Tom Castle

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Steynor, Luthier

March 2018
Brand Identity

A Devon based client started making acoustic guitars and ukuleles for friends and family. However, in a very short space of time he was receiving commissions from friends of friends for his expertly made instruments.

Wanting to formalise the provenance of his creations, I was commissions to design a basic identity, label and business card.

The starting point was the S mark that he had already been putting on the heads of his guitars.

Left the logo currently being used on the guitars.
Right A neatened up, digitised version.

Dubbed the 'Stringed S' the logo mark takes the S shape and applies decreasing strokes widths (similar to that of a guitar string) through the length of the character - from the serif at the top to the terminal at the bottom.

Adjusting slightly where the start and end points of the strokes created different textures. Likewise, swapping the sides of the thin and thick strokes had a subtle change to the texture.

A some iterations of tests to find the best design.

The chosen Stringed S.

Because the designed mark was rather complex, a series of simpler versions were designed with less strings. This came in handy when designing the Ukulele label, which could only be a total 40mm high.

Four sizes decreasing in size were designed.

The final logo with type lockup is set in a glyphic serif which, with its stone carver undertones, helps give a sense of artistry, craft and stability to identity; A contrasting geometric san-serif was chosen for the body font.

The four colours were chosen to give a sense of British heritage: navy blue, British racing green, teak brown and gold.

The final logo for larger assets.

Feeling the need for a graphic style - beyond logo, colour and type - I went about creating abstract patterns meant to fit in with the logo's style. These patterns were inspired by images of guitar strings resonating, however when used at such an abstract scale they also beginning to look like wood grain.

Guitar strings resonating.

Graphics inspired by the strings.

The finished guitar labels went through a many rounds of testing, from initially having to drop self adhesive labels, sourcing and testing variety of papers and glues to finally trying to match the chosen Pantone colours to that of the colours being printed out of brown paper on a home inkjet.

Mockup of the guitar label.

The smaller label for the Ukulele.

Business cards with the string pattern on the reverse side.