Brand Identity for MacDonald Photography


This award-winning, professional looking brand identity for MacDonald Photography was created by Rule29 of Geneva, IL. It’s a superb example of an entire visual identity package, established through a strong logo, bold color palette, memorable copy and unique construction. As with this example, when all pieces of your promotional and professional materials are visually connected, you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd and remain memorable.

Art Direction: Justin Ahrens, Principal and Creative Director
Designers: Justin Ahrens and Kara Merrick

According to Justin Ahrens’ bio -
“As founder and principal of Rule29, Justin Ahrens infuses his strategic creative firm’s credo of “making creative matter” into every project. With clients ranging from non-profit organizations to Fortune 500 corporations, Justin strives to continuously expand the boundaries of R29′s design, collaborative approach and creativity to deliver unequaled results. His passion for his profession is evidenced by Justin’s involvement in design community organizations. Having served several years on the HOW Conference Advisory Board and more recently on the Create Magazine Advisory Board, Justin is also a member of the STA and AIGA having held AIGA board positions in Arizona and Chicago.

Other work being done is Justin’s and Rule29′s involvement with Life in Abundance and their work in the slums of Northeast Africa. To make creative matter in the world both in the US and in Africa is a core benefit to being a creative from the R29 perspective. Justin’s award-winning work resulted in being chosen by Graphic Design USA as one of the top designers to watch in 2004. His work can be seen in leading industry publications and books including Communication Arts, HOW, PRINT, Graphis, Create, Rockport Publishers and STEP. Justin’s passion for design is only overshadowed by his passion for being home with his wife Sarah and their four amazing kids who think Dad’s job is listening to music, drawing pictures and playing on the computer.”

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6 Comments

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  1. Steve Coleman

    Brand Identity or just a Pretty Identity?

    Yes this design has a strong look and yes it makes the photographer look professional in a commercial way BUT what does it say about the photographer? Nothing.

    A brand is not a logo and it is not a business card or web site. A brand is what potential and current clients believe and trust you to be and what makes you different from all the other photographers out there. There are thousands of photographers who have great looking identities, none of whom stand out as being any different from each other.

    This design has missed the opportunity to capture and express the essence of what this particular photographer stands for. In the process it has also missed the opportunity to communicate this photographers unique difference to potential clients. What they have is just a smart professional look….. but that is just cost of entry in todays competitive world. It does not position them as a Brand.

  2. Mark K.

    I think it’s really difficult to capture what kind of photographer or artist you are. With that said, I think it’s an important exercise to work through. MacDonald’s collateral does communicate clean, professional, meticulous, dependable and someone who take the time and money to care about his image (and thus the work he does…) – all qualities that are likely to get him hired. I also think it’s simple enough to be memorable, while still catching one’s eye. I don’t agree that it’s just a “pretty identity”. I think there was a lot more thought that went into it.

  3. Justin Ahrens

    Steve,
    Thanks for your comments. Although I disagree with the majority of your feedback, I can see at the same time why you would think what you do without seeing the materials in action. Let me explain. First, when creating his logo, we wanted to point out Brian’s timeless photography achieved through great appreciation of his craft along with his attention to detail. When we applied it to his identity, we created a color system where each color stands for a different type of photography Brian shoots and ties back to all his materials with a unique messaging. This enables him to segment his potential clients and give them a consistent impression. The aesthetic also represents Brian’s meticulous and clean style of photography. Creating the base id in black and adding a labeling system allows him to create pieces on his own in a cost effective manner. So we thought through the image, the positioning, and the long term ability to cost effectively extend the brand. Just to name a few. Regardless I would ask Brian on the brand success…the proof is in the pudding.

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