Our sold-out FLA: Future of Branding Week has finally started! This time we broke our own record with the number of different countries represented on the programme - we’ve got 17 of them! From Australia to Nigeria, from Paraguay to Belgium – what an impressive bunch of Creative Directors, Founders and Brand Strategists.
The day started with visiting Jason Bruges Studio, an inspiring agency that works in the intersection between architecture, art and interaction design.
With people spending so much time now on quick interactions on social media, there is a big craving for deeper experiences and more immersive installations. This is why these guys are so in demand with their jaw-dropping installations – from dancing robots to interactive music chandelier modelled around different smells.
Their Design Director Richard Roberts showed us the process of creating immersive experiences – from modelling an idea in Cinema4D, to playing with physical prototypes in the studio and then testing and scaling it at the location. Their projects can take more than a year in production, but the result is stunning!
Creative Directors Campbell Butler and Alex Johns highlighted the importance of identifying from the very beginning who from the client side they haven’t spoken to that might be important in the project. Even if the client’s Head of Brand says “don’t worry, our CEO is on board with everything we are doing”, you can’t start a rebranding project without having a co-creation workshop to understand her/his vision.
Day 2 of the FLA: Future of Branding Week started with a very personal talk from Marta and Eva Yarza, known also as Yarza Twins – the new breed of designers who are not afraid of experimentation. They get their inspiration from classical art and history of graphic design and make it look fresh, bold and slightly mad. They told an inspiring story about how they saved a building with design.
Panificadora – an old bread factory based in one of the main streets of Vigo, Spain – was meant to be demolished to construct a new neighbourhood of luxury flats. Inspired by the rehabilitation of TATE Modern Yarza Twins designed a campaign Salvemos a Panificadora (Save the Bread Factory), that reimagined the branding of the centre if it would have become a centre for arts, culture and youth.
Fresh, vivid, with an authentic typeface, this campaign collected around 5,000 signatures and pushed the mayor to protect the building. This year the council launched a contest to architects worldwide to create a project to rehabilitate the building.
“If you don’t like something, don’t complain, just use the tools around you to change it.” Yarza Twins concluded.
After this, we met with Paul Willoughby and Chloe Walsh from Humanafterall, who talked about the importance of having a purpose as an agency that is beyond just doing good design. That’s why they are now preparing for B Corp Certification that proves businesses’ highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
The trend of doing good is becoming less of a trend and more of a standard for any organisation.
The day finished with a thought-provoking presentation from David Dalziel and Paul West from Dalziel & Pow about the way to create authentic brand experiences. People want engaging brands – the type of brands you would want to spend time with. And if people want to spend time, the money aspect will always come.
Stuffocation is a big thing right now – we have too many shoes, too many books, too many messages from brands without vision and clarity. And to manage this we just get bigger shelves, storage spaces and memory cards. If you want to create an engaging experience you need to have less but better products/items/stories.
And it’s mid-week already, how did time fly by so quickly! Day 3 of our FLA: Future of Branding Week started with a talk from Mike Reed, founder of Reed Words.
With the rise of voice assistants and chatbots, words and language are playing a more and more important role in every brand’s life. Mike Reed explained what goes into the process of creating a verbal identity and how to make sure it lives after the writer’s job is done.
His final outcome of a Verbal Identities document will consist of Messaging (tagline, one-line descriptor, proposition and headlines) and Voice (personality, writing tips, how the voice flexes depending on context or situation, before and after examples and do’s and don’ts).
The second half of the day we spent with Depop – a social marketplace where over 13M people go to buy, sell and discover unique items. Ilaria Squicciarini, Emma Love, Christianah Jones and Octavia Pendrill-Adams, talked about Depop’s approach to building a brand through community and genuine interest in helping them succeed in building their online stores.
Depop’s mantra is “when they succeed, we succeed” and they prove it with investing their time and effort into free educational events, pop-ups and brand launches for their customers.
Their audience is 16-25 years old which would fall under Generation Z brackets.
We actually interviewed Depop’s Ilaria Squicciarini a couple of weeks ago about Gen Z and their approach to creating engaging content. Give it a watch: on our youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_g732QZVYs
We can’t believe it’s already Day 4 of the FLA: Future of Branding Week.
We started the day by learning about the sound from Greg Niemand and Evan Gildersleeve from Mount. They talked about the power of making a sound from scratch, rather than buying readymade music. It’s like buying stock photography versus having a photoshoot – it will always be blend if it wasn’t created with your brand in mind.
When they work on a branded sound they look at brand’s values as well as visual or video reference that has been provided – understanding the pace and the texture the video has and translating that into a sound. With technologies advancing faster and faster there are a lot of new unique opportunities for a brand to differentiate itself using sound – from payment systems to wearables and smart speakers.
The second session of the day was from Sennep – a digital design studio doing everything from branding to games. Founders Matt Rice and Hege Aaby see brand expression through 4 lenses: sound design, visual expression, tone of voice and motion/interaction.
It was especially amazing to see how unique their culture is – from the fact that their office has a view to die for to the random side projects people in the office do for no particular reason. One of these projects was “make tea” system, created by Sennep's developer who wanted to help his team to get tea easier. You can ask what tea people would like on the system and it will appear in an iPad in the kitchen. The very special final touch is that lights in the room dim for a second when someone is going to make tea, so everyone in the room notices the notifications with the tea request.
The last talk of the say was from the magical Construct's founder Georgia Fendley, Anastasia Grawe and team. They talked about how having a strict design process can be dangerous for the final result as some creatives would just do each stage to tick the boxes without being honest with themselves whether they achieved what they wanted.
Georgia added that designers shouldn't be precious about their work in progress and share it as often as possible with the client, show it to the team, play with it, let it hang on the wall for a while. This will create a safe space for everyone to give a real opinion and get to the great result faster.
Last day of the FLA: Future of Branding Week started with a talk from Melissa Cain and McCann London team about Brand Love and creating long-lasting relationships between a brand and its audience.
The day continued with a talk from Jon Cockley from Handsome Frank Illustration Agency about the power of visual in branding. He explained how to brief and, most importantly, how NOT to brief an illustrator.
A couple of useful tips from Jon:
– Don’t send a 400-page brand book, give illustrator just the most relevant information
– Use examples of the illustrator’s work you are briefing, not some other illustrator’s work you liked
– If there any room for misinterpretation, it will definitely happen. So the best way to explain what you want it to scribble what you have in your head
The week finished with celebrations at Second Home Spitalfields where everyone had a chance to unwind and discuss all the insights and thoughts from the week.
It was a pleasure to spend a week with such brilliant people from 19 different countries and learn from some of the best branding experts in London. Massive thanks to everyone for making it happen and looking forward to staying in touch!