© 2020 Toby Clark - Red Sheepdog Whistle, GrandJack 1977.

Toby etc. is a bespoke ideas company.

An established clothing designer and brand strategist, Toby Clark leads unique projects for international brands, working alongside respected opinion formers. Toby believes in doing things slowly with crafted care, championing a commitment to quality, underlined with a sense of purpose.

The studio is guided by uberrima fides, the latin term meaning ‘of utmost good faith’. Honesty and integrity are key values of authentic brands and this develops into strategic armoury when building brand culture and brand reputation.

Toby’s intrinsic approach is to avoid cutting corners or consider cheap solutions, preferring to undertake detailed observation with wide reaching research for all projects. This enables him to work closely alongside his clients, creating beautifully crafted products that attract loyal and discerning followers.

Toby’s vintage sheepdog whistle is the perfect symbol to represent the ethos, identity and brand values for Toby etc.

“My little red sheepdog whistle was given to me in 1978 by my NZ grandfather Jack Ramsden, a well respected farmer and sheepdog trialer.

As young kids, he taught my brother David and I, how to blow the whistle, while ‘Star’ his champion sheepdog, tracked a flock of sheep on the distant hilltops. The skill, coordination and loyalty between man and dog really blew my mind. I love how a small whistle instrument can send detailed signals to a far away to an attentive loyal hard working sheepdog and the process represent a lifetime’s skill and knowledge.”

When conceiving the brand identity for ‘Toby etc.’, Toby felt it was important to to collaborate with a true craftsman of letterforms and logotype. Mr Smith’s Letterpress in Kennington, London is run by the talented Kelvyn Laurence Smith.

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“I first encountered Kelvyn operating a letterpress at The New Craftsmen exhibition in Somerset House. He was printing alliteration art, with a mug of coffee in hand and whistling away. He looked very content and I was intrigued by his approach to font, type and letterforms. The embodiment of an artisanal master-craftsmen.

From my own observations, branding is often distorted by the wag of a dog’s tail, rather than the character of the dog itself. So I wanted to commission an artist and practitioner of three-dimensional letterforms, with a real ‘hands-on’ approach. As in a traditional foundry, rather than appointing a digital brand studio. As often 21st Century creatives are absorbed by flat digital screens. Kelvyn proved to be the perfect foil.

‘Toby etc.’ personifies a personal touch and the design identity was conceived with a certain Englishness and sense of simplicity. Even though Toby is definitely Welsh. The size and position of the full-stop after ‘etc.’ was pondered over for some time. This was nourished with strong coffee and Maree’s homemade brownies. Kelvyn prepared a small collection of beautifully rendered test prints and Clarendon was chosen as the ideal logotype.

This particular font was created by Robert Besley in London in 1845 at Fann Street Foundry. It was the world’s first patented typeface and became popular in many parts of the world, especially in display applications such as posters, printed with wooden type.

The brand identity for ‘Toby etc’ was concluded through this digital website which Mr. Smith conceived as a simple grid of squares to function intuitively for the end user.”

smithsrules.com