London, UK. 2017 Design by Charlie Smith Design
Terence Woodgate is a lighting brand founded in 2014 by the homonymous industrial designer to further explore the manufacturing of equipment optimized for high-performance, low-energy LEDs. Charlie Smith Design took care of its overall identity, including packages and many printed items for the first range released.
Solid is the first series of pendants, downlights and table lights: its name sits prominently on the containing cardboard boxes, much more visibly than the company's logotype. "The client very much liked the bold typographic approach" Charlie Smith says, also pointing out that they could use such big titles as "we knew the range they were launching with would be called Solid, and subsequent ranges were going to be of quite short names". This is not very common for a brand that is taking its first steps towards public awareness and it shows attention towards the products rather than the name of the manufacturer. With a few exceptions, this concept can be seen across the whole identity.
The chosen typeface, Maison Neue (published by Milieu Grotesque in 2012) is a sharp-looking grotesque, powerful and detailed enough to be used alone at big sizes. As a result, the identity is achieving a contemporary outlook without relying on trendy forms — a choice that will surely help Terence Woodgate to remain relevant in the coming years.
Text is sometimes set vertically (a subtle reference to light) shining from above, as well as to the form of the many pendants of the first set of products. Light is also represented in a very easy to understand way by the bold use of yellow: the very limited palette helps a lot in defining a unique identity for the brand. Although light is plain white from a physical point of view, the visual metaphor communicates the concept efficiently.
Products themselves are showcased in two ways: illustrations and photography. Being at the heart of Terence Woodgate, technology is very well embodied by the technical drawings made by John See. "We wanted these to be beautiful technical drawings within themselves, that supported and fitted in with the overall identity, as well as being very functional" explains Charlie Smith.
Photography, however, doesn't seem to entirely fit with the product-centric approach explained early: even though wood and marble are better depicted by photography than illustration, the background is often an element of distraction. "The photography, although it has a different aesthetic, I think helps showcase the lights in context" elaborates Smith. One issue with this is that there's no easy way to understand the real size of the object, which is actually very small (most pendants are shorter than 15cm); in this respect, the renders shown in the brochure are much more efficient.
The original identity project also included a website, (1) which unfortunately is not online anymore; it's been replaced by a rather disappointing e-commerce. Here the horizontal rules found in the logotype are extensively used to keep the pages and text columns organized. The absence of yellow and technical drawings does feel inconsistent compared to the rest of the materials though.
In the end, what really shines in this project is the packaging system, where the same outer box is used in several inside configurations to accommodate the different lights and with stickers to identify the container. The bright yellow instruction guide the user finds as he opens the box is the finishing touch to a comprehensive experience and clearly structured identity that should set an example for other manufacturers.