Mike Richards, aka The Travelling Ape, is on a mission to visit all 195 countries and share his insights in geopolitics, international relations and personal development in his travel blog.
Setting the scene
Guy met Mike, aka The Travelling Ape, on a retreat in the Netherlands in 2019. At that time The Travelling Ape was a labour of love in the form of Mike’s personal travel blog on his quest to visit every country in the world.
Mike wanted to raise the profile of The Travelling Ape with a view to having an audience to promote his book as part of a potential future book deal with a publisher. Our first piece of work with Mike was our Brand Strategy Package which helped set the scene for the logo and style guide.
The design brief
When it comes to design briefs anything that includes a primate is a designer’s dream. If you don’t believe us then ask any designer. It’s hardly surprising that Mike specifically asked for a logo of a full body ape. When it comes to design briefs it’s handy to have something tangible to riff off. The good news for Mike is that we deliver 3 design concepts as part of our logo package so he had different designs to choose from at concept stage.
The Travelling Ape logo - concept 1
Banana anyone? The silhouette of a half peeled banana made a strong brand mark for this concept. This concept was inspired by Andy Warhol’s pop art banana. The silhouette was designed to make the viewer pause, creating a visceral embodiment of the brand strapline “encouraging curiosity”. The shape of the banana also provided an interesting opportunity to wrap the brand name around the half peeled banana, creating a nice touch of negative space between the two elements.
The Travelling Ape logo - concept 2
Remember The Gorillaz, the virtual band created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett? Well, this concept at least included a full body gorilla, as requested by Mike. We used all capitals for the brand name in this concept because the brand mark needed solid typography to contrast the curves of the gorilla. We also experimented with an alternate strapline here, “encouraging curious adventure”.
The Travelling Ape logo - concept 3
Planet of the Ape. This design was inspired by a combination of the ubiquitous image of Che Guevara, Argentine Marxist revolutionary, and the new Planet of the Apes film series. The silhouette of the globe was the visual device needed to anchor this evocative brand mark. We chose a more newsy editorial font for this concept which also works really well beside the globe. The original strapline was also tucked in snugly under the brand name.
The final logo
This logo doesn’t work well reversed out of dark colours so it always needs to be used on a white or lighter colour background. Mike was delighted with this concept and we made hardly any tweaks to reach the final logo stage.
Crafting the one-liner
Creating a striking logo is only part of our Logo and Style Guide Package. A great logo needs to be backed up by clear messaging. This part of the process is very collaborative and involves lots of communication with the client to capture the essence of their messaging.
Although we came up with lots of different ideas for The Travelling Ape’s business one-liner, the final version wasn’t settled upon until later. Mike came back to us, having expanded his offering to include meditation and needed a new website to reflect this. This is the final one-liner we all agreed on:
Life is a journey.
I offer meditation and travel insights to help you get a fresh perspective on your life and the world.
Creating the style guide
We created a minimalist colour palette and chose a slightly unusual font-pairing for this style guide. Using Vollkorn as the body font is a good choice, as it gives the site an editorial feel, and we used the logo font Playfair Display for the blog post titles to create stylish and highly readable headlines. The other headlines are rendered in the modern sans serif font Open Sans.
Applying the changes to the website
Once we completed our work it was over to Mike to apply the new logo to his Squarespace website. A little later, when Mike was ready to upscale his Squarespace blog to a professional WordPress website, we already had the logo, colour palette and fonts ready to go. Mike has also been able to apply our logo and style guide to the presentations and handouts for his meditation courses.
Brand Strategy Package: “My experience with Wildheart Media was fantastic. I was a bit stuck on the direction of travel for my travel-focused website. However, the Brand Strategy Meeting was very insightful, and offered me a whole new insight into the different possible directions I could take it in. It left me with plenty to think about, and excited about where I will be able to take it in the future.”
Logo & Style Guide Package: “I thoroughly enjoyed the process of developing my logo and brand with Wildheart. I had a rough idea of what I wanted the logo to look like. Having taken all of my views on board, the final logo that Wildheart produced surpassed all of my expectations and I love it. I have received positive feedback about it from so many people, and it has made me excited to take my brand to the next level. I would highly recommend!”
SEO Package: “The SEO package was incredibly useful. Not only did I get some great ideas for future SEO-friendly content and an SEO audit for my website, I was given a really useful document explaining how it all works and what to work on. For someone who had not previously had too much experience in the SEO sphere, this was highly useful!”– Mike Richards