Comic Brand-Aid: CONCLUSION – How Sweet It Is/Madbury

Comic Brand-Aid Follow-Up: How Sweet It Is/Madbury

I first reviewed Scott Jenkin’s ‘How Sweet It’ with our first Brand-Aid article. Then I re-reviewed Madbury after Scott expressed on Twitter “I’ve been in branding hell since @RicktheStick band aided my comic”. Today is the conclusion of the hard work by Scott on his site, which I think looks GREAT! I encourage you to offer your feedback as well.

Quick rundown – Scott has changed his comic’s name to Madbury and made some site changes, including using a computer font for the logo (as opposed to his freehand for How Sweet It Is). I made suggestions. He made some tweaks. I made some banners and a header of my own as a visual point of reference and Scott made changes he felt he liked. So where does that leave us?

The Logo

Originally, Scott’s logo was hand drawn. He changed that to a computer font which made it cleaner and clearer. I suggested tweaking the color and added some effects. It’s important to note – we didn’t go overboard with the effects. Because the font was broad, it lent itself to some stylization. It’s most evident when you look at it at its smallest use (button banners 88×31 pixels).

Before (left), After (middle), Final (right) - does the logo shine?

Does the logo pop more? Are you able to clearly identify the comic name? Does it give it a comical sense just by the font usage? You wouldn’t click on that expecting a graphic novel about a murder mystery would you? Nice work Scott!

The Header

You can see how clean the header gets by organizing it appropriately. Originally, there were additional characters in the header – which was a little redundant considering the image of Hodge at his window on the right. The publish day and author name are clear and easy to pick out. Scott also carried over the background theme for consistency and to make sure it wasn’t too boring. You can start to see the development of the brand without even going to the site.

Before, After, Final - we're cleaning up! CLICK TO ENLARGE!! (that's what she said!)"

To me, when I read “Middle-Aged Menopausal Madness”, I might assume it’s a comic about women going through menopause hitting men on the heads with frying pans. That’s just me and my irrational fear of frying pans

The Tagline

How Sweet It Is didn’t feature a tagline in the banners, and it probably didn’t need to considering the title was sort of a tagline. I thought it was a good title originally and I still do, which is why come this summer, I’ll be premiering my new comic ‘How Sweet It Is’. Just kidding! In all seriousness, I expressed some concerns over Scott’s revision to the new banners that featured the tagline “Middle-Aged Menopausal Madness Every Monday”. My first issue was that the font was the same as the logo. This does nothing to differentiate the tagline. While the font was great for Madbury because it was one word, when used in a sentence it was hard to read – and the color set on the green background certainly didn’t help. To me, when I read “Middle-Aged Menopausal Madness”, I might assume it’s a comic about women going through menopause hitting men on the heads with frying pans. That’s just me and my irrational fear of frying pans I guess, but you get the idea. Additionally, there was no call to action. It’s nice that you have a banner and you’re willing to have someone put it on their site for you, but what’s the point if you’re not inviting them to come check it out. With the final revisions, I think you can see Scott addressed all of those issues. Very nice work!

The Site

By now Madbury’s brand is clearly in focus, but we didn’t stop there – and neither should you. I recommended font and color changes to the text on the site and Scott did a great job picking them out, and employing them. I like to reference a little place I call Disney World when I imagine the perfectly branded destination. If you’ve ever been to a Disney theme park, they do it right. When you step into Animal Kingdom, YOU STEP INTO THE WORLD OF ANIMAL KINGDOM! It’s not enough for them to throw out some exotic animals, prop up some authentic looking scenery and call it a day. Almost everything within the boundaries of the area you’re in is designed to make you feel like you’re there. From background sounds, layout and landscaping. Employees are dressed appropriately, even the garbage cans are designed to be unobtrusive. Think about that – is your brand, your comic or your website set up to take the reader into your world?

Finally, Scott wanted to add something “I’ve begun incorporating the new url to also streamline a readers recognition of the brand. I am really pleased with what was accomplished. I have had such a challenge finding a way to uncover the comics soul. I tend to be a very wordy guy, so having someone simplify things down to its core by using its strengths really does help find the message in as few words as possible. You kept me from overdoing it w/ to much unneeded cosmetics and at the same time prevented me from keeping it so understated your left wondering whats going on. You can quote me on that!”

I look forward to your thoughts on how you think everything turned out. I think Scott did an excellent job and I was happy to help!

Ken Drab at the dentist's officeKen Drab (me) has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a webcomicker with a mediocre comic but a solid brand. Regardless, this is an ongoing series where we take a look at the concept of branding and how it applies to your comic. We’ll highlight do’s and don’ts as well as look at fixes. We’ll also be taking requests and take a critical but constructive approach to help real comic artists nail down their brand. So if you’re willing to put yourself out there – let me know. Email me directly at rtswebmail [at] gmail [dot] com or click here and add Comic Brand-Aid in the subject line. I’ll contact you if I think I can help you and we can help others by showcasing my recommendations.

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  1. It was roadblock I was spending to much time on for the place I was in with the comics overall development. I pride myself in doing -the best I can- with what I’m doing at any stage of development I’m going through. When it came to branding and defining the comics soul, I just wasn’t hitting the mark and i knew it.

    My focus has and continues to be the comics development in visual style and writing, but along the way a little time needs to be taken to get a hold of the business side of creating because they both really do tie in with one another in that general learning curve. I now feel these changes and suggestions have centered my goals for the comic creatively, even though branding is really more a business aspect in my mind.

    One last thank you Ken. It was an enjoyable experience having you help me through this roadblock and because of it, I can now move onto other things w/o that hedging feeling in the back of my mind that a key element to evolving the comic hasn’t been met! It has been met now and I’m pleased with the outcome. They were simple changes that, for whatever reason, were escaping me!

  2. Pingback: Madbury - Pretty In Pink

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