Design Stories

Centre Brand Development

 
 

The Christchurch Centre will be a boutique, premium, international meetings and events venue in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. This world-class facility is set in prime position beside the Ōtākaro Avon River at the centre of New Zealand’s newest city.

Darby was engaged to develop marketing and communications for the commercial operation, and at its core the visual identity and language for The Christchurch Centre.

 
 
Brochure cover

Brochure cover

 

The creative direction founded its idea on the unique New Zealand location, distinct from all other regional competitors. Christchurch is at the centre of the South Island, an international gateway to one of the world's greatest and most desirable destinations. The creative marketing, communications and brand positioning adopted the idea of the Centre. The centre of New Zealand. The centre of the South Island. The centre of Christchurch. The centre of events.

The creative development of this brand story is ongoing, and in its early stages as the Centre is built.

Due to the long lead times on marketing and sales in the convention industry (two to five years), it was necessary to begin developing key markets before the building design was even finalised. 

With that in mind, we had to develop a sustainable brand marketing position, one that would not alter to any major degree, even with the building design. Using the theme that positioned the Centre as central to our biggest asset, the beautiful South Island, enabled us to build on an established awareness and desire to visit not just New Zealand, but the South Island.

While conference venues can be visually distinct, many modern facilities offer similar services. The competitive edge, outside of cost, is often location. Christchurch ticks the box on all these levels. However, it was necessary to build into the brand marketing that destination distinction, literally front and centre. 

Visit the website: www.centre.nz

Austin Texas Credit Unions

ATXCU is a sister website to ACCU, both of which we designed, along with their respective branding. ACCU acts for all the Credit Unions in Austin, Texas, while their public service website, ATXCU, serves as a education and communication platform for the wider Austin community.


ATXCU brand design


 
 

ATXCU brand design

Unexpected up side

 
 

Designed for the US-based 'Unexpected Project', a documentary series and conference in maternity health dealing with traumatic loss of life during pregnancy. The design is intended to illustrate in the face of great unexpected loss there is hope. The upside down heart shape is countered by the positive word up. The design intention is that the positive message of hope appears stronger than the sadness of an inverted heart.

This is one of those designs that unfolded in the mind before pencil or mouse was moved. However it was important to set out the development path to insure nothing was missed. Jumping into the final design without testing the idea might have left unanswered questions, even doubt the idea had been fully explored. Subtle design adjustments can make a big difference, even when some of those tweaks are discarded giving greater confidence the final design has been well tested.

 
 

 

The design project was sponsored by Lucina Maternity, a registered 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, based in California.

 

Designer: Simon Darby

Dovetail X in development

Dovetail X turns creative and tech freelancers into pop-up agencies to supercharge their work. See the end of this page for an explanation of just what the heck we're talking about.

We are developing Dovetail X right now, and while the real hard stuff is being built in the background, we can show you some of the bits were designing here.

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About Dovetail X

Freelancers go from isolated, to part of a network with unlimited collaborative capabilities. Freelancers are limited to low-budget jobs and restrictive contracts. Collaborating with others usually means sharing a budget made-for-one. Dovetail X enables independent creatives to form pop-up project teams and win more valuable business.

Users can search, assemble, and collaborate in one platform. Each team is purpose-built for each project they are working on. The agility of freelancers with the power of collaboration produces effective and adaptable teams.

Dovetail X enables freelancers to work for themselves not by themselves.

Sign up for early access at www.dovetailx.com/beta-test/

 

Contain This

Remember the days of taking a sandwich to school, only to find it's a soggy mess at lunchtime? The fillings had socked into the bread to create a strange blend of textures and taste? Well engineer and designer Will Archie felt your pain and came up with the definitive solution to soggy sandwich syndrome. The Perfect Sandwich container separates the bread from the fillings, until you're ready to combine and eat. A unique removable freezer pack keeps everything fresh.

Darby was brought on board in the early product design phase, developing the product branding for Perfect Sandwich, and the company branding for Contain This! We also developed the website, targeted at wholesalers and technology licensees.

Simplicite Store

 
 

A simple store design for an organic skincare range. A light touch was required to focus in on the simple benefits of the product range with its existing Australian brand and messaging in place. Our brief was to also make it easy for the client to manage the store on their own.

Visit the site: www.simplicite.co.nz

Happy Holidays in 20 frames

20 frames of fun

20 frames of fun

This is an animation for our 2016 Christmas card. Hand made in our studio. 20 frames of animation, created in Adobe Illustrator. Each frame has elements that move about 3-4 pixels up or down, forward or backward. 10 of the last 20 frames repeat, with the addition of the house and tree added to create an illusion of a longer sequence.

Some other fav projects

BRAND DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / BRAND MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Here is a 'sampler box' of projects we really enjoyed working on. Not all of it's brand, some of it's marketing. It showcases some of our illustration and typography work too. 

Darby Capital

Working with family is always rewarding. In this case we designed the brand for Zak and Tom Darby. Our brief was to simply capture the focus of their new business, growth capital investment.

 
 

Design lead: Kate Darby

Jack's Point

BRAND DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Jack's Point is a 1200 hectare (3000 acre) settlement in one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world - on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just 15 minutes from Queenstown, New Zealand. The resort and golf course developers talk about 'tread lightly' in their design work, and we took that on board. With the website design for example, we wanted the brand to sit lightly amongst the landscape images

While Jack's Point has been 15 years in the planning, for us it was a startup, albeit a billion dollar one. We approached this from the perspective of our target market, seducing them with the raw and natural beauty of the place. The location is world renowned, and at the same time somewhat exclusive. In developing and delivering the brand story we were keenly aware of the opportunity to attract considerable sales interest, but also careful not to diminish the market positioning in the mid to high end property segments. Understanding our target market is the first task on any project.

As brand development designers, we devised and implemented a brand identity system across all aspects of Jack's Point, from the humble tactile business card to the responsive website serving multiple business and stakeholder interests.

The icon design in the logo is a direct reference to the angular rock face towering above Jack's Point, rock found deeply embedded in the surrounding landscape contour. It's a constant reminder that Jack's Point has been here for millions of years and we are simply caretakers.

The website we developed is also used to house and manage the brand identity and communications program. This allows us to be very market responsive with the brand, while maintaining synchronized continuity for all parties involved in marketing and communications. 

DESIGNERS: SIMON DARBY, KATE DARBY

Bell & Co

BRAND STRATEGY AND DESIGN / WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / PACKAGING DESIGN

Bell & Co. is a recently launched lunch delivery and catering service. They create food which has a strong emphasis on fresh, local produce that is nourishing and delicious. Charlotte, the founder, was looking to create a brand that supported this mantra and could help the business gain traction and grow. Charlotte saw a need for office workers to easily get a lunch that didn't break the bank or compromise on quality.

The process to develop the brand began by defining the unique value proposition and vision for the business. The name Bell & Co. was created to reflect the collaborative efforts that go into every aspect of the business. Despite the fact that Charlotte was a solo founder, she collaborates regularly with her suppliers, other chefs, designers (us), and craftspeople to keep growing Bell & Co. in new and interesting directions.

When developing a visual brand identity for Bell & Co. the context for how the logo would be used was carefully considered. The logo mark was created a tight unit that could work across a variety of surfaces and touch points. Rather than embark on the expensive process of having packaging printed, we created a stamp for Bell & Co. This was a low-cost, adaptable and effective way to brand the different varieties of packaging.

The website was developed in a two-stage process. The first stage was a landing page that enabled Bell & Co. to quickly get up and running with a professional face. As orders rapidly grew, the need for an online ordering system quickly became clear. The second stage was to create a site for Bell & Co. that could still tell the brand story, but also allow for customers to order and pay online (or choose in-person). The site also schedules Bell & Co.'s orders, making Charlotte's life a lot easier. A user-experience focus was taken, and user testing was done to make sure Bell & Co.'s customers could make an easy transition to the new site. 

 WEBSITE: WWW.BELLAND.CO + DESIGNER: KATE DARBY

Lucina Maternity

BRAND DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / BRAND MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Lucina is a registered 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, based in California. It's primary purpose is to promote better maternity care using an integrated team including CNM's, physicians, and health educators. Lucina advocates that a woman should be empowered during her pregnancy to engage in informed decision-making regarding her care and delivery.

We became involved at the very start of this project where the underlying concepts of better maternity care were being formulated. It's a challenge for brand development at this early stage where the message is still evolving. This can be an advantage too. It gave us a simpler brief for an identity that communicated elements of trust and care with a focus on mother and baby. At the same time, as with many startups, we needed to communicate a professional organization that gave, in this instance, donors confidence in participating.

Lucina succeeded in its initial aim, establishing a significant fund, and forging key relationships with CNM's, physicians, and health educators in California, and supporting the opening of new clinics under the Lucina model.

Our ongoing work with Lucina is also in brand marketing communications. This involves online awareness campaigns around healthcare issues concerning women, midwives, CNM's and physicians. As always the brand underpins the messages.

We are also working with Lucina on the development of new hospital-based practices in California, with a view to more across the United States.

Soho Basin

BRAND DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT / WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Soho Basin is new, yet it's like the first days of popular skiing in the 1930's, when it was an adventure and a privilege to discover new runs.

Soho Basin is situated in two high alpine basins at the head of Soho Creek. Set amongst the Southern Alps of New Zealand it overlooks the spectacular scenery of Queenstown and the Wakatipu Basin with amazing alpine views beyond to the peaks of the main divide.

Inspiration for the Soho Basin branding comes from an era when skiing was as much exploration as it was adventure. The brand team drew on design concepts popular in the 1930's to connect these inspiration points with this startup ski resort. We felt strongly that Soho Basin should by-pass the typical ski resort design ideas of the 70's and 80's, and draw a relationship with an era when skiing first became popularized.

Our inspiration was also taken from pioneering clues found in America. We travelled to Yosemite National Park in California, picking up clues to an era when mountain lodges and considerable effort were all part of a wilderness leisure experience. The U.S. National Parks system contains some very relevant and well preserved references to the 1930's era, and we found inspiration in the smallest details of signage, posters, and architecture.

This brand development project is in its very early stages, with the story developing over the next few years. We have great ideas for Soho Basin, so watch this space. 

WEBSITE: WWW.SOHOBASIN.CO.NZ + DESIGNERS: SIMON DARBY, KATE DARBY