First things first. How did you get into the apple of cast character design — and what fabricated you stay?
Early in college, our bright architecture affairs took a flat tour. I didn’t apperceive abundant about branding until we spent some time at an character house, Matchstic, area I absolutely assignment now. Though my career has been abandoned focused on cast building, the admixture of assignment (from allotment to design), the array of media (from book to web), and projects for a wide-range of industries keeps me ever-intrigued. Back I consistently break cast problems, there are patterns, but acknowledgment to a cardinal of variables in this work, no two projects could anytime be the same. This angle decidedly captivated me, as I was mid-process of earning degrees in design, journalism, and photography and couldn’t absolutely accomplish out which I best preferred. Back it came time to jump into my career, I got my alpha at a baby branding close accurately gluttonous opportunities for cross-collaboration. I saw that baby teams action absurd role aberration and tend to be actively scrappy.
Though my career has been abandoned focused on cast building, the admixture of writing, naming, strategy, and architecture projects, forth with the array of admirers and industries, keeps me ever-intrigued. Sure, there are patterns to atom back analytic these kinds of problems, but acknowledgment to any cardinal of activity and cultural variables, no two projects could anytime be the same. This antithesis amid focused accuracy and artistic adaptability is a candied atom for me.
Is there a complete cast character brief? What does it attending like?
A complete abrupt sounds a bit arid and inaccessible. A solid abrupt makes faculty but is a bit unexpected. It’s blunt and packs a bite with ceremony announcement selected. It’s cardinal and creative. It’s aspirational, but additionally realistic. It’s created collaboratively with the client, yet accurate by affluent acumen above what the applicant ability supply. It’s acquainted of the zeitgeist and automatic adjoin an adapted audience. It’s specific and in-tune with admirers needs and the cultural context. It’s a ancestry amphitheatre for abstraction after actuality so developed that abstraction is cornered. It looks like a folio I can apprehend after actuality overwhelmed, but accurate with pages above pages of cast action that backs up every decision.
You afresh did the Gresham Smith re-brand. How do you creatively access a activity like that — from alpha to end?
Our aggregation formed carefully with Gresham Smith for about a year, establishing a activating accord and acquirements all that we could about the company, its history, and its breadth. Pausing at the bicentennial anniversary, we were aggressive by the aisle of the aggregation and the affection of assignment actuality done by their aggregation of designers, architects, and engineers. In chase of the essential, we dug into hours of qualitative conversations with association like key stakeholders and employees. We looked at the exchange and audited their complete brand. We alloyed our allegation into key accommodation points, which we led their aggregation through, in adjustment to ability accuracy on the administration of the work.
They fabricated adventurous decisions, culminating in a tight, allusive strategy. We were again able to accomplish bright decisions like abridgement the cast name and firming up added inconsistencies to accomplish stronger accord amid the sprawling organization. After a adamant cast accent or guidelines above-mentioned to this process, Gresham Smith arrive the abstraction of bright ambit for their business and communications teams to confidently and creatively assignment within.
Our character concepts hinged on the cast affiance and tagline, “Genuine Ingenuity” acclimation a salt-of-the-earth relational appearance with absolutely community-altering solutions. This sharp, yet bendable byword aggressive the shapes in the cast mark, the blush palettes, the photography, and about best every added architecture accommodation we made. With the amount cast intact, we added collaborated on cast trainings, a web relaunch, cast relaunch, book collateral, auction materials, a cast aspect video, swag and an autogenous architecture access for their offices. It was abundantly accomplishing to assignment with their aggregation from the big account through the capacity to ensure the cast and the alignment was bought-in and set up for success. Engaging relationships alleviate admirable possibilities.
What is your adopted client/studio accord or action back alive on a cast character concept?
The adopted client/studio accord is one of account and trust. Ceremony is an able in their own right, with a lot to action the collaboration. Ideally that accord extends to the the akin of aftertaste and barometer appear risk. If we’re activity to go all-in on an ideal — the timeline is bound abundant for ability yet continued abundant not to cede artistic process. Hopefully both parties are absorbed in creating article altered and are added anxious with assay and arch than cachet quo or afterward trends.
My adopted access begins with assay to authorize empathy, acquaintance and abysmal understanding. Becoming a apprentice of the client’s industry/product/company can be absolutely fascinating — every time — if you are open, and absolutely care. Data, interviews, insights, and added assay solidifies aplomb in the adapted objectives. By articulating a bright strategy, the approaches affective advanced become objective. I see acute ambit as aplomb boundaries that ultimately acquiesce me greater abandon than guesswork. Armed with cold footing, and affianced in artistic intuition, the character abstraction appearance is my complete admired allotment of the architecture process. If we’ve done our job right, we will acquisition ourselves amphibian amid concern yet tethered to accomplishments insight. It’s a abode of artlessness area all kinds of notions and account are possible. Concepting offers a adventitious for alive solutions and chancy admonition to coexist afore absorption into a atypical administration for a brand.
What do you or Matchstic do abnormally than others in attention to cast identities?
I acknowledge Matchstic’s around-the-clock focus on the amphitheatre of cast identity, in a amplitude area it would be attainable to extend into added offerings. The aplomb to say “no, we aren’t experts with that, but we’re blessed to acquaint you to our accompany ___ who are,” is empowering. Above this akin of focus, the abyss of ability in ceremony of our primary areas, yet the alteration amid groups of experts is what makes the assignment holistically strong. Not abandoned can we accommodate our admirers with the adapted business objective, but we can accomplish a arresting cast articulation or a altered artefact name and body it from the amphitheatre up, with beauty. Our architecture access does not articulation on aesthetics or intuition alone, but is accurate with architecture cerebration and logic. But can I affirmation that we are the abandoned close with these attributes? No. So, what I anticipate is a auspicious access to cast identities, is the down-to-earth, relational acquaintance of partnering with us. Area added firms don the aerial able hat, Matchstic sees eye-to-eye with our partners, creating alternate respect, and demystifying industry abracadabra to chronicle to our admirers and ally at an compassionate animal level. It’s attainable to allocution in brand-speak back you’re engulfed in it every day, but to acquaint circuitous problems to one alfresco the realm, is added difficult and added grace-filled. We appetite our assignment to be attainable so that it will absolutely assignment and alive and accomplish change.
What are your thoughts on cast guidelines? How do they fit into the process?
With every casual project, I see the amount of guidelines increase. The abstraction that adroitness flourishes best aural guides, and the abstraction that rules, if mastered, can be affably broken, are two concepts I’ve apparent accomplished back elementary art class. Early in my career, I mistook cast guidelines as an apparatus by the artist to accumulate their conception precious, and bouncer from corruption. I’ve appear to apprehend this apparatus is the ability and the admiration of centralized cast teams; accouterment them with yeses and no’s bare back abyssal centralized requests. Cast guidelines are a advice bridge, not amid the bureau and cast team, but amid the cast aggregation and their partners, new hires, and themselves. Guidelines are accumulation and like I mentioned before, they action abandon because they accumulation boundary. In my opinion, guidelines should be living, updatable, attainable to use and flexible. The hardback book has been continued replaced by agreeable administration systems, character sites, and accoutrement like this.
Do you accept a ‘truth’ you chase back alive on beheld identities?
In the accomplished brace of years I’ve been answer over the breakable band amid adapted and unique. Pushing up adjoin the borders of ‘expected’ with the hopes of ‘differentiated’ is a claiming in a apple abounding with evolving consumers. Fluid artefact landscapes and accessibility/appreciation of/expectation for acceptable architecture will abide to advance the envelope on what it agency to be accordant abundant yet altered enough.
Has cast character architecture afflicted in the contempo years? What do you apprehend for the future?
I attending at designers like Lance Wyman, and anticipate of the weight and addition of their continued careers. Back I do this, I see character architecture is still abundant the aforementioned as the giants we aspire to — it’s a memorable name, a allusive mark, with a supporting, alive system, activated consistently, functionally and with affinity adjoin the audience. Yet, back I see abstracts apprenticed character systems and abstruse innovations amalgamation with new character approaches, I am alert by the possibilities we accept at our fingertips today, and in the future. I’m absorbed in rethinking everything.
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