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Not the music label you’re looking for

I recently had the privilege of working with a startup record label called Same Boat Music, part of the Out of the Ark music group, who aim to bring quality christian music to families everywhere. I was really excited to be working with such a smart and creative company, but when it came to landing on a label mark that echoed the founder’s vision, I just couldn’t hit the nail on the head for them this time.

Instead of letting the project go by the wayside, I wanted to share it with you, so enjoy a look into our process for discovery, investigation and creation of what was nearly a new music label brand based in the UK.

 
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Logo One: Guide, Navigate & Pioneer

Like all projects, I took a step back, worked through the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the brand, so that I could effectively look at who the audience was that they were trying to grab the attention. Building out of their goals and dreams, I presented three directions for them to look at, but one naturally struck a chord straight away.

The team wanted to help give people direction - we are all in the same boat, with busy lives, jobs, families etc. and so we took inspiration from their nautical roots and created an ident literally built from their name, using the nautical flag codes for the letters used in ‘Same Boat’.

 
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First round review

The first round of feedback pointed out that, although they really, really loved the idea, the minimalist/humanist style might be a bit too serious, lacking some of the essential fun and joy elements that are key to who they are.

My response was to try and draw the elements they loved (the main ident and theory behind it) alongside a strong guide for application. I began investigating how to involve those key pointers - joy and fun, by using high-energy, colourful and exciting photographic styles that embody those personalities and worked our way through to breaking up the structured-ness of the ident itself by creating unique hand-printed versions. Primary colours and primary shapes would allow for a really fun and interesting ident that can be broken apart and used across various tools and platforms, keeping brand continuity strong, without losing any of the intricate fun details.

 
 
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The first brand direction brought a lot of ideas forward and showed potential to encompass some of the heartbeat of Same Boat Music.

Where we got to however, was a great looking tool, with good depth and story, but potentially steering too much in the wrong direction. The story behind the brand needs to be less about ‘guidance’ as that feels too distant from the heart of engaging with and delivering Jesus to the audience, and more towards the ‘ta-daa’ as they ‘present’ Jesus.

I suggested re-visiting one of the alternates of the original ideas which was geared around the wide and varying breadth of life found in Jesus, that we all initially felt it encompassed the fun, exciting, full-of-life elements needed to describe Same Boat Music. Could we rebuild this concept and input some of the processes we’d developed in the first idea?

 
 
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Logo two: Unique, Relevant & Exciting

We needed to re-evaluate from the strengths of what was working in the last design and draw that through to the new design. At the request of the team, I re-opened an original idea that was geared around creating a diverse, vibrant mix, representing the unique-ness in all of us, whilst exploding with excitement and fun.

Here’s where the original idea started, inspired by the multi-styled MTV ident of the 80’s, I created an ident built of lots of simple, clean shapes that could be used and developed across a suit of brand tools.

 
 
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Rewind, rework, rebuild

The original concept needed some work to make it more cohesive, so I jumped straight back in with the golden ratio as our main tool to push things forward. Using the shapes of the letters ‘SBM’ (standing for Same Boat Music) allowed me to keep the idea of an interesting, diverse ident, useable across multiple platforms.

 
 
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Onwards!

The gut feeling was that the current direction and logo didn’t quite fit where they were wanting to take the brand, eventually taking the project on internally, whilst we carried on work with various other elements for the launch of the company.

I’d like to stress the point, throughout the entire project, the team at Same Boat were absolutely superb, we worked together as a close team trying to find the best foot forward and I feel so privileged, regardless of who designs the final mark, to have been involved in the project. Same Boat Music launched successfully at the end of 2018, and will no doubt make a huge impact and I’m pleased to be able to work with them through various other projects, outworking all the other elements of what makes a brand a brand.