CASE STUDY 1: Tom Muller on cutting your losses

Commissioned by Marvel Comics to redesign the logo for its Invincible Iron Man comic, on the back of the success of the second Iron Man film, designer Tom Muller was given an excitingly open brief. But as feedback started coming in, it was clear that the client actually had quite a distinct idea of what it wanted – an uninventive amalgamation of the film branding and the trademark metallic look of the current Invincible Iron Man logo.

Not keen to go down the cheap effects route, Muller created a few bold, filmic alternatives (below), which were quickly rejected.

“In the end, I had mixed feelings”, says Muller. “Did I fail as a designer because I didn’t meet the brief? Should I have just delivered a well-designed blinged-up replica of the film logo? Or, was I right to hold my ground and design something I could stand behind? I’m not sure, but it ultimately lost me the job."

CASE STUDY 2: Teacake Design on making it work

Commissioned to produce tote bags for cider brand Koppaberg’s ün-Establishment campaign, Teacake Design worked with illustrator Ilyanna Kerr on the theme of unconventional lifestyles and talent, opting for bold graphics of acrobatics (below) and other feats of strength and endeavour.

But soon the project hit a dead end. “We received feedback from the end client via the PR agency we were working with, it now appeared the job had not been signed off further up the chain and what was needed was in actual fact a rethink,” explains Graham Sykes.

Scrapping their much-loved idea, they went back to the drawing board. The result was stylised portraits of the most unconventional, yet inspirational characters of the last century (below and top).

Through hard work, flexibility and a strong relationship with the client, the project was saved.

Graham adds: “Everyone we worked with was both professional and personable at all times. We negotiated revised costs to account for the extra design time, were paid in full and all ended very amicably.”