Branding Case study
designafriend visual identity
To create and build a brand for a specific target market. To develop style guides that can be applied across various different mediums.
To create a visual identity for DesignaFriend including logo design, packaging, print & digital design.
"How can we create an identity that appeals to a target market, that in itself aspires to be older than it is?”.
Kid Kreations are an international children’s toy supplier who specialise in developing own brand products for the UK market. With over 40 years experience in the toy industry alone, the company have developed a wealth of products in various categories including nursery, pre-school, plush, gift and dolls, which they have supplied to major retailers such as Argos, Toys ‘R’ Us, Tesco & Mothercare. After working successfully alongside them on one of their major plush products, I was approached by Kid Kreations to look into branding an exciting new product they were developing called DesignaFriend.
DesignaFriend is an 18” doll that is unique to the UK market. The product teams initial focus was to build a brand that could teach young girls about fashion. Their goal was to create a beautiful product with a variety of different collectible outfits and accessories that could later branch out into fashion design, hair styles & make up. This concept provided me with enough material to begin work on the visual identity, but it also came with a few surprises too.
Whenever I work with clients on branding, I always ask two important questions - “who is the target market?” & “who is the competition?”. The competition part for this was almost null & void as nobody else was really selling this type of product at the time. But answering the target market question is where things started to get interesting. Primarily this product is aimed at girls aged 5-11, but DesignaFriend is not like similar products which model their outfits on what its core age group might wear, infact its outfits were based on what a 16/17 year old might wear. In essence this is reflective of how a 5-11 year old thinks, and it was at this moment that I realised this particular target market is unique - it aspires to be older, and the branding needed to reflect that too.
I began this project by looking into existing fashion brands. I knew the team were wanting something “luxury”, but everything in fashion is pitched at a much older and sophisticated audience that it just didn't translate well to toys. Fashion branding does have its own style though - minimalist type and packaging with more focus on high quality materials rather than artwork. I took this on board and shifted my attention to perfume. Perfume branding has a little more to work with, there are all sorts of different styles that appeal to a variety of different age groups. There is also a wider use of feminine colours which are not seen often in fashion brands as they tend to be mostly gender neutral. Its at this point I began to start mixing styles, taking the minimalist look from fashion & combining it with the stripes and heart shapes found in perfume. The logo itself became a combination of fonts, the word ‘collection’ taking inspiration from the fashion industry, with ‘DesignaFriend’ being styled in something a little more feminine.
It's worth pointing out that when working on a brand like this how important it is to design it 'in context'. Throughout the entire process I was building and testing logos on packaging & catalogue mock ups which I would share with the client for feedback. The main reason for this is to prevent any potential problems further down the line. I can think of numerous examples of logos which look great on their own, but when put into context on packaging or websites don't work at all. In the case of DesignaFriend, two logos have always been used - a primary logo for use on the packaging and in print design, with a 3D secondary logo that sits better on product imagery and online. Since its inception both designs have been rolled out across all packaging, brochures, marketing, digital and print, as well as through various TV campaigns.
DesignaFriend launched exclusively in Argos stores nationwide. To date it has sold in excess of £50million, won 3 prestigious awards for brand innovation, and even out sells Barbie. It continues to be the #1 best selling toy in its category.