Developing a visual identity can be as painful as giving birth (not that I know, but… it looks awfully hard) or it can be as smooth as well poured ale… Guinness please. The funny thing is I never really know how it’s going to go, and I’m always as surprised as the client at the end result. Typically it begins with a plethora of hours spent interviewing the client, scraping off every bit of information I can about the company and the integral brand. Sometimes the project is a fragment of a concept and sometimes it’s an entire re-brand of an existing company.
On this particular assignment I developed the visual identity from the ground up, including the name. A successful project relies heavily on a strong client relationship and a fella I know as “Fred” (more on him later). I was blessed to have both of them present on this project. With most assignments weeks go by before I even put pencil to paper. I spend too much time researching, too much time looking and too much time drinking lattes and double espressos. I don’t sleep much… I never have. Most days l listen to music too loud. Then think. Then go for a long run. And then think again. I spend a lot of time designing in my head… I hate wasting paper. I go to a lot of bad movies, and then think some more.
I wait for “it”. And sometimes it comes early and sometimes it comes late. It’s the moment I stop thinking. “It” is the most important part of the process… and it’s at that moment that something else takes over. I call him Fred… he’s the real genius, he’s the one who does all the heavy lifting and he’s always showing up at the most inappropriate times. And so, most of my sketches are on the backs of cereal boxes or paper bags or fast food napkins (I’m a real classy diner).
In the end I always present three concepts… the number three is magical, just ask any designer. Okay, I don’t always present three, on this occasion I only presented one. But I’ve almost always found that the right answer is right in front of us… kinda like that Canadian National Railway visual identity. Damn that one is good.