Ractoon Redesign: Part 2 – Branding

After several years using the same (self-created) branding I found myself needing something new. Not just for the sake of freshness, but the mark I had initially designed was both vague and getting used by other entities. Because of its simplicity it became part of identity for companies spanning multiple fields, and wasn’t particularly personal.

Ractoon v1.5

Neon Mob

RMCC

App.net

Due to my limited artistic abilities I wasn’t able to produce the ideal imagery for the site either. Particularly in the character illustrations of the ractoons themselves. The concept for them has remained the same through the redesigns, and this recent re-branding as well. For the latest iteration I stepped aside to let someone with greater graphical chops than myself give it a shot. I was more than happy with the result.

Old vs. New

Following this came the identity and focus for the site itself. Previously it had just been a repository for work and thoughts, but without a solid goal, or a target audience. It didn’t take too much digging to figure out that the most enjoyable projects were those where I could help someone reach a goal. Often times these were smaller applications or sites, that could be built up over time. But starting small also helped hone in on solutions would achieve goals, as well as keeping timelines nice and neat.

The idea of building small solutions, or larger solutions composed of several small solutions, also meshed well with the underlying concept of the site. That is building things based on simple components. The simplest components, as seen throughout the site in images, icons, and colors, come from the four basic elements: fire, water, earth, and air. These were once the building blocks of all things and, in a way, this idea continues on the web in the form of HTML, CSS, client side scripts (JavaScript), and server-side scripts (PHP, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET). Four aspects of the web used to build almost anything.

Though it may seem like a winding road to finally get to the design, these first steps ended up making the design process much more focused and cohesive I feel.