Someone comes to you wanting just a logo. Where do you start?
If they don't know already, I start by explaining that they'll need more than just a logo. My job is to develop a visual language that makes sense to people. And because a brand needs to exist in lots of different ways, mostly what I design are identity systems. A logo is just one part of an identity system – I create a whole system so our clients can walk away with the tools they need.
So how do you know when you've arrived at the right idea for a brand?
For us, it's any emotional link that allows us to test raw ideas quickly. If we can show that the concept extends well, we know we've made the right connection.
Do brands have a shelf life?
Like people, it's good for brands to evolve. Imagine if we didn't change a single thing about ourselves. How would we grow? Brands are the same, which is why we create branding systems that can adapt to their time. We try to build in enough elasticity so that when customers move in a new direction, their brand isn't left behind – or on the shelf.
What's your creative process?
I like to have an overall plan for how we work, but I don't have a set process. Every client is different with unique challenges and needs. For us, staying open, being flexible and getting to know the people we're designing for is critical in making sure the end result is fresh.
What happens after you propose a brand identity?
The other part of my job kicks in; getting the brand in use. Often that's the biggest part of my job; helping an individual, a group or a whole corporation to see where their brand can go.
So the logo isn’t the end game?
Not for us. Brands need to connect with people in a meaningful way. We're here to help them do that.
So what's the magic ingredient in brand design?
It's about finding a shared set of values and goals. To bring people from mixed backgrounds and beliefs together, you need to create visible reminders of a common identity, where people genuinely believe that despite their differences they are, collectively, part of something special. That's what I find most satisfying about my job; creating something of value, that lives on with more meaning and relevance for people each year.