Small Business Branding
What started off as an idea on how to make use of a laser cutter and engraver blossomed and continues to grow into a small side business. Live event appearances at local conventions catering to sci-fi and pop culture audiences and electronic presences on the web, Etsy, and social media, PopCultPins pushes its wares in the real world and online.
The name, PopCultPins, is a combination of popular culture and hat/lapel pins. The combination imparts, in one compound word, the majority of its product offerings. While searching for the ideal typeface to create the main part of the logotype, I had to take into consideration the tone that the name and product had to convey. Bold, confident, and no-frills…that’s the voice and tone I wanted to achieve. By process of elimination, I settled upon the Sports World font for the main logotype. It’s a 100% Free to use font available on DaFont.com. With it, I wanted to offset the large, blocky geometry of the font with a thinner, lighter typeface, yet still have a modern technical look. PopCultPins products are produced via lasers after all. The font, Bebas Neue immediately came to mind and a pair was born. I styled the main logotype by pinching the copy at the waist along the vertical center and used Bebas for the sub-headline or slogan. As the secondary copy, I anticipated the possibility of it becoming illegible at really small (postage stamp) sizes but was fine with that. At normal size, business card sized and up, the sub-head is easily read. Now, what to put the logotype in? From the very beginning, I knew I wanted the branding system to consist of both a logomark and logotype aspects.
When I first began to freehand/doodle brand concepts I felt that the logo had to be more than just slick typography. PopCultPins products are heavily visual and contained within shapes. I wanted the logo to match, moreover, I wanted it to translate over into a possible product for PopCultPins. I began by drawing 1st surface iterations. A shape that resembled a soda can and basic shapes such as squares and hexagons. I moved onto badge styled containers and developed a combination shield, ribbon, and a star design. The shield, ribbon, and star offered a timeless sense of authority to the logo. It could be a logo from the 1950’s or a modern vintage throwback. Given that the products could also span multiple eras, I was very pleased with the visual combination that resulted.
Branding Color Palette
In my mind, the brand was always intended to have a monochromatic/greyscale color palette. While simple black and white can feel restricted, I wanted the products which would be made of real natural wood with all of its various colors and textures to be the standout. That said, I also wanted to infuse the brand with texture. In working to create the brand, I opted to incorporate a stylized wood texture into the brand. It would be present on business cards and on some electronic documents and other printed pieces.
In working with print for as long as I have, I’d rarely had the opportunity to incorporate spot varnishes in my work. Often cost prohibitive, a spot varnish is a post-production accent that is added to print materials. It adds a gloss to a predetermined printed area, on business cards for example. Once I had settled on the stylized wood grain for my business cards I knew the way to really stand out from the crowd was to use the pattern as the area for a spot varnish on a rich black business card. The logo and other information would be in white. On their own, an all-black business card with white text and logo is pretty dull. When combined with a spot varnish though, it elevates the design of the card. Adds an anomaly and therefore an interesting contrast in visual texture to that same card. I opted to incorporate the text and logo into the spot varnish plate as well, so that the text and logo would also be glossy. In the end, the final business card solution worked so well and was received with such high praise that I elected to also use it for PopCultPins packaging. All pins and small products include the business card with a blank back os their product card in hangable plastic bags.