Tag: digital design

Nuroosa – The Gathering Place

Context

Nuroosa is a new small business based in Derbyshire, aiming to open in the summer of 2025. Nuroosa will be a venue hiring business, with one building which shall accommodate weddings, wakes, corporate get aways, and well being visits. The building is currently under construction; however, it will be modern design, and have multiple rooms including a kitchen and a main hall. Surrounding the building is lots of green space, with flowers, trees and grass.

Nuroosa also aims to be as sustainable as possible, with the use of composting toilets, and other measures. In the future Nuroosa hopes to hold wedding ceremonies on site, which would take place under a tree. They also hope to build accommodation on site to allow visitors to stay overnight.

Modern building
A building which inspired Nuroosa’s venue design. Nuroosa’s venue will be a similar shape.

Brief

Ahead of their opening in the summer of 2025, Nuroosa would like to start promoting themselves, as well as take bookings months in advance. In order to achieve this Nuroosa needed a coherent brand which reflects their values, as well as business cards. They also thought a sign outside the property could help promote the opening of their business to locals, and in the future, would be used to clearly mark what is quite a hidden entrance to the property.

Logo Design

Research

After both parties agreeing we should work together on this project I visited the sight in Derbyshire, which allowed me to best visualise the space, and what the business will look like once opened. To help the later ideation process I ensured to conduct thorough research, building on top of the research already done by the client.

The client helpfully provided me with:

  • Context to the business
  • Images documenting the progress of Nuroosa so far
  • A list of words describing Nuroosa
  • A list of words that don’t describe Nuroosa
  • Images representative of the vision they have for Nuroosa
  • Colours they like
  • Businesses they like

With the supplied material, I:

  • Sorted the images into mood boards
  • Identified some of the shared elements to the supplied images
  • Created an initial colour palette
  • Identified and analysed the visual identity of competitors
  • identified and analysed the visual identity of other companies which had branding which reflected the brand values of Nuroosa
  • Created a condensed list of brand values
  • Word mapped this condensed list of brand values, beginning to work out how to reflect these visually

Initial Logo Concept

Based on my initial research I sketched many concepts, all aiming to reflect Nuroosa’s services, values, or both. I presented my three most successful ideas to the client, of which they picked the following:

Initial Concept Sketch

The idea behind this concept was an abstract representation of the venue shape, made in the negative space of flowing lines which aimed to reflect community, togetherness, and caring.

Logo Concept Development

Following the client approval of the initial concept sketch, I began to digitally develop the logo.

Set of 11 initial digital logo developments
Nuroosa Initial logo development

My supervisor suggested that I should consider other methods of adding typography to the logo, pointing out the slightly awkward effects that stem from curving text around a circle.

After presenting this initial development to the clients, I received feedback that it all felt far too perfect, and had massively changed from the original design; they had liked the imperfection in the original sketch, particularly how the bounding shape wasn’t completely circular. Through discussion it was also suggested that incorporating vertical lines into the design could reflect trees.

dozens of sketches depicting a logo with vertical and horizontal lines creating the abstract shape of a building
Development sketches incorporating vertical lines aiming to reflect trees.

 

Lino cut of logo with digital version of print
Lino cut logo experiment with digital version of print

In an attempt to make the design feel more natural, I explored creating a lino cut of the design. This resulted in inspiring a whole new visual direction for the brand.

 

Digital development of design inspired by lino print

My supervisor was pleased with the visual style of this logo, feeling that it was very unique, and that the vertical lines were successfully reflecting trees. It was also advised that I should try to get the representation of the building closer to the true shape of the building.

Digital Developments exploring how typography could be paired with the design

With this logo development the clients felt that the heavy shapes, while unique, were not reflecting them nor Nuroosa’s brand values. They also felt that the lines on top of the building looked like they should spell something out, particularly as it starts with what looks like an ‘N’ then a ‘U’ – (NUroosa). They still felt that the original sketch was a much more successful direction.

Development sketches exploring how to create an ‘imperfect’ design while maintaining a professional and effective visual style

After having received feedback two meetings in a row that the logo should return to the visual style of the original sketch, I decided that the best way of recreating this visual style was to through a more refined sketch. I also explored with the use of oil pastels to create a rough effect which would reflect sustainability, and the idea of a bespoke service. Upon reflection I was too hesitant to explore creating the logo directly from a sketch; listening to the clients wishes earlier would’ve saved time for both parties.

Agreed final logo artwork

 

Typographic layout exploration

 

Typeface and colour exploration

 

Final presented font and colour choices

Final Assets

Branding

 

Final primary logo design

 

Final secondary logo design

 

Final logo mark design

Business Cards

Business card design and suggested finish. Mockup from Pixeden.com

Street Sign

Proposed street sign design for Nuroosa

The solution to the street sign was very simple, this was due to two main reasons:

  • It would be located on the side of a 60mph country road, meaning it would have a very short view time
  • The purpose of the sign is mark the hidden entrance to the property for guests

Because of these two reasons, I suggested that the sign should only contain the primary logo, and that the inclusion of a website, or description of the business would likely be illegible, and only lead to visual confusion.

Conclusion

This project was a great success. The clients were very happy with the results, and so am I. We both feel the branding reflects Nuroosa’s values, but also reflect them – which is important with such a personal business.

While I’m very happy with the result of the branding, business cards, and proposed sign design, there were areas for improvement throughout the design process. After getting the approval of the initial sketch, I immediately stretched the possibilities of that concept, ultimately drifting away from the initial style and feel. While I think it was a good thing to explore different visual styles, I should’ve also supplied the client what they had suggested they wanted as well, which would’ve led to fairer comparisons of the different options, and saved time for both parties.

The main takeaway from this project is a better understanding and developed skills relating to client communication. At the start of the project I had underestimated the importance of client communication, but I know realise that without the clients own input, the branding could’ve never truly reflected themselves, nor their vision for Nuroosa. By the end of this project I gained confident in our meetings, and feel I’ve learnt how to better effectively steer the clients towards certain decisions, and away from others.

Looking to the future, I hope to maintain a relationship with Nuroosa, and support them with other required material.

I’ve also discovered my enjoyment in branding projects, and hope to explore this pathway within graphic design further.

Designing a brand onboarding system with Bottomline Technologies

Amrita Shrilal has been involved in an exciting new collaboration with Bottomline Technologies this past year. Amrita is one of our MA Communication Design Graphic Design Pathway students graduating this week. She’s also a BA Graphic Communication (Hons) alumnus.

Bottomline focuses on transforming complex business payments and processes into simple, smart, and secure systems. They work with financial companies and institutions globally, and are widely recognised as a payment and collections enterprise. They have banking relations with global banks, UK banks and, building societies, growth banks and payment service providers.

A young woman smiling. She has long dark hair and is wearing a striped top.
Amrita Shrilal (MACD class of 2021)

Amrita has a particular passion for user interface design. To develop experience in user interface design for the financial sector, she undertook a design brief for Bottomline’s Head of UX Design (EMEA), Kellie White and, Senior UX Designer and Reading alum, Matthew Standage for her MA professional practice assignment. Dr Jeanne-Louise Moys, MACD Graphic Design and Information Design Pathway lead, supervised her project.

The brief gave Amrita the opportunity to explore approaches to designing a system that allows customers of different-sized businesses to customise the interface design, of a particular product, to match their brand needs. The challenging aspect of the brief was creating a seamless and easy process of designing elements of pages for customers with different levels of expertise on brand and webpage design. It required her to consider ways of presenting complex information and processes in a more straightforward method for end-users. Her design decisions were supported by her research into UX design, market competitors and the development of personas which helped her understand the user and business needs.

Amrita said: “I enjoyed this project as it was different from all the other UX projects I had done in the bachelor programme. It focused on Business-to-Business (B2B) rather than Business-to-Customers (B2C) which is more complex as you need to consider not just the user’s goals but different types of business capabilities and interests. I had to think about how a particular organisation could utilise or benefit from the features of the system to make their process of designing the web interface a seamless experience.”

The outcome of this project was a prototype of an interface system that allows businesses to brand themselves within Bottomline’s products. It considers different user design needs and attempts to make the process of designing interfaces straightforward to those who are not familiar with design conventions or terminology. Some of the features within the system included editing the colour scheme, text styles and button styles.

Animation showing functionality within the project
Process of uploading the brand logo and ability to view the placement of these elements in different pages.

Reflecting on the project, Amrita said: “the project was a stimulating experience as I had to think about different user perceptions of design elements. I had to constantly ask myself whether it would be easily understood by someone without any design experience. Despite that, I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Bottomline on an ongoing project and it helped develop my understanding of UX/UI design”.

Kellie White said: “Amrita did a fantastic job of taking a complex problem and making it simple, a difficult task to accomplish. She worked well to align to good UX process throughout, from research through to ideation and user testing. I was thrilled with the outcome, she achieved a well thought out design solution and growth in her UX skillset through the experience. Well done Amrita! We look forward to future collaboration with the Department.”

Matthew Standage added: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with Amrita and the Department on a professional practice brief. We were not only impressed with the overall quality of the outcome, but also the thorough research and design thinking that went into the process. One of the common challenges in B2B user-experience is striking the balance between complexity and flexibility. The work Amrita produced solves this problem well, using both visual and interaction design techniques to progressively disclose more advanced options to the user and provide guidance when necessary. We look forward to seeing how we can integrate her work and thinking into future product releases.”

This project is the first collaboration between Bottomline and the Department of Typography & Communication. We look forward to exploring new briefs with them for our postgraduate students to work on in the future.

We also look forward to welcoming Matthew back in January for the two-day “Branding and user experience” workshop that he leads for our MA Graphic Design and Information Design pathway students in the spring term.

Designing for an evolving publishing industry

The Department recently collaborated with Oxford University Press on an exciting digital publishing project. OUP’s brief gave final year students an opportunity to explore the challenges and possibilities of user-centred design for evolving digital platforms.

Read more