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    dynamic branding

    Rack Focus

    Creating a Fully Dynamic and Flexible Identity System

    Rack Focus

    Rack Focus, a storytelling consultancy, approached Emerson Stone to create an identity, website, and brand collateral. Tim Shisler, the founder, has a background in video production, and naturally chose the name to convey their mission. In film, racking the focus refers to shifting the visual emphasis from one object to another in order to guide the viewer through the scene. He believes that every person and brand has a story to tell—his expertise is in connecting the dots and determining which parts to bring into sharp focus.

    Exploration & Design Process

    From the start of the project, we decided that we would focus solely on creating a strong wordmark for the identity, which would need to visually embody the brand.

    Font Choices V2

    Favored letters from two separate fonts combine to create basic structure of wordmark.

    We were initially drawn to the fonts Flama and Publica for their minimalist and modern letterforms. Favorable characters were selected from each font to create the initial structure.

    Both the weight and height of Publica characters were then altered to feel at home next to Flama. Discretionary edits were made to the overall cap height and the forms of selected characters, such as the R, k, and F. Lastly, the letterspacing was dialed in to create a solid and cohesive identity.

    R Details

    discretionary edits to the letter R

    While many successful wordmarks are ultimately created from existing fonts, there should be no hesitation in carefully altering the existing letterforms to achieve a desired appearance or personality. At the end of the day, the font designer was not originally constrained by the designer or the client's needs.

    Though the process can seem trivial or excessive, taking the time to consider each detail inevitably results in a more unique identity allowing for complete ownership for both the designer and the client.

    adding life and extending reach

    In the next round of the exploration, we experimented with the position and angle of the logo to embody the film-backed spirit of the brand. This exercise was meant to discover the visual limits of the wordmark and understand where and how it would break down in various mediums. How much perspective is too much? Should the word ‘Rack’ or ‘Focus’ be primarily emphasized?

    Id Options Exp

    Exploration of perspective and focus.

    In the end, a moderate degree of perspective and focus felt best. Placing the emphasis on ‘Rack’ felt better for left-to-right reading. The final version of the logo (upper left) was selected for its overall weight and presence—it feels monolithic, as if it actually occupies real space and rests on an solid surface.

    Because Tim's clients would primarily interact with the brand digitally, we thought there was an opportunity to animate the logo to create something more dynamic:

    Id Out

    final dynamic logo

    For other applications, four unique versions were created, each to fulfill specific roles based on context:

    Id Range

    contextual alternates of identity

    The dynamic static version retains the liveliness and intrigue of the dynamic version, but functions where animation isn't an option.

    The standard version is utilized in scenarios where grid alignment is critical, and where the dynamic version would be too expressive.

    The standard medium and micro versions are optimized for small sizes through slight adjustments to the weight and letter spacing of each character. For modern branding projects, this is an essential step for any wordmark.