Rebranding Everton, Part IV: In Seach of a Clinical Finisher

This post is part of a series titled "Rebranding Everton" wherein I analyze the 2013 Everton crest redesign strategy and execution and propose new crest design solutions.

Part I:
Something, but Not the Best

Part II:
Keep Your Head on a Swivel

Part III:
Creating Chances

Part IV:
In Search of a Clinical Finisher

Part IV:
Wear Your Presentation Suit

In part three, I used samples from the first found of design sketches to illustrate the compositional challenges evident in developing a new Everton crest. I will do the same here, but please be aware that the crest examples appearing in this post are NOT the final designs, rather incomplete design explorations included only to illustrate a particular point. I will follow up this post with 3-5 crest design solutions ranging from “safe” to “aspirational”. The safe solutions are client-friendly – adhering to the supplied objectives and encompassing include all of the traditional crest elements. A range of aspirational solutions will push the boundaries of the client’s expectations.

Pencil and digital sketches. Click for large version.

Minding the Details

As crest sketches get more refined, and digital comps take over for hand-drawn explorations, more detailed design considerations come to the fore, particularly those in regard the tower image execution and typography.

The Tower – Form & Style

In part two, I identified the execution of the tower illustration as being of the utmost importance. Remember, one objective is to simplify, another for tower authenticity. There are a number of decisions to be made in regard to tower detail inclusion (in the interest of authenticity) and exclusion (in the interest of simplicity).

In Pursuit of Authenticity

I’ll start with a highly-accurate, detailed framework upon which to build.

Price Rupert’s Tower authenticly plotted. Click for large version.

In the interest of authenticity, a quick audit of the architectural elements to be depicted (or omitted) is worthwhile:

  • The tower sits on a hill, so it appears taller from one side than the other; in the image above, the dotted line represents the height on the taller side. This proportional wiggle room comes in handy when attempting to fit the tower within different crest designs
  • As a result of its age, the peaked roof is slightly uneven, leaning and bulging slightly on one side – in my renderings, this detail is consistently omitted in favor of a symmetrical roof.
  • The window and door positions have been plotted in the above image as if viewed from directly in front even though they sit on opposite sides. The “window”, is in fact, no longer a window, having been closed off, as seen in this photo. Historically, the window has always appeared within the crest, the door never. I will maintain this legacy by ignoring the door.
  • The roof is peaked with a cap (or nipple) and a circular “knob”. Historically, both of these details have either been misrepresented or ignored. This is an opportunity to inject more authenticity into the tower image.
  • The transition from cylindrical base to conical roof is decorated with a moulding that encircles the structure, creating the tower’s widest point.
Prince Rupert’s Tower evolution and my authenticity-first plot (far right in grey).

A few notes regarding the historic renderings of the tower pictured above:

  • A range of styles have been used to detail the tower surface. Parallel, regularly-spaced lines encircle the structure in some, others use more artistic, sketchy lines moving from right to left. The 2013 crest uses ultra-smooth lines that I cannot un-see as vinyl siding. Resurrecting the older styles provides an opportunity to connect a new tower image to its heritage.
  • The fence encircling the Browside Gardens (home of the tower) has evolved over time. First as a fence at the base (far left above) and eventually as a “sash” encircling the tower. The fence/sash, which may hold sentimental value for some supporters but has been removed in the 2013 version, is a potentially useful (and authentic) design element.
Browside Gardens fence as design element in ways other than the tower “sash”.
NOTE: The fence on the east side of the park does differ from the fence on the west. Either style would work within the crest designs.

“Authenticity” vs. “Realism”

An important distinction. Again, in the absence of real client input, I move forward assuming that these are two different things. The client-supplied priority of tower authenticity, interpreted as adhering to real-world proportion and architectural detail, does not preclude simplified, modern, iconic tower images.

A range of tower images – all more or less authentic, but not necessarily “realistic”. The simpler, icon-style versions present the potential for crest solutions exhibiting a very clean, modern aesthetic.

Tower Image – Designing for Modularity and Iteration

I have explored a range of tower images with authentic proportion being a must-have. This has resulted in a range of tower styles that are easily interchangeable. In the absence of real client feedback, this is an asset, as any one tower could work in (almost) any crest solution.

Modular tower images – different towers able to work within the same compositional space in order to accommodate client favorites (and possible future iteration) without “breaking” the rest of a crest design. Click for large version.

Typography

In pencil sketches, typography is only hinted at. The subtleties of face, weight, and kerning are lost in a quick scribble. Even the most attentive sketch fails to reveal the subtleties of type. The precision of digital comps, however, force the designers to confront these issues.

“Everton” Logotype

As discussed in part three, I will not be redesigning the Everton logotype. I will either use the 2012 (Matrix Bold) or 2013 (customized Angie) logotypes. I will not be pursuing any crest solutions that require even the smallest change to the logotype (for example a crest requiring “Everton”to be typeset on a curve or in all caps).

Available logotypes. Left is Matrix Bold, right is properly kerned Angie.

Angie has the advantage of being useful in applications beyond the logotype and “1878″ (such as the motto and in other marketing headlines). Matrix would not be advisable FOR use it beyond the logotype and date founded, As in functions poorly when used in longer text. I will err on the side of Angie in the interest of consistency – Everton has already used the new logotype extensively, including in rebranding their magazine “The Evertonian” as “Everton” using the face, so Matrix will only be introduced if it is uniquely appropriate. The typeface Interstate, discussed below, is also used extensively in the publication.

1878 Typesetting

In both the 2012 and 2013 crests, “1878″ is set in the same typeface as the Everton logotype. This continues to be the logical answer, although other treatments may make sense within some crest designs. At the very least, however, a more considered typesetting of the date is a requirement.

Left: Legacy “1878″ typesetting is unchanged each typeface’s default letter spacing and baselines. Right: In pursuit of a more sophisticated, and uniquely branded “1878″.

“Nil Satis…” and Typesetting within the Wider Design Program

For the last few years, Everton has fairly consistently used the typeface Interstate as part of their design program. The Interstate family is, curiously enough, a reproduction of the face developed by the United States Federal Highway Administration for use on highway signs. It is heralded for its high level of legibility, even at a distance. The face is used on road signs in the “U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Mongolia and New Zealand” (FHWA Series fonts, Wikipedia). The Interstate version adds additional weights (including the bold used by Everton) and slightly different punctuation that that found on actual signs.

Everton has used the full range of Interstate weights, often in all caps, extensively in sub-brands (Everton TV, Everton One, Everton Two), on their websites, and in marketing collateral.

As seen above, Interstate offers a wide range of weights and two sets of narrow characters – “condensed” and the even more narrow “compressed”. This extensive range is both a blessing and a curse; Choice and flexibility are useful, but unless brand guidelines are well thought out and ongoing creative oversight is competent, freedom and choice lead to a schizophrenic design program.

I will make sense to use Interstate within the crest for “Nil Satis…” (as it was in the 2012 crest) in the interest of consistency. Angie may be suitable within some crests as well. The use of Matrix, or the introduction of some other additional typeface for the motto would be a mistake.

The “Nil Satis…” motto should be typeset in Interstate, unless a particular design requires otherwise. The wide range of weights and widths provides ample opportunity to match type and crest shape and line weight to that of the typography.

Etc.

A couple other items of note…

Color

Again, sketches, even those in color, only reveal so much. In working with the existing Everton color palette, I’ve found the Everton blue and dark blue introduced in the 2013 crest to be a bit too close together for comfort in some applications. Ideally, the two blues should be able to sit atop one another and provide enough contrast to easily distinguish the two difference colored shapes, even at a distance. I will work with the existing blues for the purposes of this exercise, but would advise the client to adjust the colors (perhaps iteratively over a few seasons) for more contrast.

Evaluating contrast between the current blues and potential improvement through subtle change. I don’t advocate for the exact color changes above, but the example hopefully illustrates the strategic intent as well as the limitations imposed by the lack of contrast in the original blues.

If we are to keep the original blues, guttered shapes may be required when using them next to each other.

Adjacent vs. Guttered Shapes

Yet another variable detail. In designs with adjacent shapes the edges of different colored shapes touch. With guttered designs, the edges of different color shapes separated by white (or gutters). The use of negative white space is a distinctly modern look. One crest can exhibit both as in the case of Crystal Palace below, where eagle and buildings are guttered, but the shapes within the ribbon are adjacent.

Top row: crests with adjacent shapes. Bottom row: crests with guttered shapes.

Crest Proportions

It would be wise to develop a solution with overall proportions close to that of a square. A crest that is too tall or two wide can be problematic in some applications. Third party TV graphics, social media profile pictures, and mobile app branding all tend to prefer square proportions.

The crest in third-party contexts – a preference for square (circular) proportions.

Presenting Solutions

Good design rarely speaks for itself, it requires an advocate. Every design decision, even the most minute, must be defensible with more than just “I thought it looked nice.” Branding is an emotional exercise, as it should be, but the decision to move forward with a given solution must be an objective one, based on diligent research, expansive creative exploration, and sound design decisions. It is my hope that the above, as well the previous three posts, provide a deep context in which any solution (mine or other) can be measured objectively.

As a result of my efforts, I have developed five crest solutions that I believe have merit. They range from “safe” client-friendly, familiar solutions that include all of the traditional crest elements, to “aspirational” reconsiderations of the crest that push the boundaries of the client-supplied objectives. In my next post, I will present them as I would to a real client – in a series of slides (one set for each design) outlining the solution, its provenance, its application across kit, collateral, and ephemera, as well as how it extends beyond just the crest to influence sub-brands like Everton One and Everton in the Community.

No, these are not my preferred solutions either.

This post is part of a series titled "Rebranding Everton" wherein I analyze the 2013 Everton crest redesign strategy and execution and propose new crest design solutions.

Part I:
Something, but Not the Best

Part II:
Keep Your Head on a Swivel

Part III:
Creating Chances

Part IV:
In Search of a Clinical Finisher

Part IV:
Wear Your Presentation Suit