It has become a natural thing for us designers to find inspiration through polished designs from our peers mocked up in on linen bookcovers or printed in thermography. Then we fill our Pinterest boards and mood swatches up with the end product of other people’s explorations. It’s a clean way to approach the beginning stages of the design process. But there is no muck in it. No hands getting dirty. No acknowledgement of failure in order to uncover a greater insight.
And, to be honest, that’s just not really akin to how BrandJuice works. We dig. And discover. And make hypotheses. Then we correct if they are proven invalid by our research. Yes, we use gold standard work examples like any other strategic process does, but as a means to explore the paths of others, not their final destination.
When planning out how to approach our (slightly) updated BrandJuice brand, we knew these elements had to come into play visually. A salute to the skills of diving in deep. A depiction of our team that portrays layered, stunning and delicate characteristics in the way they approach the work each day. A nod to the rawness of the process.
To showcase our depth in process, we took the first step by looking to nature. One of my photographer professor’s once told me: “If the composition isn’t interesting, you’re not close enough.” The details of a pinecone upon further observation contain a world of textures and dimension. It tells its own story. This feels similar to our strategic methodologies. Observe and report.
So we grabbed a studio; searched for all the textures on the ground (and online, let’s be honest); and started to explore what these natural elements brought to the camera through a Macro lens.
Stillness and movement. Individuality and community. Dimension and duality. These elements started to remind of us something: our own colleagues. We couldn’t stop seeing Joanie in the folds of an oyster mushroom. Or Alexa in the layering of an artichoke.
We decided to allow the team to self-identify with one of these elements. What image feels like says something about you that a headshot just can’t say? What characteristics does it emulate that define who you are beyond the position you hold in the company? After each team member filled out a Google Form of their preferences, we used the chosen characteristics to match each person to a definitive natural element. A layer of our brand that took understanding each other and how we work to a new level.
There’s a roughness in the strategic and creative practice. You have to sift for insights in research. In the creative process we call it being “in the shit” (okay, well I call it that), where you can’t quite see out of the darkness yet to what will eventually be. But in that, we find truths and refine along the way. As Lori once put it, “That’s the discipline.”
Graphically, this presents itself in minimal, textured lines throughout our branded collateral. It’s sometimes seen as layered ripples in our reports. It showcases our methods of exploration in the most simplistic format–much like our client work itself.
Part 2 – coming soon.