Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016

Happy new year! I hope you had some time to rest and rejuvenate as the year turned. A good chunk of my holiday was spent in Moshi, Tanzania. I stayed at my late grandparents’ home – resting, reading and spending time with family. I came back to Nairobi with renewed enthusiasm and clarity! There are several big (and slightly scary) adventures – design and otherwise – on the horizon this year, for me and for the Studio. I look forward to sharing them with you.

The first one starts next week, when 3 creative friends and I set off for a 15,000km+ road trip through southern Africa (see below).

As we prepare to set off, I wanted to share some highlights from 2016. Many of you have been a part of these projects and endeavours and I thank you deeply for your different contributions. Continue reading “Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016”

Project Stories: Brand Identity Design for Toghal

Toghal-African-Textiles-Inspired-Homeware-Flyer-Design-Asilia

 

I recognise that the story behind the work is often more compelling than the outcome. It’s through these stories that we understand the full context within which something exists. We get an insight into the creator’s intentions and inspirations, as well as into their process. And so a new Afri-love series is born: Project Stories. I hope you enjoy it – let me know what you think in the comments. 

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The brief

About a year ago, Dayo Forster approached my graphic design studio, Asilia, with regards to developing the visual identity for the homeware brand she was launching. 

Toghal was born out of a love for textiles, African heritage and the huge diversity of pattern, form and expression found in traditional African fabrics. Co-founder Dayo wanted to take inspiration from these traditional designs and keep their heritage alive by reimagining them in a fresh, contemporary way.

 

Toghal Traditional African Textiles Reimagined Homeware

 

She came to share her vision and her product with us and I could barely contain my excitement. It is projects like this that I live for – projects whose subject matter resonates with my own passions and interests. 

In this case – designing a fresh and contemporary brand identity that reflected Toghal’s African heritage in an interesting, non-cliché way. 

I love that I can bring my skills and ideas to create design that invites a wider audience to discover, engage with and become patrons of a brand.

 

Toghal-African-Inspired-Homeware-Flyer-Design-Asilia

  

Step 1: Research

After the deal was sealed (we sent a proposal, Dayo and I discussed it, agreements were signed and a deposit was made), the fun truly began!

Dayo had spent a lot of time already working on her brand so, she was able to share plenty of information on the inspiration, the products and the big plans.

Our first step when working on identity design projects is always research. We take all the information we’ve gathered from our client (from a questionnaire and from our initial meetings in person, or via Skype/Google Hangouts/telephone) and then indulge in a serious scour-the-internet session. 

 

Bamum Script Cameroon

 

In this case, we looked at:

  • Brands similar to Toghal – whether in terms of inspiration, mission, values, target audience etc. We looked at  how these brands presented themselves visually.
  • Homeware brands with great design (regardless of where they were based or what their influences were)
  • Different African scripts such as Bamum from Cameroon (pictured above)
  • Colour combinations that were in line with Dayo’s vision for the brand

We then thought of different aesthetic themes that could be appropriate for Toghal. We found examples of great design to illustrate these themes, creating a mood board for each. We sometimes do this by sharing Pinterest boards that we’ve curated (e.g. below). 

Pinterest-Boards-Curated-by-Asilia-Design-Tools

We presented our findings in a visual document so that we could discuss them with Dayo. It is usually through these interactions with clients, during the course of the project, that the best breakthroughs occur.

 

Step 2: Exploration + experimentation

Our next step was to present logo design directions, exploring different ideas, informed by the discussion with our client thus far. This stage of our process is, if you like, our version of the ‘rough sketch’.

Toghal means ‘to sit’ in Wollof and, this inspired a lot of our initial designs. In the final logo design, you can see that the ‘A’ is reminiscent of somebody sat cross-legged.

 

Toghal-Homeware-African-Textiles-Reimagined-Logo-by-Asilia

 

Step 3: Focusing and refining

Next, we developed the direction that most resonated with Dayo – fleshing it out fully to create a comprehensive ‘kit of tools’. This included: the logo, and variations where appropriate; the colour palette; recommended fonts and a typographic style and; design elements that will complement the brand and help to build recognition (e.g. patterns, iconography etc.). 

Toghal-Identity-Design-by-Asilia 

Step 4: Collateral design

We then started thinking about the actual communications materials that we would be designing and applying the identity elements to them. In this case, we designed business cards, letterheads, compliments postcards, tags, stickers for packaging, a promotional flyer/card, PowerPoint presentation template and graphics for social media.

 

Toghal-Traditional-African-Textiles-ReImagined-Homeware-Social-Media-Design-Asilia

 

A couple of rounds of iterations later, we had arrived at signed off materials that both Toghal and Asilia were happy with. We could now prepare the materials for production (preparing artwork for the printing company) or for dissemination (getting graphics ready for Facebook and Twitter). 

 

Toghal-Homeware-Brand-Identity-Design-Stickers-Asilia

(These designs are for stickers. When you receive your Toghal order in the mail, they’ll be on the packaging! A fun way yet relatively easy way to ‘brand’ your packaging)

 

We also put together a visual identity guidelines document which, the Toghal team can use for internal reference when creating documents in-house and which, they can share with other service providers to ensure consistency across all the materials created and that the brand’s integrity is kept intact.

 

Toghal-African-Textiles-Reimagined-Identity-Design-by-Asilia

(A sample page from the guidelines document)

  

Back to the present

We’ve created various promotional materials for Toghal since first working on their identity last year. It’s such a thrill to see our designs in use and great to know they are helping Toghal to reach more and more people. 

 

Toghal-Homeware-Africa-Utopia

(the Toghal stall at Africa Utopia, earlier this month)

 

Find out more about Toghal and browse their beautiful homeware here.
Read my interview with Toghal co-founder, Dayo Forster, here.

If you're interested in collaborating on a brand identity design project, get in touch with me: hello [at] weareasilia [dot] com.

Identity and promotional material designed by Asilia. Photos courtesy of Toghal. Bamum script image from here.

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Related:

Continue reading “Project Stories: Brand Identity Design for Toghal”

Nairobi Half Life and Questions about Identity

Nairobi Half Life Mwas Arrives in Nairobi
Nairobi Half Life

The Film Africa festival launched opened last night with a fantastic film directed by Tosh Gitonga, Nairobi Half Life. Beautifully put together – story, cast, cinematography, direction, production! The world-class quality of this film has surely set the bar for Kenyan film and no wonder it's a submission for Best Foreign Language Film at next year's Oscars. 

Continue reading “Nairobi Half Life and Questions about Identity”