Ashdown Forest brandmark sketches

Self-initiated projects

Branding the Ashdown forest

Looking for a bit of design inspiration I did a Skillshare class by the formidable Aaron Draplin. The class was all about creating a truly unique wordmark using hand drawn custom type. I decided to create one for the Ashdown Forest as I walk past the ‘official’ signs all the time and I feel that they look a bit dated, a bit ‘safe’. The typography isn’t particularly strong, almost an afterthought. They don’t inspire me to go walking or exploring the area.

So I got my pens and started doodling (just like Mr Draplin instructed). My starting point was the height of the Scots pine trees that are part of the Ashdown forest landscape – hence that BIG A. How can I make these letters connect to each other? How can they start to form a truly individual and unique shape and mark?

Sidenote: I used lots of tracing paper for this. I love tracing paper. The texture of it and the way that the pen glides across the paper is SPOT ON.

So after a lot of doodling, I came up with these two options. I discarded number two as it was too similar to the existing brandmark and the whole point of this exercise was to push my creativity. And that’s the lovely thing about self-initiated work like this, I’m the client, I can make something that I love!


I then traced this in my design software. Trying out different shape combinations and how letters could be linked or shaped further to push the idea.

I admit it’s not particularly organic or ‘foresty’ but the point of the exercise was to experiment.