Putting the Cart Before the Horse

A conversation with a client about skipping over the branding, going straight to the website, and why we're both glad we didn't do that.

January 13, 2020

The past two Saturdays have been awesome. A client of mine and I have dove deep into the brand of his meal prep company and developed an outline of what his website should look like. It's safe to say that he and I are on the exact same page as to who this website is for, how it should feel, look, and the expected path this person will take. Before diving into the brand discovery, he asked something I thought was fascinating, "do you think we are putting the cart before the horse doing the branding before we do the website?"

I thought about this for a bit, and replied: "not at all."

Looking back at what we've done and the order in which we outlined these deliverables, we are both glad we started where we did.

Currently, my client's branding efforts are minimal and veer toward a male audience looking to get ripped. During the brand discovery, we unearthed that his most successful clients were busy, professional women who valued an easy-going, Southern California lifestyle. Diving deeper, my client had deep connections with farming and the peace that comes from working with your hands. That's a totally different story to tell, for a different audience, and so great a chasm between his current brand and those it was meant to serve.

How would we have come to that conclusion by focusing on building his website first? In short, we would have had a hard time getting aligned and the project would be a bust. We'd still be trying to talk with dudes who want to be ripped. We are going a whole new direction with the entire project. Hell, we're even changing the name of the company.

Here's the thing:

Whether you're building a website, designing a business card, marketing collateral, writing messaging, or coming up with the name for your company, understanding the brand you are trying to build is the foundation for a fluid design process and seeing results.

More you say?

Responsible

A quest for change can leave one feeling bitter and resentful, don't let it be you.

11.29.2019

The downside to being an advocate of change is that it is hard to see past the muck blocking you from the finish line. What's more, is that the muck might not even be your doing, it's just there.

Most would see the obstacles that lie before them as excuses to turn back and give up. But that is not the rebel way.

Rebels cannot let go of their vision, it is as much a part of them as their skin, hands, and feet.

No one said doing things differently would be easy, or that everything and everyone would be in your favor. Quite the opposite actually.

It may not be your fault where you are at and no one blames you for the external things that have blocked your path. But it is your responsibility to make the next steps. Will they be forward or backward?

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Do You Have a Logo or a Blemish?

Even the most beautiful things are lessened by a small zit.

3.31.2020

You've heard it from me before that logos are not the most important part of your brand, however, they are a part of the experience nonetheless. With that in mind, it's important to get them right.

What are the core indicators of a successful logo? According so Sagi Haviv of Chermayeff, Geismar and Haviv (the identity agency responsible for the Chase Bank, MSNBC, Nat Geo, and Conservation International logos), it comes down to three things:

Simple, distinct, and appropriate.

Simple, meaning that it could be replicated at various sizes and applications without additional effort.

Distinct, meaning that it could be described after looking at it or perhaps doodled on a piece of paper and different from others in the same field.

Lastly, appropriate, meaning that you wouldn't have the same logo for a heavy metal band that you would for a cooking line designed to make people feel calm and tranquil. This doesn't mean tell the whole story, it means don't contradict yourself emotionally.

Simple, distinct, and appropriate. Logos that fail to meet this end up becoming blemishes wherever they are placed. The most elegant package, flyer, or product becomes tarnished with your hideous zit of a logo.

Take a look at your marketing collateral, your website, billboards, ads, business cards, etc.

Now ask yourself, do you have a logo or do you have a blemish?

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