Re-branding Lumina Academy of Dance
Last semester I had the chance to work on re-branding a small business and get school credit for it. I decided to approach my friend Arlene Santos who together with Fatima Mendoza, own and teach dance at Lumina Academy of Dance. They both share a passion for dancing and they invest the same amount of passion into their business, but like many small businesses, their budget had not yet allowed them to hire someone to help them solidify their brand into a visual language.
All the collateral and signage was being designed in-house by Arlene, Fatima, friends and even students, therefore there was no visual consistency nor standards to in place to manage the studio's brand.
My first goal was to define the studio's brand visually and second to establish standards by which the new visual elements could be used. The final part of the process was to use the new standards to apply the new brand across different mediums (web, print, signage etc.).
One of the advantages of the studio is that they don't cater to professional dancers. The studio focuses on teaching average persons to dance. This has created a feeling of community around the studio that Arlene and Fatima wanted to capitalize on and they wanted the new identity to convey. I didn't want to use images that are typical of "community" as I thought they would create a cliche that would cheapen the brand by making it rather common. Instead, By overlapping some of the letters and using the shapes of one letter to form part of the next I used the letterforms of the studio name—LUMINA— to convey the feeling of community.
The challenge was finding letterforms that were asexual that would appeal to both men and women, but still ramain approachable and friendly. The first digital versions felt too rigid and somewhat disconnected from the message that the studio was after; fun, community, dance.
However, these first digital versions provided a direction I could follow. The letterforms needed more space and the edges of some of the letters needed to be softened.
After adding more space between the letters by making use of negative space to imply the shape of the "I" and the "U", the logo started to take shape. But at this stage, there was an akward shape between the "L" and the "U". On the other hand, the negative space that created the letter "I" added subtle movement and personality to the logo that I really liked.
After making sure that the logo was functional in a black and white version, I choose a color pallete that was energetic, but not overly feminine. For the final version I decided to use the solid shape of the letter "U" to address the akward space, I softened the curve of the letter "A" and added a complimentary curve to the left side of the letter "I".
The Brand Book
One of the originial problems with the brand was the lack of structure and boundries. So once the logo was established the next step was setting standards to guide the way the new identity was to be used. This created a strong yet flexible visual language that could be applied accross different materials and campaigns. The brand book included instructions on typography, dimensions, acceptable applications of the logo, color, image and web standards.
Finally, using these new standards and visual language, I applied the branding to a variety of elements; letterhead, business card, brochures, poster, tshirt, water bottle, a welcome kit, HTML email, and web site.