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The Interview

Lesson 8 from: Creating Brand Identity Systems

Brian Schmitt

The Interview

Lesson 8 from: Creating Brand Identity Systems

Brian Schmitt

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Lesson Info

8. The Interview

Lesson Info

The Interview

recently, I found it helpful to interview clients, it's a chance to ask your client partner for any information you think is relevant you don't currently have or may be missing from the brief use this moment to discuss beyond needs, what the goals are for the branding project? Sample questions can include, what is your greatest dream for the brand within the consumer group? Can you describe a person that's indicative of the brand's persona or the ideal customer? How can we help them achieve their potential? How would you like people to talk about the brand? What specifically would you like them to see or think about the brand? What are the brand's values? Are there any other brands in any fields that are a model for success? Who is capturing mindshare right now in the world and why? What can we learn from them? What is the driving spirit of the brand? Why does it exist? I started doing interviews recently on branding projects because I wanted to add more emotional context to my design ...

work. So, you got this idea from a writing partner that I work with often, he's a former journalist and still works as a journalist. It does a lot of really great writing with me and on different projects. He always interviews clients in the beginning. And so I started to do this as well. What I want to talk about is beyond the facts, you know, always kind of trying to get beyond the brief as we talked about before, beyond the basic facts? What is the feelings that we want to impart? You know? Um why are they there? Why do they work in this company? Why does this branding project matter to them? Why does it matter to the company? Why does it matter to the world out of this interview? I'm trying to get what is the full potential, what do they see as the full potential for the product, for the service that they're making? What's the full potential of the brand? And I think about, you know, how brand identity system that we're creating can be a part of that. It's a chance to ask about long term ideas as well. From the brief you probably get, hey, we're making a new brand, we gotta get this thing out the door asap, but you know, it's, it's a lot better every time that I'm working on a project to think beyond that and say, okay, where do you want to be long term? And then we'll make sure that launch is preparing you to get there from the interview. I'm trying to suss out, you know, beyond the brief, what are the long term ideas that they want to do and from that I get insights, you know, what, what about this company is unique and from that, that leads to inspiration. These inspiring stories are things that I can transfer to design. Design inspiration is kind of coming from, from anywhere. Interview is a great place to learn more from your creative partners, your your client about the project for the Okey project. I interviewed the CMO Mike Cornwell who's leading branding for the company. He had worked in leadership positions at Microsoft and Red Bull and had a great vision for the brand. Our interview and my notes informed all the work that followed. We also posed the question, what's your greatest dream for the company? To the rest of the leadership team and their answers from the basis of the corporate voice we created for Okay, so in the okie interview I learned about the company and they're focused on promoting a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Not only did the team believe in their mission of bringing everyday health and wellness products to a wider audience, they had personal stories about how the products that affected their life, their loved ones, basically providing them a non pharmaceutical alternative to pain and stress management. These kind of truth and insights give you the building blocks of inspiration, positive energy to transfer into your work and inform your thinking. So, by talking to the leaders of the company, I was able to ask them, you know, the questions that I'm sharing with you and and find out, you know, beyond the brief why were they there, what caused them to believe in these products? And they all had a personal story, you know, and it was it was really interesting to see this and then, you know, take that same feeling that energy that I heard from them and tried to instill that into the design work that I was doing the interview is part of an ongoing dialogue to understand the spirit of the brand. One that started at the very beginning of your client conversations and really kicked into high gear with your brief, you know, and we talked about having this ongoing creative conversation and and the interview is really a chance to basically respond to the brief when you're thinking about the interview, think about how conducting it might have given you information on past projects. Was there something that you found out at the end that you would have loved to know at the beginning? That's what I'm kind of thinking about. You know, think of those things in advance. You know, not not what could go wrong, but what could go right and what do they want that to be? What questions are usually missing if you're going into projects and you kind of have the same things that keep coming up rather than trying to work that out, you know, and find out exactly what the client wants, it's great to just go ahead and ask. So I'm using these interviews as a chance to do that on your next project. Once you started your research and agreed on a brief from the client, how can you use the interview and your ongoing dialogue to understand the spirit of the brand. Often my first conversations with clients are dialogues like this around powerful ideas that need to be captured and honed from there. We can start creating visuals that explore these feelings. This means I end up responding to and agreeing on words, turning them into pictures and turning these into designs. Usually this is called the mood board or swipe. I suggest you read the book, Tiber Coleman, the perverse optimist in this amazing monograph of the late colors magazine designer. We learn about Coleman's process as a series of agreements with the client partner. Sometimes creatives will treat their partners as obstacles in the way of success, blaming a lack of budget time or creative freedom for poor work. This adversarial creative relationship does nothing to make the good work that both parties desire. It's the job of the creative to inject positivity and energy into the process and forge upfront agreements for the right work to happen.