Partners in crime

Well, you know we love design (we think our website gives that away). But something you might not know about us is that we also have a huge passion for true crime. Books, films, documentaries, and more recently, podcasts. So when we saw an opportunity to combine our passion for design and crime, we jumped at the chance.

Background

Sword and Scale is an impeccably produced podcast that covers some of the most gruesome crimes in history. The podcast goes more in depth than any other, with chilling audio excerpts and gripping story telling that never fails to hold the listeners attention. It’s all hosted, researched and produced by one man and once we found it, we became addicted. But upon listening to the podcast, the host addressed the audience with the problems he was facing; not enough people have subscribed and there is also a lack of funds. As a small business ourselves we know how much time and effort goes into making something special and we also know how much it costs - so we wanted help.

The problem

One thing we felt let the podcast down was the artwork. We subscribe to numerous crime podcasts and upon comparing their artwork to the Sword and Scale artwork, we felt that it was really letting it down. In our opinion, such an amazing podcast deserved better. The colour they had chosen was great, no one else was using purple, but the font choice and gradient were dated. Everyone else has clean and modern designs, Sword and Scale has this:

The textured background is a bit odd, the design seems dated and the gradients everywhere look inconsistent and cheap. As he needed more subscribers, we thought that a rebrand could help attract new listeners and as funding was a problem, we thought a new modern look may also make the podcast more appealing to potential advertisers.

Competitors

Examples of their competitor logos such as Serial (if you haven’t listened, do it!) include,

The designs are all really clean, modern and look extremely professional and if browsing iTunes for podcasts, the artwork gives the podcast credibility. Unfortunately, we felt listeners might skip over Sword and Scale as the artwork could have been off putting. And for an excellent podcast needing more subscribers, we wanted to help.

Our solution

We produced a set of 12 designs along with a presentation for Mike at Sword and Scale offering our help. We did not want payment or expect anything in return for our time and effort, we just wanted to help. The designs we sent over are below and we suggested that as a way to engage more with listeners and let them feel they are contributing in some way, he could post the designs on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and ask his audience to vote on their favourite.

The outcome

We sent these over to Mike in a presentation but did not get an email back. We know how many emails make it into the abyss of the junk folder so we messaged him on Facebook and we got a reply. He thanked us for our designs but unfortunately said that he was taking the podcast in a different direction.

I bet you were thinking that was going to end on a happy note! Nope… But we were really happy with the outcome: we loved the designs we produced and we were really pleased that the person we created them for was able to see them and know we were there to help.

And we had great time doing it. Design is our passion, and combining that with our love of true crime made this a pleasure to work on, even if it won’t be making it into the world of podcasts. Yet.

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The Two Sarahs, graphic design, Southampton