When Creativity Meets Branding: An Inside Perspective

When you think of a brand, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their products and services, or maybe something they ethically stand for? No matter what your answer is, the idea of the brand resides within the power of the consumer’s mind. This further begs the question as to how a brand ultimately catches the attention of a potential customer. As any seasoned marketer will tell you, one of the most effective ways to capture their curiosity is through imagery and graphic design. 

So what makes the mind of a graphic designer and creative tick? Well, there’s no simple nor short answer to this question. It wouldn’t be very interesting if there was. In this blog post, we sat down with our Design Team to get their insights on everything from their inspirations to how they evolve their creative styles while working with various brands. Enjoy!

When did you first become interested in graphic design? 

Britany Baker: I started out by sorting Legos as a kid, arranging them in two dimensions instead of three. Someone told me, “You look like a graphic designer.” I thought, ‘I don’t know what that is, but I’ll do that.’ 

Clint Carraro: I’ve always been interested in art and drawing, and I fell in love with great TV and print ads of the ’80s & ’90s, like WK’s Nike work. When I was in college I learned I could monetize those interests into a creative career. 

Lauren Jones: My high school only offered fine arts and nothing digital. I shadowed a lot at U of L and I wanted to make it (graphic design) a lasting career. 

Do you have any specific inspirations?

Britany: There’s no specific inspiration. I’m partial to print and book design. Things on a page that have some kind of depth.

Clint: It can come from anywhere, different parts of culture can inspire in unexpected ways. 

Lauren: I’m always looking for typography and graffiti, as well as always taking notes.

How do you temper your own creative style(s) with the needs of the client or specific projects? 

Britany: Sometimes I set ideas aside on the board and come back to them later. With design, you have to consider the audience and the parameters to work with, in terms of staying in character and getting in the mind frame of that brand.

Clint: There are always constraints to projects and you have to accept that. You always want to think of what’s best for the client and what goals we are trying to achieve. Similar to, “Hey, these are your ingredients, now cook us up something  good.”

Lauren: By communicating what you’re trying to get across while doing it in the best way possible.

Do you find this balance to be difficult or do you enjoy the challenge? 

Britany: You can still put a personality out there. You as a designer can come through in that work and still stay within the guidelines of that specific brand. 

Clint: Limitations are inevitable, you have to embrace the constraints as a new way to get creative to solve the problem. 

Lauren: I worked on fantasy brands in school and learned to transition with work for established brands. I still change things through tweaks and changes to liven things up. 

What do you do to stay current with your craft? 

Britany: The internet is a really great resource. 

Clint: Trade pubs like Communication Arts are always cool to see what other folks are creating, and obviously the web is full of resources to spark the mind. 

Lauren: I follow a lot of hashtags on social media such as ‘#packaging,’  ‘#typography,’ and ‘#graphicdesign.’ I also use the Dribbble app.  

How do you evolve your skills while working on client work? 

Britany: A lot of problem-solving. Learning is key. 

Clint: Through necessity a lot,and curiosity. Going down a new path to execute an idea. 

Lauren: By asking a lot of questions and learning constantly. 

What are your favorite types of projects? 

Britany: Branding with a completely blank slate. The fewer parameters, the better. When working in a magazine, I like doing a complete redesign. I really like working with the ‘word people’ and copywriters to make a message visual.

Clint: The kind that make our clients more money. 

Lauren: Definitely branding and packaging. I enjoy physical pieces you can interact with.  

Conceptually, do you envision what you would like the finished product to look like before starting, or do you let the ideas come to you during production?

Britany: I used to just trust the process, but I’ve worked with software that forced me to start at the end, so now I go in both directions. 

Clint: There’s always some form of exploration through doodles, ideas, and jotting things down. Cool ideas spring out of something you’re working on.

Lauren: I’ll always start out with sketching. If it can lead me to a new idea, I’ll always sketch it down. 

In what direction do you see corporate branding going in the future? 

Britany: Logo design used to be designed to be flat and static. There’s more movement to current logos, brands, and images. Personalization. With branding, you have to stay out there. 

Clint: Brands that adapt to digital platforms in a meaningful or powerful way are the ones who are going to be the iconic brands that we think about. 

Lauren: Everything is and will be catered towards what you want; especially on social media. 

Do you still continue to create/design work on your own? 

Britany: I mainly work with pencils and paintbrushes; working with my hands for visual projects. I also have my own studio space at Art Sanctuary.

Clint: I paint and illustrate, as well as collect vintage posters. 

Lauren: I do digital sketching with my iPad, along with animations and illustrations. 

As you can tell from our interview, no designer is created the same. That, in essence, is what keeps the outcomes of the creative process so interesting. By having three individually talented creatives on our team, our client work is always fresh and consistent. Whether it be through creating direct mailers or imagery for digital ad campaigns, having the right talent and insight only drives your client’s brand to new levels of success! 

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