Brand Identity and Marketing through the Eyes of a Creative

In March 2019, Vive welcomed Nick Newman as lead graphic designer known as a Visual Craftsman. “Design plays a strong supporting role to branding as it helps to communicate a company’s message and culture through a visual brand identity,” states Nick. Nick answered eight questions that offer insights on design, branding, and marketing from a visual perspective…plus a few to get to know him as a visual craftsman.

  1. What role does design have in branding?

Design plays an important role in branding as it is the face of the company. If the brand, message, and design don’t align, the user will not understand (from a visual standpoint) what the company is about. This creates confusion and a disconnect between a company and its audience.

  1. What makes a brand strong – visually?

A company’s visual identity that stands the test of time prevails, but not everyone is Coca-Cola. A company that has a strong core and is able to stay relevant will outshine the logo they have, no matter what it looks like. Don’t get me wrong, a solid logo is incredibly important. However, a great logo is only as good as the brand behind it. People would not have the same admiration for the Nike Swoosh if it was attached to a poor company or message that didn’t connect with its audience.

One way for a company to remain visually strong is to utilize responsive logos in its brand. Responsive logos are a really cool perspective on branding that has come to be more prominent in the last few years with the rise of technology and mobile devices. In a way, many companies have been doing it, but now it is more intentional.

  1. What makes a great design?

Several things! A great design is achieved when the intended message is clearly understood. Also, when a piece can really stand the test of time even with the use of design trends. I like to follow a quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, a French writer and poet when I design: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Drawing someone in visually is half the battle, but what good does it do if they don’t understand the intention of it?

  1. What is your favorite design trend?

I always think clean design with strong type will always have a place in my heart. I really love minimalist pieces that let the type do the talking. Plus, I am excited to see beautiful serif fonts making a return into branding and design – especially on websites.

  1. What current or past design trends do you see being used that you would like to see dissolve?

As I mentioned before, I enjoy when the typeface does the talking. I do not like seeing excessive treatments to fonts as it quickly can become distracting and take away from the original intent of the typeface or the piece itself. In design, each treatment had its place…I just don’t think most of them belong with the type.

  1. What is your favorite marketing channel/medium to design for and why?

I really enjoy the challenge of branding a new company from scratch. It is a big responsibility, but if you are able to execute it well the hard work pays off. Besides branding, I also enjoy creating advertisements. It is amazing to be part of the process that tackles the challenge of coming up with a concept, which is a perfect balance of being on-brand and catching readers off guard, that sparks interest and builds brand/product awareness. To quote Don Draper of Mad Men, “Advertising is based on thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is…”  I like supporting Vive’s clients by depicting “that happiness” in terms of their business and the target audiences’ needs.

  1. Describe what it means to be a visual craftsman.

To me, a visual craftsman is one who loves all aspects of the visual creation process. I am passionate about design, photography, video, and web design. I enjoy being able to craft something unique using my knowledge and adoration of all of these mediums. A visual craftsman is a one-person band who can tackle any visual or creative task thrown their way. They are nimble on their feet, but still are able to show each project the proper love and care it deserves.

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words and explain.

Passionate: Everything I have a strong interest in I will approach with passion, from a hobby to my profession. When it comes to design, it is what I believe I was always supposed to do. I come into Vive every day with a new challenge and I love every second of it.

Headstrong: When I have a goal in my head, I am going to try and sometimes fail until I achieve it. Whether that is figuring out a perfect color combination or making something in Photoshop. If I do not know the answer or see the method to achieve a goal, I will keep going until I can do it…and do it well.

Fun: I always try to have the balance of work hard, play hard. When it comes to designing at work, if it’s all work and no play, then it becomes difficult to think outside of the box and come up with great ideas. I have been lucky to have breaks in the workday to talk about the weekend or laugh with my co-workers. It has already benefitted me with inspiration for my next project.