A logo for a website mapping all of Christchurch’s post earthquake recovery street art

Top Marks: top 40 logos & trademarks

Bottle of Waitui Single Malt Manuka Honey Whiskey from Golden Bay, packaging design, illustrated logo, calligraphy, bottle on white background, consumer product, brands for New Zealand companies, brand naming, product renaming, rebranding for growthThe power of visual communication is the ability to…

Talk less.

My collected customers define my principles and reflect my beliefs.


©magentadot brands

Mr Fungus stationery system: design with a purpose

There’s a lot riding on the Mr Fungus (alias Fergus Aitken) business stationery system. It carries important information that must be clearly visible while overall making a good strong visual impression and being memorable (on a Scotsman’s budget).

Let the fun portrait of Mr Fungus’s portrait do the talking.

There is no way of presenting a performing artist with more impact than with a good standalone photo. With someone comfortable in front of a camera the result is an extremely appealing way to make an impression. How could anyone resist? With its background cleared away the portrait is engaging, entertaining and, rendered in a high contrast lith image treatment, it has unusual clarity, it makes an impression as clear as a bell, and it leaves all the attention on Mr Fungus.

Yellow-blue-white-black combination is a dramatic and a humorous effect

Energetic colours such as bright blue and brilliant yellow suggest vitality, humour and youth. The coordination made up of strong primary colours broadcasts loud and clear to everyone. Using these colours, in this big dramatic way makes a splash, wherever these folders end up going. The detail of the black & white striped spine, Mr Fungus logo, and the vivid white and yellow inside the folder make a powerful and vivid contrast to the big dramatic front and back cover. The result of this combination is handsome, funny, and almost literally arresting to the point of seizing attention. More raw power and brilliance for the buck comes from the dynamic combination of yellow and blue than any other two colours.

Design a playful logo bring the system together

Mr Fungus logo. Mr Fungus is a comic character "the world’s loudest mime” developed by Fergus Aitken

A comic character world famous in New Zealand as the world’s loudest mime

The logo is traditional, consisting of the Mr Fungus name and a single carefully crafted graphic of scattered ink spots, which is uniformly applied to every document. But the design has a refreshing twist, the three logo elements can be adapted and applied in a cheerful style suitable for any use. And it imbues in the stationery items, when they are combined, fun and artistry. Every piece is different; the arrangement from business card to folder to even a poster changes to best adapt to the space and what the piece needs to do. The Mr Fungus logo makes for lots of expressive possibilities!

Agrimm trichoprotection, Vinevax, Pruning wound dressing, a5 landscape, brochure,

Trichoseal-spray: pruning wound dressing makeover

Vinevax_logo_radiused_256pxMore compelling design doesn’t mean prettier, or more arty. By more compelling I mean richer, more complete, better because it is more efficient, better because it is attractive in useful ways. The design of Vinevax’s new brand collateral isn’t merely about their product looking better on the shelf, but actually functioning better as an advertisement for itself in a competitive retail environment. The design has to do with the work of increasing sales by making Vinevax’s packaging beautiful and clear.

It’s exciting.

The “before” image of Trichoseal Spray product data sheet. Trichoseal is the product name which Vinevax superseded.

In 2002 the Vinevax product naming, logo design and branding project was no exception. Agrimm Technology was an established biotechnology company, formed by two scientists from Canterbury University in 1984. Agrimm’s labs and specialist production facilities based in Lincoln, near Christchurch have grown to be a world leader in the development and manufacture of effective, safe and environmentally friendly biological or ‘living barrier’ plant protection products focussing on the Trichoderma family of beneficial fungi.

Around 2002 the results from independent field testing from a PhD study being conducted at Adelaide University proved that a formulation of their ‘Trichoseal’ wettable powder product for vines was a protective and a cost effective treatment against dieback disease. At this point Agrimm engaged the services of the tattoo studio who developed the exciting new product brand and positioning statement ‘Vinevax’, ‘Living barrier wound dressing for vines’. This marketing effort superseded the legacy product that had been sold, but effectively not marketed, under their Trichoprotection® quality mark.

I designed the new logo, system of product brochures, packaging system and trade advertising. The art direction emphasis on careful editing, photo composites and custom infographics demonstrating the product’s performance contributed to a project that turned out to be a tremendous sales and marketing success. Part of the creative thinking behind the branding theme art direction was to fully engage the strengths of the product and interest of the horticultural market by maximising the integration of colour and type, image and message. This was brought together in the conceptual A5 print brochures printed on quality medium weight board. The print is quality finished with metallic foil stamping of the logo symbol and spot overglossing of images.

These days I am well aware you want your branding and marketing communications to work hard. As hard as, let’s say, this Vinevax brochure does. So to see more proof just have a look around or call Shaun on;
+64 21 067 6176.
Or email him hello@magentadotbrands.com

The brand design rationale

A blend of the outstanding clarity and distinction of the new product name, and research into the client’s market, their competitors and the biology of commensalism (by which trichoderma behaves as a living-barrier to plant pathogens), plus extensive visual research lead to several design solutions. Our recommendation to the client in the presentation, is inspired by one of the intricate yet simple mathematical designs that are found in nature. One that is related to a certain mathematical sequence know as the Fibonacci series—as seen in the opposing spiral forms of flowers, pinecones and pineapples. Inspired by these natural forms the bold, clean dynamic new brand expresses at once a radiant shield-like energy, dynamic rotation and vigorous growth out from the centre.



Printer: Croft Print Limited
Design firm:
Account executive: tattoo
Copywriter: tattoo, including product naming
Creative director/design/print production: Shaun Waugh, Surface Active graphic design
Font credits: Barmeno, Garamond Condensed

Mr. Fungus logo & card: make a big impression at close range

Graphics must be purposeful

Recently returned to settle back in Wellington from the U.K. in 1991, having done his time entertaining Covent Garden and international festival audiences, Fergus Aitken was a busker, a young exponent of clowning, juggling, mime and the bizarre who needed a logo and a business stationery promotional kit to advertise and promote his comic mime character Mr Fungus. More broadly he needed to promote his availability for various performing arts roles and as a mime workshop teacher in community, school and tertiary education settings. The first project, a card, would be handed over personally or included in direct mail campaigns to various audiences, where it would be viewed mainly at very close range.

The brief for Mr. Fungus’s logo and business card: make big impression at close range

The solution was to design his two-sided card as two small posters to make a big impression at close range. Like a good poster the design of the Mr Fungus card is simple and bold. It connects quickly and releases its information easily. Words describe his capabilities, his genre, and convey the specifics necessary to enable communication. Words tell the viewer who, what, how and why. The design conveys comic theatrefarce, “Fungustic slaprobatics” and New Zealand’s loudest mime, and that Fergus excels in comedy light entertainment innovation and tradition.

The design approach: first evaluate the photos

I was given two black & white studio photos from Fergus’s archive, and a small amount of text. I wanted the images carry most of the design load, to do this I found their strengths and worked with the story they tell. The portrait of Mr Fungus in costume should convey the story, but it needed masking out from its background and rendering as a high contrast pen & ink illustration for its two focal points, his eyes/nerdy glasses and the polkadot bowtie to stand out as a strong centre of interest with real power. The key to the illustration is to make it big and simple, the key to composition was to centre his head in the poster, which is the strongest position and amplifies the power of the story in the expression on Mr Fungus’s face, which grabs our undivided attention.

Mr Fungus logo. Mr Fungus is a comic character "the world’s loudest mime” developed by Fergus Aitken

A comic character world famous in New Zealand as the world’s loudest mime


The Mr Fungus logo: design on the funny side

Sometimes a name and a graphic image go together well. The graphic pictured with the name, words and pictures together are stronger than words alone.  Because a logo has only a few elements to do the work, type plays a central role in the design, so I paid close attention to the style and setting out of the handlettering.  The style of the subject, the comic slapstick character of Mr Fungus was best conveyed in a warm idiosyncratic handwriting of the name in an informal, irregular slab-serif typewriter style font. These are the earmarks of a human handlettering and along with the messy inksplatter marks they echo the random funny quirks of the comedy in Mr Fungus’s work.

Fergus Aitken, alias Mr Fungus, dresses up in funny clothes and clowns around for a living.

The small supporting details of the ink spots in the corners to guide the eyes around the contact information completes the small poster.

His face and costume tells a story and by illustrating it in high contrast with the background masked out the image is transformed into one with real power. The key to audience engagement with the Mr Fungus character is to make it simple, and make it big.

This absurdist concept makes a big impression, while the goal of the type is communication, so it is designed for the reader.

©magentadot brands

MTC 2015 launch catalogue

MTC_logo_greys_256Once a mainstay of the graphic design business, nowadays print brochures are more the rarity but my fascination with ink on paper is perennial. I was inspired by the opportunity to create a small company launch and product catalogue brochure for MTC Equipment, that is short and to the point.

This 2016 launch brochure and product catalogue announces to MTC’s market news of the firm’s rename, rebrand, website and their exciting new Chieftain distributorship by showcasing their broad new range of products in an engaging, 12-page A4 format.


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Printer: BrightPrint Limited
Client / MagentaDot Brands collab.
Font credits: Defense, Futura, Futura Condensed, Impact

Showcase of MTC Equipment online catalogue website. The three pages portrayed are the homepage, a catalogue overview page and the Ejector Trailer catalogue item page. The three key elements to the responsive online catalogue’s ease of use.

MTC Equipment website

The MTC Equipment’s rename and rebrand project included designing their new logo and identity system, the design and populating of their catalogue website , and creating a direct mail brand launch and product catalogue.

It was a great opportunity to work with an established family company, formerly Murray Tractor Company, to implement a rename, rebrand, and repositioning their new business as import agents of Chieftain Trailers of Ireland in the New Zealand, and Australasian regional  markets.

The new brand identity

The “M” monogram along with the company name forms a cohesive signature. The colour scheme of the logo, the corporate look of symbol and text block matched the brief to implement an evolutionary improvement upon the successful attributes of the legacy Murray Tractors’ logo, not replace it. More on the identity system below.


The online catalogue website is instrumental to brand launch and success going forward

Their catalogue website is instrumental to the success of MTC Equipment selling their range of Chieftain transport trailers, other product lines, plus spare parts and after sales service.

But there is more to an impressive online catalogue than a collection of colourful pages. An effective online catalogue is a 24-hours-a-day selling machine to the domestic, Australasian and global markets. It is a website that is as effective as their leading salesperson, as knowledgeable as their top buyer and as organised as their best office administrator. The website captures online everything that is good about MTC Equipment’s business.

Built to order, MTC’s trailer designs offer a complex of optional extras and custom design parameters—all of which is easily accessible and easily understood.

From a web designer’s perspective, this requires an extensive graphic design and programming background. My experience and creativity in collaboration with that of the team at Dynamic Multimedia/DMM, built an effective catalogue website under my Art Direction and hands-on production effort to get to the final result.

A user-friendly online catalogue “Chunks” information when users are required to recall information

At the individual product “item” page level, by “chunking” complex information the catalogue item pages are simplified. So when problem solving by comparing one product with another users are best able to recall and retain information they need. This is required to attract customers and visitors.

The ordering process is well-integrated with the product detail pages making the shopping and ordering process easier. This ease of use requires careful planning and advanced web design, but it is essential to retain site visitors and encourage them to return. If you are ready to start on a catalogue web design project contact me here.


Versatile MTC symbol

A white glazed ceramic mug with the MTC logo tyre tread pattern graphic wrapped around it.

The MTC logo tyre tread pattern graphic is a strong and versatile brand asset.

The MTC “M” Monogram stands alone and as the key repeating element of a graphical truck tyre tread pattern. This versatile illustrative brand asset stands strong when rendered with a gritty industrial look, true to the rugged, hard-working character of MTC’s products and their markets.

A set of stationery items and forms, a 12 page printed launch catalogue, and a print advertising campaign placed in various trade publications completed the launch package.


Copywriter: Client / MagentaDot Brands
Printer: BrightPrint Limited
Web Design: MagentaDot Brands
Web development: DMM
Font credits: Defense, Futura, Futura Condensed, Impact

©magentadot brands

Design a beautiful logo & website for KittyCat Rehoming

Design eye appeal is only one factor in the logo design equation. A useful logo for KittyCat Rehoming Wairarapa requires concept, great execution, and most of all, clear thinking.

How do I increase the eye appeal of my KittyCat Rehoming logo?

Use a picture, especially of a cat, or use more pictures, say an icon that is immediately recognised as a home. People relate to pictures of familiar things like cats instantly.

How do I increase the eye appeal of my KittyCat Rehoming logo? Use a picture in a way that involves the viewers eyes and their mind to perceive and process their visual input to complete it. A closed shape of a cat or a house, complete and stable, can be boring. An open shape is an invitation to become involved.

And while I am working with the pictures, sketching up the vector artwork for the presentation, I put a lot of thought into the best positioning statement to go with KittyCat Rehoming. KittyCat Rehoming which has the benefit of a name for the organisation that really requires no further explanation. Is there anything to add to that name that would support it, make it better by making it more appealing? A good positioning statement or tagline under the logo will be absorbed.

Then, after design and form there’s the matter of colour to consider, study and prove by testing because excellence comes through curiosity and discovery, it doesn’t come at the press of a key.

With no typographic contrast between ‘KittyCat” and ‘Rehoming’, an appealing colour combination is the only way to separate the logo words for easy reading.

Developing the colour theme for the logo in the design development and conceptualising stage is a demonstration of the method I use called “proof of concept.

KittyCat Rehoming’s logo aims to stir a specific feeling. That was a difficult undertaking that was achieved by a process of careful consultation with the client that together we succeeded in achieving.

It is my job as a designer job not simply to arrange elements aesthetically—as one would arrange flowers—but to organise information and spark interest from the audience.

KittyCat Rehoming logo design process

The first step in this project was adapting the business world’s most popular look to work for a not for profit community service organisation and to head up their brand new website.

Cropping this cat image from its photographic frame, changes it from a static block into an organic form and allows the readers eye to move outward into the space. The silhouette and jewel like eyes create a focal point, while her off-the-edge cropping, peaking around a corner appears timid and suggests that the rest the cat is there just beyond our view.

For a logo to work well on the web it needs to be bold, clean, uncluttered and impressive.

The basic logo business system consists of business card, website header and letterhead. It can be expanded to include any number of items: envelopes, mailing labels, packaging, signage, with-compliments slips.

This look can be used for all of it. At its core is the KittyCat rehoming logo or “mark” and a separate block of text.

Starting with the logo

Creating a unique KittyCat Rehoming mark is an art, an exercise in distilling a complex cloud of possible ideas—the humane and charitable rehoming service, the attitudes and experience of the trustees and founders of the service—to its simplest, most direct expression, an image that can be recognised and understood at a glance. The symbolic logo images presented were manually traced into vector format from google image searches and reviewing literally hundreds of photos of cats and houses then filtering those down to final few that are most recognisable and readily understood.

Set name’s text a separate block, trial a shortlist of several candidate typefaces

An important part of the clean, uncluttered look is the name set in a text block, that has the flexibility of either being kept either separate or in close proximity to the mark.


The design of the KittyCat Rehoming website makes the cats for rehoming the heroes of the page

The website in its first iteration is a parallax scrolling single page website where the gallery of cats who are up for adoption are presented in a tiled mosaic of named portraits and a bullet point bio, where further information on the individual cat’s back story is available by drilling down to each one’s individual gallery. So strictly speaking not all of the content is available on one page.

Take a look



Web design/project management: MagentaDot Brands
Website content writing: Client
Content upload/site content management: MagentaDot Brands
Back-end support, front-end collab., project management support: nuweb designs

©magentadot brands

Attractive & useful website for Doctors on Luckens

This quality family doctor’s website for his brand new general practice in multi-cultural West Auckland features the key selections of the practice’s specialities. The website content is in complete alignment with local District Health Board and nationwide Health department public health programmes and initiatives.

The content of the site is structured with the underlying principle in mind to better help Dr Fred’s patients. That public service goal is absolutely number one, with user friendly features like online new patient registration, the ability to initiate the setting of appointments, and multilingual translation one click away across all internet portals.

The site is not merely beautiful, the articles written by Dr Fred are humane, friendly and encouraging gateways to the practice website. As part of our web design service I collaborated with Dr Fred to write the bulk of the content about Doctors on Luckens services that align with the DHB and Health department’s baseline public health requirements for general practices.

Doctors on Luckens website supports the growth of Dr Fred’s new practice and stand out in a competitive West Auckland market.

Call us to find out how we can help you take your practice to the next level.

Take a look


Web design/project management: MagentaDot Brands
Website content writing: Client/MagentaDot Brands collab.
Content upload/site content management:MagentaDot Brands
Back-end support, front-end collab., project management support: nuweb designs

©magentadot brands