Tale of the Acacia Tree

My design career days finally arrived, its been a while doing design for myself. Personal projects, learning new skills everyday, watching other designers and aspiring to be more and more that what I was. I had self-confidence all along, luckily. Which sped me into landing my first client, well without even knowing.


So I was an intern at a very reputable law firm, as a university graduate in Commerce, one could quickly wonder what I was doing there at first place. I had just interned for a few months on Administration & Human Resources, and my stay was quite overdue.

Anyway, this one time my boss had a client registering a new real estate company. My boss knew of my creative side, we had a very easy working relationship based on understanding one’s abilities and opportunities.

I guess I was somewhat free to express my creative side and get supported as well. In fact, she recommended the client to me for branding. Well, for once I thought I wasn’t ready, but felt the need to prove myself worthy of what seemed to be a sign of a ‘side project’ to a potential career.

Client: Maisha Estates, Based in: Arusha, Tanzania, Project type: Branding, Date: Mid 2013

The logo contains an Acacia tree, which a number of them are found on the estates, unique to its surroundings.

The Concepts

I teamed up with a creative colleague from the firm’s IT department, we organized a mini consultation with the client. The core reason was to at least get ‘a story’ — if there was one of course.

Maisha Estates are situated on a piece of land near Usa River away from the city, on one side bounded by a river, with scenic views of Mount Meru, surrounded by rich vegetation. The area is quite serene and calm, it makes the city feel like a thousand miles away. Acacia trees present here create a savannah-like look & feel.

From the summarised story above, I needed a symbol. I chose the Acacia tree. Why? because the trees were the most prominent features that actually give a unique ambiance to the area.

Just, beautiful!

Acacia trees are great when you want to simulate an African Safari-like ambiance, or a summer getaway in the wild, all these are imageries of a ‘serene’ and ideal place for a nice, calm place to hide away from the hustle and bustle. Read more about these beautiful trees below.

‘Serene Living’ became a tagline.

The Design Process.

For some reasons I do not know, I lost the sketches we did. What a design crime. Anyway, we did a few doodling and sketching (technically doodling, LOL) and we came up with one design — I dont remember presenting an extra one but all I know is, we made the winning one right on.

The client loved the logo. Here’s one thing I don’t believe about giving out several options especially on logo design:

Clients really don’t need a collection of confusing options to convince them or give them the benefit of choice. As a designer, they pay you to conceptualize and design solutions to a problem. I don’t think they pay you to ask them for opinions.

But at some point, they (or most) of them may expect variety. So to avoid questions like: “is that all..?”, “are there options?”- create ‘directions’ instead. Directions can be similar to options, depending on how you treat them. They carry the overall moods & emotions, styles & characteristics. They can be easier to delight a client with more than just options. Create 2 to 3 directions of the same design, with slight variations, throw in images, colors, typography and more for each. When clients see these, they get to see more of the picture and have more to decide from.

So yeah, our one and only option was it.


This was a very minimalistic project, and we wanted to use as clean and scarce graphics as possible. We had silhouettes of the acacia tree from the logo as an item of focus for some pieces.

Colors were earthy and aligned to nature. From brown to beige, forest green and ‘safari green’ (True Olive/Dark Olive). Using the Acacia image above, you can see an example of colors always found on such surroundings. Below it, are more refined colors.

The Collateral.

Stationery and all the items under corporate identity were highly minimalistic. The idea came from the nature of the company itself. The location of it’s estates reinforce a luxury style living. Exclusivity wasn’t an option for this silent company.

The Wrap up.

When this was finally done? It was euphoric. I did it. I believed in myself more than ever. I believed I was gonna do way better. I outdid myself. Yes. And from that day, a month later, I went on to become a designer and started developing Ianiverse Concepts one day at a time.

That was my first, commercial project.

More images here on Behance.

See you on the next one.

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March 10, 2019 at 1:03 pm


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