Stories

  • Letting go

    Many of the branding projects assigned to me are short-term contracts. Companies who are working to reposition themselves in the marketplace or need outside counsel on how to connect better with their customers choose our agency for research experience and value.

    Because the creative aspect of projects like these are limited in scope and budget, we rarely get to follow through with implementation of branding systems. With that in mind, I’ve tried to make brand rationale, style guides and templates as bulletproof and as simple as possible so that clients can wear their rebranding with comfort and confidence.

    But it doesn’t always work.

    A few weeks ago, a vendor thanked me for sending a client his way, and I asked about a branding project that we partnered on a year ago. He works for a trade show company, and I  developed preliminary designs for our mutual client before the contract ended. I had not seen the final product and asked how it turned out.

    Throughout the booth was an image of the logo I designed in exploded form, which left me scratching my head. I remembered using that image in a presentation to describe how the logo facets could be used to influence structural components and translucent wall panels, but I never intended it to be used externally—in any form. It was purely illustrative, but it painted a new understanding for me.

    Art directors and designers are wired to be invested in every aspect of a project, from start to finish. It’s tough to send work into the world that isn’t fully tested or developed, but those are the parameters we often work within.

    During the years, I’ve learned to accept aspects beyond my control and have worked to master the art of letting go once projects leave the office. Moving forward, I’ll better refine the style guides, templates and assets in a more simple way. Less rationale and more nuts and bolts might better serve the people who will have to interpret and execute the work.

    Sometimes, the process of explaining every aspect of a piece can confuse instead of clarify. For some audiences, a thing is just a thing. There’s no reason to say more than that.