Six degrees of separation? It seems more like two these days. Even though Calgary is a city of over a million people now, it still feels like a small community. It's the community I grew up in. I was born here, attended all my schooling here and am currently raising my family.
If there is one thing that is becoming more evident as I grow up (yes, I'm almost 45 and counting, and I still feel like I have some growing up to do), the cross-connections show up in wonderful ways.
Over this last year I reconnected with an elementary school alumnus of mine, Steve. We had kept in touch over the years, though our worlds skewed in different directions. But it seems those roads converged when Steve's career evolved into starting up his own venture.
I find it mind-boggling, at how many graphic designers there are. It may seem like there is an insane amount of competition. But if there is one thing I have learned, the competition doesn't come to play when you have personal connections. So it seemed I came to mind when Steve was ready to develop his company branding.
I have worked with a number of small business start-ups and budget is always a concern. So I have learned over the years to ensure that the value of the time and effort into design is valued by prospects like Steve. He came to the table wanting a professional image and respecting that design was not his forte, neither did he have any interest in doing any design himself.
So we collaborated together to create a solid logo and brand guidelines for his very important venture. His business focuses on multi-family building developments and projects for that are sustainable, collaborative, and forward thinking. Developing a building for Steve isn't just about the structure, but also how it interacts with the community around it.
He had been playing around with various names and abbreviations for over a year, when he first reached out, I provided him a branding creative brief worksheet to help him get a clear idea of his vision. Even though he reached out early in his development, he didn't officially bring me in until he was ready to make the plunge and commit.
In the end, his company brand, SNAP Building, is based on a traditional name of "Steve Norris and Partners Building Ltd.". This, of course, is a mouthful and not very informative on what his company produced. It worked out that the abbreviation, SNAP, aligned with his vision of building blocks locking into place (it reminds me of lego), as well as his efficient and clean methodical approach.
The Creative Stage
So once we talked through the direction of his company and his visual goals, I created a set of rough directions to pursue.
Out of them, Steve and his wife chose a direction that connected with them. So I took that idea and built upon it to create a more visually engaging idea.
After I submitted the second round of designs, Steve showed me his wife's sketch which developed the concept. I'd like to make a note here, the idea of getting visual direction from a client, for some designers there is this idea that they want the clients to keep the creative to the professionals, I agree to a point, what I loved about getting this visual cue was how it provided me with ideas and directions that I could align with the original creative brief and how I felt the design direction should go.
In the third round of concepts, I included one that mimicked the sketch look and feel, and then also provided the options I felt connected more with the essence of Steve and his vision.
So yeah, I will brag a little here and share that Steve chose my direction, but the thing is, we wouldn't have gotten there without the ideas from his wife. The best designs for me are those where the end result is a collaboration of both creative professional and client vision.
I look forward to seeing the creative and meaningful projects Steve will be producing in our Calgary community. Knowing visionaries like Steve are hard at work inspires me to do my part to make positive change in the world.