The Young Guns Series 1 was a chance for 5 designers from across the globe to participate in a design mentorship program with Chris Do. They had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of graphic design and business mindset through a series of challenges and coaching calls. Our mission was to share the learning experiences of these talented designers through their processes and struggles, so that we can all learn together.
Here, we take a look back at the work from the Season 1 Brand Identity Design Challenge to understand their approach and design solutions. The project brief was to design a first-class airline sub-brand for an existing airline. Their results were amazing!
Some of the Young Guns started with a more formal approach to the project by diagnosing the brand and creating Stylescapes™ to establish the brand’s visual language.
Sean Campbell – AAce
Sharif El-Komi – Crimson
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Now let’s dive into their projects
The idea for the system stems from the American Airlines logo, which the AAce logo is derived from. All of the patterns I designed are then in turn extrapolated from the logo. I was inspired by the old AA identity and tried to bring some of the simplicity while still keeping the design interesting and in line with the new branding.
Transportation stop billboard
Aside from coming up with a great name, the main challenge of this project was find the sweet spot for the visuals that both fit within the existing American Airlines identity, and still feeling premium and different than standard class. I struggled a lot towards the beginning of the project and ended up scrapping a lot of ideas.
Airport counter signage
Summary of Design Solution
To keep the design consistent with American’s existing branding, I used a similar yet expanded color palette, used the same typeface, Frutiger, and many design elements follow a consistent diagonal angle that is taken from the American logo. I also tried as much as possible to show how this brand will look and live in the real world next to the existing branding. I may not have did the best job at making the design feel special and premium, but I tried to tackle the problem by highlighting big beautiful signage, high quality printing effects and materials, as well as carefully crafted mockups. I’ve learned that when attempting to position a brand at a more expensive and premium price point, the devil is in the details and that feeling of exquisiteness comes from the entire design being refined and resolved.
Being on the show has been an amazing experience and I thank everybody involved! I’m incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity.
The idea was to give the feeling of Serenity, aligned with Vistara’s current marketing material which features pink clouds.
I selected Vistara Airlines based on the criteria on their about page. They clearly mention their mission is to redefine air travel in India and provide a more personalized flying experience. I felt they are the ones most likely to come up with an upper business class / premium flying experience. I didn’t wanna go on Etihad level of luxury as I felt it was unrealistic for Vistara to do that in India. So “Serenity by Vistara” is more like an upper business class, VIP experience. I based the whole thing around having the sense of peace and not having to worry about anything while traveling “Serenity class”.
Boarding pass with no ads on the back side to give a stress-free feeling.
This envelope comes as a part of welcome vanity kit
Coming up with the name of the VIP class was the most difficult task, I spent a considerable amount of time on just that. Then there was the challenge to distinguish Serenity enough from Vistara so it can stand on its own, feel like a VIP class but still feel like part of Vistara Airlines. Having to define that visual language and style was very difficult and I struggled with it a lot.
Logo on print
Deconstructing Vistara’s current logo to make Serenity logo
Summary of Design Solution
I wrote down everything I wanted “Serenity” to feel like and started back-tracking from there to come up with a few names which relate to Vistara’s limitless expanse meaning. I was very happy with the name and the logo I decided to work with. It feels just right. I think I failed to come up with a proper visual language and that was pretty evident in Chris’ critique of the work.
Vistara and Serenity logos for side by side comparison
This was a challenging project. It proved to me that you can’t design in a closed silo. You always have to think of the bigger picture, the whole system and the ways you can always make the system versatile enough to be applied on any medium. I think that’s one of the reasons why Sean’s design won. He had a solid design system in place which connected everything.
Two large Jet2vip airline luggage tags with heavy emphasis on the flight destination.
The overall idea for this project was to take a budget airline and give it a premium class. I wanted to create a slightly more luxurious experience than standard economy but not the crazy extreme luxury you might find from an airline such as Etihad. Taking Jet2 customers one step closer to a more VIP experience rather than jumping to an entirely new level.
Two small Jet2vip airline luggage tags designed for small carry on items.
Alternative large airline tag specifically for VIP members flying with Jet2.
I was faced with the concept of branching out a well established budget airline into a category it did not serve at all. Everything about Jet2 feels budget and lightweight, so the biggest challenge for me was to develop a more luxurious side without alienating their current audience. I needed to make Jet2vip to feel seamless alongside the rest of Jet2’s subdivisions.
Large Jet2vip airline luggage tag in use on a suitcase.
Proposed Dinner Menu for Jet2vip customers.
Summary of Design Solution
The assets I created for the Jet2vip branding were designed to integrate and sit well amongst the rest of the Jet2 ecosystem. By channeling a large portion of Jet2’s current design conventions, large patterns, bold text and bright colours, I was able to bring a fresh perspective to their VIP department without deviating away from their original mission. The tags and pin I designed were created to give the customer a sense of luxury and ownership, without feeling too far out of reach from their current situation. Each element is designed with clarity, positivity and a sense of familiarity in mind. This creates a solution that fits within the Jet2 ecosystem and helps each customer easily transition into a new airline class, giving them their first taste of flying VIP.
A collection of small and large format luggage tags showcasing the new Jet2vip branding.
Overall, I felt my intentions for this project were good. My strategy was heading in the right direction but, unfortunately my execution of the designs and presentation felt lacklustre. This was due to largely being overloaded with client work and poor scheduling at the time. I knew when I submitted the project it wasn’t my best work but I had no more time to improve on it. Young Guns was always more about learning and feedback than being a “winner” so I am not disappointed with the project because I now know where to improve.
I wanted to capture the essence of “Swiss” as it exists in our collective subconscious. The brand, in my mind, had to be obvious but also subtle enough to look premium on application. I wanted people who flew Crimson to be able to be able to use whatever they were given on the plane later on because it feels and looks premium enough.
It was difficult to balance clean minimal design while communicating a premium feel. It was also very challenging working on applications I’ve never dealt with before such as the boarding pass.
Summary of Design Solution
I designed what I see as a very simple flexible mark essentially designed with applications in mind. It works on billboards, printed on the menu, small, big, embroidered; that was the idea. Visually, the royal blue accent complemented the crimson color nicely.
This project was the most fun I’ve had on the Young Guns, it was challenging and I definitely felt like I had to pull out all the tricks.
Behance – https://www.behance.net/sharifelkomi
A stylescape to help showcase the brand aura and general feeling.
The overall goal of the project was to imagine what a premium/VIP class would be for the German Airline Lufthansa. My approach to the project was to use a faithful design language and geometric similarities to tie the two brands together visually.
Signage to help customers navigate the airport.
A 3D extruded sign showing the mark in different materials.
One of the biggest challenges of the project was weighing the differences between a premium-feeling brand, faithful design, and appropriate cultural style. Because Lufthansa is already a very premium-feeling brand, trying to ‘level up’ the brand was a challenge in and of itself. I ended up using a cooler and richer color palette paired with didot as a typeface to create a premium feeling brand.
A travel bag showcasing what the “Nest” Identity would look like in context.
A promotional sign to help customers feel at home with the brand.
A visualization to help personnel see the transformation between the established brand and the new variant.
Summary of Design Solution
One of the biggest challenges I faced was in finding a suitable name for the brand. Because Lufthansa is a German airline with a German name, finding something that would work in both German and English was definitely a challenge. My solution was the name “Nest”, which is a word that works in both English and German. Everything beyond that just fell in to place, the brand atmosphere, the colors, typography. The other big problem was in weighing the differences between this VIP class and the larger airline brand. The goal was to create something distinct and uniquely better, but something that didn’t deviate too far from the brand. The ultimate product was something that I believe to be an elegant and minimalist solution to accompany an already powerful, established brand.
The final Logomark.
Young Guns has given me not only the practical and tangible skills needed in my career, but also the general mindset and approach I need to have going forward in my career. Young Guns has done a brilliant job of creating an environment for people like me to fail, experiment, play, and learn. I have grown so incredibly much from this experience, I am beyond thankful.
@spencerfraye (twitter, instagram, facebook)