Some of my best branding work comes from already having a personal connection/involvement with the organization/brand/client. If I could require that I spend at least two weeks to a month doing research and interacting with whatever it is I am branding well before I even sketch my first few concepts, I would. Empathy is key for me, to become personally invested long enough to design anything that would speak to the character of the brand.
I find that I don’t need to roll out 100 sketches before moving on to the second phase. I have been able to capture exactly what “it” is in less than ten. There have been a handful of times where I nail something on the first shot. I like to send out my first idea just to test the waters to know if I need to go more left or right before wasting hours pursuing something my client doesn’t want. The only difference between the times I do nail it on the first time and those that I don’t is in the time I spend with the company.
It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world as a designer, when my clients feel like I’m in their head. Being able to articulate what I have in my own head is hard enough as it is, so being able to dive into the mindset of another’s, capturing the essence of a company or a movement is rewarding.
As an interaction designer you can’t design for life if you don’t experience it.
I don’t think anyone should brand for a company they haven’t been involved with. Interactive branding is branding with soul.
The first time I landed a design with the first concept was working on the ACT Inspires Inc. branding project. I had lived with my roommate/landlord Akilah for a solid eight months when she approached me with her project. Her enthusiasm and passion for A.C.T. alone was inspiring. How do you capture that much passion? I remember being in the kitchen when she opened her email to look at the first A.C.T. Inspires Launch Party flyer concept in the dining room and after what I believe to be a very short but dead silence her words were: “Olivia I could smack you.” I went to go see what was wrong but apparently my concept of the flyer triggered a reaction most people have to tasting exceptional fried chicken.