Brand and Visual Identity for Saint Leone, a design studio founded by a proud Sierra Leonean creative and inspired by her West African heritage.
As a child, my parents told me one of many stories of how our country’s name came to be.
Stories of how a Portuguese explorer arrived upon its shores met by thunderous storms over the mountainous peninsula which sounded like the roar of a lion.
It was through this connection that the name Serra Leoa, Portuguese for Lion Mountains, arose. A name that was gradually adapted and misspelled to its current name, Sierra Leone.
Saint Leone draws inspiration from this name.
The Saint and the Lion.
Though the logo draws obvious inspiration from Versace's, it is not the sole source.
A lioness sculpture was depicted to honor the original feminine connotation of Leoa which Leone draws its name from, as well as the founders affinity with the strength of womanhood.
The background pattern mimicked a medieval halo often used in paintings to signify sainthood and divinity to truly portray the lioness as a saint.
To develop the lioness' halo, the founder's roots as a West African Muslim were further explored. The prevalence of the religious context of the brand offered the perfect opportunity to delve into this connection.
Through researching Islamic Geometric Patterns (a centuries old Islamic decorative technique which avoids figurative imagery in favor of repeated and interlacing shapes) a myriad of designs were tested until one was chosen.
The Leoa serif typeface, based on the logo, was developed and customized for the Saint Leone brand.