The next stepfor our visualidentity

Studio Boemel / 9 min read / conversation

As we teamed up with our friends of Studio Boemel, we tried to transform the visual identity to a representation that would be more in line with the many developments of Gula Gula itself. Today, in our first guest conversation, Studio Boemel takes you into the world of re-designing a changing company. 

As we teamed up with our friends of Studio Boemel, we tried to transform the visual identity to a representation that would be more in line with the many developments of Gula Gula itself. Today, in our first guest conversation, Studio Boemel takes you into the world of re-designing a changing company. 

After good conversations with Studio Boemel we agreed on the fact that the overall feeling of the original identity of Gula Gula was lacking the clear, human and open character of the organisation. In a short period of time, we’ve seen Gula Gula grow and change. But where do you start to translate these changes and how do you change all the different visuals in a cohesive way? For this and many more questions, we asked Niels, a designer of Studio Boemel, to come to the stage to tell more about it.

For many people, including me, I did not know many of the terms you use. So for instance, what is a visual identity?

‘That’s a good question. We like to keep things simple at Studio Boemel, so before I dive into our collaboration, I would like to clarify some words. As you may know, there are many different, confusing and sometimes pretentious words being used for the work designers and branding agencies do. There is actually only one concept that needs to be clear for now, which is the term ‘visual identity’. A visual identity is all the visual elements of an organisation combined that are used in a cohesive way to bring about a story, message and feeling. This visual identity is received by your audience in many different ways. It can be through the font you use on your website or via the colors of your email signature. You could compare the visual identity for organisations with clothing for people as an expression of their identity. The things we wear are, mostly unconsciously, the values and messages that we like to express to the outside world’.

"A visual identity is all the visual elements of an organisation combined that are used in a cohesive way to bring about a story, message and feeling."

After good conversations with Studio Boemel we agreed on the fact that the overall feeling of the original identity of Gula Gula was lacking the clear, human and open character of the organisation. In a short period of time, we’ve seen Gula Gula grow and change. But where do you start to translate these changes and how do you change all the different visuals in a cohesive way? For this and many more questions, we asked Niels, a designer of Studio Boemel, to come to the stage to tell more about it.

For many people, including me, I did not know many of the terms you use. So for instance, what is a visual identity?

‘That’s a good question. We like to keep things simple at Studio Boemel, so before I dive into our collaboration, I would like to clarify some words. As you may know, there are many different, confusing and sometimes pretentious words being used for the work designers and branding agencies do. There is actually only one concept that needs to be clear for now, which is the term ‘visual identity’. A visual identity is all the visual elements of an organisation combined that are used in a cohesive way to bring about a story, message and feeling. This visual identity is received by your audience in many different ways. It can be through the font you use on your website or via the colors of your email signature. You could compare the visual identity for organisations with clothing for people as an expression of their identity. The things we wear are, mostly unconsciously, the values and messages that we like to express to the outside world’.

"A visual identity is all the visual elements of an organisation combined that are used in a cohesive way to bring about a story, message and feeling."

Okay, I get that! So that means you have created a new outfit for Gula Gula?

‘Yes, you could say that. With Gula Gula we looked into the points of contact with the audience that could be changed or refined. We particularly looked into the website, as this is the main important visual expression of Gula Gula.’

Alright, so what did you do on the website?

‘Good one, I’d first like to take a step back and tell you more about why we actually made the changes. As with outfits for people, the actual changes in the identity of people are more profound than the hat they eventually picked. So in other words, the changes of the website were the output of our process. I’d first like to go into this process we faced, which was to change the visual identity into a more clear, human and open character’.

"You could compare the visual identity for organisations with clothing for people as an expression of their identity."

‘We first worked on a document in which we laid out the communication strategy of Gula Gula. A strategy simply means to think before you do something, so the things you do – or aim for – are done in a cohesive and understandable way. One of the most interesting things that came up was the fact that we really wanted to tell more stories with Gula Gula. Because there are so many inspiring stories circling around Gula Gula. Stories that show us a collaboration between cultures in which the experience of the farmers are centered. Stories in which people listen to one another and bring together different fields of expertise. Stories of cultural, environmental and human change.’

That’s right, we just work hard and focus on restoring the richness of the forests. In this work, we sometimes forget to tell the stories we make.

‘Yes and that is perfectly normal. And it is alright if you then ask us for help in order to focus on the work itself. So after the strategy document was made and the focus on stories was set, we looked at the different colors, the logo and the website. We first changed the logo by making it more simple and splitting up the brand’s icon and its letters. This gave a more clean, clear and open character to it. At the same time, we didn’t want to lose the playful aspect of the identity – so the icon is still used as a detail in the overall design instead of being a part of the logo. In this way, whenever the fun, little, recognizable animal is actually used, it gets more meaningful attention.’

Yes, we like that! We also thought that the letter logo gave us a more professional look…

‘That could be a good interpretation. Some people may find it more professional and others find it more open. The main goal of us was to make the logo more clear so it would have a more open character. So after that, the colors and website came into focus. We wanted to use more white and white space around the content of the website to give more space and attention to the actual stories. So the color palette was changed to a more calm and clear palette with a bigger ratio of white. Now that we created space and a more open visual environment, the human aspect of the visual identity could finally flourish.’

Okay, I get that! So that means you have created a new outfit for Gula Gula?

‘Yes, you could say that. With Gula Gula we looked into the points of contact with the audience that could be changed or refined. We particularly looked into the website, as this is the main important visual expression of Gula Gula.’

Alright, so what did you do on the website?

‘Good one, I’d first like to take a step back and tell you more about why we actually made the changes. As with outfits for people, the actual changes in the identity of people are more profound than the hat they eventually picked. So in other words, the changes of the website were the output of our process. I’d first like to go into this process we faced, which was to change the visual identity into a more clear, human and open character’.

"You could compare the visual identity for organisations with clothing for people as an expression of their identity."

‘We first worked on a document in which we laid out the communication strategy of Gula Gula. A strategy simply means to think before you do something, so the things you do – or aim for – are done in a cohesive and understandable way. One of the most interesting things that came up was the fact that we really wanted to tell more stories with Gula Gula. Because there are so many inspiring stories circling around Gula Gula. Stories that show us a collaboration between cultures in which the experience of the farmers are centered. Stories in which people listen to one another and bring together different fields of expertise. Stories of cultural, environmental and human change.’

That’s right, we just work hard and focus on restoring the richness of the forests. In this work, we sometimes forget to tell the stories we make.

‘Yes and that is perfectly normal. And it is alright if you then ask us for help in order to focus on the work itself. So after the strategy document was made and the focus on stories was set, we looked at the different colors, the logo and the website. We first changed the logo by making it more simple and splitting up the brand’s icon and its letters. This gave a more clean, clear and open character to it. At the same time, we didn’t want to lose the playful aspect of the identity – so the icon is still used as a detail in the overall design instead of being a part of the logo. In this way, whenever the fun, little, recognizable animal is actually used, it gets more meaningful attention.’

Yes, we like that! We also thought that the letter logo gave us a more professional look…

‘That could be a good interpretation. Some people may find it more professional and others find it more open. The main goal of us was to make the logo more clear so it would have a more open character. So after that, the colors and website came into focus. We wanted to use more white and white space around the content of the website to give more space and attention to the actual stories. So the color palette was changed to a more calm and clear palette with a bigger ratio of white. Now that we created space and a more open visual environment, the human aspect of the visual identity could finally flourish.’

The Gula Gula Stories have already received many good reactions. 

‘Yes, we believe the work of the visual identity played a role in giving enough space to these human stories. Now people can finally focus on the content, without be bothered by anything else. Hopefully many of us will be drawn into the inspiring stories of Gula Gula’.

So, what’s next? Some people say you are never done with the visual identity, is that right?

‘Yes, that’s right. As a part of life, everything is in flux. So we think that it will be best to continuously check if the movements of Gula Gula as an organisation are in sync with its visual identity. Sometimes it is necessary to change the way you look by choosing a different hat now and then 😉. But to come back to your question, we have just been started with the visual identity and we will continue to improve the identity and communication of Gula Gula. After that, we will continue to design more stories that center around people. That is, in our opinion, the true strength and source of inspiration of Gula Gula. But we also want to give enough space to informative updates surrounding biodiversity, CO2 and the amazing work Gula Gula does with its partners. So in the future, there will be a nice and interesting mix. Studio Boemel is excited to continue our exciting teamwork!’

The Gula Gula Stories have already received many good reactions. 

‘Yes, we believe the work of the visual identity played a role in giving enough space to these human stories. Now people can finally focus on the content, without be bothered by anything else. Hopefully many of us will be drawn into the inspiring stories of Gula Gula’.

So, what’s next? Some people say you are never done with the visual identity, is that right?

‘Yes, that’s right. As a part of life, everything is in flux. So we think that it will be best to continuously check if the movements of Gula Gula as an organisation are in sync with its visual identity. Sometimes it is necessary to change the way you look by choosing a different hat now and then 😉. But to come back to your question, we have just been started with the visual identity and we will continue to improve the identity and communication of Gula Gula. After that, we will continue to design more stories that center around people. That is, in our opinion, the true strength and source of inspiration of Gula Gula. But we also want to give enough space to informative updates surrounding biodiversity, CO2 and the amazing work Gula Gula does with its partners. So in the future, there will be a nice and interesting mix. Studio Boemel is excited to continue our exciting teamwork!’