This project began with a random brief from sharpen.design: Design a brand identity for a hovercraft company.
First, I had to come up with a name, and a story. Randomly picking a name, I settled on the Gibbs Hovercraft Company. Gibbs began in 1989 and was named after its founder, Aaron Gibbs. It’s a family business, and recently, Aaron has retired and his son, Paul has taken over.
Now, it’s time for a new logo. The original was drawn by Aaron all the way back in 1989, and has not aged well. Also, Gibbs is working on creating a racing series for hovercraft, and they need a new logo that’s flexible enough for both the company and the racing series.
The final design will have to incorporate the identity of Gibbs as a modern company, at the cutting edge of technology and research, and as a racing, ‘fast’ brand.
I started sketching out some ideas, ranging from seals, to word marks, to a stylised G. Some ideas stood out to me, such as the handwritten style, and the idea of a G logo that could be adapted to various situations.
After this, I took these ideas over to Illustrator, and started refining these concepts. Here, the word mark idea stood out to me, mainly because of the possibilities when combined with an eye catching font. The handwritten version also appealed to me, especially given that is’a a family business and a handwritten logo has a personal feel.
Other concepts, like the round seal did not look very good to me, as it just feels too old and traditional; it would be a strange logo for a company seeking to project a fast and modern image.
From here, I decided to try expanding on the handwritten word mark and the letter G symbol; Soon enough however, I noticed a slight problem with the handwritten symbol: At small sizes, it was almost indecipherable.
Also, if it was combined with a symbol, I felt it would lose some of its charm; however, the symbol by itself and a more modern font looked better, and a symbol would also be more flexible.
Following on that, above is the first mockup I began with, with what I thought was a striking font, and a symbol that was equally bold.
My main concern with this mockup however, was that while it was eye-catching, the G symbol seemed a little too disconnected from the hovercraft. While hovercraft are sporty, light and meant to move, the G symbol looks heavy and solid and immovable.
Based on this, I went back to the drawing board, and I had an idea: A G is basically a circle shape with an extra line. What if I pushed out the circle to become an oval or pill shape? The image above is my experimenting with that idea, and the end result seems to have potential.
Above was my process of refining this concept, and seeing how it would work both as the company logo but also for its racing series.
At first, I thought a colour scheme per race would be sufficient, but I didn't wan't part of the brand to be solely dependent on colour. So, I added a small logo to the Gibbs logo per racing series. On the right bottom, the final concept for the racing series can be seen, with an oval container similar in shape to the Gibbs logo.
Also, importantly, I have developed a colour theme specific to each series, to help each series stand out within the identity.
The final typeface combo for the identity consists of Conthrax for main titles (mainly due to its sporty look) and Encode Sans (as the 'workhorse' sans serif).
Below, you can see how this identity would work in action, across both parts of the identity.