This branding engagement was carried out way back in February 2010. It is going to be a long case study.
I bank with HDFC and when they got in touch with me for a logo design project for a new product that they were launching, I was excited. They were launching something called HDFC RED or HDFC Real Estate Destination – an online portal for searching real estate – in the most easy layman terms.
Apart from having the team fill-in my own logo design creative brief, I was also given other brand guidelines that had been pre-decided. Additional information, in the beginning, is always helpful.
I started with sketches based on keywords – the first stage of sketching is to determine whether the client and the logo designer are on the same page and the direction for the engagement can be set. [ click on the images below to view larger versions ]
One of the guidelines was that the HDFC RED logo should not be influenced by the parent brand’s logo. The team was working with another logo designer as well.
Before the project started, I met the team once in New Delhi and once in Bombay. Apart from these two meetings, all conversation and discussions around the engagement were carried out either over the phone or via email. After the above sketches were reviewed, I refined the direction for this phase and sent them the following.
The team came back with more feedback and from the conversations, I was able to gather that in terms of the process methodology that I was using to design and develop the visual identity for the brand, the team was not comfortable with it / not used to it / was not sure where this was leading. I will admit that in my enthusiasm, I might have sent them more options than are typically “handlable”. All this is in retrospect and it WAS almost two years ago!
I sketched some more and sent them the following sketches / scribbles. [ click for a larger versions ]
This particular iteration yielded enthusiasm from the team and we were finally working with something that looked promising. Following color variations and small edits to the lion were made and sent to the client. Meanwhile, the HDFC RED website was also being developed and was influencing the decisions revolving around brand color – but only temporarily. Don’t miss the small changes in the shape of the Lion’s head.
This led to further placement / layout / color and shape iterations. Lots of them. Some typographic finishing and variations were also included in the logo drafts.
At this stage, the team decided to ask me for an additional concept to work with – something fresh. Since this was in addition to what was on the contract, which we had signed in the beginning for this logo design engagement, a fresh contract was drawn up and a new deliverable was added. The team at HDFC RED was thoroughly professional and even though there seemed to be many decision-makers, I always interacted with just one touchpoint. Following are sketches and semi-finalized versions of the second concept using a different set of keywords.
The above concept was related to “heart” and “housing” – I was aiming for a depiction of the various ventricles and auricles, the one below was related to “building bridges” between what the target audience needs and what HDFD RED aims to deliver.
Some more ideas that were presented :
And then there was a bunch of additional sketches based on a different concept altogether. By this time it was April 2010 – the engagement had started in February 2010 and the original estimate was for completion in 30 working days. Considering that I was working with a large organization, this was a better scenario than I had anticipated.
Following was the final shape / logo draft that was presented, after which, the client finalized a design that the other logo designer was working on.
The team still bought over the copyrights to the Lion design that we had worked on. You can see the logo designed by the other designer, on the HDFC RED website. This is one of my favorite logo design engagements since I started implementing my skills in the area of brand design – not only because I really like the Lion’s head logo design or that the team was excellent to work with – but mainly because I got to learn a lot. Working with a big brand puts things in perspective and you realize the possibilities of how an engagement can progress and where you can take it. And this is when I am not aware of what the client-side team really thinks / had to go through at their end.