The story of the Kwalee brand

Kwalee Sailing BoatWhen David Darling decided to set up a new smartphone app company he needed to name it. That name required several characteristics. It had to be personal to him, it should be unique and distinctive and it needed to have a broader meaning.

David’s mother, Marilyn, was Australian, descended from Captain Edward Primrose Tregurtha and David spent his early life growing up in the country, where the family had a long established interest in Aboriginal culture. David’s grandfather was an electronics engineer who introduced David to this area of technology, creating a lifetime’s enthusiasm.

Kwalee was the name of David’s grandfather’s sailing boat on which David spent many happy days as a child. The boat was named after the Australian Aboriginal word for “wait for me”, a message David wants to convey to the millions of app users around the world. He hopes that it will be well worth the wait for the apps that the company promises to deliver.

The use of a hand print for the icon works on so many levels.

  • Smartphone apps use gesture interfaces controlled by the human hand so what could be more significant for an app company than a print of a human hand?
  • It humanises the company and is friendly, which is indicative of Kwalee’s key value of putting the customer experience first. Kwalee is made of individual people and its customers are individual people.
  • It portrays the exact body language of “wait for me”. It is intended that later iterations of the icon are animated to further illustrate this.
  • It pays homage to Aboriginal art and so to the origin of Kwalee’s name and to David’s Australian heritage. Aboriginal rock art and cave paintings often depicted ‘hand’ symbols. Their art had a spiritual, magical meaning. Arthur C. Clark said; “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
  • One of the aims of Kwalee is to encourage user-generated content. It is therefore fitting to portray a hand as we create, make and share things with our hands.
  • The image is distinctive and unique and so will be instantly recognisable, at very small as well as very large sizes.

Of course there is far more to a visual brand than just the name, icon and logo. To this end Kwalee have used the services of top visual brand experts David James Design Ltd, to advise and give their input into such matters as sub brand progression, colour palettes and fonts, as we.

David James Design Ltd brand notes:

The Aboriginal word Kwalee, means ‘wait for me’. It suggested to us, the idea of ‘waiting for a loved one’ and the visual of a waving hand. This led to the creation of a handprint as the brand symbol. A handprint retains the natural and organic essence of people rather than the stylized simplified icons of corporations. We think this is appropriate for Kwalee as smartphone apps are operated by hand on hand held devices.

The angle of the handprint proved critical, if it were if too vertical, it implies ‘stop’, so by gently angling the hand it suggests a friendly waving hand. Equally as important was to retain the natural human qualities of a handprint, whilst creating a flexible vector based symbol that could easily be implemented on both screen and print.

The orientation of the handprint posed the question, should we use a left or right hand? We finally decided a left hand looked more natural. Subliminally, we think this is due to the fact that most people are right handed and wave with their right hands. Interestingly, however, when looking at a person waving their right hand, you actually view a left hand.

The brand mark is based on the font Aller Bold. This modern sans serif was selected to complement the weight and curves of the handprint.

The vibrant yellow colour was selected to clearly differentiate the Kwalee brand in a marketplace predominantly containing red brand marks.

Kwalee is an original and pioneering App developer and publisher based in Leamington Spa, United Kingdom.

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