Little Black Book designed by Freytag Anderson

Logo and stationery with black card and white ink detail created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

Launched in 2006 Little Black Book is a printed guide for the advertising industry to share new ideas and was brought on-line in 2009 with the inclusion of new features such as e-newsletters, job boards and show reels. This year sees the launch of a new visual identity, created by Glasgow based interdisciplinary design agency Berg now Freytag Anderson, which takes a simple and literal visual approach to frame a broad variety of content.

“We were asked by LBB to refresh the brand identity for their established online business. We were initially engaged to develop their existing identity but convinced our client that a completely new brand identity was more appropriate.”

“We began the project by deciding which assets of the existing brand should be retained. Which held the most brand equity and which should be discarded. We felt it was important that the identity convey the idea of a physical black book. This created an emotive curatorial platform thereby giving the content extra value. Furthermore this physical rendition helped inform the new brand assets such as colour, shape and typography. The dominant use of black lends a premium / exclusive quality to the brand. Whilst a minimal but bold typographic style communicates confidence and authority.”

“These newly created brand assets were used to ‘re-skin’ an existing website framework. In addition we took this opportunity to reorganise content into clearly defined areas helping create a more fluid and intuitive user experience. We also created a number of printed items including a suite of stationery and user guide.”

– Berg

Logo created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

I really like the straightforward aesthetic of this identity and its ability to essentially frame a wide variety of content without over-branding it. The geometric construction and consistent line weight of the logo-mark feels incredibly restrained with a contemporary confidence that understands the brand’s proposition as a portal (reinforced by the mark’s wealth of internal space) from which to access information. The breaks between the line work and type have a stencil like utilitarian aspect and while it may have been neat to keep these at equal distances reinforces the idea of accessibility. The accompanying typeface reflects the geometry and functionality of the mark but with a lighter and contrasting weight that introduces a sense of detail and professionalism with a journalistic undertone.

A simple colour palette, straightforward layout across the collaterals, a very nice black notepad and website appear classically editorial but with a modern white on black twist that has a subtle but distinctive sense of creativity. The spot colour treatment across the texture of an uncoated substrate has a lovely sense of quality and compliments the bold simplicity of the graphic design.

Logo and stationery with black card and white ink detail created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

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Logo and stationery with black card and white ink detail created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

Logo, notebook and box sticker created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

Logo and website created by Freytag Anderson for advertising industry guide Little Black Book

More brand identity work by Freytag Anderson:

Logo - Partick Dental  Logo - The Fableists  Logo - All Of My Friends

  • Really like this. Simple, understated and to the point. The stationery looks beautifully executed too.

  • A delightfully restrained execution. Erik Spiekermann said he only needed three colours, Red, Black and White – and looking at this, he may be right!

    I agree with your point about equalising the spaces around the B and the bookmarking ribbon, but perhaps it has more character because they have been kept wilfully different.

    The red ribbon on the notebook is a little flash of joy, but I wonder whether this highlight could have been used with a similarly light touch on any other application – it does appear as a tiny red dot against News on the website but hey, I’m just enjoying polishing an already accomplished piece of work.

    The tactile nature of all the elements is also worth a mention: beautifully utilitarian.

    My final favourite thing caused me to have one of those real, “I wish I’d thought of that moments”. It’s a tiny detail, but it has made me reappraise the way I might design corporate stationery in the future.

    Look at the letterhead. A generous area of black at the top; a wide left margin which leads to a line length well suited to comfortable, easy reading; the logo not being top right: these all make for a strongly branded and memorable piece of paper – it is especially heartening to see the text that a user will write being considered as an integral element of the design.

    However what really lit a spark was the placement of the recipient’s address. In 20 years I think I’ve always put this in the top third so as to appear in an envelope’s window if necessary. Call me blinkered, but in order for flashes of inspiration to illuminate something, you need to be in the dark to start with.

    So as I looked at the design, smugly thinking that the black will never work as office laserprinters rarely have an an opaque white cartridge, the scales fell away from my eyes and a smile spread across my face. There it was sitting bottom left. They have used the bottom third of a folded A4 sheet, not the top third, to display the recipients address through a window envelope. All you need to do is change the way you fold the sheet.

    It’s tiny, but it has made my morning. I’m just imagining all that ‘brand space’ now available to me on every subsequent letterhead I might be lucky enough to design.

    Thanks for a much needed kick in the pants. Note to self, must try harder.

    • Wow Shaughn what a wonderful comment, it’s an article in its self and picks out of some the details I clearly missed, thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts.

      If you fancy adding a guest post one day you would be very welcome, seems a shame to have such insight just as a comment!

      • Hi Richard

        Many thanks for the complement. I’d be honoured to guest post. This week is a little crazy, perhaps we can talk/email next week. Plus, I should round up some projects to send you. See what you think.

        Cheers, Shaughn

  • Intravec Designs

    The simplicity used in this design is an air of relief. So many times I talk to clients and potential clients about building a brand thru simplicity. So many times I have had meetings where clients want to use 6 or more elements to create their logo design. There are times when I question who is this professional!
    The business card looks great, with an introduction on the front and an explanation on the back. I am a huge fan of using proper spacing to explain who my client is. Great article and examples!

  • Awesome concept . I really like the design . Simple, Clean and classic. Nice work !