Create a Culture, Not a Product | Software Branding

The real reason why certain apps take off.

January 26, 2021

Much like Thor's hammer, your software is a tool used to control something more potent. No, it's not thunder, it's culture.

Good software changes culture.

Facebook changed culture and made people more connected. Google changed culture and gave access to information from around the world instantaneously. Netflix changed culture when they decided movies could be enjoyed from home without cluttering your cabinets. Spotify changed culture by making it easy for people to discover music.

The point: look beyond the deliverable. What are you trying to change about our culture?

More you say?

Show and Talk

Why designers need to get over the idea of crawling into a hole to make changes.

12.19.2019

I was giving an identity presentation to a client today and everything was going phenomenal. He liked the strategy behind the mark, thought it had a lot of character, and he was overall pleased with it. He did ask if he could see a slight variation of the mark.

What he had asked for was not going to work (I could see it in my head and it would've ruined the integrity of the logo). But, in the spirit of transparency, I replied with "let's try it out, right now."

Within five minutes, we had the options side-by-side and could clearly see that the previous mark was the better option.

If I had said, "ok let me get back to you in a day with these revisions," we both would have been frustrated. It's an unfortunate trope within the design community to never show the client your workspace or your design files. Which I don't understand, because I certainly feel engaged and have more respect for other craftsmen who show me their process. More important, it helps me hold it in reverence and respect the decisions they make.

Design is no different. If we are willing to be transparent and walk clients through the entire process, show them how our opinions are formulated, and talk through the solution, everyone is happier.

Show your work and talk about it. Being creative is simply not enough, you have to be able to articulate your thinking.

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Typeface Hack

Three rules the most important part of your visual identity.

10.6.2020

Typography is the use of letterforms in design. It's everywhere. In logos, in signage, in websites, everything. Figures that when designing a brand identity this is given a lot of attention. Truthfully, I think people underestimate the power of well selected typefaces. They are certainly just as important as crafting a memorable logo and can make or break a brand identity. So how do you figure out which one(s) to choose? There are three things to consider:

Simplicity, distinction, and appropriateness.

Simple
Typefaces selected for your brand need to be easily seen and legible. This means no comic sans, no papyrus, no curly q's. You can't write a paragraph in those typefaces without straining a reader's eyes. When selecting a typeface, consider asking yourself this question: can I read a blog in this typeface and not be annoyed by all of the characters I see before me? If you are, time to change.

Distinction
There is a fine line between choosing typefaces that are plain and overtly stylized. The key is to understand that a typeface does not need a lot of swirls and flourishes to make it beautifully individual. It could be the way the O's are crafted, the subtle rounding of corners, or sharp, stylized serifs. Whatever it is, I guarantee it doesn't have to be much. A little spice goes a long way with typefaces.

Appropriateness
In all things brand identity, you cannot deviate from the core emotional values of the brand. Meaning, if you call people to be gritty and tough don't use a typeface fit for a wedding invitation (and vice versa). Typefaces have an emotional quality to them. Take time to think about what it makes you feel. Do you feel nostalgic or futuristic? Where have you seen this typeface before and what does that make you feel? Whatever you do, make sure the typeface is aligned to the gut-feeling you want your brand to connote.

It's just three things, but they can carry your brand identity a long way. Go snag some typefaces!

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