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  • DC new branding

DC’s New Branding

October 2013 saw the launch of the new look Digital Consortium website and an exciting brand refresh which is already proving a hit with many of the DC followers via our social media links.

Here at DC headquarters we decided to put our designer Johnny Hildred under the spotlight and get behind some of the thinking regarding the brand and the new sleeker looking, responsive, website.

First of all, why the change?

“I’ve been at DC since September 2011 and in that time we have had a temporary site in place that was just crying out to be worked on. Obviously we have to put our clients first so whilst producing many nice sites for our lovely friends here at DC we have always had our site on the back burner ready to pounce upon should the chance arise and when it did it was something I really relished. The old site never really showed off our talents in the digital industry as much as it should have done and I’ve never been keen on having white text on a black background as I find it difficult to read and that a lot of our message was lost. For me, that needed fixing with the new design.”

What was the brief?

“The brief was very open which is always great for any designer as you really get to stamp your own mark on the project and do things that you believe to be of the best practice rather than follow other peoples instructions which you may not necessarily agree with. The only two rules Liz and Mark laid down for me were to keep the logo and to keep the brand colours – red and black – the rest was down to me.”

What did you aim to achieve with the new design?

“My main aim was to make the design a lot cleaner with bigger and clearer graphics making a visit to our site as enjoyable as possible for the end user. This had to be considered for whether people were viewing from a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone so I had to produce a design that worked across all platforms both aesthetically and functionally. It’s pointless having a beautiful design if it isn’t practical so getting that balance between both design and functionality was key.”

How did the new design come about?

“I have a bit of an art deco inspired theme going on in the design with sharp crisp lines and angles. I wanted the design to be striking upon your visit and I think the angles really help achieve that without going too far off in a tangent. I also aimed to have a mix of curved and squared elements in the design to represent the diversity of our work and our people as a digital agency, this also follows through on the new DC business cards which also feature the angles on the die-cut. I think this also allowed me to create some nice connections between different parts of the site: the Latest Blog and Tweet sections of our homepage, for example, when viewed on a desktop computer have a subtle angular divide on them but seem to slot perfectly as one and I think that works really well with keeping that crisp feel to the design on a whole.”

“I also hoped to add some nice touches with the way things worked on the site, such as the navigation for which I was very keen on it always been visible as you scroll down the pages and thankfully Mark has been able to achieve this and in some places introduce a few of his own clever tricks to make the user experience and overall look of the site a far better one! For example the transition of the navigation works brilliantly on the mobile with the added feature of the small animation as the menu slides in from the left and right when pressed open.”

How does the brand refresh work as a whole?

“A brand should work to pull everything together and my aim was to make sure all of our media was recognisable as the Digital Consortium. The light tones with crisp and clear graphics, colours and fonts remain consistent across all of our marketing materials and stationery which further strengthens our identity on the whole.

The same principles that applied to the website – of making it clearer to understand with stronger messages – were all taken from the overall brand refresh. These were applied to everything from our Facebook cover photos through to our PowerPoint presentations and Word templates, which have also gone through the same brand refresh.”

Another aspect of the brand refresh was the update of the DC business cards – what can you tell us about that design process?

“With the design of the business card I really wanted to make it a bit special. The material and method of printing were the two things that were most important to me and I’d say that they are the two things that really make it stand out. Letterpress printing has been around for hundreds of years but is still a hot trend in today’s stationery and in business cards it really does hold the ability to turn heads. I have always been a huge fan of this printing process and I was very keen to use it for our own cards as I truly believe that this, combined with the 540gsm pristine white card, has the high quality feel and look that strongly reflects our own values and traditions here at the Digital Consortium.

The overall design is very minimalist but I also added a die-cut shape following the outer circular edge of the logo which then leads down to the art-deco inspired angles to tie in nicely with our brand and I hope make this a card that people will want to have in their wallets.”

What do you think to the end result?

“I am really pleased with our new look and I’m proud to have been able to put my own mark on the DC brand. I think the site works really well on all platforms from the smartphone right through to the desktop and sticks with the company ethos of doing things the right way and making the user experience as good as possible. We have been bragging about our responsive websites we have built for our clients for years now and it’s brilliant to now be able to have one of our own that shows off our work in a much better light than ever before.”


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