Archive for Graphic Design

Social Media 2012

The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company
The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company

Hebe: a new brand for CMC Design

Hebe childrens furniture CMC Design Opua

Wow, was this logo a long time coming!

We’ve been talking about the name for the children’s range of furniture for over a year now. We started off with Seedlings, which we liked – I still like it – but there is a children’s retail outlet called Seedlings so we were going to be fighting against an existing brand that was too similar to Craig’s product.

After many cups of tea and much frowning, all we could really agree on was that the name should be a New Zealand word, an organic word, something not too long or hard to say, something that children would cotton-on to quickly. The word Hebe was a throwaway example, but somehow it stuck. Not only is it a native New Zealand plant, but it also happens to mean “youth”. In fact, in Greek mythology Hebe is no less than the Goddess of Youth. What a happy co-incidence.

Our budget for developing the logo was restricted. So together, Craig and I identified a font we liked as phase one. The second phase was to design a simple motif that would help illustrate the word. The obvious choice was an illustration of a hebe plant; after a few attempts to capture a likeness that would also work as a stamp, we reached this lovely, simple logo.

You will see from CMC Design’s Facebook page, our model Miss Evie is a wonderful sparky representative for this new brand!

New branding for Flying Kiwi Parasail

Orange_Fade Langford Ink has been working with the Flying Kiwi Parasail team over the past few months, shaping up a new logo for them, tweaking their brochure and – finally – setting up a new website that is easy to update, search engine friendly and looks fresh, bright and accessible to all.

We’ve been working to a fairly strict budget, so the challenge has been to get a great new look on a fairly short shoe string.

First, the logo. What you see here, top right, is the result of some old fashioned sketching and few design iterations. The client was a pleasure to work with because they had a fairly good idea of what they wanted, were prepared to put in the effort to communicate that, but weren’t closed to alternative ideas and reasoning.

Flying Kiwi Parasail: original cartoonThe team already had a cool parasailing kiwi cartoon, which they loved, but he was prohibitively expensive to print. Apart from this little chap, there wasn’t much in the way of consistent branding other than a font type used on the staff hoodies and, more recently, splashed across the new bright orange, custom-designed boat.

Game on — we had a brief: a very orange boat with the word PARASAIL in big blue letters down the side.


We were also given this sketch on a black and white photocopy of the staff hoodie, to show the idea of a kiwi being incorporated into the logo. From this starting point, we developed a series of options.

In good old fashioned graphic design style, we chopped up the different concepts, and mixed and matched until we got to a literally cut-and-pasted brief.


And now we’re getting close to a logo: we have a faded silhouette of the flying kiwi, a little bit abstract, but definitely of Aotearoa extraction; we have a typeface that ties in with the boat signwriting; we have the words Paihia and New Zealand included in the logo. The overriding feature is descriptive – the word parasail leaps out at you – but there’s also a more interesting visual language building up.

So from here, we came up with the almost final version, a blue logo with the words Bay of Islands, rather than Paihia.

Kiwi Parasail v3

And then, finally, because the team actually really like that zingy orange colour of their boat, we settled on the orange fade as the main iteration of the Flying Kiwi Parasail logo.

Robust, beautiful eco-furniture for children

It’s great working with individuals who merrily plow their own furrow. That’s why I live in the Bay of Islands I think; somehow you can do what you like here, up to a point (I’m still trying to work out the formula for this – answers on a postcard).

Anyway, Craig McInnes is one such individual.

Known locally as a reliable boat-builder and sailor on the iniquitous Orange Peeler, Craig obviously decided it was time for something new. He didn’t ‘down tools’ as such, but he has certainly put them to different use in the past year.

Using a lifetime of knowledge crafting timber, he started work on furniture pieces, with a casual eye on setting up anew as a furniture designer. Within in no time he had created not just one but two ranges of children’s furniture: one set of modular pieces constructed from marine-bonded ply (”you can leave it out in the rain and it won’t be destroyed”) and a pre-constructed or NON modular range that has been snapped up by local kindergartens. All his furniture is registered Buy New Zealand Made.

He featured in Good magazine for his children’s range and in the entrepreneur magazine Unlimited for his luxurious J10 chair. Now his focus is on refining the childrens furniture to make sure it really delivers on its promise: “No plastic, no gimmicks, strong shapes, durable timber – perfect for us at home, in schools and at kindergarten”.

I’m keen that all the parents, kindies and schools in Northland find out about this treasure of a design workshop tucked away in Opua – check out the CMC Design website and follow Craig’s progress on Facebook. I think we’ll see some exciting things happening in the next couple of years.

CMC Design furniture

The J Range: CMC Design

CMC A4 flyer_FV

For more information on Craig’s furniture see or email

…and it works in grayscale too


Fish Forever (mark II, option 1)

TRIAL FV_a copy


Kitchens and Cabinets

Option 1a

Treasure Tangaroa

Option 4a UPDATED: story of Fish Forever development

Fish Forever

In the first round, this logo was the clear winner via the web forum at It was deemed simple, memorable, catchy; you’d wear it on a t-shirt or put it on your bumper, so this was our point of departure for stage two.

We stuck with the name Fish Forever – it can be interpreted in slightly different ways and I like that ambiguity. The two words are direct and strong. The alliteration is useful from a memory perspective.

There has been a growing sense of unease with the expression “marine reserve” as this has implications of something you can’t have; an area that is taken away from you and ‘owned’ by someone else . We’re dipping our toes in the water with the expression Marine Sanctuary. We also felt it important to locate the campaign geographically, hence using Bay of Islands (although we intend the campaign to spread Northland-wide in terms of consultation and involvement).

There were some members of the group who didn’t like the fish reference as it potentially limits the scope of a campaign that is actually about biodiversity, not just fish. (Hmm, Not Just Fish…that could be our next tagline once the campaign is in full swing?!).  A vocal majority argued that the fish was symbolic of our waters as top predator. Also there were comments that the logo was underdeveloped.

Taking these observations on board, we re-examined the brief, invited another designer (Frog) to contribute ideas and decided to try to reference the wider marine ecosystem.

Frog’s quick draft response was to create a painterly visual of the underwater world dominated by snapper that would complement the above-water Project Island Song campaign. I like the visual (see below, black background with underwater paradise) but felt too much work to be done on the typography. The square boundary means that this will work brilliantly as a t-shirt design, but less successfully broken down into component parts on a website, on letterhead etc – quite a lot of work would still need to be done to create an actual logo out of this although we’ll probably come back to it when we have some funds for t-shirts.

Lara’s response was to draw kelp and to bring in a silhouette of a snapper. As many people liked the teardrop of Treasure Tangaroa, the fish has found a watery home inside that tear drop.

We took these to a smaller group and after some quick but animated discussion it was decided that we should run with the snapper silhouette, that we should develop Lara’s kelp so it was more convincing and to find the Maori translation and include that underneath the logo. Unfortunately we have a macron missing off Ipipiri I believe and we would like reo speakers to review the wording and check for appropriateness.

Once again, the link to the final logos is here.

Personally I prefer the cartoon fish shown below as it is beautifully simple and fun. Horses for courses though. The more life like snapper was selected as the preferred rendition, so unless there is outcry for cartoon fish, I will back down.







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