Week 1: Image and Branding

Tuesday 1st February 2022

IMAGE AND BRANDING

Today we had a guest lecture by Derek Yates. (Notes can be found on my Notion) This lecture taught us the basic principles of branding and encouraged us to begin thinking about our own. As I am most interested in the art and marketing side of things, I have taken the responsibility to consider the branding of our studio and game with input from Kiera to finalise things. This next week should be spent on the branding of our studio and game as well as getting our social platforms and domain live.

Notes to support this section can be found here:

https://www.notion.so/WEEK-1-9467255f7d8e4192834723f0d7969721

REQUIREMENTS FOR IMAGE & BRANDING

  • Studio name

  • Game name

  • Website and own domain

  • Social platforms - Set-up Instagram and Twitter

  • Logo

  • Branding Toolkit

TO DO LIST

  • Brainstorm game and studio names with Kiera

  • Choose suitable domain name and send to course leader

  • Set-up social platforms using chosen name

  • Create a 'Branding Toolkit'

  • Creation of logo

  • Marketing Plan

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STEP 1 - What's the name of our Game?

To kickstart the branding of our game we were lucky enough to have a quick discussion with guest speaker Derek Yates who inspired us to start thinking about the name of our game. We firstly used the framework provided to be more direct with our intentions for this project, which will lead us to understand our brand in more depth:

FRAMEWORK (What, How, Why)

Derek Yates taught us this framework to be direct with our intentions and to outline What, How and Why, in a simple manner. We can use our responses to these questions to "define what a business means and provide a foundation for coherent and engaging communication".

  • WHAT? - is your game proposition?

  • HOW? - do we play it?

  • WHY? - does your game exist?

WHAT

IS OUR GAME PROPOSITION?

 

A 360-degree multi-sensory experience.

HOW

DO WE PLAY IT?

Playful interactions, through immersive visuals and sound.

WHY

DOES YOUR GAME EXIST?

To provide students with a playful method of emotional and physical regulation.

HOW CAN WE USE THIS?

Considering the purpose of our game and why we are making it, we can use this framework to influence our next steps for branding. Firstly, we need to brainstorm a suitable game name and relate this to our 'what, how and why'. The name of our game should be related to the purpose of of game, to set the tone and give players an idea of what is to come.

GAME NAME BRAINSTORM

Setting the tone

  • Escapism

  • 360-degree space

  • Free roam

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm and panic

  • A safe space

  • Quiet zone

  • Basis of our project is to help others

  • Provide students with the means to control emotions/overcome challenging thoughts

  • Emotional and physical regulation

  • Raising awareness

  • Making players feel comfortable and at ease

DISCUSSION WITH DEREK YATES: GAME NAME

1st February

 

NOTES

  • "Putting 'the' in front of a word makes it seem much more sophisticated and special"

  • Could be kept simple and be referred to as "The Box" or "The Space"

  • Could have physical elements around the space that players can touch and interact with.

  • Might be worth looking into other multi sensory environments and gaining inspiration from them

  • Look into Montessori

  • Consider each of the senses

  • Play around with light, texture, colour and emotions

  • Brainstorm words around box, cube, space etc.

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MIND-MAP: GAME NAME

Relevant words and ideas we could use to branch off into a potential game name:

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BRANCHING OUT

Kiera and I have branched out into relating words to brainstorm extended game ideas. We translated certain words in different languages to see if any would appeal.

FAVOURITES:

  • Focus

  • Sensorium

  • Zen

  • Space

  • Safe

  • Zone

  • Cube

  • Secure

  • Control

  • Transform

  • Transport

  • Dimension

  • 360

  • Surround

  • Reflect

  • Balance

  • Mixed Reality

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FAVOURITES:

  • Metanoia

  • Mindspace

  • Spatium

  • Momentum

  • Zona

  • Aisthiseis

PERSONAL REFLECTION

I don't feel that any of these fit our game nicely or set the tone well. We need to think more about what our game is providing people, referring back to our framework. I feel with the words we have come up with already we are trying a little too hard to dig deep and find an 'alternative meaning', but I think what would be best is if over the next few days we think much simpler and highlight what's on the surface rather than getting too carried away.

 

DISCUSSION WITH KIERA: GAME NAME

2nd February

NOTES:

  • Need to decide on a game name by the end of today

  • Both not happy with the names produced already

  • Need to think simpler about what we are creating for people

  • Think of words related to being able to escape, go somewhere far or get away.

  • "Getaway" - both like this idea

  • Could also be written as "to the getaway" - not to give our game 'escape room' vibes.

  • We agree we like the idea of "Getaway" because we feel we could brand this nicely and use "to the getaway" as our phrase/saying.

  • Next need to set up a domain name and social platforms using this name!

  • Came across another 'EKGames' website meaning our 'team name' is taken.

  • Discussed different options for our studio name: Little studios, little productions, little amusements, little ones, short, small productions, eekay, bit short, bit short productions, bit short studios.

  • Came to the conclusion we like the name "Bit-short Studios" to represent us as a team!

STEP 2 - Domain name & Social Platforms

Using our chosen studio and gamename it's time to choose a suitable domain name for our developers blog/website and social platforms. For the purpose of marketing and advertising, I feel both Instagram and Twitter would work best for our project and would reach our target audience most effectively. I am also familiar with both these platforms and we have agreed between us that I'll take responsibility for this. My task for today is to get these accounts set up and purchase a domain name for the both of us.

Game Name - 'Getaway'

Studio Name - 'BitShort Studios'

DOMAIN: https://bitshort.studio/

INSTAGRAM: @tothegetaway

TWITTER: @tothegetaway

PLAN

For our social platforms, I plan to create a 'marketing plan'/'tool kit' for our game to ensure we get the best out of our social media as we can. I have also done some research into Marketing this kind of thing already to gain more knowledge on how Twitter especially is used to promote game development projects etc. Once I have the branding in place I plan to begin thinking about how I will begin promoting development. (Actions to take, features to take advantage of online etc)

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STEP 3 - BRANDING TOOLKIT: How does our brand look/speak/act?

WHAT IS A BRANDING TOOLKIT?

A toolkit to kickstart the branding for our game - can extend into related materials such as our website and merchandise.

Derek Yates taught us the importance of a toolkit and to understand how our brand looks, speaks and acts. I took notes on this guest talk which allowed me to look at existing brands and how they do this which was useful to understand for the design of our own. Using this framework will allow me to think deeper into how our brand is perceived and the image we create.

  • LOOKS - visual  language, typography, font choice, colours, textures, patterns, symbols, logo etc.

  • SPEAKS- tone of voice

  • ACTS - how we present ourselves online and how our audience perceives us. Advertising, promotional and service design. Social media convos and collaborations.

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Page 5 of my sketchbook

LOOK/SPEAK/ACTS

HOW DOES OUR BRAND LOOK?

Visual language, typography, font choice, colours, textures, patterns, symbols, logo etc.

Last Semester I did a lot of research regarding visual design, colour psychology and shape. When I began thinking about the visual direction for our game I considered the different colours we could use based on their associations and moods they evoke. As the most important part of our game is based on the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the user, colour was a significant element to consider. This will certainly impact the colour palette we choose, the typography and overall composition of our logo.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: LOOKS

  • Cosy and comfortable

  • Sense of comfort

  • Sense of safety and security

  • Italic, cursive font maybe? Nothing too harsh or bold

  • Soft, gentle lines

  • Low opacity

  • Shades of blues and greens. Neutral colours, greys.

  • Flat texture - keep simple and memorable

  • Simple logo to represent purpose of the game - pictorial mark to suggest content/theme

LOOKS - MOOD-BOARDS:

COLOUR PALETTE

Our brand should use a palette associated to feelings of calm and peace. I used my previous research to establish 4 different colour schemes which I can also use to inspire the design of our logo. To avoid our brand coming across a little cold I feel the 3rd shade of each palette would be best.

colourpalettes.png

VISUAL LANGUAGE

I have documented the relevant icons in correlation to our game idea which could inspire the symbols we use across our brand or inspire a pictorial logo type to represent our game. I collected images and icons of things that seemed relevant such as 3D spaces, curves and rounded shapes. I also learned last Semester that certain shapes can be associated to particular feelings, so I focused mainly on rounded shapes like circles and curves to represent harmony and balance. I feel our visual language should be related to the idea of 'getting away' - this could be presented through a decrease in opacity or a 'fade out' effect. Only thing is, I must avoid making it look quite clinical.

I also believe our visual language could depend entirely on the theme and subject matter of our game, so this is subject to change throughout development.

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TYPOGRAPHY

The design of our brand must work in unison and each element must coordinate. I have an idea of the typography we could use to set the tone of our game which I have visualised in a mood-board of potential font/typeface ideas. We are providing people with a physical space that offers them the opportunity to remain calm and relieve stress, therefore, the typeface should reflect this without it coming across too clinical or 'medical'. We intend for gameplay to be kept subtle yet playful which could also be presented through our chosen typography similar to the ones below. I plan to use these as a kickstarter to inspire mour logo design.

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HOW DOES OUR BRAND SPEAK AND ACT?

Tone of Voice, how we present ourselves online and how our audience perceives us.

The way our brand speaks can say a lot about us and the messages we convey as a studio. In my sketchbook I mind-mapped what I thought could link nicely to our 'tone of voice' especially linking this to raising awareness for mental health and having passion for helping people/doing good. This also links to how we might act and present ourselves online. Considering our passions and what we are aiming to achieve, It'll be important to reflect this through our actions. An idea I had involved daily self-care reminders or positive affirmations posted to encourage and motivate our audience. This shows that we care for our audience and genuinely promote well-being - behind the scenes as well as online. In terms of our advertising, we can also reflect this through the things we post and the captions we use, to raise awareness and take advantage of our social platforms. Collaborations could also include with charities or fundraisers etc.

TONE OF VOICE

Positive affirmations, motivational quotes, daily reminders and encourage self-care. Can also take advantage of interactive elements on Instagram and Twitter to create polls and encourage our audience to express how they feel on a daily or weekly basis. This might also include Q&A's to dive deeper into some of the issues people might be experiencing, but gather a response to this anonymously. We want to show that we are happy to communicate with our audience and raise awareness around what might be causing issues for a wide range of people. Our brand should still remain fun and playful at the same time, to avoid any fear of judgement and gather excitement around the experience rather than it seem daunting. The way we come across on social media should be warm, friendly and playful - we want to be as authentic as possible, as this relates closely to both our game and us as individuals.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: SPEAKS

  • Down to earth

  • Caring

  • Friendly

  • Warm

  • Playful

  • Personal

  • Humble

  • Fun

  • Engaging

IDEAS - Social media conversations, what we post etc.

  • Motivational quotes

  • Affirmations

  • Raising awareness

  • Daily reminders

  • Self-care techniques

  • Relatable Quotes

  • Daily or weekly check ups

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STEP 4 - The Logo

A LOGO...

A logo is information in a compressed form. Logos should be used to inform the customer while being memorable, unique and recognisable. The design of a logo can only tell you so much, the rest will follow with our brand. "A logo is a mark of ownership, while a brand is a story". When designing the logo for 'Getaway' we must think about representing the game we make and how we can do this effectively.

Things to consider (Influenced by Logos Workshop in Year 2)

  • Is the logo unique?

  • Is the logo recognisable?

  • Is the logo memorable?

  • Does the logo convey information about the game to the viewer?

  • What is the tone?

  • Setting?

Different types of Logos

  • Monograms - Letter marks

  • Wordmarks - Full title for the game

  • Pictorial marks - Only used when enough recognition has been gained.

  • Mascots - Characters associated to game

  • Combinations - Common style of game logos. Take both pictorial and wordmarks. Keep effects to a minimum.

LOGO DESIGN

The last part of the 'Branding Toolkit' is to consider symbols, patterns and logos. It'll be necessary for us to design a logo to advertise our game and be used on a variety of promotional material. This logo should also be used alongside our social media platforms and will make people aware of who we are and what we are creating. The logo must be recognisable across platforms and unique to our game. Where will I star

 

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

HOW TO MAKE A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE LOGO?

  • Distinct shapes and colour

  • Shapes and silhouettes

  • Unique pictorial image

  • What are my intentions?

  • Clear typeface

  • Can alter existing typefaces to create your own

  • Colours used to represent the visual of our game (this is subject to change)

STARTING WITH THE DESIGN

  • Analyse competition - word study. What message do we want to convey? Look at similar existing logos.

  • Mood-board existing logos - match our games tone or genre etc. Find similarities.

  • Use this to sinpire first drafts and concept sketches.

ANALYSE COMPETITION: MOOD-BOARD

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To influence the design of our own logo I've collected inspiration from existing games with themes similar to our own. I documented examples from 'meditative games' and exploration based games such as Minecraft, which allows players to become immersed in a 3D world where they have the ability to explore and freely roam until their heart's content. These games mostly consist of basic gameplay mechanics and objectives - I feel this is conveyed through the use of a basic typeface often in the colour black or white.

Most game logos consist of both pictorials and wordmarks. This makes it easier to convey a particular message which represents something within game. For example, 'Nature Treks' logo gives the viewer the impression that the game consists of a range of relaxing environments. This is reflected through both the game name and cover photo. As simple as this is, it does a great job at representing what the game consists of and sets the tone. When I begin designing our logo, I plan to list out the message we hope to convey from its design and set myself some requirements beforehand.

CONCEPT SKETCHES

PLAN

To begin the design process for our logo, I will firstly outline the requirements for our logo and move forward from here. I plan to sketch out concepts first and develop these digitally using Adobe Illustrator. I can experiment with different colours and compositions to evaluate which best suits our brand.

REQUIREMENTS FOR DESIGN

  • Pictorial and wordmark logo type

  • Convey the message - a place to get away, providing people with a safe space/quiet zone

  • Cosy, comfortable and quiet

  • Reflect peace

  • Subtle, easy going and light-hearted

  • Basic/simple design

  • Colours to represent calm and relaxation

  • Tease content/subject matter or theme.

ROUGH CONCEPTS (Sketchbook)

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PROCESS

I've begun by sketching ideas for our logo, experimenting with typefaces and icons inspired by my Branding Toolkit. I've thought about what exactly we are providing and tested a little with a physical space/box. However, the appearance of this  reminds me of escape rooms and more competitive gameplay, which we do not want to convey. I experimented with different compositions of the word 'getaway' and Kiera and I both agree that the best arrangement of our logo is as one word with the use of simple imagery to suggest the theme of our game.

Taking into consideration the principles of logo design, I eliminated the designs I believed were weakest and began to draw them digitally. I first tested a variety of typefaces and using the colour palette identified previously, colour picked four colours to play around with. Kiera and I believe a more natural colour palette and cooler tones are our best bet to set the tone of our game and keep our brand sophisticated yet light-hearted.

DIGITAL CONCEPTS

fonts1.png

SOFTWARE USED:

Adobe Illustrator

REFLECTION

The tone of our game is lighthearted and playful but primarily designed induce feelings of calm and relaxation. The simplest way to present this was with an italic typeface which I think looks elegant and sophisticated however, distracts viewers away from what the product really is - a game. I played around with the composition of the word 'getaway' to achieve a more fun and youthful approach but even still this didn't feel right!

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After undertaking research and considering our own  thoughts and interests, for now we have put in place the idea for the theme of our game to be 'mountains'. Our target audience found this environment most calming, as did we, and therefore we concluded on this for the time being. Next week when we begin to refine our scope, this is subject to change but for now I kept this in mind and tested with rough mountain concepts. We both liked the appearance of the simplistic vector style art but also a simple illustration. In addition to this, we know our game in someway would relate back to music, so I tested the 5 lines of a music score beneath our typeface which was a bit funkier than expected. I also tested a more traditional style of drawing and scanned this through to make digital. This ties in with our art style and game theme, which we liked very much,

I have continued to experiment with fonts and compositions and feel I am getting closer to the final design. In terms of the most memorable, I believe a more compact and simplistic logo design would we best, especially for the message we are trying to convey. Our game isn't based on scores or competition, but should appear more cosy and friendly looking. Based on this Kiera and I narrowed down our choices to the final three.

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FINAL LOGO DESIGNS

As we establish ourselves as a brand overtime, these designs are subject to change and may become more refined as we move further into development.

SOFTWARE USED:

Adobe Illustrator

FONT USED:

"Secret Admirer"

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STEP 5 - Marketing Plan

MARKETING

As a part of the branding for our game and studio, we need to use our social platforms to the best of our ability to promote what we are making and gain as much engagement as we can. Using my Marketing Research I intend to make a basic plan to layout the foundations of how our social media will work and the tools I can use to enhance this.

BASIC MARKETING PLAN

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1) PLAN - Define goals and strategy

2) REACH - Growing your audience

3) ACT - Convince your audience

4) CONVERT - Turning interest into sales

5) ENGAGE - Encouraging repeat business

Image from: 

https://msmedigitalmarketing.com/product/digital-marketing-services/

This plan will layout the foundations for marketing and allow me to think about how I will enhance our brand online, especially paying attention to how we plan to reach our intended target audience, and form relationships with them to express our passion for helping others. As well as posting development content, we should be regularly communicating with our audience and get to know them on a more personal level.

1) PLAN - Define Goals and strategy

The goal for our brand is to promote our new game, to gain engagement and build an audience. We aim to gain interest in what we are producing and hopefully future projects too. Later in development, we aim to advertise our Arcade Event which will take place during the summer to showcase our final major project.

2) REACH - Growing your Audience

What I have established from my own social media pages is being consistent and interacting with the right people can boost your profile in a short period of time. In addition to this, it's important to take advantage of the features available to you at the time. I learned that we can also look for latest trends which are good for engagement and increasing insights. A recent example of this was 'Reels' on Instagram. These are essentially 15-60 second videos posted on a feed similar to the layout of Tiktok. This feature would be great for progress updates and capturing little 'behind the scenes' moments of development.

Being consistent with these things will guarantee an increase in followers in a short timeframe and will allow us to boost our social profiles. 

Twitter: @tothegetaway

Instagram: @tothegetaway

INSTAGRAM FEATURES TO USE AND

HOW CAN WE USE THEM?:

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REELS

Short snippets of development process.

  • 15-60 seconds

  • Music

  • Concept sketching

  • Asset Production

  • Things in the making

  • Brainstorming

  • Timelapses

  • Behind the scenes

  • Box construction

POLLS

Gather votes and opinions

  • Research Surveys

  • User Research

  • Health check-ups/updates

  • This or That?!

  • Help with design conclusions

  • Gather opinions

  • Suggestions

  • Make changes/improvements

HASHTAGS

Reach wider audience/Industry Experts

  • #Gamedev

  • #Gamedevelopment

  • #Newgame

  • #Games

  • #Gamer

  • #Immersivexperience

  • #Immersion

  • #Gamesdesign

3) ACT - Convincing your audience

Using the Branding Toolkit, I have established ways we can act on social media to convey the message we'd like to get across and at the same time promote our game. Posting consistently will show our passion for the game we are creating, but the content we post is also important. I had the idea of posting daily or weekly motivational quotes or affirmations to help motivate our audience and simply show that we care. This will suggest to our audience that we are working on a project close to our hearts and are both determined to raise awareness around the topic of mental health. The way we act will be authentic and true to ourselves, and this in itself should represent our brand and the reason behind us creating this 'product'.

As we reach a greater audience, we should share content that shows our research behind our choices and our focus in making sure we create something that is successful in helping others. This proves that the work we put in will equal to the final outcome. Our audience should eventually gain trust in us and stick with us out of interest and desire into our product/game.

4) CONVERT - Turning interest into sales

We hope to gain interest around our product from a consumers point of view, hopefully leading to visits to our Arcade Event to showcase our final outcome and have people play it themselves. In addition to this, we must be particular with the way we promote ourselves and ensure to reach out to more than just potential consumers. As we have spoken before about this being an idea for a possible intervention in schools/colleges and on university campuses, it will be good to reach out to people with this as a potential business idea. This might mean getting into contact with previous primary/secondary schools and places of education to create contacts and potentially move forward.

5) ENGAGE - Encouraging Repeat Business

After the Arcade Event, I believe it would be a great idea to keep up with the marketing for this idea and hold onto our audience. It's something Kiera and I are extremely passionate about and I am confident that it could go somewhere in the future if we persevere with it. We aware of the help we could get from Barclays Eagle Lab in terms of student led businesses and this is just one of our possibilities! I certainly think we should carry this on upon-graduating and make people aware of our studio and us individually, as we are determined to work together in the future! (BitShort Studios!)

EVALUATION

6th February

REFLECTION

I am happy with my position in Week 1 as I have spent a good amount of time organising myself and planning the Image and Branding for our game. I am glad I got this out the way in the first week as I know this project is going to become much harder as time goes on - but I am ready for the challenge! The Branding Toolkit and Marketing Plan helped me be direct with what we are trying to achieve, which allowed me to think creatively about how this can be suggested through our image! I have certainly enjoyed this past week  because I have been able to use what I know regarding marketing to organise how we can market our game to the best of our ability. I am hoping this will result in a busy Arcade Event and a lot of interest! With our social media platforms set-up, we can begin next stages of development and have this in place for when we are ready to begin putting ourselves out there! Exciting times ahead.

NEXT STEPS

Next steps for us now will be to refine our Project Scope. We have already begun to think about what kind of things we can do but we have struggled in the past to get this down on paper and move forward quickly. Because of this, Kiera and I have decided to start first thing next week with the Project Scope and continue with the design of our gameplay experience. Once we know how we will refine our scope, we can make a detailed schedule and begin with planning.

Updates for Social Media can be found here:

Twitter @tothegetaway

Instagram @tothegetaway

WEEK 2

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn