Patch to Plate – “Design manual assignment”

Well here is the third assignment we did this semester, I have the last one ready to post soon as well. The assignment were to make an design manual for the fictional company Patch to Plate who were in the start-up process. The company wanted to specialise in distributing local ecological produced food. The complete design manual and full report can be found by clicking the link down under the pictures.


Assignment Report

Assignment Interpretation
The assignment is to create a design manual for a company, whether a company that sells ecological and locally produced food or a design company as represented by myself. I chose the first; Patch to Plate, assignment says that the design company that is to create the design manual is included in an early phase of development of the company and concept. This I interpreted to mean that the design company has influence to a large extent, but also that the company Patch to Plate may have developed a broader and larger market strategy than that which appears in the small text of the assignment.
Therefore, the company Patch to Plate in my answer has expanded its operations to include objects and non-edible products that are produced ecologically and with minimal emissions and the company will be importing fair-trade alternative products (it is an advantage if they are produced ecologically as well). I have not included any marketing campaign or ads as these are projects for themselves and do not need to have any connection with a design manual.
All these choices were made on the basis that it is that great of a task to have such a company to be able to compete with ecological and health products.

Concept
Competitors and information sites about ecological food and products have in my research proved to be a “1997-2010 VG” design phase that they are unable to recover from (VG relatively unchanged design online since they started on the web in 1997). It can be described as poor resolution .gif and .jpeg graphics, poor colour composition and absolute 100% lack of typography and usability on the web (much of which is also reflected in printed brochures and advertisements in the genre).
My concept is minimalist, cleanliness, tidiness and “the simple is often the best” (to steal a well used expression).

Design Choices
On the basis of the concept I chose to focus on nature and simplicity, I achieve this by using a fixed colour set and as I write in the manual; that large areas with only one colour is better than using graphics like photographs (the van concept in the manual shows this very well).
Products would use the same procedure, a maximum of 2 base colours, by 30/70% of the surface of the product package, one part (70%) will only have the logo and name on the product while the other (30%) will have barcode and content descriptions etc. (As long as these things must be on the same side, else the surfaces would be even more clean). Brands such as the Debio label for ecological food will of course be visible, and also a form of marking of originating country on imported products.
The design manual itself is largely made with the concepts of itself in focus and should show how the logo, font and colours can be used together and still maintain the idea of cleanliness and tidiness.
The colours I chose was inspired by an email I got from the “Korea Architecture Fair & Festival 2010”, the colours of the year in the email I thought was so good that I used three colours from there (the two colours of blue and the yellow)

Process
It were an very special process as I had to pretend that I had client meetings and made decisions based on it, I solved that by using classmates and friends to comment and then change things by the ideas and comments I got. The assignment states quite clearly how the process should be done, but I must nevertheless admit that to follow it to the letter did not fit particularly well when the customer was actually fictional.
Design strategy can be formulated and written in different ways, I chose to write a few short paragraphs in the design manual that will be the final design strategy, but I see myself that it needs more elaboration and specification, which in a real customer and designer context had been done in close cooperation with the customer.
Having established how I think Patch to Plate would have been as a company for a start-up, I started working on the graphic part, which I made in parallel with the manual. The assignment said I had to create designs for letterheads, envelopes and two optional areas, I chose a van and business cards (chose not to make more because I would rather do these things as well as I could)
I have used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign in the process and focused on making things as simple as possible all the way, however something that took time was to chose how the color usage on different products would be, it is probably possible that it would been changes in the color coding for a final review with the client.
The van and the font is referenced in the source references at the end of the report.
I was maybe 40% done with the whole assignment when I realized I was not going to be finished in time for the original deadline, then it was almost god-sent to get some extra days of time to write the report properly.

Self-assessment
I believe that this task should have been an exam (end of the semester assignment) and it could contain an option to do it for a true customer in one way or another, the problem then would be that it is difficult to find customers for this type of task.
Considering that the time was a problem for most of us in this assignment, I am very pleased with the result. Had there been an extra week to do the assignment, there are still some things I would have done in addition and some small changes to the existing material, I would have added measurements for the different graphic elements which then would state rules for how far the text should be in relation to the logo and how text should be in print materials, I would have added a standard for how country of origin should be visualized on the products and I would have added 2-3 product packaging as examples to the design manual.
I also wanted to Photoshop a storefront for Patch to Plate’s specialty store. Lesser things I would have changed are, for example, that I would have added more text (guides and descriptions) throughout the manual.

References
The van
Font
Debio
Competition
Coop’s ecological brand
Norgesgruppens infosite:

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