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Designing WMAS 1.0

During a weekly Google Hangout back in September last year we came to the realisation that our visual identity, while previously meeting our needs, no longer completely worked with what we wanted going forwards.

It happened a bit like this:

Tom: "Our visual identity, which has previously met our needs, no longer works completely with what we want going forwards".

Everyone apart from Tom: Nods in agreement with Tom.

Now the decision was made, we needed an identity that worked with what we want going forwards. One that kept the same obscure character but presented us and our work with a realigned WMAS timbre.

But what is the WMAS timbre? How would that timbre be visually represented? And what does timbre even mean?!

To answers these questions we employed Stephen Hawking on a very agreeable day rate. After a three day alcohol fueled workshop from his beautiful Elizabethen lodge in West Wittering, Stephen came to a profound conclusion. We should have a brainstorm and list words and phrases that described WMAS. So we did exactly that on some loo roll, and it bloody worked.

These words helped give direction for the next stage...

Finding inspiration

Using these words and phrases, I trawled the internet looking for inspiration. James Victore's awesome work was a big contributor. His no-bullshit, honest and characterful approach seemed to fit perfectly with what we were trying to achieve.

Hamburg + Titillium

Also, during my quest for adequate inspiration I stumbled across a font called Hamburg made by F is for Fonts. Hamburg is a raw, honest yet legible and bold font. I experimented with it and it worked really well.

To contrast the rawness of Hamburg as a heading font I wanted something honed and super clean. Something that would represent the tech side of WMAS and could also be used as a body font. After experimenting with a few font pairings, I ended up choosing Titilium. Titilium is sharp and refined and comes in a range of weights (a bit like our tech team). The combination of these two fonts seemed to sum up the things we discovered in the brainstorming session with Stephen.

We now had a foundation for our new identity and felt ready to flesh things out a bit. High fives all round.

Experimental Business Cards

The next thing we decided to do was redesign the business cards. This wasn't a clever strategic decision. We simply needed new business cards. So we used this as an opportunity to develop our new identity further.

I set everyone the task of creating and photographing the letters 'WMAS' using found objects. I then added some James Victore style scribbles and words over the top of the photos. These photographs would feature on the front of the cards. This experimental approach allowed us to push the boundaries of our new style and also have some fun with it. Here are some examples:

You can read more about the business cards here.

The creds deck

With the new business cards in our back pockets, we moved on to our creds deck. This happened whilst we were in Amsterdam for ADE. We sat around in our apartment and watched Frozen on Sophie's mac and drank beer. After this extraordinary experience, we began piecing together the new creds deck.

These intense creative sessions have become a regular event at WMAS. We'll all get in the same room, watch Frozen and drink beer, and then execute a ridiculous amount of work. The session on this particular occasion really helped us nail down the core content and flesh out visual assets that would later appear on the website. It also gave us the chance to start thinking about how the website might eventually be laid out. Here's the front page of the creds deck which later morphed into the hero area of the website homepage:

We also decided to add a load of character throughout the deck, from scribbles to obscure graphics. One of my personal favourites is this graphic which playfully bastardises an embarrassingly horrendous stock photo:

The website

Finally, using the identity developed, we felt ready to redesign the website. The content and graphical assets were ready to go, all we had to do was apply this identity to a sparkly new website.

Many of the layouts you see on the new website are interpretations of pages from our creds deck; this includes the scribbles and obscure graphics. Additionally we added some easter eggs involving animation and audio. There are many custom elements which we were able to export as SVGs, like the black blobs in the 'How we work' section.

Results

We've had some amazing responses since launching the webiste and making the new brand identity official. But have we managed to communicate the new WMAS timbre successfully whilst retaining some of that obscure character?

Job done.

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