Before any contract is signed, any design program is opened, any dollar sign is seen, a conversation must take place between a designer/design firm and the potential client. You must have a love of these deep conversations because they are where relationships are established and much is learned.
Currently showcased in my portfolio is a visual brand identity project known as HOTEL REIGN. The project taught me, as each one does, just how involved and all-inclusive the term “brand” really is.
When I am approached to create a visual identity for a brand, I must first research the market it resides in. Each market, each type of business, comes with its own challenges, goals, and requirements. The hotel and hospitality market is particularly interesting to me because of the service and experience it provides for people. Hotels across the country invest a lot in their visual brand. The reasoning behind their investment speaks to the essence of “branding” itself. You can apply these general concepts/goals to your creative work, regardless of area of focus.
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal known as the Adobe Creative Cloud. It was the first Adobe program I ever used and I still use it a lot for various projects. The more I used it, the more I learn how to maximize my efficiency in the program. If you want to do your best job in Photoshop (or any design program) with minimal frustrations, do as much prep as possible.
Fundraising is a necessary practice for band programs across the country, especially those that see their budgets dwindling. Programs that see success in fundraising translate the interest they have gained from performances into donations. Investing in brand building and communication is the best way to reach potential donors. If you want to fundraise with any success in 2016 and beyond, you need to invest in your logo(s), visual brand identity, social media, and overall communication strategy. Capitalizing on the power of your brand and communicating with clarity maximizes the effect of your effort.
For second year in a row, I participated in #The100DayProject with Elle Luna & The Great Discontent. The project simply involves choosing an action you will perform for 100 days and sharing it each day on your Instagram. Last year, I made 100 logos for fictional places in TV, movies, literature, etc. This year, I embarked on the ambitious plan to produce daily Instagram videos (1 minute – once I got the update on my phone) giving insights about my craft and my process. Some videos were logo case studies. Some were tips on social media, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Others focused on my thoughts on the importance of branding, design, and creativity.
From July 14-18, I was in Las Vegas to participate in the Evolution Championship Series (“EVO”), the largest and longest-running fighting video game tournaments in the world. For years, I dreamed of being at this event live and in person. It was an outstanding and, at times, surreal experience. The visual presentation and the atmosphere created added to my overall experience. And that is what an event (and branding, in general) is all about.
I am a lover of the visual medium. As a graphic designer, I enjoy seeing great visuals and designing work that others will enjoy. When you are trying to tell your story, you want to create content that attracts the right eyes and inspires the owners of those eyes to share your content. Video content is the best way to accomplish your goals.
Every logo you’ve ever seen started with a series of questions being answered about its purpose and the entity it represents. Research is highly important to properly design anything. No sense creating before you know why you are creating. For example, a lot of college logos pull from the essential visual cues found on the campus of the institution itself. You have research and observe to know what makes the entity you are designing for unique. What is the main identifier? When I see THIS, I think of THIS! Know the message or image you want to communicate through the logo. Learn the market and the audience that will see the results of this project. Your knowledge of the brand combined with your creative skillset will yield great results if you put in the work ahead of time. Have the conversations and delve deep into the thought process of those who are approaching you to work on this project.
Sitting in a coffee shop with tunes from my favorite “zone out” playlist playing through my headphones, I sketch away in my graph composition book. I am loving life. Sketching is an absolute must. This pencil and paper record of all the ideas is a visual record of the evolution in my design thinking. Concept discovery is such an important stage for your development. You avoid a lot of future frustration by putting in as much work as possible in your sketchbook.
Some of the most powerful logos are the most simplistic in nature. McDonalds, Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola are all worldwide brands that are recognized around the world. The execution of the brand message combined with the relative simplicity of the logo makes it easy to inhabit the consumer mind. The amount of people that have your logo memorized is an indication of your brand’s reach. (I touch on this in Episode 49 of my Instagram video series, Touch of Gold. Hehe. I see what I did there.)
I’m a fan of minimalistic logos that manage to convey a concept’s message with no filler. They are also easily reproduced on various products at various sizes. These logos can be more easily memorable and more subtle in communication. It doesn’t demand too much attention (or confusion) and acts as your stamp of authentication.