Tony Naqvi
Experience Design

Turning passion for aquatic sports into leadership potential


Brand & Interior Design

A rep to protect

We designers often like to moan about how bad some clients are, but truth be told, there are some who give has good as they get (and i'm talking about designers here).

As much as we're trusting them to give us what we need to do our work, pay our invoices on time etc., they're gambling on us to come up with the goods, to a high standard, and for a price they can afford (with no surprise hidden costs). They're putting their businesses and livelihoods at risk just as much as we are.

Sadly, as with most industries, there are quite a few cowboys out there posing as kings, that will ruin the reputation and trust of the industry for the rest of us, as well as the organisations they're working for.

And such was the experience for Wave, a newly established Olympic-class swim academy that was looking for a design agency to come in and help with their brand and interior design.

Their CEO Reinhardt had suffered through a number of dodgy, unprofessional, unreliable, over-priced agencies ("god, they were shit" was his assessment) before he finally found to me through a mutual close friend.

It didn't capture the energy and dynamic he wanted to convey

Although Wave already had a visual identity design (I use that term rather loosely in this case), it had been foisted upon Reinhardt by Wave's parent company, and he wasn't entirely convinced it quite matched his vision and ambition for the academy.

He wanted a more robust and sophisticated identity design - in other words he wanted it done properly.

Similarly, although the interior fit out of the swim academy had already been completed, to his eyes it still didn't capture the energy and dynamic he wanted to convey.

His efforts to remedy all of this with a number of 'agencies' had left him out of pocket and with little for show for it. He was understandably pissed off. Unfortunately things weren't about to get any better.

Stress relief

The first thing I did when taking on the project was do a review of the existing identity design, and a site recce to survey the interior installation.

The bad news for Wave was that the logo they had been dumped with had come straight out of a stock library (yep, one of those brazen, lazy, and unscrupulous 'agencies'), the graphic design looked like it had come straight from Fiverr for a fiver, there was no interior or exterior signage or wayfinding, the interior colour scheme didn't match the brand colours, and merch either had no logo, the wrong font, the wrong colour, or a combination of all three.

There was however some good new for them - I could fix everything. Of course.

The logo they had been dumped with had come straight out of a stock library

To ease Reinhardt's worries, I took him step-by-step through a comprehensive plan for re-designing the brand identity and interior and exterior, with a structured and affordable payment plan with review stages to ensure he was completely satisfied before we continued forward.

What actually convinced him I was the man for the job was, whilst taking him through some of my previous work, we came across a project where I had created some bespoke, original art portraits for an independent singer/songwriter's album covers. Reinhardt loved them, and he asked if I could do something similar for Wave.

Why of course good sir. Handshake, done deal.

In the deep end

To avoid the obvious and tiresome cliché's associated with water, waves, swimming, etc. I opted for a logotype - something simple, elegant, but eye-catching and timeless.

Inspiration came as I was thinking about how committed, self-sacrificing and disciplined - how regimental you need to be to become a world-class athlete, which led me to looking at military insignia. The variations of stripes and chevrons are what eventually influenced the logo design, whilst the signature slanted line that is the brand identifier is taken from the dramatic change in depth in swimming pools - a subtle reminder this is serious business.

A subtle reminder that this is serious business

The weight of the signature line also informed the iconography for the wayfinding and signage system that I design - giving the whole identity an integrated and cohesive look and feel.

As always, I built out a layout grid, developed guidelines for identity implementation, and provided templates for social media comms, and a website one-pager that delivers a concise and interactive brand and service presentation in a neat and tidy package.

An additional element (that actually came much later) was the design of Wave's digital signage system, where the art pieces (i'm coming to those in just a sec) were brought to life in glorious 2D animation - a satisfying finishing touch.

State of art

The jewel in the crown (if I may say so) at Wave has to be the towering art pieces I created for the interior walls.

Composed of abstract figure performing various swim techniques, they dominate your view everywhere you look, and set the tone for your experience at the academy.

I created eight original pieces in all, and each tells a particular story. So for example covering the walls of the two pools are two enormous pieces that symbolise the journey from amateur to professional.

The exterior facade is dominated by a composition of a swimmer emerging from the water - it commands attention.

The final result is an experience unlike any other swim academy - one that leaves a lasting impression and never fails to garner praise and accolades.

It has also had a significant impact on my work; I've had more referrals via this project than any other project I've done. Ever.

More projects.



Let's Connect!