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Rebranding Santa Concept Sketches

Rebranding Santa – Part 2: Concept Development

Post Series: Rebranding Santa

Thanks for tuning in to the second part of my series on Rebranding Santa Claus. If you haven’t already, check-out Part 1: The Creative Brief to get a better understanding of the project and target goals. In this segment we will be looking at the concept development stage of my creative process. This is the most important stage of building a brand identity. It’s where the main idea comes and will shape the entire brand moving forward.

I’d like to start by saying that creativity isn’t something that can be forced – but it can be triggered. Often the best ideas come when you’re watching tv or reading a magazine and not actively thinking about the project. The world around you should be an inspiration. Next time you’re stuck and frustrated, step away from the computer and go for a walk. You’ll be shocked at how fast a great idea will pop into your head once you’re mind isn’t going a mile a minute. There are also some techniques I use in my design process that are more deliberate. I’ll outline a few of them below as I take you through my general process for the logo design stage of a branding project:

Step 1: Research

Before even picking up a pencil, I do my research. This consists of familiarizing myself with the industry and it’s main players. I’ll look for traits that the successful brands share and explanations for the failures of struggling companies. All of this information will help to guide me in the right direction. It’s important to learn from the competition, but avoid the temptation to mimic them.

This step is great for educating yourself, but don’t forget to look for inspiration as well. Visit sites like Dribbble, Behance, Pinterest and Instagram and start searching keywords related to your company. For the Santa Claus rebrand, I started with terms like “Christmas, Santa and Snowflake”.  Save anything you like, whether its an illustration style or just a cool colour palette. Here are a few of the images that spoke to me during my initial searching:

Christmas Logo Inspiration

Credits (Top left to right): X-Mas by Dalius Stuoka | Santaicon by Manik n Ratan | Birdie by Ross Bruggink | Holi’cons by Daniel Haire | Christmas Tree by Anano Martsvaladze | OKstag by Felix Diaconu

Step 2: Brainstorming

This is where I’ll get out my trusty sketchbook and just start drawing. Keep it really loose at this point and get all your thoughts onto the page. You’re looking for good ideas, but it’s also important to get the crappy ones out. Concepts that are great in your head may end up being terrible once you’ve drawn them. During this stage I often find it helpful to create a mind map or just start listing words that relate to the topic. The act of physically writing something and being able to see that word can be great for inspiration.

Santa Claus Logo Sketches

Step 3: Refining

Once I’ve completed a full brain dump, I select the stand-out designs and move to the computer. Generally this stage consists of figuring out how each concept will work. For example, I had an idea of using the “SC” initials of Santa Claus to form a present icon, but it never looked quite right when I was sketching it. To work it out, I created a number of variations of the original icon and refined them until the design was where I wanted it to be. Here are the 3 resulting concepts that I will carry forward to next week’s post: Part 3 – The Final Logo.

Refining Logo Concepts

Initial Santa Logo Concepts

If you have any questions or want to tell me your favourite of the initial concepts, leave a comment below!

Grant Burke

Grant is a freelance designer and illustrator, born and raised in the Toronto area. He has worked with clients from around the globe and focuses on building unique brand identities and developing illustrations for product packaging and apparel.

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