You'll find many subtle hints about J.V. Hilliard's Pittsburgh roots, both in his writing and in the branding and identity that I've created for him. One of the main themes he wanted to achieve was a melding of the medieval world with the Steel City's iconic black & gold colors.
The chosen fonts gracefully ease from a strong medieval calligraphic style to a simple sans-serif look for easy readability.
A modified version of Augusta Regular was used for the logotype. Estonia gives a handwritten, calligraphic vibe for the stories about The Realm of Warminster. For the standard copy, as well as for the initials in the monogram, Volkhov lends a strong serif feel simillar to that seen throughout the fantasy genre. Lastly, Raleway serves as a simple, easy-to-read font for the smaller links in the footer.
Heavily influenced by old school RPGs, fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, and a deep love of his hometown teams, J.V. Hilliard wanted to make dragons a central focal point in his brand identity. The color scheme features bright gold in the center of a majestic dragon fading out to black near the edges to show wonder, motion, and power.
I crafted two logos around this idea. The first one is a bold, slightly asymmetric monogram for use in authenticator stamps and other promotional materials. The second one is a logotype with his name for use on cards, desk mats, banners and other large format products.
Conventions and book signings give J.V. Hilliard a huge opportunity to promote his work. The first order of business after the logos was to develop ideas for products that will be seen far and wide and draw interest to his convention booth, as well as his website.
The first thing I created was a card with his logo and website on the front and a bold rendition of the map of Warminster on the reverse side.
One of the simplest, but most effective promotional products I created during this project is a drawstring book bag. By starting with a limited run it is meant to create a sense of FOMO amongst event attendees. Fan "A" sees Fan "B" walking around with said bag, along with some goodies stashed inside and the buzz begins.
Finally, the bag-engendered buzz that brings fans to the convention table leads to perhaps my favorite promotional idea: a monogram stamper to go along with the author's signature. It hearkens back to the wax seals of yore when great lords and leaders would dispatch ravens to send news of victories in battles and alliances between families. It also adds authentication and a final flourish with a simple, personal touch. Something special and unique that sets J.V. Hilliard apart from other authors.
Much more than "just an autograph", it makes a bold and memorable impression that will surely stick with fans.
The key piece - the crown jewel - of this project is the author's website. While the branding is centered around the iconic colors of Pittsburgh, the landing page reflects the colors of the first novel in a series of four. The plan thus far is to change the color palette to reflect the cover art of the corresponding book. The central idea I invisoned was to bring back memories of old-school RPGs - whether table-top or PC/console based games - that are popular with his target demo. The site graphics, including all of the sigils were designed and created based off of the author's creative brief. The calligraphic scroll sections are made to resemble tomes from antiquity. One may envision old maesters huddled over their desks scratching away by candlelight.
I also created and, until recently, independently operated J.V. Hilliard's vimeo page, which houses his podcast: The Realm. I was honored to appear on it and have a fun chat about the work we've done to build The Realm of Warminster, as well as some of our passions outside of work. I still say Wolverine is way better than Deadpool, but that's just me.
Would you like to know more? Let's Talk.
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