Awards

Gold award from Graphis


  • Gold award from Graphis

Karousel has won a gold award in the 2017 Graphis Design Annual for the branding of our own design studio, Karousel.

The entry can be seen on the Graphis website in the published Graphis Design Annual 2016.

About the assignment:
Identity and branding for Karousel, a design studio that specializes in graphic design, branding and marketing. In the brand building business we know that the goal is to build awareness, positive emotions and loyalty. And when doing so, consistency is of great importance because it allows for accurate measurement, expectations, establishes our reputation, makes us relevant and maintains our message. The assignment was to showcase consistency in our company visuals and content (messaging, company philosophy, quality standards and goals). Our goal is to be strategic thinkers, great designers and playful problem solvers. We chose the name Karousel because we think the design/creation process is cyclical – like a business plan. It should not end, but continue to improve.

Approach:
We created a corporate identity in red and white with black/white images. Our business cards are corporate yet playful (holding signs). Our signature image shows the cyclical design/creation process with a red and white “carousel” in the middle.

Results:
The result is an identity that is simple, consistent and playful.

Branding

Branding/Auðkenning


  • Branding/Auðkenning

This blog is about the term Branding in Icelandic. Thus, the blog is in Icelandic:

Til að byrja með, finnst mér réttast að birta lista af markaðshugtök eins og við hjá Karousel notum þau á íslensku:

Brand = Auðkenni
Branding = Auðkenning
Brand management = Auðkennisstjórnun
Brand identity = Sérkenni auðkennis
Brand awareness = Vitund auðkennis
Brand image = Ímynd auðkennis
Positioning = Staðfærsla
STP marketing = Miðuð markaðssetning
Segmentation = Markaðshlutun
Targeting = Markaðsmiðlun
Elasticity = Teygjanleiki
Consistency = Samræmi

Hæ! Hér er ég 😉 Kannastu við mig og hvað finnst þér um mig? Ef ég væri vara (t.d. gos eða andlitskrem) myndi ég vilja eiga svona samskipti við þig. Og þá væri ég að kynna mig og sjá hvort þú hefðir tekið eftir mér eða þekktir mig nú þegar. Einnig væri mér annt um að kynnast tilfinningum þínum til mín, þar sem vörulíf mitt tengist upplifuninni þinni. Þannig er auðkenni (e. Brand) mitt að miklu leyti háð hugmyndum og tilfinningum þínum.

Hugtakið Brand á ensku er mjög vítt. Stundum er talað um vörumerki á íslensku en nýrra og betra orð að mati margra er auðkenni. Þá er verið að lýsa öllum þeim þáttum sem auðkenna mig t.d. nafn, merki, bæklingar, vefsíður o.fl. en einnig samskiptin sem verða til við þig.

Auðkenning (e. Branding) eða mörkun er víðara hugtak með áheyrslu á þær markaðsaðgerðir sem stuðla að því að þú kannast auðveldlega við mig og tengir vonandi jákvæðar og sterkar tilfinningar við mig.

Stjórnum auðkennis eða auðkennisstjórnun (e. brand management) felur það í sér að stýra t.d. staðfærslu (e. positioning) eða miðuð markaðssetning (e. STP-marketing). Hugtakið miðuð markaðssetning skiptist í markaðshlutun (e. segmentation), markaðsmiðlun (e. targeting) og staðfærslu.

Þættirnir sem aðgreina mig sem vöru frá samkeppnisaðilanum eru sérkenni mín (e. Brand identity) og eru t.d. nafn, merki, bæklingar, vefsíður, tónlist, o.fl.

Í auðkennisstjórnun er mikilvægt að þekkja sérkenni auðkennis, greina vitund auðkennis (e. brand awareness) og ímynd auðkennis (e. brand image) til þess að geta styrkt auðkennið. Ég (sem vara) gæti útskýrt þetta svona: sérkenni mín eru hvernig ég lít út og hvernig ég virka. Vitund mín er hvort mér takist að ná athyglinni þinni eða hvort þú kannast við mig nú þegar. Ímynd mín er hvað þér finnst um mig og hvaða tilfinningar þú berð til mín. Sem sagt, sérkenni vöru er allt það sem einkennir hana útlitslega og innihaldslega (virkni). Vitund vöru tengist því hversu auðveldlega hún nær athygli neytenda og hversu áberandi hún er í huga neytenda (hvort þú kannast við hana eða ekki). Ímynd vöru er hvernig neytandinn upplifir sérkennin og hvaða tilfinningar hann ber til vörunnar.

Auðkenning felst í grófum dráttum í því að skapa, viðhalda eða breyta sérkenni auðkennis til að framkalla æskileg vitund og ímynd hjá neytandanum – ásamt því að greina vitund og ímynd auðkennis. Sérkenni vöru er mjög stór flokkur, t.d. getur verð breytt ímynd neytenda af vörunni. Verðlagning er heilmikið stórt apparat út af fyrir sig og er í sjálfu sér frekar flókið fyrirbæri innan markaðsfræðinnar vegna „teygjanleika“ (e. elasticity) verðs. Markaðsrannsóknir sýna að formúla hagfræðinnar um magn og eftirspurn vöru miðað við ákveðið verð á ekki alltaf við. T.d. getur vara orðið eftirsóknarverðari (eftirspurn aukist) eftir því sem verð hennar eykst, sem er öfugt við hefðbundnar kenningar um verð og eftirspurn.

Í upphafi auðkennisstjórnunar er mikilvægt að greina núverandi vitund og ímynd auðkennis. Eða ef varan er ekki til ennþá, þarf að skoða hver væri æskileg vitund hennar og ímynd út frá áætluðum markaðsmiðli og markaðshlutun.

Mörkunarverkefni er ekki skammtímaverkefni vegna tímans sem það tekur að stuðla að samskiptum og að búa til tengsl, en þetta er líka háð stærð markaðarins. Mikilvægt er að halda áfram að greina vitund og ímynd auðkennis eftir því sem sérkennin taka á sig nýja mynd.

Í þessu samhengi, sem sagt við uppbyggingu auðkennis, er mikilvægt að halda sjónrænu samhengi (e. consistency). Þetta eru okkar ær og kýr hér hjá Karousel og við getum hreinlega ekki undirstrikað þetta nógu mikið. Bæði er þetta vegna tímans sem það tekur að koma á samskiptum við markaðsmiðilinn og erfiðleikana sem myndast við að skipta um skoðun í miðju ferli.

Hér er dæmi: Árið 2008 segi ég (gos); Hæ! Hvað finnst þér um mig? (þegar ég var blár og ódýr) og 2014 segi ég; Hæ! Hvað finnst þér um mig? (þegar ég er rauð og dýr). Það er mjög líklegt að vitund og ímynd þín sé mismunandi eftir árunum. Einhversstaðar á milli 2008 og 2014 ætti ég að hafa sagt: Hæ! Ég var blár og ódýr en núna vil ég vera rauð og dýr, hvað finnst þér um mig núna?

Hugmyndin er að auðvelda neytandanum að átta sig á því hvað honum finnst um auðkennið. Það þýðir að best er að eigandi auðkennisins viti hvað auðkennið er áður en hann fer að auglýsa það. Oft vilja menn flýta sér að koma vöru út á markaðinn og hafa ekki gefið sér tíma til að hugsa auðkennið til enda. En þá er mjög líklegt að neytandinn viti heldur ekki hvernig á að upplifa auðkennið og því ólíklegra að hann myndi traust eða trúnað við það.

Auðkenning á Karousel er samstarf grafískra hönnuða, textasmiða, markaðsfræðinga og auðkennissérfræðinga.

–María Ericsdóttir

Branding

Type as a corporate “voice”


  • Type as a corporate “voice”

In collage (yes, many years ago), I found typography to be absolutely one of the most interesting aspects of graphic design. Yeah, the teacher was really good, thank you Chuck Donald. Upon graduating as a graphic designer we worked together on publication “Pulse Magazine” (of Tower Records) but that´s not relevant, really 😉 So, typography, a fascinating trade with a history, and man did it undergo changes when computers came to town (not that long ago, we´re talking in the 80s). Yet, the architecture of type or fonts is still very complex and I think I´m being quite universal when I say that typographers receive earned respect among designers and art directors in the creative world.

In branding, the goal is to achieve recognition, awareness, emotional evolvement and ultimately loyalty. For this to happen, the messaging of the brand needs to be consistent. In other words, the brand experience needs to be coherent. One way to achieve visual consistency is to use a single type or a font duo. Usually graphic designers are happy to discuss fonts and guide the font choice/choices. In this day and age this task is easier and the selection is huge as new beautiful fonts are released every day on pages such as www.myfonts.com.

Abbott Miller, a partner at Pentagram, a design firm that´s been around and has offices in the U.S., London and Berlin, talks about type as “voice,” and stresses the importance of carrying this “voice” across all marketing efforts and public communications if you want those messages to be effectively connected with your brand. By maintaining consistency in “voice” one stands a far better chance in having these multiple messages reinforce each other.

Most corporate identities are composed of one or two font families. Domino´s Pizza for example uses the font Trade Gothic (cover image in blog) in America and Europe. Trade Gothic, a classic typeface, was designed by Jackson Burke in 1948 and is widely used in North America.

And then there are custom fonts. This means that the company or design firm which the company uses, has created or commissioned a typographer or typography studio to create a custom font that is licensed to this one company for exclusive usage. This is similar to the difference in purchasing royalty free and licensed photography. Imagine using a photo that everyone else can also use in comparison to having exclusive rights to a unique photo. The problem is that drawing a font is very complex and time consuming and not to mention pricy.

Domino´s also uses a custom font. Uuuu, impressive. I´m assuming that´s because Domino´s is a big company and means business. It has more than 11.000 franchises in more than 70 countries. Talk about a challenge in creating one voice, company wide, in multiple cultures. The custom font is called Pizza Press and was created to “increase flexibility, variety and excitement to the Domino´s brand voice. The font functions across a range of sizes and environments, including packaging, web and broadcast. It also works well with Trade Gothic.”

But being consistent, company wide, takes a commitment. Miller argues that the best way to convince a team is to show the reasoning behind choices. Even though, it comes down to a matter of sheer preference or taste, it helps being able to rationalize and describe thinking. This gives skeptics a far better chance to follow along or at least respect the consideration that went into the work.

–María Ericsdóttir

Branding

On consistency…


  • On consistency…

One of our favorite clients has personally adopted the well known slogan: “just do it.” Great slogan Nike, it´s working. This slogan matches her energetic personality and “can do” style. Yes, we like it as well. But our favorite slogan here are Karousel is: “keep doing it.” (Yes, it is kinda home-made-ish.)

In the brand building business we know that awareness, positive emotions and loyalty is a consequence of having participated in the long run. In other words, these attributes are the consequence of consistency in company messaging.

This means being consistent visually as well as in content. When we say content, we don´t only mean your messaging but also your company philosophy, quality standards and goals.

We found these five great reasons to be consistent by Eric V. Holtzclaw:

1. Consistency allows for accurate measurement
2. Consistency allows for accountability and expectations
3. Consistency establishes your reputation
4. Consistency makes you relevant
5. Consistency maintains your message

–María Ericsdóttir

Awards

Silver award from Graphis


  • Silver award from Graphis

Karousel has received two recognitions in the 2016 Graphis Design Annual. We won a silver award for the branding of Icelandic fashion accessory brand Saga Kakala and a merit award for the Saga Kakala logo.

The entry can be seen on the Graphis website in the published Graphis Design Annual 2016.

About Saga Kakala
Saga Kakala was created by Icelandic actress and entrepreneur, Ingibjörg Gréta Gísladóttir, in 2013. Together with various artists and designers, she creates silk and cashmere scarves that use color and form to inspire and influence. Every collection tells it’s own story and is unique. “I love that our scarves are always different, depending on how you wear them” says Ingibjörg. “I want every day to be special.”

Branding

Shizuka: New from Saga Kakala


  • Shizuka: New from Saga Kakala

For the past year we´ve had the pleasure of working with Ingibjörg Gréta on managing the Saga Kakala brand. This new collection, Shizuka, is designed by the karlssonwilker team in New York and is on display in Design March here in Reykjavík. These scarfs come in two thicknesses of silk and also in cashmere.

Every collection from Saga Kakala tells a story. As Sandra Shizuka, the namesake of the collection at karlssonwilker put it: The Shizuka scarfs are a study of a parallel universe of shapes and asymmetric volumes. And so this collection celebrates distortion in a visual story of contrasting elements: texture, shapes and color.

Ingibjörg and I had this really productive meeting with designer Hjalti Karlsson to view the prototypes. Hjalti is just this really positive, “can do” person, and of course a respected designer internationally. He was really pleased with the scarfs and explained how the design team really liked the contrast between hard and soft, geometric shapes and the naturally soft and delicate silk. Hjalti was tempted to wear these scarfs himself and honestly, I even tried to recruit him to model for the Shizuka campaign 😉

Hjalti is here for design march and will attend the launch in Gallería on Laugavegur where the collection will be on display. The event is advertised in the Design March event program.

About Saga Kakala
Saga Kakala was created by Icelandic actress and entrepreneur, Ingibjörg Gréta Gísladóttir, in 2013. Together with various artists and designers, she creates silk and cashmere scarves that use color and form to inspire and influence. Every collection tells it’s own story and is unique. “I love that our scarves are always different, depending on how you wear them” says Ingibjörg. “I want every day to be special.”

Kachina by Saga Kakala
Saga Kakala´s first collection, Kachina, was designed by Helga Björnsson, a former Haute Couture art director for the prestigious Louis Féraud fashion house in Paris. It draws it’s roots from the colorful Kachina dolls made by the Hopi Indians in Northern Arizona.

Shizuka_team

CSR

CSR: not an image campaign


  • CSR: not an image campaign

January 30, 2015

Shortly after founding Karousel, in the beginning of 2015, Ásdís and I attended a conference on CSR (Corporate social responsibility) in Harpa, Reykjavík. It was actually quite fitting that the first conference we attend together be on CSR, since our interest in social change is what brought us together in the fall of 2008. (We had both enrolled for a class on Social Entrepreneurship at Copenhagen Business School.) CSR is defined as a company´s voluntary initiatives to improve economic, environmental and social wellbeing in a sustainable manner. As in, initiatives or activities that go beyond the interests of the firm and those that are required by law.

CSR became popular in the United States in the 60s and has since become almost an integral part of the global business environment. The center for CSR in Iceland (FESTA) was founded in October 2011 and has taken the role of integrating good CSR strategies as well as being a catalyst for growth in social improvement.

Since 2011, there has been a considerable upturn within CSR in Iceland, but according to a recent poll, only 48% of Icelandic companies emphasize CSR in comparison to 85% in nearby Denmark, 60% in the United States and 52% in Europe.

But the conference was very well attended. I was very impressed with the presentation from Þórdís Sigurðardóttir from Capacent titled: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” She rightly pointed out that CSR is not exactly a new concept, and talked about fruit trees from the gospel of Matthew. I completely agree with her that CSR is not about trying to look good in society, nor is it a positive image or PR campaign. CSR is all about authentic efforts to better the wellbeing of people, our community and our surroundings.

I also like the presentation from Anna Bjarnadóttir at Expectus when she compared CSR to the use of seat belts in the 70s and today. Hopefully the understanding that our companies are an integral part of our communities and that they should influence people and systems for the better will be as normal as us putting on a seat belt before driving.

Other presenters pinpointed the many unexpected gains from CSR as well as the fundamental trend that growth in CSR takes time, and is usually just as successful as the CEOs vision of it and the ability he or she has to convey it to his or her team and the company as a whole.

Lastly, it´s very important to remember to analyze the results of the CSR efforts and effectively communicate them to the team and company. An Icelandic company that has done this very well is Ölgerðin.

–María Ericsdóttir

New name

What’s in a name?


  • What’s in a name?

Our new name is Karousel. The company was founded in Denmark in 2010 by the name of III Strategic Design Consultancy. After relocating to Iceland in 2012, we quickly tired of having to spell the company name everywhere and decided to rebrand.

We chose the name Karousel because we think the design/creation process is cyclical – like a business plan. It should not end, but continue to improve.

–María Ericsdóttir