About the Author
Sarah is co-director of Malvolio. She brings her creative skills to the business, and loves concept development in commercial projects, illustration, and working on various self-initiated paper craft projects in her spare time.
Category: What We Do
We enjoy the unexpected design briefs we receive – such as the summer camp t-shirts for Ace-Hi Mornington Peninsula.
They required t-shirts to be printed for their summer camp kids, and wanted something fun. The request was to depict the activities that are available at the camp. And if those activities could be involved with the letters, even better. The only constraint? We only had one colour to work with!
Silhouettes came in handy. Creating the kids doing their activities around the letters was tricky, but it balanced out well. It gave the kids something special to keep from their time at camp!
We design brochures every week of the year. But brochures aren’t always the standard “3 fold DL” style that come to mind for most people. There’s a lot more to brochure design than that.
The standard A4 folded to DL brochure is popular, mostly because it fits most brochure stands and is very easy to get printed (it’s a common print run). But often, the content a client needs to share in a brochure doesn’t always fit to an A4 sheet. So what do you do?
…you think sideways! Not literally sideways, but think of other options. So is going to A5 a suitable option? Or perhaps, keep it DL but turn it into a stapled booklet? One example we did this year was the DL brochure for Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. We ran out of space in a standard DL brochure, but it had to be DL. They still wanted it to fold out so it could be put on a wall like a poster. So the other option? Add more panels! The final brochure had 5 panels, instead of the standard 3 panels. This is not common, but completely achievable.
We have also designed large brochures of up to 24 pages for various clients, in both A5 and A4 formats. Brochures of this size require more planning than most. Is the brochure going to have sections to make it easier for a reader, or is it to read like a book? Is the brochure going to have a contents page, or get straight into the content? Will there be more than just text and images, such as tables, graphs and quotes to make it more engaging?
All of this is planned before we begin designing. It speeds up the development process, and creates a more engaging final brochure. After all, the whole point is for someone to pick it up and read it. You want to capture people, not just print on paper.
We have been very fortunate to work with a number of exciting events in 2018.
Design projects for events are often quite extensive. Every little detail from the initial branding and logos, through to posters, advertising, websites, programs, maps, banners, signage and flags…and that’s by no means a complete list.
We really enjoy working on graphic design for events. Giving an identity to an event that is carried on for years into the future feels quite special. For each event, getting the communications right for a successful event is pivotal to us. It’s not just about a poster “looking good”. It has to tell people the important information straight away: date, time, place. A program needs to be easy to follow – not just a keepsake book. A map needs to be a useful navigation tool – not just a pretty picture.
The timelines are tight but we seem to have a knack of working within amazingly short schedules. Events are unique in design, as businesses regularly have flexible timelines. Events have a deadline: the date of the event. And there’s no moving that!
Many events we have worked on have been in our own backyard this year: Frankston/Mornington Peninsula. However, we’ve had a few further afield: major events include the Melbourne Jewish Book Week and the Perfect Light Film Festival.
For the month of December, I thought I’d do a re-hash of projects we’ve completed this year. I’m only touching a few categories: logo design, website design, event branding and brochure design.
I’ll start with logo design. This is only a small snippet of a much bigger pool of work, but it will be good to reflect on in years to come. There was definitely a nudge towards brush script writing in logos for 2018 – text looking more natural and casual than a few years back.
Single colour logos have been popular, moving away from very detailed and overly colourful logo design. Obviously not in all cases – some (such as Friends of Coolart), colour was hugely important in the design. However, I have a feeling that single colour logos have been making a comeback because people like to have more options than just a “full colour print”. We’ve designed logos that have been produced in foil finishes, spot varnish, embroidery and even screenprinted in 2018. Single colour logos make this easy to achieve.
For those logos which include images, they have been very icon-based in 2018. A bit of a retro feel. Bold, bright and strong enough to stand on their own.
We find that clients get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to brochures: they supply content and say it *has* to fit into a particular sized brochure. Sometimes this is to do with budget, but a lot of the time it’s that they just didn’t realise there’s other options.
Everyone is familiar with a piece of A4 paper. Most brochures we all see are just folded pieces of A4 paper. 1 fold, 2 folds, 3 folds…but it’s the same size paper in the end.
The thing is: a simple piece of paper can be so much more! Maybe this is my love of origami shining through. A brochure doesn’t need to “only” be A4. We can get paper in all kinds of sizes, and cut it to all kinds of lengths.
So our advice? Write up the information for your brochure first, and then work out how much paper you need to put it all onto (we can help with this). It can feel like a game of Tetris, but we love the challenge.
So what if your information takes up more than one piece of A4 paper? It might work better as a booklet, or it might just need a few more panels.
A recent example is the brochure we designed for Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. Instead of the standard 6-panel DL brochure (A4 folded into three), we did 10 panels. The panels are folded in a zig-zag (concertina) which works best for the information presented. One side of the brochure features pilates, the opposite side features myotherapy.
It was a similar story to the usual: the information wouldn’t fit on an A4 sheet, but they couldn’t cut anything out. Two brochures wasn’t suitable – they needed everything together. A booklet also wasn’t suitable – they wanted to be able to stick the brochure up on a wall when desired, like a poster.
So for all of your brochure challenges, call us. We love a little bit of an origami and information Tetris challenge – and it will help your business stand out.
One of our biggest client bases are start-ups. People come to us with their ideas and dreams, and seek help to make them look professional.
For those starting out on their business journey, it can seem really daunting. There is SO much you can get made. And then you wonder: do you really need everything that everyone else has? The answer is usually no.
For start-ups, we begin with the basics.
Registering a Business Name
Choosing a business name can be damn hard. There are going to be times you’ll come up with a name, think it’s awesome, then find out someone else already has it. But then you’ll find the one that’s for you.
The point is – we always make sure you have your business name registered before we start with branding. It can be heartbreaking to fall in love with a name, have your brand designed and then find that you have to start again. It’s worth going through the stress and bother of getting a business name first – we promise you.
Registering a Domain Name
This might seem like skipping a few steps ahead, but it’s always worth registering your domain name early in the process. This is something we do on behalf of their clients. We can show you a range of available domain names that match your business, and register it in your name. This means you can also set up a professional email address early on, and start communicating with the outside world from your new business!
Designing a Logo
We step you through our design process, where we find out as much about your business as possible. Sometimes clients want to rush the logo stage so they have something tangible/visual to show others straight away. But it’s the one part of your business development where spending that little extra bit of time pays off long-term. We don’t design “pretty” logos; each logo has a story, a meaning. You will want your logo to last at least 5-7 years minimum, so you’re only having to invest in your branding once while you get started.
We see a number of businesses go for a cheap logo service while starting out, but they end up spending more getting all their artwork redesigned. Getting it right the first time is definitely cheaper in the long run.
Designing Your Business Stationery
“What do I need?” is a good question, but the answer differs from business to business. You might only need a business card. Or you might need letterheads, presentation folders and brochures all packaged together. Or it might be a packaging design, stamps or stickers you require.
We always recommend writing out your ideas on how you plan to communicate to your customers, and how you plan to promote your business. That list you write will tell you what items you need.
Setting Up Social Media
Social media is great for getting people excited about an upcoming brand. You can start to build your following before you have officially launched, providing you have a few visual things you can show: such as your logo, product samples, etc.
We can help you brand your social media profiles, using the logo and branding we have designed.
Designing Your Website
Websites are often bigger projects than most people realise, and it can seem overwhelming as a start-up. We help by breaking it down into small steps: planning out the pages on your website, helping work out where images need to go (and what sort of images). We’re happy to read over your content and help you allocate it to certain pages, or we can write the content for you.
However small your website is at the start, it is built so you can add to it in the future. So you will have something to grow and evolve with your business.
Think of everything as a start-up as: something that will last, something that will evolve, something that will grow with me. Treat it like you’re planting a seedling to grow into a tree. We’re the ones with the tools (and water!) you need to help your tree grow.
We have clients across a broad range of industries, and each industry uses graphic design in different ways. Design can be much more than just your logo and business stationery.
An example I’ll use is our client Harigon Gourmet Foods. As a supplier to supermarkets, butchers and other food stores, packaging and shelf presence have high priority. As their products are quite specialised, making the contents easy to identify at a quick glance has been important too.
Due to the different types of products, different packaging solutions have been designed. These include:
- Complete packaging, where the entire box or pouch is designed.
- Full colour labels, unique to each product.
- Generic labels, where product details can be added as an overprint.
For promoting the products, we have designed various posters and information flyers. A recent project was to design a promotional table for in-store taste tests of their products.
Graphic design can be used by businesses in many different ways. How does your business use design to improve your sales?
Charts and graphs are used in nearly every report, both professionally designed or created in-house. To make life easier, programs like Excel offer pre-made graph designs – but are they exciting to look at? Barely.
Then there’s the moment of designing a report, and are provided Excel graphs to put into said report – do they match the rest of the client’s brand? Usually not.
The thing is: charts and graphs don’t have to look boring or flat, there are some nifty things we can do when it comes to design!
The first thing we look at is the information being conveyed – is the type of graph desired the right type for presenting the statistics (eg. bar graph, pie chart, table, etc)? Sometimes a different type of graph or chart makes the information easier to follow.
The second thing is we aim to make the style of the chart or graph match the client’s branding. If it doesn’t look like it belongs to your business, it will stick out like a sore thumb in your publication.
The third thing we look at is making it unique. If it’s relevant, sometimes a bit of a twist in the design can make a boring chart brighten up a page. The more intriguing a chart looks, the more likely a reader is to stop and read it, rather than just flick past.
Next time you’re doing a report, go back and review your graphs and charts, and treat them like their own images – you will be amazed at the difference a little bit of extra time on them can make.
We’ve changed the colour of our logo in our support of voting YES for marriage equality.
We think this shouldn’t be an issue today and are disheartened that the debate continues.
It affects so many people close to us. Vote yes and let love win.
We have designed maps for all sorts of various uses: events, venues, camping grounds and diagrams.
Because we offer hand-drawn illustration as well as vector illustration, we sometimes get requests for a particular type of style of map, but there are both pros and cons to either type of illustration.
Vector maps are often flat in design, using shapes for areas and icons rather than images to depict what’s on the map. Vector maps can be resized as big as required (to the size of a billboard and beyond if you wanted!). Vectors are also easy-to-edit shapes, making changes quick and efficient – very helpful for events where the layout can change very close to the cutoff time for printing.
Hand-drawn maps are completed in the same style as all of my other illustrations. They can look more dynamic than a vector map, using illustrated items and objects instead of flat shapes. However, hand-drawn maps can’t be enlarged easily – they need to be drawn at their final size from the start, no matter how big that may be. The positioning of items are harder to move, but each one is uniquely drawn from scratch.