Altaterra are a manufacturer and retailer selling of quality roof windows, blinds and accessories across Europe. As part of the Velux brand family, they recently approached Aqueduct to develop a European wide e-commerce platform. A key stage in this development was to design a unique and distinctive brand identity for the Altaterra brand.
Aqueduct regularly work with our clients to create identities that are tailored to the digital world and are true to their distinctive brand essence. Our method starts with research into photography styles, set colour palettes and fonts and last, but certainly not least, the brand and products themselves. We wanted to share the logo design process that helped us to achieve a product which we are very proud of.
Coming up with a logo can be a challenge for designers, trying to include multiple concepts onto a tiny pixel perfect symbol. The tricky part is ‘the kickoff’: a blank space, a black pen, your brain bouncing up and down with ideas and a piece of paper filled with words called ‘the brief’.
It’s at that instant, when you put pen to paper and quickly realise that much of your work and ideas are destined to be crumpled up and tossed away.
The journey to brand identity
The journey into the creation of the Altaterra logo design was inspired by a deep interest in trying new ways of generating ideas. Instead of being shut away in a room while fighting piles of white paper, our design team used a creative exercise with the UX and developers.
They were given the word ‘WINDOW’ and asked to come up with other words and ideas which they thought were connected to it. No limitations were set and they were told to note everything down on post-its. We then grouped the words together into different categories. The exercise was very helpful and insightful, giving us the opportunity to explore different paths of thinking and multiple concepts.
Developing ideas into design
The next step after the idea session was to begin drawing with our beloved sharpies (designers do love a sharpie!). Our blank sheets of paper began to fill up with different sketches of shapes and abstracts drawings, experimenting with symbolic logomarks or logo text based logotype options. Although these images are usually quite abstract, they quickly fill up a page and set the tone which then helps us to direct the whole design process.
At times we use complicated words to describe the way we think, what if, instead, we try to simplify it? Take a moment to think about a shape that easily represents a window. Have you just drawn a square? What about a roof window? If you rotate the shape by 90° It would be standing on one of its corners. Now, try to draw the simplest shape you would use to visualise a roof and next to it, an image to represent a ray of light. You would end up with 3 particular and interesting shapes.
From the very beginning of the design process, our designer was very clear about the logo being representative of family life and being at home. As you can see from the image above our designer drew the lines which created the grid. He then started building the design using the lines he had previously drawn. The aim was to create a clean and simple shape whilst still being strong and bold. Once we were happy with the design, we also noticed that if we looked at the logo from the side an optical illusion was created. This was the symbol we were looking for!
With the design of the logo completed, the ‘font-choosing’ game began. We were looking for a gentle but at the same time strong typography and selected 3 different fonts. The first was ‘Brandon Grotesque’: simple and clean with very smooth round letters. The roundness of these letters connected well with our friendly-family theme which was replicated in the logo design.
The final design was embraced by the Altaterra client team and has become their brand identity to this day, used across they communications and digital channels. The design became the foundation for the website redesign that followed, having set a guide for the user experience and visual design direction.
Alex Castiglioni is the lead visual designer at Aqueduct and has led the development of brand identity design for a range of Aqueduct clients and brand partners.