As part of the new digital initiative in Flagstaff we were filmed for the annual Chamber of Commerce Video. We are also currently working on the new Branding and Website for the Chamber that is showcased in the Video.
Shortly after Danielle and I moved to Flagstaff, we went out on the town to see some art galleries. We ended up south of the tracks at this place called, The Pike. We fell in love with it instantly. It's this beautifully rough space, with bare wall boards, high wood-beamed ceilings and incredible warmth. Standing outside on the patio we ended up talking to the woman who owned it and she told us about it's history. The street that it's on is called Mike's Pike and it used to be part of the historic Route 66. The gallery itself used to be a service station where travelers would fill up their tanks and have their radiators repaired. She told us about the old structures out back where people traveling on Route 66 would shower and camp before moving on. It is a really interesting place, rich with history and I'll never forget the first time we visited The Pike.
Which brings me to the reason why I'm writing about The Pike. We Are William is going to be located at The Pike for the foreseeable future (translation: at least until the owners return from a 10 month around the world). We are super excited to be able to use this amazing space for several reasons. First we are sharing the studio with our talented friend Walter. He is an amazing artist and musician (check out www.waltersdogs.com to see his work). Secondly due to the Pike's central location we are able to participate in Flagstaff's monthly ArtWalk, which we did last Friday. We used this opportunity to introduce ourselves with a self-promotional piece we created, talking about what we had learned in our first year of being in business. We created some fun illustrations to go with it and created 8 big Posters that we hung up on the wall. We bought a bunch of beer, wine and snacks and were set for the big opening. We had no idea how many people would actually show up, but the evening went really well and we had a huge turn-out. We were able to show our friends our new work space, talk to some of our clients and meet some new people. What a fun and successful night….we can't wait for next ArtWalk! Thanks for all the love and support to everyone that stopped by.
I was recently invited (tricked) to give a seminar on creating a brand image at Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET) here in Flagstaff, AZ. I absolutely hate getting up in front of people. When Stacy Fobar called me back in May and asked me to present my anxiety levels shot up and here's what transpired:
Stacy: 'My presenter just cancelled for next week, can you fill in?!'
Me: 'Stacy that sucks! Let me check my calendar.' After which, I pretended to look at a calendar for approximately 15 seconds.
Me: 'I'm actually out of town next week' Which was a lie.
Stacy: 'Would you want to do a presentation in the future?'
Me: 'Sure, just keep me on your list!' Which was not a lie. I'd love to be able to give presentations, just not anytime soon. The 'Future' sounded like a perfect time to overcome this fear.
Stacy: 'Well, since you have your calendar open, let's just schedule you! How's June for you?' Uh oh.
Download the slides here.
To a lot of people the term branding means creating a logo. To some it also means the act of putting your logo onto something like a t-shirt or a pen. If that’s what you thought then yes - and at the same time, no. Having a graphic designer create your logo is part of branding, as is communicating that logo to public view but really there should be a deeper conversation going on during the entire process.
You have to navigate a very complex road to build relationships with your audience. First you have to recognize that your audience isn’t just your customer base, sure that’s where the money is made so it’s an obvious place to focus. Your audience also consists of employees, vendors, media, competition and other businesses. Which are all uniquely important. I think we can agree that having a lot of customers does not mean you have a thriving and healthy business. That’s great that you have a wealth of customers. But are you sure that if new competition moves in that you’ll retain most of those customers? What if your new competition has lower prices? What if you have a small PR blunder, will your customers stay loyal? That is exactly the type of insurance that building a great brand can do for you. It keeps your business from becoming a commodity by developing a deeper relationship with your customers.
Our advice is this - Spend time figuring out your story. Determine if that story resonates with all the people who your brand touches. Figure out your values and be ready to stick to them even if it means turning down business. Spend time and make an investment in the graphic design behind your brand. You’ve got a story that resonates; it doesn’t make sense to create a generic logo that doesn’t convey that story, or your values. Typography is a very important, yet under-rated element in telling your story. Find a designer or consultant you like and respect to help maintain your brand. They should be someone with similar business values as you or they’ll never be able to invest themselves in the visual story telling that has to take place. Don’t just communicate your brand to your customers, communicate it to your employees too. Make sure they mirror the types of values your company holds.
I’ll leave you with this truism: Branding is important and it takes a lot of planning to do it right. Design is important and it takes a lot of careful decisions to do it right. Branding cannot happen without good design. “There is good design and bad design, there is no such thing as no design.”
I recently finished this titling sequence for my good friend Vanessa Schulz's documentary film, Lost Dogs. The film is about the stray dogs of Santiago, Chile. I wanted the red lines to convey the path of the dogs and how interwoven they are with the society in Santiago.