The graphic profile is the suit of a company – the visual expression of the strategic platform. Today we tell the story of how the strategic platform was translated into design, colours, symbols and images; together forming the new graphic profile of the Gaming Corps brand.
The Gaming Corps’ strategic platform relays what we do, where we come from, where we are going, how we want to be perceived, what we promise our stakeholders, what we stand for and how we aim to move this company and our industry forward. We have presented the platform in a series for the advent calendar, covering business idea, vision and brand identity respectively. Today we focus on how the strategy was turned into the new graphic profile which was launched on November 2nd.
After what became a new start in late 2018, it was soon clear that updating the brand was sorely needed. And by that not just a new logo but a new brand, inside and out. The graphic profile was lacking in many respects and it is very tempting to polish the exterior after a difficult period or after having made internal changes, many companies do. But we resisted this temptation for a long time because we wanted to give our brand a proper chance to grow, and if we had slapped a new lovely exterior to what was still an interior “under construction”, there would have been a substantial disconnect. We would have made a promise with how we looked and what we said which was not entirely met by what we delivered. So as long as the company was in this intense phase of change, improvement and growth, we decided to only build the brand from the inside. We worked on consistent, transparent communication and clean and neat graphic design, as neutral as possible within the confines of the limited old profile. Slowly aiming to create a presence and gain trust. The MarCom team set up three milestones – Nasdaq relisting done and observation status removed, new strategic platform in place and our first iGaming product launched, and when the company reached those milestones we were ready to move forward and also work on the exterior of the brand.
A strategic platform is a base, a blueprint. But you can’t communicate all of it all the time to everyone, it has to be condensed. So the first step in the design process was to extract key takeaways and core components from the business idea, vision, brand identity and target group analysis. Something to serve as the backbone of everything that was going to be designed from now onwards. This also has to do with consistency and clarity – strong brands are recognizable, consistent, and very clear in what they represent and that means one must narrow down the base. Building a strong brand means choosing a distinct position which means discarding lots of other positions – less is always more in this game.
From the vision came boldness and the ultimate goal of becoming a recognized prime mover, which is a distinct position. From the concept of prime mover came the components engine and turbine. From the business idea, brand identity and the target group analysis came the selective, mature end user, and also there boldness and being driven. Together these breathe joy and ambition to be a champion of the industries we act on, to be different, to bring forth something positive.
From the components we collected visual symbols to illustrate what this means to us, and to test different directions for the design. These were symbols such as a turbine, a flag, a torch, a beacon of light and a hexagon.
The next step was research. You can’t build a strong brand based on what everyone else does and just copy or do the opposite, but you need to be aware of the competitive landscape and make educated choices based on that in relation to your strategic position. We researched existing popular and competitive logos, to see which positions are common in order to retain originality as much as possible for the purpose of achieving differentiation. Competitive research is also important to make sure not to unintentionally commit copyright infringement. We also researched colours and their meaning. What colours do we want to choose and why? How is our purpose translated into colours? And finally did some qualitative research into design logo trends.
Based on all of the above, we narrowed down to a number of criteria for our graphic profile. It is easy to say to “design anything!”, but complete creative license is not necessarily the best recipe for great design when it comes to illustrating a clear strategic position. The more limitations and/or restrictions you place on yourself, the more creativity can be achieved within those given criteria. Some of the main criteria we used were:
- Simplified design
- Emblem shapes
- Focus on typography
- A unique silhouette
Now we were ready to design the logo. At a first stage without colour in order to get the solid shape or silhouette of the logo right. In the absence of colour, the shape of the logo must stand out and be easily recognizable, while also integrating all parts of the visual motifs which stemmed directly from the strategic platform. In the end, we felt most contented with the following elements which were mixed to form the logo:
- Turbine / engine – to represent being a prime mover
- Torch / fire – to represent the ambition of being a positive industry champion
- Hexagon – the strongest shape in nature, to represent boldness
Many ideas were first sketched by hand, a smaller selection was then designed in a digital software. This logo selection, still all in black and white, allowed the management team and board to assess which shape works best as the primary visual for the brand. From this small selection a single logo stood out, which everyone felt most happy with, and it is the one we have today.
With a strong shape of the logo decided, we could start experimenting with various colour palettes. It was the wish of the management team that the colour scheme was bold and happy, and preferably not common in the sense of what everyone else does. A strong colour also works well with corporate communication, which a public company has to take into consideration, as one only needs a little splash of something in formal documentation to keep it strict but still stand out. So the question was, if we want to be fresh and bold, what colours will best suit us? We decided to go with a colour scheme, rather than a monochromatic brand colour. This helps to widen the possibilities for design and adaptation to different platforms as well as allows us to have a wider visual that represents us. This was very important seeing as we have many target groups of both communication and marketing, some quite different from each other, over two industries and as a publicly listed company. A wider palette makes each design more coherent as it has a number of complimentary colours that fit well with it, hence making the brand more unique. With a main colour complemented with a colour scheme, we are able to be more unique as a whole,
Since this was a total rebrand, we wanted to shed our old brand and colour to build a new one, hence stepping away from the old orange as main colour. So why did we choose purple as the main colour? Purple often stands for creativity, inspiration, royalty and luxury. It is boldness personified. Purple is also not extensively used in our industries and this combination made it our main choice. Raspberry is our secondary colour which is used together with the purple to form a gradient. It helps adding depth to the main colour, and the combination adds a modern feel. We then added the accent colours mustard and light turquoise, providing a complimentary combination to add a tinge of warmth and cool/freshness at the same time. As a base we use charcoal instead of black. The raspberry and mustard also work together to form a gradient, and we use our two different gradients for different purposes.
With the logo and the colour scheme in place, adding to that the typography, we had the base of the graphic profile. From here we have expanded the graphic profile to incorporate things like how we use the logo and colours in different channels, how we work with images, how we work with written text, how we co-brand with partners, how we translate all of this to the website and much more. A graphic profile is documented in what is called a Brand Manual, and it covers every possible use. This of course to keep the holy rule of consistency.
One important thing we wanted to achieve with the logo was for the silhouette to be strong enough for us to use in combination with the design of our games. Every game has its own unique design, these are not product brands which have a graphic connection to the main brand, but we are a branded house, not a house of brands, so we needed a link. What we created is the possibility of taking the silhouette of the symbol and combine it with visuals from the games, or just the hexagon and combine with the games. As our portfolio of games grow, you will see more of this type of application of the graphic profile in the coming year.