Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Birthday Bash!

Last Saturday (3rd November) was the 1st anniversary of the opening of Maidstone Harley-Davidson in Kent, UK Website. To celebrate the occasion, the dealership decided to hold a "Birthday Bash" at the store. There were some specially customised bikes in the showroom , a live band, a hog roast in the car park, as well as some mini fair-type games to keep everyone entertained throughout the day.

To advertise the event, it was decided that a unique logo would have the biggest impact and provide somewhat of an identity for the anniversary. The campaign included a mixture of web and print advertising, including an editorial and advert in Motorcycle News.

The design worked an absolute treat as around 100,000 people (approximately) braved the cold, wind and rain just to see my posters up close ...and probably to look at some motorbikes and that as well.

Primary Font: Clarendon
Secondary Font: Helvetica

To begin with, the logo was much more plain than the one you see above. Basically everything you see in orange wasn't added until later. As it was so close to bonfire night, one of my colleagues recommended incorporating fireworks into the design as it would all tie together with the theme of celebration, as well as the time of year. It was certainly a good addition and gave the logo a bit more punch and colour.

Creating this logo was admittedly a bit of a learning curve as it was the first design I had created completely in Illustrator. I have been daunted by the prospect of having to learn how to use Illustrator for some time so this gave me the impetus to crack on with it. It was frustrating at times as things just don't work the same as they do in Photoshop but I think the result was promising given my limited knowledge of the program. I'm sure with a bit of time and patience I'll get my head around all the little techniques and tricks.  

Unfortunately, my idea for a tagline to go with the logo was rejected. For some reason, nobody was a fan of "Let's Bash It Up Big Style!"

Monday, 5 November 2012

Triumph Rocket Voucher

There isn't really much of a background with this project as the offer was manufacturer-led, so I'll just get straight into the design process.

I had a firm idea from the start of what I hoped this poster would look like. Earlier in the year I had gathered together a nice set of promotional photos of the Rocket so I knew one of these would form the basis of the background.

If you saw more of my work in the showroom you would have noticed a recent trend. I have become fond of the type of layout that has the motorcycle on location at the foot of the page, with a tall skyline that you can comfortably lay your text over without images getting muddled with the text.

Unfortunately, most promotional photos are cropped just above the top of the bike, so I have to do a bit of work on the image to add this in. The first part of this process is to cut out the existing background so you can start with somewhat of a blank canvas (I find this is a better technique than replicating and transforming parts of the existing sky to make it cover a larger area). Most of the time, a simple two-tone gradient will do the job, with white (or a very pale tone) being the preferable colour at the bottom of the page.

Primary Font: American Captain
Secondary Font: Delta Jaeger Light

When it came to the font, I was keen for it to represent the nature of the machine it was advertising. The Rocket has a 2294cc engine, which is the largest displacement engine of any mass-production motorcycle in the world. So no mistake, it's a beast. Therefore, the font had to be big, bold and be able to dominate the page.

As you may have guessed "American Captain" is a replica of the font used for the recent Captain America film. I see this as nothing but a good thing.

Technically, I probably shouldn't have used this font as it doesn't follow the corporate guidelines set out by triumph. To date, there have been no complaints, and I believe the promotion has now finished. (I'll be honest, this slyness/craftiness makes me feel like a prohibition-era gangster. Take that, Eliot Ness!)

Web Banner:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yamaha YZF-R125 Customised


Quite often, we will choose one of the popular models in the showroom and add some parts and accessories such as exhaust end cans, mirrors, rear sets, indicators etc, to dress it up a bit. The main reason for this isn't actually to sell it as a complete package, but rather to get people's imaginations flowing by providing a visual example of how these aftermarket add-ons can change the look of a bike.

For many bikers, the most interesting aspect of motorcycling is customization. Whether it be a completely bespoke build, or simply adding a few catalogue accessories, recreating a bike to make it original to the owner's individual taste can be very rewarding.

The Poster:

One simple little trick I use all the time is to increase the tracking (space between letters) to give a more polished result. I thought about it for a while but I have to admit I couldn't honestly tell you why doing this has that effect. As you can see on the image above, "YAMAHA" and "LAGUNA SPECIAL" have much greater spacing between each letter than all the other text on the page. Maybe it helps to break the text up a bit for greater clarity. Then again, maybe it just reminds me of expanding movie titles.

Another thing you'll see a lot of in professional print and web design is variation between light, regular, and bold versions of the same font. It maintains consistency of all the text on the page but also offers slight contrasts so that all the text isn't an overwhelming blur of letters and numbers.
The colour choice was quite an easy one as it made sense to follow the paint scheme of the bike. The subtle tone of the gold/bronze wheels certainly adds a bit of class and suggests that this bike is somewhat unique.

The white background was decided upon for three reasons:
1: It costs less to print
2: The picture of the bike was on a white background, so saves me cutting it out. I was on a tight deadline (which actually means I was just being lazy).
3: Importantly though, the poster was going to be A3, not the largest size in such a big showroom, so the text and the parts boxes really did have to stand out from the background.

The shape of the boxes containing each accessory was a conscious decision, based more than anything, on the style of the bike. The contours of the YZF-R125 are very angular and sharp, so it didn't make sense to use rounded corners or even circular shapes for any of the design.

The blue and gold gradients were also based on how the light reflects off the surface of the bike. I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of colour gradients as they are so often misused. In my opinion, they really only work with two shades of the same colour.

Font: Chantilly Medium & Chantilly Light

When I had printed off the poster, one of my colleagues came to me and said "It's nice, but it's a bit simple." Now I'm sure that he expected me to take offense to this, but actually, this couldn't have been a better reaction. Making something look professional and stylish, but keeping it clean and simple, is actually one of the more difficult things graphic designers are faced with. When there is so much information outlined in a brief, deciding the layout can be fairly troublesome. I could litter the page with lots of flourishes and decoration, and yes, it would look pretty, but it would also likely be a distraction to more important content.  When it comes down to it, the purpose of my work is to relay information to customers in the clearest possible fashion, so "simple" really is a good thing.

I explained all that to my colleague with the smuggest expression I could muster, then I hit him with the poster for his ignorance.