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Renegade Architecture

Renegade’s Top Five Tips for Branding Yourself

January 18th, 2013

 

 

Branding yourself is no easy task, nonetheless it will be the cover you are judged on and it's vital to any start-up to get it right first time. Below are my top tips for starting off in the right direction, but don't forget site like Behance and Abduzeedo are great sources of inspiration.

 

#1 - Don't be afraid to DIY

 

Were all creative individuals, and at some time or another we have all had to use Photoshop and Illustrator. You've just taken the plunge; so don't be afraid to experiment a little more. Just keep it simple, and keep it true to yourself - your clients cant ask anymore than that. Yes, there will be a lot of variations that will never see the light of day, but it's all about exploring yourself and finding your identity. Remember, there are endless amounts of tutorials online to help you learn new things.

 

#2 - Logos are overrated

 

Gone are the days of logo glyphs, remember you are a 21st century business person - close that clip art gallery.

 

 

#3 - Stay classy

 

Simple fonts will always work (and Helvetica will always be good design). Crazy fonts are not only messy and irksome to read but also a nightmare when it comes to going online. Do yourself a favour and keep it simple, serif or sans serifs are both fine, but make sure it is a font you can carry over to your website (see Part 2) and your emails, invoices etc.

 

#4 - Be cool

 

There are a lot of really fantastic reprographic services becoming very widely available, like Spot UV and Letterpress. We are designers, and it would be a shame for us to miss out.

 

At Renegade we've opted for spot UV on our printed material, everything from business cards, promotional material and (soon) our invoices support this subtle highlight of spot applied gloss lamination.

 

#5 - Print on the good stuff

 

If something is good enough to commit to paper then always use 'the good stuff'. People love the tactile nature of thick 400gsm business cards, or invoices on nice paper. Throw out that copy paper for the supermarket and get yourself to a paper merchant. Most importantly find a paper that suits your style, and that represents your practice. You will be amazed how many variations of white paper there are.

 

Case study:

 

As with anything, you have to make it happen. Push your supplier to do something out the box if need be, but most importantly make sure you commit to to print. We might all dream of a paperless environment, but if you don't have the right material to hand at the right time you may well just loose yourself a vital contact - or even worse a contract. Try new things and don't be afraid to fail. We took a big gamble using spot UV for our material, but hope you agree that it works really well.

 

Our business cards use the spot UV to pick out the stylised crosshatching on the reverse of the card. On the promotional flyer, we have used it to make the image 'pop' and evoke memories of the good old days - the days when we actually printed photos!

 

Below are a couple of snapshots of our material. Don't forget Behance is a fantastic source of inspiration. Get in touch if you would like to see hands on.

RenegadeBusinessCard1

renegadebusinesscard2

RenegadeFlyer1

RenegadeFlyer2

 

 

Up next: Branding Part 2 - The Untangled Web

 

About the author:
Dominic McAndrew is an architecture student/restaurant manager/freelancer and the man behind Renegade Architecture&Design (www.renegadearchitecture.co.uk ). He mainly provides visualisations and 3D printing services to architects, the construction industry and individual clients. He also works as a subcontractor in the Property sector where he specialises in Energy Performance Certification surveys. Short-listed for the AJ Writing Prize in 2012, and the CIOB Art of building in 2011 he hopes to buck the trend of underpaid Part 1 placements but taking Renegade from strength to strength.

What's in a name?

December 26th, 2012

 

So after many restless nights, lots of pondering, wondering and dreaming and a few painful hours you've finally done it. No, it's not a baby - it's a company, your company and your future. Now you have the same dilemma new parents all over the world have - what do you name your baby?

 

Now, it's important to remember there are a number of different approaches, each with their own merits and this post only details how I came up with Renegade Architecture&Design.

 

The first question I asked myself is not a simple as it sounds. What do I want my name to represent, what do I do and who am I? It's no secret that I'm not a fully qualified architect, so it was important it wasn't a name that would rub the ARB up the wrong way. I'm also not enough of an egomaniac to name my company after myself. I also think companies where the name is, or is derived from, a person can blur the lines between public and private lives - especially in the over connected and over exposed world of 21st century social media. I also think the profession has an inappropriate view on itself at times, but more on this another day.

 

I was always a bit of a pain in the backside at uni, yes I was "that guy". It was important to me to remember my roots, the innocent bravery my undergrad design work had, and the fact that I had no regard for the status quo. While at university if a lecturer wanted respect they had to earn it, and I had no qualms about letting my opinion be heard (and yes, this was probably to my detriment). I was also one of a handful of my cohort that worked my way through my studies, and was very successful within the hospitality trade, a factor that did not go down well with 'the institution'.

 

The name also had to represent what I do and what I plan to do. Obviously I'm training as an architect and this is my primary focus in life so naturally architecture has to feature somewhere in the name. I'm also keen to use, and sell, the transferable skills I learnt through working in media management and during my degree. We've all read articles bout how architecture grads can work for design agencies, product designers etc etc and we all know that the chances of getting employed in one of these fields is slim to none. Nonetheless graphic design was and is a service I know that I can provide to a high standard, at a good price and in good time - so I added this to the mix. & Design now to be added to the end, with an ampersand - not a plus sign, it's not a calculation.

 

And so the search for an adjective to describe me, my business and I. Truth be told, I cant remember how many words I typed in to Google. It's safe to say the first 15 or so I tried already existed, each failed attempt pushing me to describe myself deep and deeper. It then dawned on me that I was a completer bugger at uni, and more importantly proud of being one. I also don't like to take myself too seriously, so it was important that the name reflect that. Que the light bulb moment and Renegade Architecture&Design was born.

 

Name check-list:

 

No company of same name

Domain available

Domain affordable

 

And to this I added criteria personal to me, and possibly irrelevant to you:

 

Not egocentric

Allows division between personal/private lives

Resonates with my past and my future

A name you can comfortably bring up, and be proud of the back story, possibly even an ice braker

 

Once all these had been ticked, that was that. Off to companies house and the bank to get the ball rolling.

 

 

Up next: Branding

 

 

About the author:

 

Dominic McAndrew is an architecture student/restaurant manager/freelancer and the man behind Renegade Architecture&Design (www.renegadearchitecture.co.uk</span>). He mainly provides visualisations and 3D printing services to architects, the construction industry and individual clients. He also works as a subcontractor in the Property sector where he specialises in Energy Performance Certification surveys. Short-listed for the AJ Writing Prize in 2012, and the CIOB Art of building in 2011 he hopes to buck the trend of underpaid Part 1 placements but taking Renegade from strength to strength.

I Recently Took the Plunge

December 18th, 2012

Before I talk about the plunge, allow me to give you some background. Having graduated with my bachelors this May I was faced with the inevitable, enduring and arduous job search resigned to the fact I would be looking at halving my annual income to pursue my chosen career path.

I’ve always been a driven individual. From age 17 I was already quickly becoming a success in the hospitality industry whilst studying at high school or university. I started with a large national coffee chain and was quickly leading one of Scotland’s most profitable coffee shops. Moving to sunny Aberdeen for university I was tasked with turning this chains estate in the city around (locals may note the improvements in 2009). Further moves within the industry saw me be part of the teams that brought a new Italian restaurant chain to both Aberdeen and Inverness in 2010, between uni and work I was working 90 hour weeks and loving it (my ex girlfriend not so much…)!

All of a sudden, as subtle as bulldozer, graduation arrived. I was drowning in piles of CVs and rejections. Decorated with paper cuts and had spent enough on stamps to keep the Royal Mail going through the next decade. Luckily for me I had a couple of interviews with some really great firms. Unluckily, I was always coming in second best!

It was during this time I turned back to hospitality management, and I got a taste for the money. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, revenue is revenue. It was during this time I took the time to enter competitions. Writing competitions, design competitions, anything and everything except X-Factor. I also found myself being offered interviews and being faced with the dilemma – take a 50% pay cut to work as a part 1, or stick it out in hospitality for the rest of the year and go back to university with some cash in my back pocket and the dream of a market upturn. I couldn’t make the choice. For most it’s an easy choice to make, and I’m sure almost everyone reading this will think I am mad for turning down a part 1 placement to work for Pizza Express. Instead, I decided to have my cake and eat it.

So I took the Plunge.

I’m now a freelance consultant, a restaurant manager and now (thanks to Urban Realm) a blogger. Thing’s are great. Sure, I work crazy hours once again, but I am my own man – creator of my future.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not in the business of architectural design, the most I will (and have) done is refitting of existing buildings. I do provide a product for firms that are seeing an up turn of work, but still lack the confidence to take on permanent staff. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of site surveys for a chartered surveyor, and she has been a fantastic contact to make. I’ve also invested in a 3D printer, but I will discuss that further down the line.

Things are on the up, and were given a fantastic kick-start when I was shortlisted for the AJ Writing Prize in November.

And so, we find the place for this blog. A blow by blow account of the thrills and spills of flying solo. A forum for discussion, and a tale of the optimism for young, career driven graduates that have no respect for the status quo.

So sit up, scroll down, delve in and get involved. Leave a comment, follow me on twitter (@dom_mcandrew) or get in touch at www.renegadearchitecture.co.uk.

Up next: What’s in a name?