Early in 2020, I had the pleasure of working with Akua in the process of rebranding and creating kid friendly illustrations for her brand. Create with Mansa specialises in giving kids the ability to create change through their creativity!
Her focus is to inspire children to view things differently and transform their curiosity. It’s not always that you find a brand that aligns 100% with your own values and I am so grateful for that. Akua is a wonderful person, full of passion and determination. It is lovely to come across people that wish to help children find their creative voice, without suppressing it along the way.
I am thrilled at how lively and joyful these illustrations turned out!
In this post, I will share the initial sketches, goals and the creative decisions we had to make to connect the illustrations with the entire brand identity.
Here are a couple of primary goals we wanted to have flow through the entire brand:
- think in creative ways
- inspire children to view things differently
- authentically Ghanaian creative work (with a touch of ‘foreign-ness’)
- looking for the sweet spot between art, creativity, design and literacy
The initial idea was to focus solely on the creative writing toolkit. Stylistically, Akua wanted kids to be inspired by the illustrations on the toolkit, without feeling limited to write about what they saw on the paper. I presented 3 different sketches of possible ways we could move forward, however as I got to know Akua and the vision she had for her brand and the future of her business, I knew that the third concept would have worked best for her.
The idea behind the third concept was to create a storybook approach. The designs would include final detailed illustrations, lots of color and characters. These characters would interact with the written text making it all much more lively.
I love looking back at the illustrations in the creative writing toolkit, I think we did such a great job at understanding each other and bringing these ideas to life, while making sure the primary goals were met.
Before moving on to the next products, I advised Akua to pause and work on a brand identity instead. Having a solid concept, color scheme, fonts, and overall style really helps to create a consistent vibe throughout the entire brand.
The hardest part to understand when working on your own brand, is that you and your brand are separate entities. Your brand can be a representation of you, but you are not a representation of your brand. Akua, is a very meticulous person, with a strong sense of direction and organisational skills. She hoped to see herself reflected in the brand, through clean lines, formal fonts, and an african touch. However, I reminded her that she is separate from her brand, and she really needs to allow for the brand identity to focus on it’s ideal customer; children. By creating a fun, colourful logo, a colour scheme that was a bit far from the ordinary Ghanaian colours, and joyful illustrations that tied back to Ghana, we managed to achieve a memorable and fun brand.
I paid close attention to illustrate details that would relate back to the ‘authentically Ghanaian’ goal we had previously discussed. This is visible in the choice of icons such as the spider (Ananse the spider) and the little girl Mansa.
The placement of the letters in the logo and the different colours used for each letter, allows the logo to stand on it’s own, and immediately radiate the intentions of the brand.
With a stronger brand identity we were able to create more consistent illustrations for the rest of the products. The airy and bright palette allowed all the design elements to connect to one another, while also standing strong by themselves.
After having worked through the number flash cards, colouring sheets, alphabet poster and a whole lot more, I am beyond thrilled to see how they all came together so beautifully.
I am so honoured to have had the chance to work on these illustrations and create a memorable brand for the lovely Akua. I hope children will use these products to create change and beauty through their own creativity.
I highly recommend you purchase one of her activity boxes to get a closer look at all these fun illustrations!
Do you have a brand you want to bring to life with fun and colourful illustrations? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start creating some magic!