Using Mind Maps to Provide Creative Direction

03.29.2010 / Author: David Ansett

The thing about brand design is that it brings with it a communication imperative. We are a creative brand agency providing brand strategy and design to clients across almost every conceivable market. Our methodology is built-upon the belief that the role of brand is to serve the business. It then follows that the role of design is to deliver the promise of the brand. Many designers see this approach as unnecessarily restrictive, we we see it as not just completely necessary, but also the launching pad for unrestricted design with purpose.

The primary demand we place on our brand identity design is that the solution must communicate both the brand proposition and the brand personality to the market — something a solution of style alone can never achieve. Whilst the defined brand personality drives the style dimension of the design, the conceptual message provides the cues for communicating the brand proposition.

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Creative Process Study 06

03.29.2010 / Project: Intralytix

John McHugh

During the episode entitled “The Second Coming,” in the final season of the Sopranos, Anthony Jr., deep in the throws of depression and disaffected with the world, rants to his family at dinner about the food being unsafe because the FDA is allowing companies to spray viruses onto food to combat bacteria.

While much of the sopranos was fictional, AJ’s outburst was actually founded on semi-recent developments. Earlier that year, Intralytix, a Baltimore company that manufactures phage-based products to kill bacteria on food, had been given the green light by the FDA for one of their lines of phage-based food safety products.

I was approached by Intralytix because they had decided it was time to attend to their brand, which had been pretty much an afterthought up until that point. There was no clear visual identity. Employees had home-made business cards with different iterations of logos and colors. It was clear that given the public scrutiny they were receiving coupled with the desire to grow, they needed to develop a viable brand.

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How do you prevent scope creep when a client can not make up their minds or articulate what they really want?

03.29.2010 / Question submitted by: Andrea Cutler

John McHugh:

Most corporate identity or branding initiatives have a great deal to do with change, both personal and professional. If this is a new brand, has the client forsaken a steady paycheck to launch their dream business? If this is a rebrand, is the new CMO on the hot-seat to revive the business and get results? Whether embarking on a rebrand, or developing a new brand altogether, chances are you have caught the client at a time when they are under a great deal of pressure stemming from change. Part of your job as a designer is to serve as their steadfast guide through the entire process. Being sympathetic to the client’s position can really go along way here.

Jointly defining the scope of the project from the outset is critical. I like to discuss a client’s needs and concerns at the first meeting. I then follow up with another meeting and walk them through a previous project I worked on that was similar in scope. I find that most of my clients have had very limited, if any, interaction with a designer before. Simply showing and explaining the process to them can be a real eye opener, for both parties. This shows them what to expect.

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Do Clients Deserve the Blame?

03.15.2010 / Author: Steve Zelle

We blame clients too often. We blame them for not having an understanding of what we do as designers. We blame them for not meeting deadlines, and for being upset with additional charges. We blame them when a project doesn’t come together as we had hoped, and we blame them for not providing a clear budget. I am guilty of each of these thoughts from time to time but the reality is the client is my responsibility and sometimes I forget that.

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What techniques or processes do you use to open a client’s mind to broader, more innovative, or unconventional ways of seeing or thinking about their business, products, messages, or identity?

03.15.2010 / Question submitted by: Studio Junglecat

Andrea Cutler:

In a word “samples” (a.k.a. SWIPE) a picture is worth 1000 words. I like to inform my clients thinking by showing design work and solutions that are outside the box of the conventional. Whether it’s my own design or examples of clever promotion done by other designers — in annuals etc, I get the client to start thinking about solutions to promote their brand that exceed the average norm. I love brain-storming with them about various solutions and even have a “client punch list” that I offer to get them thinking about their identity and voice in the marketplace. It is helpful to define the brand and target audience. It lists 10 questions to steer conversation and creative efforts. You would be surprised how many clients don’t consider these basic premises before they hire a designer to help brand them.
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Creative Process Study 05

03.15.2010 / Project: Tok Tok Mee

Andrea Cutler

Based on an eclectic array of influences, the task was to collaborate with the owners to help determine naming convention, overall brand positioning and design an identity system for a new, Asian/Malaysian inspired eatery and retail shop.

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