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  • Writer's pictureNic Symes

Pushing the modular envelope

Updated: Jun 15

Branding Umhlanga Swimming Academy.

Luck is a funny thing. Often we creatives feel cursed by the burdens of our clients' requests, moaning that we have to cater to them, rather than adopting a mindset of gratitude and realising that we get to do so. We're lucky, as long as we choose to look at things the right way.

Sometimes, though, things just click and you find yourself instantly on the same wavelength as your client. I was lucky that this was the case with Nicole from Umhlanga Swimming Academy, a private swimming school in Durban, South Africa. I was lucky that her school's name just happened to have the initials, USA, and luckier still that she was willing to embrace the obvious connection and seek out the fun side of it.

Nicole is a fun, bubbly person, and a versatile coach and athlete. Her school offers coaching for all ages and abilities, and even caters to the needs of performance athletes seeking triathlon, open water, or surf-lifesaving training. We sought to capture this sense of fun and versatility in the branding process. Her only prerequisites were that she loves "pink, turquoise and lilac... actually, any shade of blue, like ocean colours."

From the get-go, the inspiration and direction for the look and feel was clear, and I was lucky, again, that Nicole trusted me to run with it. From some very basic sketches the idea of a 'brand asset pack' – as opposed to a more conventional logo design – was born.

A core crest logo was put together, with various elements that could be chopped, changed, added, subtracted, and combined in limitless ways to create a truly modular brand identity that lives and breathes its own vibrant, versatile life.

The next step was to explore different kit and merchandising opportunities to help Nicole bolster her income as we fluctuate in and out of lockdown. No stone (or shell) was left unturned, as we came up with ideas for everything from T-shirts... beach towels.

All the elements came together to form a brand that really reflects Nicole's personality and the versatility of her school's coaching offering.

So if you're lucky enough to live in the Durban area, and are looking to improve your swimming skills – or even if you'd like to learn to swim for the first time – get hold of Umhlanga Swimming Academy on Facebook.

Stay cool.

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