Out- Branding

07 April 2016 | Concept


Building up practice with brand identities

Starting out as a designer is hard, you don’t know what to do or learn. Thankfully I found some people to help and they told me to practice with tackling design briefs. I was pointed to a site that held a large database of design briefs for all things design. The one that I decided to tackle was for an outdoor activity center.

Straight from the site

'OUT' is an outdoor activity centre in the Peak District, England. The client would like a new logo and set of icons to use across their brand, for both print and web. 'OUT' appeal to all ages but gets a lot of interest from secondary schools encourage team-building on day trips that . 'OUT' also cater for hen and stag parties, amateur climbers and experienced outdoor sportspeople. Most of their events are run as group excursions, and they market themselves as a fun but challenging day out. The icons will be used on their website, to help users quickly distinguish between the different activities they run. There are 6 main activities: mountaineering, canoeing, rock-climbing, abseiling, caving and team-building. 'OUT' need a simple icon for each exercise. They would also like a similar approach to their main logo, which needs to be professional and to express their love for adventure.

Tools used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Sketching


  • New logo or Brandmark
  • Supporting icons / illustrations for the activities
  • Icons need to be scalable for easy legibility
  • Both need to be expressive of their love for adventure


How do you digitize the outdoors

When you take an idea or image from nature, you have to remember to bring a bit of it back when you digitize that image. Nature has a way of being difficult to translate into design. Surely as one of my first tasks this seemed like a good way of getting my hands dirty. The images that the brief references are heavy with serif fonts, flat imagery, and illustrated icon style geometry. I wanted to make sure this was taken into consideration, mainly using the images below as reference.

The before image. Starting off with trees. A kind of rugged outdoors style.


After spending much years outdoors and around snowboarding style brands, I researched some more and got to developing some unified styling on what how I wanted to keep the icons unified.

Every outdoor activity needs it’s own icon that represents that activity. I chose to go with thick lines, a muted color palette pulled from one of the above images, and a grid to base the icons off of.

Mountaineering was a more obvious choice and I played with a stylistic representation of mountains. Really, most logos of outdoorsy things have mountains or compasses. I wanted to slightly vary this by keeping it interesting and tied into the overall brand mark.

Abseiling was more difficult seeing that I wasn’t sure how to represent something moving with a static image. I chose to go with a person with their head pointed downwards, at an angle, and holding on to a rope with tension at the top, but not the bottom. As specific as I could get, I found a way.

Canoeing was great. I created a boat, oars, and stylized it with the same style as the next few icons.

Rock climbing is an activity that most people recognize by heavy-duty carabiners. It seemed fitting to throw one in as the icon for climbing.

Caving was a person with a headlamp. I had tried more physical representations like actual caves, or stalagmites and stalactites, but the lack of borders or geometry in the icons limited backgrounds and props.

Team building is something usually done around a fire at camps. One of the most popular forms of team building is making s’mores and hanging out. I figured a s’more would make a good representation of that.

The challenge

Final Concept

At the end of the sketching both digitally and analog, I came to the final results here using a flat style for the icons, simple color pallete that is repeatable throughout each icon. All of these tie back into the logo to represent the outdoor nature of the brand but with an emphasis on friendly, welcoming interaction between nature and the community of outdoors adventurers.

Icon set


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