Brand Identity: A Nautical Look for Spencer Fochtman
Spencer Fochtman is an aspiring adventure photographer who approached Wonderful Machine to develop his graphic identity. Branding is an important asset for marketing, so we were happy to help Spencer create a platform for his future! Striving for a rich palette, Spencer captures amazing compositions of sweeping landscapes and star-filled skies. After seeing his photos, I felt that a rugged theme was the most fitting for his portfolio.
Spencer agreed an adventurous identity would represent his work well. He also wanted to embody a level of maturity with his brand, so it was important to maintain a refined look. Spencer also noted his enthusiasm for boats — he is drawn to the aged, yet resilient characteristics of wooden ships and nautical themes. With this information, I began my sketches.
For the first round of logo designs, I developed three variations; each includes a submark, horizontal, and vertical iteration:
Concept A has a dark and edgy appearance. I incorporated a naval theme by separating his name with a large “X” — a deconstructed motif often found in nautical designs and rope patterns. The brushstrokes in this design represent the nautical “roughness.”
Concept B is an inverse of Concept A. It has the same font and texture, but without the dark background. I also implemented a circle to the submark, giving it the appearance of a vintage stamp.
Concept C shifts towards a more refined approach. Most boats have their names painted on the side of the ship in a serif font. I incorporated this font into Spencer’s logo — paired with a bold brush stroke to emphasize the texture of paint on a wooden boat.
After reviewing the options with Spencer, he overwhelmingly favored Concept C, the “Refined Brush.” He loved the authentic, professional look of the logo group. We were still interested in enhancing the design, so we took the logo into the second round of edits. This time, I played with typeface, spacing, and texture.
Different Font Iterations
We chose the original font as the winner and believed it looked best with extra letter spacing. We removed the texture, so the worn effect was more understated. Finally, we added color to develop the final product:
Final Horizontal and Vertical Logos
Final Logo Submark
Spencer loved his new logo, so we shifted gears to his brand identity.
To pair with Essonnes, the refined typeface used in Spencer’s logo, I chose Open Sans as the secondary font. You’re likely to see Open Sans on many websites today because of its versatility and simplicity. It also adds a modern touch to the theme.
Spencer's palette ties the design package together. These colors share the rich, dark qualities of Spencer’s photographs while capturing the muted, marine aspects of his brand.
Spencer’s new color palette
Spencer was so enthusiastic about his new brand that he immediately incorporated the style guide into his website. As a designer, nothing makes me happier! I was glad that Spencer loved his brand as much as I loved creating it. Here’s what Spencer had to say about the process:
"I recently chose to work with Wonderful Machine to accomplish significant milestones within my still/motion production business. One of those milestones was creating a thorough brand identity and logo that I could apply to my website, emails, presentations, and social media channels. I had the pleasure of working with Christine Hughes on this project and was really surprised, first and foremost, with how much time she spent understanding my aesthetic, work, and business objectives. These are things that define a brand, but are so often overlooked. That was not the case here. Christine took my examples of other logos, ideas, and thoughts with impressive stride. My website, presentations, and social channels now have a consistent identity and level of maturity that they simply did not have before. I received logos in several formats along with the color codes for prints, web, etc. I can't emphasize the level of detail and thoughtfulness that is put behind the final package! A huge kudos to the WM team - you folks really know how to work fast!"