In the summer of 2016, the new President of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce (KCoC) recommended that the Chamber should revitalise their logo identity. The existing KCoC logo had been in existence for over 14 years, and had changed in composition over that time. With a number of other Kingston
organisations updating their identities, the timing seemed right to freshen up the KCoC logo.
When we started this project, a number of options were initially proposed, from more conservative designs, to more typographical approaches. By showing a wider approach at the beginning, it allowed the executive board to find the the identity voice which they felt represented the ambitions and professionalism of the Chamber.
After a couple of rounds of adjustments, the identity came down to two designs, from which the new design was finally chosen. This needed further development to resolve a few issues from the judging board. Further time was explored as we looked at some further adaptations of the fishes below.
After this stage, the final design was approved. Logo designs can get personal, with many different opinions and strongly held thoughts but this was a constructive and focused project. We hope the strength of the new design invigorates and reflects the work within the Chamber and becomes a recognised and successful brand within the borough.
One of the key features to keep were the three fishes. These originated from the royal Coat of Arms.
The shield shows three salmon on a blue background and this ancient coat of arms for the former Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is recorded in 1572 and 1623. The three salmon represent three fisheries which are mentioned in Domesday Book.
For the new logo, we created an abstract illustration of the fish, overlapping them to create a ripple effect to symbolise the river, the Borough’s position on the Thames. The top fish is the darkest, the shape of which we wanted to echo the main bridge in Kingston. We kept the traditional blue palette of the original logo and incorporated lighter tints to add some warmer tones as the dark blue can appear cold when used in lighter tints.
The new identity was designed to work in a landscape format (the long title made the horizontal format the logical outcome). However, when it is applied for social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, it can be converted into a block. This is where a brand guardian is so important, keeping the identity consistent as the block format would be kept purely for social media usage, apart from the website header.
Ultimately, we designed a logo whereby the fish icons would be so recognisable that they can exist independently from the Chamber name; this is important as the KCoC title is long, so a visual shorthand is necessary to make a quick connection.
The brand of the KCoC though is not the logo; the brand is not a slogan or a series of statements. The new logo represents the outward looking and fresh initiatives within the Chamber, to drive membership growth and to be the voice of companies and organisations within the Borough. The exercise of updating the new logo design has given KCoC the opportunity to review and improve it’s overall package to the community. If the package had remained the same, the new visual appearance would have been a superficial exercise.
In the end
At Forbes Design, we enjoyed the project as it was very close to our heart. Being involved on the Chamber Board has been invaluable in understanding the nature of the audience and how the visual identity works for them. Logo designs can get personal, with many different opinions and strongly held thoughts but this was a constructive and focused project. We hope the strength of the new design invigorates and reflects the work within the Chamber and becomes a recognised and successful brand within the borough.
Forbes Low is the owner of Forbes Design Associates, design and branding specialists. You can learn more on their website here.