Someone comes to you wanting a logo. Where do you start?
I start by explaining their brand is bigger than their logo. Really my job is developing a visual language that makes sense to people. And because a brand needs to exist in many different ways, mostly what I design are identity systems. A logo is one part of an identity system – I create a whole system so that clients can walk away with the tools they need.
So how do you know when you’ve arrived at the right idea?
Great ideas have this inherent quality that feels true. This type of emotional link helps to test any raw ideas we have, so that we can develop them into more meaningful expressions. I’m experimental by nature, so it’s fun to push an idea as far as it can go. For me that’s the key – conceptualising all the different ways people can experience a brand. If the idea extends well, I know we've made the right connection.
Do brands have a shelf life?
It depends on the brand. Like people, it's good for brands to evolve. Imagine if we didn't change a single thing in our lives – how would we grow? It’s important to make something that can be adapted to its time. You want to build in enough elasticity so when customers move in a new direction your brand isn’t left behind.
What’s your creative process?
I have an overall plan for how I work. It's part strategic and part intuitive. It's iterative and highly collaborative. And it's a process where all kinds of ideas and information are allowed to collide and combine in a way that feels more three dimensional than linear; like a dance between thinking, making and testing. At Brandsome, we're not afraid of the kind of chaotic teamwork that can drive innovative brand design; we believe that inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone, and we always look for ways to improve and refine.
What happens after you propose a brand identity?
The other part of my job kicks in: getting the brand in use. Sometimes that’s the biggest part of the job, helping an individual, a group or a whole corporation to see where their brand can go. It takes time before a new brand identity or brand elements are rolled out completely. I’m here to help brands do that in a thoughtful way.
So the logo isn’t the end game?
Creating a logo is never the hard part of the job, at least not for me. It's persuading lots of people to engage that is.
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, together, 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.