nocte

BRANDING, EVENT PROMO

ROLE: art director, branding, marketing, illustration
TOOLS: indesign, illustrator, photoshop, acrobat
COLLATERAL: sticker sheet, screen-printed shirts, pins, patches, packaging, social media promo images, product photography
CREDIT: marina dillaco (instagram stories mockup)

Nocte, Latin for “night”, is a personal merchandise branding project that explores a dark tattoo-style sensibility with an added playful twist. This project is a culmination of my own personal interests and illustrative style. The brand name reflects the use of black and dark style, and references the dreams that inspired some of the visuals. The themes that I explored in this project are themes that I enjoy exploring in my illustrative work, such as dreams, blackwork tattoos.

It was sold online, locally through multiple venues such as the Unibrow Arts Festival, and at several Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective “Art Social Nights”. The brand was also marketed and sold via Instagram.

Collateral for the brand included the branding, design, and all illustrations for the products as well as the appropriate packaging (plastic packaging, card backs for pins, etc).

Brand Logo (left) and shirt screenprint design (right). Brand logo features hand-drawn thorns. The shirt design was created with imagery including shattered glass, textures, an animal skull, a spider lily, and a paint stroke. The text reads “media nox, 00:00 SS19, dreams of the black sea”. 

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Screenprinted shirt designs, featuring the brand logo on the front of the shirt and the back print.

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Peony Patch and Medusa Patch – 4” x 2.5” and 4” x 4” sublimated patches with iron-on backing

Band Aid and Growing Pin

Band-Aid Pin and Growing Pin – 1” x 1” soft black enamel with silver metal and 1″ x 0.75″ soft white enamel with gold metal and matching butterfly back

Sticker sheet –  Kiss-cut on weatherproof white vinyl

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Instagram Stories – These are images that were produced to help promote Nocte on the Instagram brand account. 

PROJECT CREATIVE PROCESS

RESEARCH

This project is a culmination of my personal interests and illustrative aesthetic, so the inspiration I drew from the visuals came from my own dreams and interests. The themes that I wanted to explore included dreams, a tattoo-style aesthetic, and a playful twist on dark content. I personally like stickers and wanted to make a mini collection that would be a culmination of my interests and aesthetic in one merchandise brand.

 

However, I wasn't sure what other products I should make. To find an audience and figure out what products that audience would like, I created a target collector persona. This was achieved through interviews. I particularly wanted to cater to those who support fellow emerging artists, and are creatives themselves. Because I wanted a tattoo-style aesthetic, the brand would also cater towards young adults who enjoy tattoos and tattoo culture.

Through this persona, I verified the demographic I wanted to target, where I would target them online (Instagram in particular), where I would sell the products in person (at local art fairs/art events), how I wanted to market (word of mouth, displaying at tattoo shops), and the types of products to make (stickers, pins, shirts, patches, maybe ceramics/glass). I also asked people who already knew of my style of illustration for feedback on what sorts of products they would enjoy in my art style, and stickers and pins were very popular.

In terms of brand personality, the brand would be sincere (down-to-earth, real), exciting (imaginative, contemporary), explorative (independent, non-conforming).

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BRAINSTORMING

The brainstorming that followed consisted of ideas for themes, visual imagery, mediums for the products, inspiration, places to sell the brand locally, and research for the name of the brand.

I quickly realized ceramics and glass would be much more expensive and time-consuming to produce, and would likely not be within the target audience's budget. I wanted more people to be able to purchase and enjoy the products, or to buy just an item or two without spending too much. Art prints were within the audience's interest, however I wanted to create products that had a playfulness, not only in imagery, but also in how they were used by the customer. Pins, patches, and stickers allow for a more personable customization than an art print.

It was important for me to find a name for the brand that had a reference to the dark aesthetic of the brand. I decided on “Nocte”, Latin for night, because there was a lot of black used in the art, as well as visuals that I referenced from my dreams. Research for the name is shown in the brainstorming below, where I considered a lot of different options.

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THUMBNAILS

I had already had the idea of a thorn for the logo from a dream, and it reflected the dark aesthetic and imagery of the brand well. I drew the thorn for the brand logo, and sketched images that could be turned into pins, patches, and stickers. Some sketches are visual memos of imagery and visuals that I like or want to explore.

ROUGHS

After the thumbnails and considering what imagery I wanted to have in the brand, I settled on an illustration of Medusa and of a snake and peony. These two are drawn in a flash tattoo style and will be made into patches. Snakes are a common tattoo design and I personally am quite intrigued by Medusa's story. There is also a marble statue influence in the Medusa drawing. 
 

One of the drawings to be made into a pin was chosen from a collection of little sad animal illustrations, and the other was an updated version of a flower face from one of the thumbnails. It is on the same page as the Medusa patch illustration.

I decided on the style of the thorn for the logo and drew the rough, which I digitized and traced later on in Illustrator.

I had already made some sketches of shirt ideas considering placement for the print, so I gathered imagery that reflected the brand themes to start to put together a print. The shirt would be black with a white print to reflect the brand visuals properly. These images are the black/white images at the end of this gallery. 

COMPREHENSIVES

After tracing the thorn illustration in Illustrator, I tested a large number of fonts against it and chose a font that looked great both in white and black, with a sort of elegance. I didn't want the typeface to be too playful, and still wanted it to reflect a certain darkness and look relatively serious. Several iterations of the logo were created.

As I knew I would be advertising and selling the brand on Instagram, I created a series of sample Instagram stories to see what I wanted the communication with customers to look like. I considered the language, use of typography, and type of photos I wanted to share.

I also made digital comps of the shirt graphic with a variety of images. The back graphic reads "media nox", Latin for "midnight", a reference which is also noted in the time that says 00:00. The graphic is essentially representative of a dream that happens at midnight. 

Brand logo comps

Instagram story comps

Shirt graphic design comps

TAKEAWAY

As I created this design brief for myself, I was satisfied with the professional execution of the project and the extent of positive feedback that I received for this collection. It was important for me to make products that were a reflection of visuals and imagery that I liked to work with, so it was very rewarding to be involved in all aspects of the branding and creation. 

This was planned as a small collection and I did not have plans to keep adding products, but if I were to attempt this project again, it would be interesting to see this as a larger project with more extensive product launches planned, and maybe more experimental displays or pop-up shops. I would also have marketed the shirts more as well, since they were not as well loved as the pins and patches. I was very happy to have been a part of the Unibrow Arts Festival and to have displayed multiple times with Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective.