Archive for August 31st, 2006

Fun with design.

You know, working with small companies – especially retail outlets with a very local and specific clientelle – can be pretty fun, especially when they are willing to step outside of their confort zone and routinely surprise their audience by not being… predictable.

Surprising people with something completely unexpected can be part of the appeal of superfly boutique brands. Differentiation isn’t always enough. Without a healthy little dose of style, maybe even humor, and a pinch of the “I know there’s an inside story behind this idea” vibe, you could be dead in the water.

(Super science to sell road bikes? Huh?! There isn’t even a bike or a cyclist in the picture. What gives?)

Sometimes, it’s just about having fun with your customers.

All I have to say is that not every client or employer I’ve had in my short but prolific career would have let me design a tongue-in-cheek promo like this one. (Then again, when a client only gives you three hours to come up with something cool, the result can be a bit unconventional.)

Quick! Think fast!

“Ca passe ou ca casse,” as they say back home.

We could have gone with a classic looking promo with images of the bikes or photos of cyclists and references to the USA Cycling Pro Championships (hosted right here in Greenville this weekend) – but everyone in town already did that. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but… what’s been done has been done, and… what’s been overdone has definitely been overdone. Know what I mean?

So… Here are four things I learned today:

All in all, this is the kind of work that –

a) makes a morning really fly by,
b) makes you feel a little guilty to get paid to have so much fun,
c) makes you thirst for more,
d) makes you realize that taking an occasional wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide design detour can breathe some fresh air into a branding strategy that was starting to become a bit too predictable, and
e) it’s amazing what you can put together in just a few hours if you just… let loose and have fun.

Whether the promo’s design will work remains to be seen, but at least we aren’t boring anyone to death with lame by-the-numbers crrrrrahp. We’re already putting together the next one, and it should be even cooler. (Having a bit more time to plan ahead helps.)

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