Design challenge: how do we bring a brand, established in 1904, in line with the digital age of 2018 without losing the heritage of 100 years?
We have been working with Vishal Kapoor, a designer and brand consultant, for the past few months on a rebrand for Ruffs. We have taken inspiration from Ruffs branding of old and given it a sharper new edge. The mark of a brand must now be crisp enough to not only work in print and blown up across a shop front. Today it must resonate on an iPhone screen, in an Instagram minute circular shell and still in the traditional locations.
Grid to construct logo
Following an initial research phase, we were inspired to achieve a look and feel that was in line with the tradition of signet rings, but at the same time appealed to a new audience. We started with our family crest, the Ruff bird, which all of the Ruffs have on their own signet rings.
We also took inspiration from the Ruffs shop fronts through the ages and our founding year, which inspired us to explore traditional serif typefaces. We were particularly drawn to the weighting of the “U” from a 1957 Ruffs store front on Gosport High Street in Hampshire.
We settled on Big Caslon for the 'Ruffs' lettering for our serif typeface as representation of the old, along side the contemporary san serif typeface Gotham for the 'est 1904' to represent the new. By combining these three things we arrived at this final design.
Monochrome Ruff bird
The Ruff bird went through several iterations, as a number of techniques were used to take the original sketches of the Ruff bird into a timeless logo mark. Vishal used a very time-consuming yet effective technique of drawing around the original illustration using circles, then cutting away the excess lines and joining all the intersections.
The result was a single graphic shape, which looked balanced and precise with every single line made from a perfect circle. This brought us to the finished piece which translates superbly across social media and renders well on a smartphone.
Drawing the Ruff bird using circles
Before and after. From original sketches to the graphic Ruff bird
What better way to launch a new brand than with a new website? Our previous site was 12 years old, and in an age where Facebook are releasing code every 4 minutes we needed something to keep pace.
We hope you like our fresh new look and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on our social channels.