Group project


Example 1
Sagmeister & Walsh design company rebranded EDP, an energy company in Portugal.
They created hundreds of logos and illustrations, which in combination tell the story of the EDP brand.
The identity is designed from four simple shapes: a circle, half circle, square and triangle, and only one color: red with gradient.
EDP project
EDP symbols
EDP illustrations
EDP editorial design
EDP identity


Example 2
Duolingo brand guidelines (illustrations are down the page)
- All illustrations are made from three basic shapes: the rounded rectangle, the circle, and the rounded triangle.
- Illustrations are simple, with the fewest shapes possible.
- The rhythm of simple shapes makes the illustrations interesting.
- Icons are designed on a flat perspective, on the same line of sight.
- Pastel colors only


Example 3
EMAS is Almada Forum is a Lisbon-based shopping center
EMAS Environmental Campaign
Design consists of simple shapes, 3 analogous green colors plus black and white
It uses environmental elements that reference real data showing how good management can impact our lives.



Brand visual identity design for a made-up company or campaign.
The project consists of 3 major parts:
1. Design of custom simple graphics
2. Illustration from these symbols and background
3. Brand guidelines document

The topic is up to you, for example:
- Global warming campaign
- Travel company
- Healthy living campaign
- Animal protection campaign
- Cultural heritage museum
- Space engineering company

Part 1 - Symbols
Design 10 symbols for your chosen company or campaign.

1. After both of you choose a topic, research companies in that industry to find information that will help you determine what symbols will tell the story of the company. Brainstorm symbols, make sketches, etc.
2. Discuss the design with your partner and choose the final style, shapes and colors
3. Make a minimum of 20 different well-defined symbol sketches, approximately 3x3 inches each
4. Choose the 10 best design ideas and make the images in Illustrator.


To simplify the explanation and avoid any confusion, we are going to use the following terms:

1. Symbol or a very simple image/graphic = image
2. Simple basic fundamental geometric shapes = shapes (e.g. square, circle)
3. Certain quantity of shapes (similar or different) = pieces (e.g. 2 squares and 1 circle = 3 pieces)


1. Each image has to be very simple. Using too many shapes complicates the overall silhouette of an image. For each simple image use no more than 4 basic, geometric shapes. For example, half circle (two halves can make a whole circle), rectangle, square, triangle. The shapes can have rounded corners.
Note: you can change the shapes' sizes.

2. One way of keeping the images cohesive is to repeat shapes. When constructing a simple image, try to use the fewest pieces possible, no more than 10-15. For example, a primitive head can be composed of 3 basic shapes/7 pieces: 3 circles for the head and eyes, 3 half circles for the ears and mouth, one triangle for the nose.
Here is a good example of the right degree of simplicity:
- Images from geometric shapes
- The EDP Visual Identity example: 85 images are created using only 4 basic geometric shapes: a circle, half circle, square and triangle (And, hundreds of illustrations are created using those images)

3. When constructing the image, try to use front or profile view. Using three quarters view can cause you additional problems.

4. Limit your image to a few colors. Too many colors create less harmony, simplicity and consistency.
Example: Use 1 or 2 analogous colors, but no more than 5.
You can use gradients, either from one color to another, or from values of one color. Important: gradients should be very subtle


Occasionally, when it is not possible to make an image without some exceptions, it is OK to override some guidelines, but very rarely and subtly
1. You can combine two or three simple geometric shapes to create a slightly more complex image part.
2. You can rotate the geometric shape or change its proportions.
3. You can cut out a part of the shape.
4. You can add a little part to your image, which is not one of your 4 shapes (for example, dog’s tale), but make sure they're still geometric in nature.
5. Sometimes you need to insert more details; still, try to keep your images as simple as possible. For example:
Try to keep hands as abstract as you can by keeping them as basic shapes in most places. If you need to show fingers, display the bare minimum needed for the pose.
Hair should be interesting but simple. Too many irregular shapes will make the hair unnecessarily complex. If possible, compose hair with just one or two large shapes.

Note: to combine or cut the shapes use Illustrator Pathfinder, Shape Builder, or any other appropriate tool.


Duolingo style guide will help you working on your images: Characters

For the ideas or inspiration - various designs from simple shapes:
Transport 2
Android logo (robot)
Android logo 2
Animals from simple shapes
Animal faces
Robot 2
You can search for more.
Remember difference between inspirations and plagiarism.

Part 2 - Illustration
Combine the symbols into a more complicated illustration to tell the story of the brand.
It can be editorial illustration, publication, corporate design, advertising, or even a still for a motion design.
1. Make 3-4 sketches for the illustration
Each sketch should be accurate and detailed, done in the separate notebook sheet

2. Create the illustration in Illustrator
Letter size file, vertical or horizontal layout.

Note: always look for plenty of good examples first:
EDP Illustration
Duolingo Illustration
Duolingo background for illustration

1. You do not have to use all 10 images for your illustration (or you can create some different ones if needed)
2. You have to create an appropriate setting (background) for the story. It can be interior, exterior, imaginary, symbolical, etc. Try to use the same set of shapes for that setting (to make houses, trees, clouds, furniture, accessories, etc.)
3. Your illustration can use a bigger variety of colors. It's understandable that some illustrations will need a color outside of the palette, but use these colors as a general guide and be consistent where you can.

Part 3- Brand Style Guide

A brand guideline, also called a brand style guide, is essentially an instruction manual for how to communicate your brand. It lays out all the visual details, as well as important notes about the company's voice, tone, and messaging.
Some brand guidelines examples (the one you design will be simpler, with fewer items)


Create a very simple style guide for your brand
Make an Illustrator file with the following items:
- Short company description,
- Your chosen shapes,
- Colors with 2-3 numeric indicators (ex. CMYX and Hex)*,
- Two-three symbols,
- Illustration,
(No need for logo and typography guides).
Each part has to have images and their short descriptions.
This document also has to be well designed, including the alignment principle.

*Color types article What’s the difference between PMS, CMYK, RGB and HEX?
Chart example RGB, HEX, CMYK, PMS
(You can use Illustrator and Adobe Color site to convert colors)

Simple Brand Style Guides example


1. Each team member has to do an equal amount of work: discussions and ideas suggestions, working on sketches, creating Illustrator files, working on the brand guideline document.
2. I will make a dropbox folder for each team, where you should keep all sketches, Illustrator files, and the brand guideline.