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Design


Designing and Maintaining an Emergent Brand

Designing and Maintaining an Emergent Brand

When the Emotive Brand design team creates a brand system, we design it to last for many years. In order for a brand system to last that long, it needs to be consistent with a specific core idea, yet flexible enough to grow over time in order to accommodate changes in the landscape, growth into new sectors, building out sub-brands, etc. Let’s explore two different methodologies in conducting brand design and the end result of each: modernist design and emergent design. Modernist Design: One Solution Modernist design methodology is built on the practice of digging to find the golden nugget of...
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Shedding Ego in The Branding Process

Shedding Ego in The Branding Process

As creatives, we believe deeply in our craft and put ourselves fully into what we make. Our humor, our creativity, our problem-solving gets baked into the product. So, when work is rejected, it can feel like you’re being rejected. Add tight deadlines and multiple projects to the mix, and emotions are even higher. The key to keeping a level head is all about leaving your ego at the door and keeping a healthy authorial distance between maker and product. This is a guide for designers of all skill levels, clients, strategists—anyone taking part in the design process. Assume Good If...
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The Fusion of Strategy and Design

The Fusion of Strategy and Design

The Best Branding Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts Since its founding in the 1950s, branding has largely been divided into two distinct disciplines: strategy and design. Strategy’s traditional role is to research, understand the competitive landscape, distill the meaning, and establish the market opportunity into a well-formed creative brief. At this point, designers typically take the brief and visually communicate against the strategic objectives. The handoff from strategy to design is not without its pitfalls. Oftentimes, key information gets lost. Strategists can work in intellectual...
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When Designers and Developers Collaborate, Everyone Wins

When Designers and Developers Collaborate, Everyone Wins

A great developer recognizes and enhances design decisions. A great designer understands the technology they are designing for. Both developers and designers need to have an intimate understanding of each other’s fields in order to produce better experiences for brands. In order to deliver a bespoke experience for a brand, a collaborative environment needs to be fostered. How to Actually Collaborate A key element to facilitating design and developer collaboration is reshaping the reviewing process. The traditional way is to do a bunch of design work upfront, get client approval, polish the...
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The New Web: How Development Tools and Collaboration Enable New Design

The New Web: How Development Tools and Collaboration Enable New Design

From 2007 until very recently, the web was infiltrated by the same design patterns. Everyone is familiar with this: a generic headline with a call to action, three icons below describing features, and a few full-width, black-tinted images with text on top. When Sketch burst onto the scene in 2010, the web design discipline sped up, but the developer hand-off process was still tedious. Dimensions were specified using redlines, and the web was built with block and inline elements. Flash was dying, and there were no tools for designers to easily bring their more expressive designs to life....
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Accessible Design Must Be the Rule, Not the Exception

Accessible Design Must Be the Rule, Not the Exception

In the nascent days of computing, the highly sought after feature we now call “dark mode” was the standard. Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors got their green-on-black look from the phosphor inside of the screens. While this technology was long-ago abandoned, dark themes have re-entered the zeitgeist as the latest “new innovation.” “It’s thoughtfully designed to make every element on the screen easier on your eyes,” Apple claimed in its announcement of the feature for iOS 13. But here’s the thing: there’s no real evidence that’s true. For people with astigmatisms (approximately 50%...
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Don’t Let Your Product Ruin Your Brand

Don’t Let Your Product Ruin Your Brand

It’s a tale as old as time. You can’t sell product without a brand; you can’t sell brand without a product. Product designers and brand designers are sometimes viewed as adversarial disciplines, but in truth, both sides are working toward the same goal with different tools. But what’s the right balance? And how can you get the best of both worlds? To begin, a bit of level-setting. Product Designers Product design is commonly defined as the approach to building a new product from start to finish. This encompasses market research, identifying problems, product development, designing informed...
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What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

Over the course of a branding project, there are thousands of micro-decisions to make along the way. As much as possible, agencies try to establish a common way of seeing and evaluating work to minimize decision fatigue. In our case, we create an Emotional Impact and a Brand Idea. We start by identifying four emotions we want to evoke in our target audiences, and then craft a big idea that brings these emotions to life across business, brand, and culture. The thing is, as much as you try to establish frameworks and lenses and litmus tests, you can only ask a client to hold so much in their...
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Non-Business Books to Improve Your Brain and Brand

Non-Business Books to Improve Your Brain and Brand

When I worked in a bookstore, I would often help young businesspeople find the books their bosses wanted them to read. This assignment was to help them expand their thinking, get a new perspective, and stand out from the crowd. But invariably, they would always ask for “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” or if they were in sales, “The Art of War.” To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with these titles! But in the words of Haruki Murakami, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is...
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