping experience for women who love to dress in beautifully crafted fashion and carefully selected pieces which would otherwise not be available in their local area. In addition, it also offers quality basics for a capsule wardrobe. Truffle's beautifully curated collection appeals to those women who look for something a bit different. Something luxurious or quirky.
Truffle stocks a broad range of collections from both, international, iconic fashion brands such as Sportmax, J Lindberg, Markus Lupfer and smaller independent designers.
To display the beautiful clothing, Arabella from Truffle wanted to create the perfect environment with an urban, industrial, yet feminine and sophisticated look and feel.
The store would be situated in a modern building with an industrial shell, featuring brick walls, exposed piping and a grey concrete floor. Arabella was keen to work with those features and even enhance it with clothes rails made from copper piping.
THE VISUAL IDENTITY DESIGN PROCESS
It’s all about perception. The visual representation is usually the first encounter customers have with a brand. To spark a connection - and trigger that well known ‘gut feeling’ -, it is vital that the brand’s personality, values and ethos shine through. A coherent and memorable Visual Identity builds familiarity and trust with your audience.
The first step in any new project is to start an open dialogue, to find out about my client. Their business plans, products and services, their ideal customer, values, concerns and future vision. From all the things we discuss I distil the essence of the brand.
Truffle is a fabulous name for a high end fashion store. The immediate connotation for that brand is of luxury, exclusivity and quality. All of which could be said about the fabulous pieces of clothing and accessories stocked in store.
After a lot of research, mind mapping, creating mood boards and sketching, I develop a full Visual Identity concept, including the three main components; The Logo, The Colours and The Typography.
To tie the Visual Identity in with the style of the brands stocked in store, we decided on a lower case word mark which combines strength and elegance and feels very open and approachable.
I love looking for the perfect typeface and for Truffle we decided on a curvaceous stencil font, blending an industrial attitude with a feminine feel. I further edited some letterforms to create custom features and ligatures to bring out the mark’s distinctive character we envisioned.
Working on the colour palette was great fun. We looked at nail polish, clothing and interior design magazines to work out a harmonising palette. There were a few aspects the colour scheme needed to encompass; the actual colour tones associated with truffle, colours that work well with the industrial features of the shop and muted, elegant and feminine tones.
We married up an aubergine tone with a contrasting dusky pink and added a dark earthy grey which harmonises with a warm light grey.
To round up the Visual Identity components and to help bring out the personality and spirit of Truffle, we picked a couple of contrasting typefaces which harmonise perfectly.
We selected a high fashion, stylish and chic serif font which you’d also find in glossy fashion and lifestyle magazines. This is mainly used for headlines, highlighted paragraphs and strap lines. The second typeface is a contemporary sans with beautiful curves, giving it a unique character.
Consistency is key. Making sure your logo system, colour scheme and typefaces are used consistently across all your communication channels will help prospects and customers remember and recognise your brand and associate it with all the great things you do.
Producing the artwork to apply to create a coherent and seamless brand image is the final step in the Visual Identity Design process.
For Truffle we decided to use the colour palette in a few different combinations starting with a range of business cards and postcards advertising the amazing brands stocked in store. Next came beautifully branded shopping bags and Truffle stickers for sealing, gift vouchers, loyalty cards, hang tags with little messages like ‘Must Have’ or ‘Wardrobe Staple’, magazine adverts, social media templates and we’ll shortly embark on creating a regular seasonal edit with images and information on the latest fashion trends and pieces stocked, style advice, trending accessories and profiles on designers and brands.
The result of all this hard work; a stunning Visual Identity for an amazing fashion store and a dream project completed for me. See more of the TRUFFLE project here.