Tag Archives: branding

Great work from Northampton based designer Chris Henley

Latest addition to the Design section of Creative Links here at BeyondM25 is Nothampton based freelance Designer & Art Director Chris Henley.

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Over at his portfolio site, 24exp, you can see a lot more of Chris’ multi dicipline talents on display including some cracking self-initiated projects such as his Little Black Book where he shares some of his photographic encounters in a stunning photo album.

Discovery KIDS branding

Really like the packaging work for Discovery KIDS by Californian branding studio Mattson Creative. Think its got great energy about it and should appeal to the audience perfectly.

I mean this branding combined with products such as ‘Night Vision Goggles’ and a tornado maker I think they are onto a winner

The Art of Interviewing Your Client

Found this really great article over on Logo Design Love the other day.
It’s by a guest contributor Tim Lapetino (of US branding agency Hexanine) and he starts a fantastic conversation about the things we should be doing as logo designers/branding agencies with regards to getting the information we need out of clients to help formulate the best possible brief before starting work on any identity projects.

For designers, it’s never enough to merely follow the design brief a client gives you. In identity design, we view our projects as opportunities to dig deep, mining the best parts of an organization to get at the heart of what makes each client unique. It’s these nuggets that are essential when attempting to distill a company’s essence into a logo.

Gathering these insights requires a crucial bit of give-and-take — not as easy as it sounds. Like being a good investigative reporter, a great designer is dogged and determined, yet pleasant, empathetic, and challenging. I’ve come to believe that the best creatives are equal parts artist, therapist, and journalist: generating ideas, giving and receiving feedback, and communicating the results well.

The client interview (which is a part of the larger creative brief) is a necessary piece of every successful project. This is especially true when crafting identity systems, as few projects hinge so directly on the ability to listen, ask questions, and process the answers. The info a designer gathers will be boiled-down (hopefully) into a single sentence that guides all design decisions throughout the process.

Whether this interviewing process happens in-person (the most effective), on the phone, or via Skype, getting a client to talk freely and helpfully about their organization is more art than science. So here are a handful of ways to get the best from this mutual exploration with your client.

It’s about listening

As obvious as it sounds, few people are truly great listeners. The words that one person utters may mean something vastly different another. Without realizing it, most of us get distracted, focus on what we’ll say next, or add our own feelings and associations to what we hear.

Use “active listening skills” to avoid such communication breakdown.

Often employed in counseling settings, this is a simple process of rephrasing another person’s words as a clarifying question, in order to develop more accurate understanding. After you rephrase an important point, the client has the opportunity to make corrections or clarifications. An example might look like this:

Client: “We really want our new logo to be bold and attention-grabbing.”

Designer: “So, it sounds like you want this logo to have bright, strong colors to catch the eye. Is that right?”

Client: “Well, not necessarily. I guess what I really meant is that I’d like it to stand out within our industry.”

Ask the right questions

As you listen, be on the lookout for key words and phrases. What are the main goals of the project? Are there points your client keeps repeating? Those are probably important. As you gather data, ask yourself questions about what you’ve heard. What is the narrative thread of the organization? Is there some story or big picture that emerges from everything you’ve gathered? Is there a way to tell this story using metaphors and symbols that could make their way into your designs?

Be sure to get these crucial questions answered. Start by covering the elements of any good design brief (goals, audience, parameters, content needs, etc.) and then venture into the more intangible aspects like feelings, emotions, “personality” of the company, and the like. But remain focused on your goal. Guiding an interviewee isn’t about confirming your own beliefs or agenda, but truly seeking to get at the story of the organization.

“True contentment comes with empathy.”

Finally, any interviewer worth their salt needs to step into the client’s shoes. How do things look from the other side of the table? Seek to see the person as they see themselves — crucial when you’re trying to translate an organization’s essence into something visual. It’s essential to find out what drives your client and their company.

What is their reason for being? How will you take that mission and turn it into a great mark or identity system?

Only by asking and answering these questions will you be able to find out.

If you’re not already a follower of the Logo Design Love blog, I can’t recommend it enough. I regularly find top quality posts on there such as the above that can only help develop skills and improve my ability as a designer.

Check it out at Logo Design Love

Boxer Creative

Landing 16th in Design Week top 100 is no mean feat and that is exactly what Birmingham based brand consultancy Boxer have done (see others ‘Beyond the M25’ that have made it here). With work such as this in their bag you can see why.

They have a fine portfolio of great work for top clients and I love the way they tell the story in each of their case studies.

Congratulations Boxer!

Graphic design by James Newcombe of Newco81

The latest addition to our creative links section under design is Oxfordshire based James Newcombe of graphic design studio Newco81.

He has a fantastic amount of clean structured layout skills in his armoury aswell as an array of talent when it comes to identity work. Also on display in his portfolio you can see his photographic and web work, well worth a look…

If nothing else you have to check out his stunning self-initiated project Process: Decay

Having established a grid and rules, this piece was created by rolling a pair of dice to choose colours from a set palette. After a certain number of rows were completed, the palette starts to decay – as colours start to become the same as the background hue. This introduces interesting areas of space and contrast to the piece.

Find out more on his blog at Design+Photo+Create

Bonfire Creative Intelligence

The second design agency to go in the BeyondM25 Creative Links section are Bonfire Creative Intelligence who are  a branding and design consultancy based in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

An array of case studies feature on their site display full service talent to be proud of.

Check them out at www.bonfireci.com