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Cre­at­ing brand­ing for Fri­da Rome wor­thy of Dragon’s Den investment

Case Study

Ryan Tay­lor

Last night on Dragon’s Den, two of my close friends secured invest­ment from Steven Bartlett for a share in their veg­an fash­ion brand, Fri­da Rome. To say I am proud of them would be a colos­sal under­state­ment. We had a small part to play in the company’s jour­ney by cre­at­ing the brand ident for Fri­da Rome, but that is a mere foot­note in the jour­ney they are about to embark on. It’s not often you get to sup­port your friends like this, so bear with me while I stan, it’s a sto­ry worth hearing.

I first met Rebec­ca Joy in Ancoats, at a co-work­ing space we both worked from at the time. There was some­thing about her that imme­di­ate­ly drew me in. Maybe it was her height, as she stood stat­uesque above us all. Maybe it was her faux fur coat, resplen­dent in all its dra­ma and intrigue — total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate for a work envi­ron­ment — and yet, some­how, effort­less­ly per­fect. Or maybe, just maybe, it was her uncan­ny abil­i­ty to suss you up in a sin­gle glance.

I don’t remem­ber the spe­cif­ic words of our first con­ver­sa­tion, but what I do remem­ber is she made an obser­va­tion about me that was so pro­found, so imme­di­ate­ly rev­e­la­to­ry, that I just had to know more.

Rebec­ca went on to show­case her inner-beau­ty on count­less occa­sions. When I was going through a par­tic­u­lar­ly rough patch per­son­al­ly, she took me in, just weeks into our friend­ship, by offer­ing me a room in her home. No ques­tions asked, just like that.

I first met Natalia Deana at the same co-work­ing space. She was liv­ing in Aus­tralia at the time, and had flown over to vis­it Rebec­ca. She was wild; in fact, that bare­ly scratch­es the sur­face. When she moved back per­ma­nent­ly, she also ric­o­cheted into my life, total­ly unex­pect­ed­ly, bounc­ing off the walls, tear­ing up the sta­tus quo, and bring­ing her unequiv­o­cal charm and exu­ber­ance to the party.

We’ve since spent much time togeth­er. Their effer­ves­cence is infec­tious, and they’ve taught me how to be less wrapped up in, well, every­thing — a crash course in liv­ing a lit­tle, you could say.

Rebec­ca and Natalia are the for­mi­da­ble force you saw on your screens last night.

As you get old­er, you don’t get that many chances to make new friends. When these two burst into my life, with all their free-spir­it­ed aban­don, I felt a great sense of priv­i­lege, and tru­ly, like I’d final­ly found my people.

It is was a no-brain­er then, when they asked us to cre­ate an ident for what was, at the time, a fledg­ling veg­an bag com­pa­ny. We jumped at the chance.

I’ll be hon­est, to a team made up pri­mar­i­ly of York­shire lads, hand­bags were not exact­ly in our wheel­house, but, that made the chal­lenge all the more inter­est­ing. The brief was straight­for­ward: cre­ate a state­ment, make a nod to a cer­tain type of lifestyle, and make it cur­rent. As we all know though, straight­for­ward and sim­ple are not the same thing.

The idents of most fash­ion hous­es focus heav­i­ly on logo­types — logos made of words — and we want­ed to fol­low that motif but with­out mim­ic­k­ing; nobody likes a par­o­dy. A strong type­face was our first port of call. After many delib­er­a­tions, we set­tled on Ter­mi­na Bold. It’s angu­lar con­struc­tion and stal­wart appear­ance made for a per­fect start­ing point towards that state­ment piece the ladies were look­ing for, but despite this, there was some­thing not quite sit­ting right. We decid­ed to roll our sleeves up and recre­ate the mark in a cus­tom vari­a­tion of the font.

We extend­ed the last E in Rome to give it a more delib­er­ate feel­ing, to bal­ance the left and right, and to square off the logo as a whole. We hol­lowed out the O to give it more breath­ing space. We delib­er­ate­ly spaced the let­ters wider than would be con­sid­ered appro­pri­ate for read­ing, which gave the word­ing grav­i­tas, mak­ing it feel less like typed words on a page and more like a logo. Final­ly, we stretched the entire piece out, and con­tract­ed its height, giv­ing it a pro­nounced appear­ance leant it weight, strength, and purpose.

Now we had an anchor, the rest fol­lowed fair­ly eas­i­ly. An assort­ment of colour palettes were pulled togeth­er, as well as a num­ber of mock mate­ri­als fea­tur­ing core ele­ments of the brand — women, lifestyle, enjoy­ment, ful­fil­ment, and panache. 

The result is an ident that feels sol­id to the touch, and per­fect­ly suit­ed to the visu­al life we all live these days, as well as being the state­ment the ladies were look­ing for. The logo now adorns all the prod­ucts the com­pa­ny makes, and has gar­nered much appre­ci­a­tion from Fri­da Rome’s ever-expand­ing following.

But enough of that. More impor­tant­ly, is the suc­cess of these won­der­ful women, women that I proud­ly get to call my friends. I watch in awe as I wit­ness was they have achieved. I see their efforts, their pas­sion, and their verve for life, and it excites me, and hum­bles me. They threw their whole selves into some­thing, and came out on top. I’ve nev­er been proud­er of them. I’ve nev­er felt more con­nect­ed to a project. And I have no doubt in my mind, that this is only the beginning.

Some­times, it real­ly does work out.

You can find out more about Fri­da Rome by vis­it­ing their web­site here.

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