Drawnalism have been fortunate to work with the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – or, Defra during the past year and this spring we were asked to contribute to a large upcoming conference to be held at the Ordnance Survey – the national mapping and geolocation agency.

Aside from our regular service of In-the-Moment Drawnalism over the two days of Datamash (of which more in a later post), we were also asked to help create the brand identity for the event.

This was a big invitation and a similarly sized challenge but it was one we were very pleased to take on. Happily, it helped that the event was well named – reflecting the focus on open data and mapping and the provision of public services.

Naturally, at first we developed some rough or draft ideas. This is the hard bit, so here is an insight: don’t expect a lot of the ideas that you develop at first to be any enduring use. Typically, they are most helpful in allowing you to understand what is absolutely impractical and unhelpful. In this sense, failure is nothing but a good thing. There is some direct evidence about useful failures immediately below.

An example of first stage idea generation with Drawnalism Ltd.

Playing on possibilities (see above), we toyed with a number of ideas. Some ideas didn’t make it – the potato masher, for instance (and what a good job that was – Ed) –  but eventually some of the thinking crystalised into an idea that answered the demands of the event.

Upon approval of the initial idea, we proceeded to develop the final brand (see above), making sure we kept as much of the original value of the idea generation as we could throughout the process.

The branding was then applied across the board for consistency throughout the event, its printed matter and for its digital presence. Sadly, the drawnalism for branding couldn’t ultimately be used to its full potential due to the purdah on communications from government departments and agencies in the run-up to the unexpected General Election of 8 June 2017 but, you can see some of its physical manifestations below.

© Drawnalism Ltd Illustration and artwork at Datamash 2017

© Drawnalism Ltd Illustration and artwork at Datamash 2017

So, in summary, our process:

  1. Understand the purpose of the event before putting pencil to pixel or paper.
  2. Develop some ideas. Use a systematic or iterative process if at all possible so you can step back and forward as you need.
  3. Choose the right outline idea to recommend – does it really answer all of the needs that the event has?
  4. Secure agreement that this is the right answer for the event’s needs.
  5. Check that you have identified the right production process to maintain the power of the idea while still delivering the demands of the event. This is often another challenging stage.
  6. Make it.
  7. Apply the result to all manner of things!
OpenDefra_at_DataMash_2017_at_the_Ordnance_Survey - 35153520201_da3b0fef6d_b

© Open Defra

And finally, get ready for the event. Watch this space for our report from Datamash itself!

Post by Matthew Buck

Co-Director of Drawnalism Ltd.

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