I’ve always thought it would be cool as hell to start a clothing brand. For me, the goal has always been simple: to design clothes that I would wear myself, valuing quality over profit margins, and building a figurative playground for my creativity to run free. It’s no secret that it’s a tough venture. With such saturated marketplaces, it’s crucial to have a story and reason for being who you are as a brand in order to connect with people. It took a while getting there, but after a ton of experimenting, planning and preparation, here we are.
The process of designing and building the Lifeline Supply brand has been a passion project since its inception. In the summer of 2015, a couple of like-minded friends and I had the idea to start a clothing company; Jeff runs a lifestyle and wedding photography business, and Brandon plays bass in the band Courage My Love. The three of us share a common mentality of doing what we love on our own terms. Together we had a vision for the brand and the means to carry it out, but we soon realized that none of us had the time available to truly put our hearts into what we wanted it to become. As such, the project was put on the back burner with the intention to revisit it when we had more time and energy to put into it.
Fast forward about 6 months to the start of my second semester in year 2 at design school. When the opportunity to design and develop my own brand came for my Branding class, I immediately knew what I wanted to do. Focusing my project on bringing Lifeline Supply to life would afford me a designated timeframe to compile research, formulate the brand personality, and create the tools needed to launch the brand in the real world. I already had some ideas tossing around in my head of what I wanted the clothing designs to look like, and the vision that Jeff, Brandon and I had touched on last summer provided the framework to create a robust brand identity that fit perfectly with the project scope.
The logo design is where everything began. The initial touch point of the brand needed to carry equity and echo the ideals that we stand for; high quality design-centred products driven by clever messages and imagery. The colour palette would be minimal and muted, allowing the logo and accompanying graphics to stand in stark contrast to captivating photographic backdrops. Pure black and white became the staples of the brand’s colouring for two reasons: firstly, the contrast between the two affords an unending element of versatility to the logo, making it able to be placed on any surface and still retain its striking visual integrity. From a colour theory perspective, the boldness of the black exudes confidence and authority, while the opposing white suggests an air of purity and elegance. These colour selections also help to align the brand with an edgy, high fashion market. Refinement without snobbery, provocative without alienation.
Smooth lines and sharp angles became the driving force behind what would become the primary logo for the brand. The geometric composition and stark presence of this word mark is a reflection of my own personal aesthetic as a designer: to me, order and continuity are of utmost importance within any given design that I create. Symmetry and balance are the backbone of the Lifeline word mark. The connected “I” letterforms are representative of the collaborative mentality behind this brand—together we are stronger.
In addition to the primary word mark, Lifeline also utilizes a secondary icon that ties closely with the concept behind this brand as a whole. The three of us all come from past projects and life experiences that have shaped who we are, but have eventually been foregone as we grew up. For me it was my music career. When I was younger, all I ever wanted to do was play in a band with my best friends, hanging out at shows every weekend and spending everything I had on a dream regardless of the little chance of return. As much as I loved that life and still sometimes miss it to this day, over time I realized that my passions were blossoming elsewhere. This is when design became the driving force behind my entire existence. Today, much of my ideals and personal style have been greatly influenced by that earlier chapter of my life, and I have become more passionate than ever in carving my own path. The Lifeline skull icon is a visual representation of this process of rebirth. From the bones of a former life springs a new seed, the vine that reaches for the stars despite its renounced beginnings.
The company’s tag line, Wander Far, Wonder Often, is a short but encompassing statement of why we started this company. It acts as a guiding principle, the true north of our reason for being here. Wander Far refers to pursuing a constant state of exploration, both in body and in spirit. Wonder Often emphasizes the embracing of a fresh outlook, the state of mind that falls somewhere beyond ordinary. We’re a group of creative individuals with a love for the unknown, and this project serves as an outlet for us to experiment with our tastes and abilities.
Travel photography also plays a huge part in what Lifeline is all about. For years now we have been venturing around the world and taking photos without any real purpose outside of pure enjoyment. Through Lifeline’s social media channels and blog, we will tell the stories that have brought us to where we are now.
Following the completion of the logo system and the initial collection of clothing designs, we had our first product samples manufactured and took a trip to the American southwest to photograph what would become the first instalment of our Summer 2016 lookbook. The expansive desert locations of Arizona, Nevada and Utah that we shot in provided exactly the unique, enthralling backdrops that we were looking for to showcase our garments.
Following the trip, I used the photos Jeff and I took to create Lifeline’s print collateral and marketing assets. In addition to the lookbook, the final package includes a full stationery suite with business cards, letterhead, #10 envelope and folder container, direct mail pieces such as postcards and fold-out posters, the 2016 product catalogue, a brand guidelines manual that outlines logo usage, typography and colour specifications, various magazine and billboard advertisements, product packaging with hangtags, and a fully functioning website and online store.
A sense of self-assured optimism is coupled with an underlying spark of rebellious spirit to portray a brand that is consistent with our collective attitude toward life. Although this company was started from the ground up by ourselves for ourselves, we have come to find that we are not the only people who share this perspective. Our purpose is to provoke adventure and self confidence, to raise a middle finger to the status quo, and to make some good clothes along the way.