Bobby Martin – Designer and Educator


– Well, hello, thank you. This is my first time
to your space, to your, it’s more than a studio,
it’s a maker’s space, it’s an office, it’s,
there’s neighborhoods, I love it, and the sun’s coming through, so thank you for having me. Every now and then this is going to pop up because I couldn’t figure
out how to get that, okay. So thank you for the
wonderful introduction. I actually went through a
bit of a similar program because not only do I teach in the masters of design program, design as an entrepreneur, but I am also a client,
because I went to it. I graduated, I was there in 2001 to 2003. I think it was the third class, and so it was definitely
something that I enjoyed and it’s influenced me from that point on, and hopefully some of
the things that I learned now get executed in what
I do on a daily basis. So anyway, this is a
presentation I put together for you all that shows a
little bit about what I do, what we do, and I put it
together in a way that hopefully will be somewhat interactive
and also in a way that I think can help
you think about problems, and maybe some of those
problems you can think about and start to see how we’ve addressed them. And so, the basic presentation
setup is like this: you have some questions,
and I’m going to go through and answer them, So I’ll start it off by
asking this question: who is OCD? And it may be a little bit of the answer can build on what Alan has already started to set up which is the name. Six years ago we started
this branding company, it’s a branding and design agency. We started it, myself and Jennifer Kinon, who we met in the graduate program. We sat right next to each other. Alan was just talking about
how we all had this great setup of constantly changing and being able to interact with each other in new setups, new sitting arrangements. Well, in my program, we
sat next to the same person each year, and the good
part about that is, that’s how Jennifer and I began to talk to one another as well as that’s how we
got to know each other because I started asking
her to give me feedback on things that I was
working on as a student and she was not shy in
giving me that feedback, and so her being honest really
helped me to do my best work as a student, and luckily I
was able to return the favor. We loved that brutal honesty so much that several years later, after working at a handful of different places, we started our own company together, and that same relationship
still continues to work and helps us to, hopefully, thrive day to day. Actually, we just took
this picture a couple of, maybe last week, two weeks ago, we celebrated our sixth birthday and we were sent balloons, and those balloons obviously say OCD. The name was very deliberate,
because everything that we do as a company, as designers, is deliberate. We’re thinking about them,
we’re very methodical, and we are approaching things in a way that’s going to help us
to stand out and also help people to understand
what they’re participating in, so with a name like the
Original Champions of Design, it’s very much about
being champions of design and the process, and then,
with the acronym of OCD, sometimes I think we say to
our clients, we would ask the same thing, we kind of
want all of you designers to be a little OCD, and that goes
into us being very meticulous, attention to detail,
being somewhat repetitive, and making sure that the point is made and is gotten across, as well as one of the
most important parts, and I don’t know if this has
anything to do with the name, but we have to listen, we
have to do a lot of listening in order for us to be successful. Our office is in the East Village, so that’s where we’re standing
in front of our office, which is a storefront. This is the team, Jennifer
Kinon in the middle, next to me on the right,
this is a picture taken a couple of years ago,
right before she went to run the New York City Marathon, and so we designed these shirts for her and had a big send-off, and we also have a dog in the office, Jennifer’s dog named Jobe. She’s a 100-pound Greater
Swiss Mountain Dog, but we all love and sometimes
have to take care of. She has this thing of
coming up to your computer and kind of demanding attention, and so your mouse hand, you
have to end up petting her with it and she won’t stop
until she’s satisfied. So it’s kind of, in
some ways, it’s designed to force a break from staring
at the computer all the time. So we have Jobe to thank for that. And this is what we do,
this is what for us, Jennifer and I, we get really excited about developing brand identity systems. And for us, a major component
of that brand identity system is the logo, and so these
are some of the logos that we have developed, and they vary from the WNBA to the Girl
Scouts and High Line Art, and then some that are maybe less known but all are companies that we have had the
pleasure of working with, and also companies that are
doing things that we really believe in, that we support,
and that we are excited to work with every day. So what I’m going to
walk you through today are some case studies in branding. And if this works, great,
so that brings us back here. Now, what I’ve done is I’ve put together a handful of these questions,
and at the conclusion of each case study, some are
longer, some are shorter, we can go back and each one
hopefully, in me talking about the work, addresses the
questions that we have here. So, why don’t I start by getting someone here to
ask one of the questions and that’s how we’ll
decide where we’ll go. Don’t be shy. – [Woman] What is a brand? – Well, all right! So we’ll start there, it’s an
obvious first one, so, okay. So a brand is, in some ways,
this is from Marty Neumeier, a brand is a person’s gut
feeling about a product, a service, or an organization. Does that answer your question? (laughing) So let me elaborate. So, if we look at newspapers
and you look at all these front page newspapers, some
are very familiar to you, and if we think about that gut feeling, that thing that we want
people to respond to, what helps you stand out,
what qualities that you have, each one of these newspapers
has its own personality, and it has its own character. Now, to kind of further explain
what we’re talking about, we can start to narrow this down. So there are some up here
that are probably a bit more honest and straightforward than others. So we can start to then focus it and narrow it down a little bit. Diversity, diversity of the information, diversity of the staff,
diversity of the people that they are featuring, then we’ll start to narrow
them down even more. Global, some are very
local, regional newspapers, and then others are much, much bigger, and they’re also reporting
on things that are happening in various parts of the world
with different points of view. Now, the reason I’m showing you this is because these all are newspapers, but they all have some brand components that you may or may not be familiar with. Which ones are current,
which ones are relevant, which ones are just repeating information that was produced by some other entity? And as we start to focus
it, we start to see that there’s less and less and as
these elements come together, you start to have some that stand out. So, for instance, if
you focus on this one, which you’re very familiar
with, the New York Times, we can say, and this wouldn’t be argued, honest, diverse, global, it’s relevant, time-honored tradition. And those things are part of
what makes the New York Times and that has been established from a, them delivering on these
elements for a long time, over a long period of time. So if we take today’s paper, for instance, this is the front of the
New York Times today. It was a big week this week, and big election yesterday. I forgot to mention one thing
that I’ll mention after this, but if we look at this, the
reason I wanted to show you this is because when you start
to see the New York Times and those characteristics
that I highlighted, then that’s when you’re reading this, you start to get the sense
that you’re reading a paper that brings a certain
gravitas and legitimacy to the stories it’s reporting. But it also affects the person who is engaging in reading this newspaper. If you’re on the subway,
you see somebody reading the New York Post, and
you see somebody else reading the New York Times, do
you, and maybe you shouldn’t, but do you think about them differently? You know, do you think one is more serious while the other is more light-hearted? Now, what the New York
Times has been able to do is they have learned that
they have established a brand, they’ve established a
connection with their audience and they want to continue
to establish that, and so they’re thinking every
day about what they can do and how they leverage those
qualities of the brand, and they do that, because as we know, in newspapers back in the day, that was the main source
of gaining your content, but now you can go online, you have apps, you have other products,
and so the newspaper isn’t quite the same
as it always has been. So that means the New York
Times has to live on desktop, mobile, in their magazine, they’re starting to crunch the
content and develop features in new and different ways, whether you drive past or
walk past the building, and how even the signage is displayed and developed to be
displayed on that building and what’s happened in that building, they all go back to the story
that they are continuing to tell, the standard that
they are continuing to set, and it allows them to
continue to use that logo and some of those other
characteristics across other pieces. So if they’re selling a hat to someone, then that someone is not buying a hat. For them, they’re buying into a creed, or they’re buying into a
little bit of the feeling of being part of something much bigger. They’re buying into, if I wear this hat, then I’m seen as an honest, trustworthy, relevant person, and I can
talk to people about it and they will respond to
me, and it makes me smarter. They’re buying into something there, and whether they’re doing it deliberately, whether the New York
Times is selling things to have that effect,
probably not necessarily, but the brand and what happens
with the New York Times affects all of these other pieces. Now, why am I showing you that? We do a decent amount of
work with the New York Times, and I’ll show you one of the projects here that we get really excited about, and the, it starts here. This is at the beginning. This is 1855, this is one
of, if not the very first front page of the New
York Times, and when we work on these brand identity
projects, especially for companies that have
been around for a long time, we want to make sure that we know how people have been
engaging with that company, how they’ve been engaging with the brand and what story, what
narrative, is being told. So when we were asked by
the New York Times Magazine to help them establish a casual, more informal identity for their magazine as they went through their most recent redesign, they wanted something that would help them kind of signify the voice of the magazine across social media and across other digital applications, so across apps and phones and podcasts. And so we said, sure,
we’d love to do that. The team there is fantastic,
the work they’re doing is really pretty groundbreaking. And in order for us to do that, we had to understand who
the New York Times is, and even more so, who they were. So going back to the first, even looking at this visual legacy
that they’ve established, this is one of the newspapers from, I think it was right after
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and this was their way of
paying tribute to Lincoln, by making the gutters of
the columns of text black, so that was their tribute to Lincoln. And then, how does that,
in the New York Times, then impact the magazine? If you go back to some of
their original magazine covers, here, for instance, you know
that you have that typeface, that beautiful,
distinguished New York Times black letter typeface, then
the magazine is written in the same letters, that’s
applied across the covers, then some color is introduced, full bleed imagery, and that
logo gets a little bit smaller, their first color photograph on the cover, and this is in the ’60s, I think ’64, but that logo, that
masthead at the very top, actually remains quite consistent. Then you can tell, we
start to get into the ’70s. How does the brand evolve, how does the identity evolve over time? They start to introduce some typefaces, a bolder use of type, they’re still, the content that they’re
featuring is still very relevant, and then up and through
the ’90s and the aughts, the 2000 to 2010, how
they’ve become much more of a lifestyle magazine. They’ve learned in the process that they don’t have the
same issue of needing to sell magazines on the newsstands so they’re able to get away with
a bit more conceptual covers which then helps them to
stand out from competitors because they can approach
the subject matter in new and interesting ways. Now, when we started working with them, these were two of the
groundbreaking covers that just been developed, one
where they kind of messed up the cover by doing a lot of photocopying, of I think that’s Rand
Paul, as well as one of the, one of the most greatest-impact
covers there on the left, where the whole magazine,
they took the logo, they put it on the side,
and they made it feel like something that you
were receiving in the mail. So when we had to develop a mark, an identity, an element
that they could use across these different platforms, this was the logo that
we were working with, and we knew we couldn’t
really do too much with it because they had been around for so long. If we came back to them
with something that was too different then
people wouldn’t trust us, it wouldn’t have the same
connection to the brand that they needed for people
to really believe in it. And when you go online, the
other challenge that we have now that we didn’t have 15 years
ago was everything is small. So back in the day, when I was in college, we had to design logos
that worked big and small and we were very careful
about when it gets small, how that worked, but then,
five, 10 years later, you didn’t deal with that issue anymore because there wasn’t a lot
of using the logo small. Like, you could make it
bigger, you could do a lot more with it, desktop publishing,
but now we’re back to app buttons and social
media headers and avatars, and we have to think about abbreviations and shorthand again, and so when you have the New York Times Magazine,
how do you put that in the header of a Twitter icon? So what we were able
to do is, we knew that they have the magazine
that they’re going to get in their hands every
day, that every Sunday, you’re going to get that
magazine in your hands, but how do we break that down in a way that you consume content daily? Well, we wanted to make it
a little bit more informal. And so we simply used the same typeface, it was redrawn a little bit,
and then we presented them with a lowercase version of
the New York Times Magazine. So, in some ways, you have your, “My name is Bobby Cole Martin Junior,” and then, “But my friends call me Marty,” and so I have my nickname. When you’re talking to me
online, and back and forth, and we’re sharing comments
and having conversations, then you can just call me by my shorthand, you can call me by my nickname, which is then still New
York Times Magazine, but visually, it’s a nickname, and that can be applied across Twitter, across podcasts, The Ethicists and Talk, as well as other applications. So now, across their social media, when they are featuring stories, for instance, this is
from the past weekend with their music issue, they
can change their typeface when they’re speaking
to specific features, but that simple, very easy to recognize lowercase nyt mag is there at the top, or even there on the left,
as these tiles get featured throughout Twitter and Instagram and other applications. And also, at South By
Southwest, another event, where you normally would have the New York Times Magazine written out, and it becomes a bit unwieldy, you’re able to use this more like a logo, you don’t have to worry
about messing it up too much because it’s the more
informal gesture for magazine. So we were able to take the
qualities that we learned from the history of the New York Times, make sure that we kept
a lot of the integrity of the New York Times, but we
were able to use the skeleton, the structure, the
infrastructure of the type, of that story, and bring it
back through the magazine across other applications, so
that it told a similar story but allowed for some variation. And that was something
we were only able to do after understanding the brand itself. And what other question,
where can I go next, yes? – [Voiceover] Who are “Green Bloods”? – All right, good one, okay,
so who are Green Bloods? Any guesses? So that brings us here, I’ve given you, given away who they are, but the Girl Scouts of the USA asked us to help them build an identity system, and the reason being is because they had had this beautiful logo
that was developed in 1978 by a very iconic and famous
graphic designer named Saul Bass and in 1978, you had
very different challenges that you have 30 years later. 30 years later, you’re faced
with desktop publishing, you’re faced with
Internet and social media, and the identity system starts to become a little bit less cohesive,
completely less consistent, and they needed some secondary parts in their greater toolkit
to help them speak to the girls of the Girl Scouts. Now, the question was,
who are the Green Bloods? Anybody, such as the New York Times, if you are a New York Times reader, and you’ve been a New York Times reader for as far back as you can remember, you believe in the New York Times. For the Girl Scouts, for women who grew up and they were Girl Scouts,
their mother was a Girl Scout, their grandmother might
have been a Girl Scout, and now, they’re in their
40s and 50s and 60s, and they are giving back,
they’re volunteering, they’re troop leaders,
they care so much about who the Girl Scouts are that that green, that Girl Scout green is
pumping through their veins, and they are actually
known as Green Bloods. So anytime that we work with a company that has built a lot of equity
over a long period of time, we need to speak to who’s
most important, the audience, and who have been engaged with that brand over a long period of time. So we had to actually
talk to these Green Bloods because we had to know
what they cared about if we were going to develop
a system for the Girl Scouts. So this is what the
Girl Scouts looked like when we started working with
them, and one of the things that’s actually missing
from this is the green, there’s very little green in
the Girl Scouts’ materials, and so the Green Bloods,
if we did anything, we had to make sure that
it went back to the core of what they knew the Girl Scouts to be. Now, the way we did that, almost similar to the New York Times, but the Girl Scouts has an actual archive, probably as big as this
room, full of, like, there’s cabinets, there’s dressers, there’s hangers, there’s
tons and tons of materials, and they go back to a hundred years. And what we learned after looking at and taking pictures of
all of these materials is, they have one symbol that
in one way or another was used for the Girl Scouts
over that long period of time, and that is this symbol that you see here, it’s actually called a trefoil, and that’s a three-leafed icon, it comes out of military iconography, it comes out of camping,
and back in the day, when they started, they
were much more based around camping, they were much more based around, in some ways, following
what the Boy Scouts did, and then teaching girls what they, how to be a good wife
and that type of thing. But that changed in the ’60s and ’70s, with women’s lib, where
women were becoming much more front and center, so
instead of taking a backseat, they were now starting to say, hey, let’s take women seriously,
equal pay, equal jobs, bring it on, and so Saul Bass was able to use this trefoil-like shape, just brilliantly redraw
it, soften it a little bit, make it a bit more symmetrical, and bring the girls and
the ladies into the mark. And so that was really
inspired by the movements and the things that were happening
contextually at the time. What we needed to do was
go back to the beginning in order for us to go
forward to the future, and we did that by first learning that their trefoil is very important. Now, if we learned that that’s important, then we can evolve that identity
by keeping the integrity of the mark that Saul Bass had developed, keeping the girls front and center, we tweaked some of, we redrew the faces, we gave them a little bang to help differentiate
the different silhouettes of the ladies in the shape, but they were actually, they’re the same, but giving them the bang
actually implied diversity a little bit more, we tweaked the nose, giving them a little bit
more strength to the lips, and then the neck line
becomes much stronger, it’s much more of a bold, competent sash, similar to the Girl Scouts sash, and that enabled us to
develop a distinguished, distinguishable, distinctive mark, led by that symbol, almost like a ship going through the water. You have this leadership symbol, you have this proud symbol that they could use to be the nucleus of a much bigger system. That much bigger system had to work across all different regions,
there’s hundred of these, and so all of them start with
Girl Scouts at the beginning and then one for each region. And then some of you are quite familiar with their grade levels. So the grade levels
here, from the Daisies, the Brownies, on to the Ambassadors, they get their own color, and then that, Girl Scout service mark
is what it’s called, is there leading the way. Instead of asking girls
to join the Girl Scouts, we more competently encouraged them to be themselves by being a girl, and using a distinctive typeface that picked up on that trefoil shape, we were able to be a bit more expressive. Now, one of the big differences
here is we made that change to the mark that allowed us to also have, to give them a shape
that was quite unique, so now with this shape, if it
doesn’t have the full faces in it then you have this shape
where you can bring type, you can use that to hold type,
or to tell bigger stories, like pattern, and it
works beautifully online and across other applications. So in the end, we had to make sure, for those who had been
part of the Girl Scouts for over a hundred years, that
we were true to who they were and we were able to embody a
lot of those characteristics but move them forward by giving them a simple yet fairly flexible system that they could
use to develop the work, and this is something we call
the Girl Scouts cheat sheet, which is eight key
questions to ask yourself when you’re developing a
Girl Scouts branded piece. This is brand identity in a nutshell. For all of those outside of the marketing and the design department, the people like the Green Bloods that are making things for
car washes and bake sales, that are raising money,
that are, like Chris Rock, that’s out there at the
Oscars, trying to sell cookies, this could go to him so
that when he is working with his daughter, he is
making sure that things feel like what the Girl
Scouts should feel like. I was so impressed with,
now, six, seven years later after this is rolling out, when Chris Rock sold those Girl Scouts
cookies at the Oscars, they used the brand typeface
to be able to tell that story. It was completely on brand
and it was so exhilarating to see that as someone who
helped establish that system. So this was something
that goes back to the core of who they were,
figuring out who they were in order to help them move forward. This was the first, and maybe the only, project we ever worked on
where we’ve been minted by the US Mint, so not only do you have the Girl Scout logo there on
your left, but then we did the anniversary, their
100th anniversary mark, which is underneath the
girls there on the right. So maybe I’ll pick the next
one, because I think it might be quite relevant for some of what you do, and it’s a pretty long one,
and then we’ll go from there. Let’s see if this works this time. Great, that time it worked. So, in my past, recent past, I worked in London at a company that some of
you may know, called Nokia, and while I was there,
there was tons of things that I learned about branding. And I wanted to work there
so that I could understand branding and identity
design on a macro-level, so I could understand how it
works across the whole world. When I first started, this
is what Nokia looked like, because they were selling,
based on research, based on a lot of them talking to
people all across the world, they learned that not everybody
wanted the exact same phone, not everybody wanted
the exact same device, and my mom would want something
different than my sister, and so they developed
the phones in that way, based on that research, based
on the understanding of who these consumers, who the
people that are buying it were, but they also started to
package the phones differently, to be able to send off
those different signals. Now, in theory, that
would work really well, but for a company the size of Nokia, what started to happen
is, it diluted the brand. So when I would talk to a
lot of people about this, I would say, “Well, where is the Nokia? “Can you point out the
Nokia product here?” They all are Nokia, but they all say Nokia in a completely different way. So part of what we had
to do was figure out how to enhance that brand so that it would make the products stand
out across the shelves and in the eyes of the people that were buying these
devices all over the world. Now, this is actually
how it looked in retail, and so this is next to the
Blackberry, there’s Nokia, there’s a lot of other products, and so when you are
faced with this choice, and you haven’t done research, and you’re trying to
figure out what you want, what are the things that are
helping you to make a decision, and if you are a company
trying to sell these devices, and a lot of people very much respect, respected and loved Nokia, but if you can’t even
locate a Nokia product, it was a bit of a challenge. So what we did is, once
again, we did our research. We do a lot of research, whether
it’s diving into archives, when they have archives,
whether it’s one of my favorite places to do research
online, is like going to eBay and just seeing what I
can find from random stuff that some diehard, some
Green Blood is selling, you know, and there’s some
gems that you can find. What we had to do is we had
to go and search of Nokia. We had to try to find out who Nokia was, what the story is that they were telling. Like this, for instance,
I think this is a shot from the, they used to have
a brick and mortar shop on 57th Street, right
here, 57th and between, I guess 5th and Madison,
and it’s pretty sleek, it was a beautiful, a little cold, there was some warmth in the back, but a little bit of a cold experience, but the thing out of all
of these that stood out was Nokia was, it had a color, it had a feeling, and that
wasn’t really communicated clearly in the actual products. And so what we did is we were able to say, okay, if we take a step
back and we really try to find out who Nokia is
and what they look like, why don’t we start with infusing the products with color? So if we bring the product to the front, we bring the name, and then we just, instead of having a
completely different pattern and color for every single product, we would go with finding
this color blocking approach of the Nokia blue and applying that to all of the Nokia packaging
as well as other things that kind of surround
it and ancillary items. So our proposal was to use what we called indigo, the Project Indigo, where we would take the
differentiated products and we’d bring them
into a branded approach. So we’re not needing to have the products do all the work in selling themselves; instead, we let what people love the most, which is that they love the
brand, in a lot of ways, and so let’s bring the brand
a bit more front and center. Now, in doing that, we had
to do a lot of testing, and when we tested it, the
cool part about working for a big brand is we
were able to actually make these packages and put them
out there in the world, in reality, so it wasn’t, it wasn’t like I’m doing
a lot of times now, when I’m in the office and comping things, we definitely did a lot of that, but we went through full production to get these products
out there and test them. So we had to get the color right, we had teams going all over the world, going to different plants,
this was some of the team, to build out the, well, to test the color, we had to also, we made some tweaks to the actual box structure, we changed the material, they’re a super, super sustainable company as far as, as big as they are, they were so concerned
about sustainability, and so, but they, the
culture of the company, being a Finnish company, they didn’t like to brag about the things
that they were doing, and so we wanted to make
sure that we were able, through branding, through packaging, and through other kind
of tactile qualities, that we could tell the story about how the sustainable measures and requirements that they put themselves through, so we moved, as one of
the only product packages, especially at that scale, where we use an uncoated paper stock, highly sustainable, I think
it was recyclable paper, recycled paper for all the packaging. And then we brought in one color tab to be able to help you
distinguish more than the name and the product on its own,
which those categories. So before, when every single package had a completely different
color, completely different size, a completely different
pattern, we’ve really, we’ve simplified that in
order to help them stand out in the retail environment. The naming, at the same time,
was also being developed so that was something
that we were working on, and then we came up with a new approach for art direction of the imagery, and so the images went from
actually being photographed to being full-on, these really
beautiful detailed renders, these high-res renders,
for various reasons that we’ll get into another time. And then one of the big
questions that would come back from the program, sounds like something off of 1984, the program, which is each
device had its own unit, and so, how do you distinguish
the really high-end devices, the ones that you’re paying
$100, $200, $400 for, versus the lower-end ones,
and so we were able to not, which is the default,
the lazy way of doing it, is making everything black,
which is what a lot of times, “Oh, just make it black,
that says high-end.” Instead, we stuck with that Nokia blue, but we introduced different finishes, different tactile qualities, to help to signify these
more high-end devices. And this is a funny thing,
this is just a simple, kind of basically like a UPC code, and it was this big chunky
thing that was about two, three inches high, two, three inches wide, that was on the back of every package. The funniest thing about it, and this is, this is real, is because that label, it was this big white
label, it was this big, they couldn’t change that label, so because they couldn’t
change the size of that label, they couldn’t make the
actual packages smaller. So the packages had to be a certain size because the label that they
used was a certain size. Mind-blowing, so I had one of my designers spend two years talking to
everybody across the whole world about how all the different manufacturers, all the different people, how can we make this label smaller? And then we weren’t, we weren’t happy and content with just making it smaller then, because we still had this big
white label on everything, so then we wanted to match the
color of the packages, too. So this simple little stupid label caused a lot of heartaches for everybody, but we finally were
able to make it smaller, after literally it took
us almost two years. So with that, we were able to do a pretty extensive, new
approach of identity across the packaging, to help
Nokia stand out in retail. Now, the next question
that I’ll ask here is, then, how do we know it works? And so, as I mentioned, we
went through this whole process to test it, and so after
going through that process, and coming up with blue,
is just, oh, some designers with some strategy, and
we make this blue package, well, it doesn’t always work like that, we to sell it in, we have to sell it up to a lot of guys that are
in this long board room, and we have to go around,
and you have to support that with some actual research,
and so we had to get out there in front of people and test it. So what we were able to do is
go across different places, different key markets, one was Dubai, where we actually, in Dubai, we went there and not in the kind of
big, shiny glitzy Dubai that we all see on television, like, this is, like, the real Dubai, and, like, you go into these shops and they just have wall-to-wall
products and boxes, so that you can, that’s how
you actually saw the product, it wasn’t the type of thing
where you go into, like, a T-Mobile store here, and
you’re able to touch the phone and play with it and call
home, this was the thing where everything was there and you
just pick what you wanted. So this is actually shot
in one of those shops, where this is what the current
day situation looked like. So they had the Nokia Connecting
People there at the top but the products, if you
had to quickly say where is the Nokia product, you weren’t
quite sure where it was. And then once we went through this process and replaced those
packages with the new one, you knew very clearly where
to find the Nokia products. And this, obviously, yes, this
is when we’re putting them all into one of the cases and
having them there together, but even amongst the competitors, if you put one of those boxes in there, they completely stood out from
all the white and black boxes that everybody else was using. We didn’t just do that
for the phone devices, we did it for all of the accessories. We went to Madrid and
did the exact same thing. This was a bit more traditional, what you would think of
as traditional retail, with the devices there,
but we were able to use the packages in the
back for color blocking to help draw people into the
shop, in-shop experience. In Mumbai, similar to Dubai, where you walk into these
places and it’s just packed wall-to-wall with different boxes of, and what the other thing
is, all of the guys, they learned what this product could do by reading the box, by looking at the box, and so those were things we were able to, once we learned that, once we were able to ask them questions and learn that, we could make so many
changes that were just, had been there, had been
kind of grandfathered in and nobody tested them. So afterwards, in Mumbai, this
is what the shop looked like. So in the end, Nokia went from being a company that sold every
product differently, and when you have hundreds of products, hundreds and hundreds of products, and then when you start to get products that have different versions of them, it’s just so many more, and
selling each one individually, which got pretty complex. We were able to simplify
the graphic approach, the identity, across the packaging, to then put the Nokia brand
more front and center. You can see how that, and some of the other things we
learned, the way which helped, you can quickly see here, but we learned that a lot of times, the people in the retail would
learn what a device could do not by reading about it but
simply by looking at the screen and seeing what features it had. So we were able to use, and
take a lot of the language off of the back of the packages, and just basically put more images that pointed to the different features. Okay, so. – [Voiceover] Can a
design start a movement? – Okay. All right, so one of
the interesting things about “can design start a movement,” a movement can be a lot
of different things. I think now, when we see what’s happening in the political landscape, there’s like kind of a political movement, here in New York City, one of the things that’s quite interesting with music is that people are always
trying different things, you have new music, new genres, and then you have those that
have been around for a while, and they start to get
a little old and dusty, and so, I worked as the design director at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and
one of the interesting things about it is when working there, we moved into the building
over the Time Warner Center, and the first thing you
think about when you have to tell people about jazz, the
first thing you think about is Miles Davis, the second
thing you think about is John Coltrane, and the
third thing you think about is Blue Note Album, so the Blue Note Record Label, had these beautiful albums
that were developed by a guy named Reid Miles back in
the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, and that’s all kind of
this graphic overtone of images that have been manipulated. And what we needed to do is figure out how do you stand out from that, how do you help people to get excited about an old,
a somewhat old music form? I mean, now, jazz compared
to classical music is so much, is so much younger, but compared to hip
hop and compared to EDM and other things, it’s, you
know, it’s old and dusty. So starting to think about when jazz is at its very best, it’s killing, so we came
up with this approach to, when jazz is killing, love falls deeper, when jazz is killing,
voices scream louder, passions burn hotter, when jazz is killing, sounds charm, cocktails tease, and people play. And what we needed to
do, we needed to do this because in New York City,
nobody cared about jazz, nobody went and would, you
could go to Village Vanguard, you could go to all of
these different jazz clubs, and you could go and
see old and dusty jazz, or you hear it when
you’re in the elevator. Nobody cared about jazz. So why do you continue to
position jazz in the way that everybody is seeing all the time and they’re bored with. So we needed to put butts in seats, we needed to sell tickets
to people in New York City, that could go Broadway, they
could go to a Knicks game, they could do so much more, they could just sit in Central Park, why would I pay $120 to
go see somebody play jazz in this formal environment
up in Columbus Circle? So what we needed to do was turn the jazz approach on its head and cut through a lot of the clutter. So the way we started the movement here is by infusing all of the communications with a much more potent, direct, especially for Lincoln Center, a little bit more edgy approach to how we’re speaking to people who we want to come to these events. All the materials reflected
that this is not going to be something where
you’re going to go to sleep sitting in, you know,
you’re in an elevator and you’re kind of nodding off. This was going to be an exciting, rump-shaking, you know, a
little bit risqué environment. And whether it’s with the
Full Season, which was there, on your left, or if Willie
Nelson comes through, like having him kind of
break through a little bit of tension in our imagery, and then the big thing
here was almost like Nokia, where we had to break through with, when everybody was using
white and black packaging, and we went with the blue,
for Jazz at Lincoln Center, this was a bright,
fluorescent, day-glo pink. It was so pink, in fact, and so bright that when we did it, we printed everything in this fluorescent
color and we got all the, I mean, this was like
thousand and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars
go into all this printing, and they got it back and
I don’t think anybody other than me really realized
how pink this was going to be, and you know, it’s bright and fluorescent, and they were like, whoa,
you know, I get the email, saying, “Can you come
to my office, please?” And so being able to then send this out to all of the different
people that we wanted to come to the jazz events, and
pay tickets, and subscribe, this helped them to pay
attention a little bit more. So, you know, whether
it’s the guy on your left is Ted Nash, who is this
incredible saxophone player for the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra, but he looks like it’s, you
know, it’s 1940 out there and that’s a cigarette, but it’s not, it’s just his reed from
his saxophone in his, and even that was a
little risqué for them, it was like, “Oh, why
is that in his mouth?” You know, Cecil Taylor, which,
if you listen to Cecil Taylor it’s the craziest shit you’ve ever heard, but this, one of our
designers took this picture in the subway, like, one
day on the way to the office and we loved it because that’s
what the music felt like, and then we used the type
to reflect that also, some scale with the Cecil Taylor with a little ampersand, John Zorn, so when you go to that concert, you know what you’re going to expect, and a lot of times, like,
how many people in here know who Cecil Taylor is? One person, but I’ve got to get all of you to go to this concert, so if you see that, “I don’t know who that’s going to be, “but yeah, I’ll go check it out. “I don’t know if I’ll pay $120,
but I’ll go check it out.” And I just wanted people
to pay attention to it. And so we needed to do
some of these things to be able to stand out from
all of the other competing, things that were competing
for eyes and attention and dollars in New York City. There was an interesting
story that I used to tell about this, especially
when I was selling it in, because it took a lot of selling in, was, there’s, if you take a blue van for, let’s say, a laundry, a dry cleaner, and just drive it all
around New York City, once it leaves, it’s
gone, you don’t see it. But if you take that same dry cleaning van and you paint it hot pink, and that one van drives
around New York City, you’ll say, “Oh, man,
I’ve been seeing that van “all over the place, have
you noticed that van?” And it’s just the same
one van but because it’s so different from all the
other vans that are out there, then it makes you feel
like you’ve been seeing it and it’s much more
present, much more present. The thing that started to happen, and I don’t know if it was just me and I don’t have the images here, but, you know, after this went live, there was the spring concert, or was it spring concert,
fall concert cover of Time Out New York Magazine, used day-glo pink in their type face and it said Killin’ Concerts. I mean, things like that, it’s like, “Oh, I’m starting to see this everywhere.” And then we got a little bit happy with it and we did the same thing
for their membership, so if that was about putting
butts in the seats and all of their individual concerts
over the course of the year, for their membership, instead, like, similar Girl Scouts
where it was “Be a Girl,” here, it was if you love jazz,
join Jazz at Lincoln Center. We said, nope, let’s
not, we can’t use that, that’s boring, that’s dusty,
let’s make this a chant: love, jazz, join, love, jazz, join, and we printed that, you can
see there’s a pattern here, but then we had this
day-glo orange to stand out. And so this was a little piece that, when you went to the jazz club, you had silly Wynton Marsalis
there, kind of pointing at you, I made him do that,
he still regrets it today. And seriously, he’s like,
“I can’t believe you made me “do that, oh, I can’t do
that again, my reputation.” But, you know, you have, we did it all in day-glo inks, we made
it feel fun and exciting and it was just, for graphic
designers especially, it was just something that we’re able to get a little bit crazy with, but to make this chant. So when we started a movement, you know, whether it’s the movements
that we see today, with Black Lives Matter or, you
know, a political revolution, maybe not quite at that scale, but for us, we needed
to start a revolution to help a music that we
thought was really special, a music that is alive and
well, not just old and dusty, to stand out so that people
would be a part of it, so, thank you. (applause) Do we have time for any questions, okay. So I’m happy to answer
any other questions, any specific things or
go into more detail. – [Voiceover] What was the catalyst for you to start your own firm? – What’s interesting about, I believe probably a lot of you all, is when you are now in this situation, you’re super excited, ambitious, eager, and what ended up happening,
I think the catalyst was going through this SBA program for me, because it made me think
that I could do so much more with design than I had been doing, so yes, I learned type,
and scale, and layout, but now I learned that I could use design to do what I, what made me happy, and that was working
with people that I love, love what they are about, and also being able to see how I could use
design to make a difference. So it started, the catalyst was being a student, mulling
things over with Jennifer and others, and saying, you
know, I want to do this. Probably a lot of it, too, to be honest, was after a while, like, I
don’t know if I could have somebody always telling me what to do. I want to do it this way,
I want to do it my way, and, like, and so there
might have been a little bit of the, you know, authority issue, but I’ve never been happier, and so, like, we would talk about it a lot when we were in school, but then, I said, okay,
being a little bit OCD, being a little bit crazy and
methodical about these things, what do I need to do to make this happen? So, yes, I could easily go from graduating into making it happen, but it might, it probably wouldn’t have lasted long because I didn’t know anything
about running a business and if people were going to hire me to do stuff that impacted their business, then what experience did I have
other than being a student? So I then went and took on jobs that helped me to gain
experience in doing those things. So first, I worked at
the Ogilvy and Mather with one of my professors, Brian Collins, at a place called the
Brand Integration Group, where we were able to do
pretty exciting things, some of the types of
things that we’re doing and hoping to do at OCD,
but do it for Coca Cola, Hershey’s, we developed the identity for New York City’s Olympic bid. Went from there to Jazz at Lincoln Center, went from there to Nokia, from there to then starting our company. So kind of one, learning how to deal with different clients and
collaborate with strategists and other people, strategists
and account managers and others and advertising, then to leading and building a team, and having to deal with the
politics and selling things in, of working internally,
then going to Nokia, one of the things that I didn’t mention, but one of the best parts
about that is we were in a design office in the
center of London, in Soho, and my team was all graphic designers, but sitting across from
me were some of the best product designers that I’d ever seen and still stay in touch with,
I can’t wait until we can figure out what to collaborate on. Product designers, colors
and material designers, like things I didn’t even
know they had designers for. And, like, the things
that I learned from that, even working with design researchers that did a lot of the help
with the testing of, like, how do we craft the right questions, how do we make sure that the feedback that we’re going to
get is going to help us to iterate the product packaging rather, and from there, I was like, okay, now the time is right, we had, luckily, I had stumbled across a
couple of relationships along the way, built a
couple of relationships along the way that helped
me to have some work, and then we just went from
there and never looked back. – Hi, so, first of all, thanks for coming. I’m super excited to see you here. I have a question, so, you mentioned the white
versus the pink man, what helps you build
forms beyond the obvious? – Well, a lot of it has
to do, what helps me and us do things beyond the obvious? Well, sometimes we do some
things that are pretty obvious, too, but there’s a reason for that, because sometimes we’ll
start with something that people have a common understanding of, so we might start with
something that’s somewhat cliché and then see what we
can do about that cliché to make it different and new, so that people actually
recognize it and see it again. So that’s one way. That’s one thing. The other is, I think, relying on people and continuing to push each other. So we have to be comfortable
asking questions. One of the things, and I
encourage this in our classes, but we do this also in our process every day at the office, is instead of in our critiques asking, “Well, what do you think, do you like it? “Do you like this, what
do you think about this?” We try to not ask that question. Instead, we ask the question of, “This is the work that we’ve just done. “How do we make it better?” And the reason we ask that question is because we, it’s less about what do you think and
whether you like it or not, because that, oftentimes,
you’re not the target audience, and you also can bring some other things to the table which might
not be quite relevant, but if I ask you the question
of how do I make this better, and you think about how
to do that, in a way, the feedback is much more
constructive, and it’s, “Wow, well, have you considered this, “because of that, that, and that,” rather than, “Man, you know, I hated pink, “it feel so feminine, and
I don’t know if anybody,” I literally had somebody
maybe a month ago, a month or two ago, we
were in this meeting for a hospital type of
project, a health care project, I’m wearing, I’m presenting
basically to some big-time people in the company, I’m
wearing this pink shirt and a tie and a jacket,
and we presented a couple of the concepts and one was teetering on kind of a burgundy but going more in a little bit more pinkish direction, and one of the people
said, “Well, you know, “I don’t think the doctors
are gonna ever like pink, “they would never wear
pink, they would never,” and I was sitting there
with a pink shirt on, I was like, all right, cool, you know? But instead of thinking of it that way, trying to say, “Well, what
can we do to make this better? “How can we get this to a certain point?” And if we can do that, then
we’re constantly pushing ourselves to think
beyond just the obvious. – [Voiceover] Hi, thanks for coming. I sort of a specific question
about the Girl Scouts project, it’s two-fold: one, when they came to you, did they know that the Green Bloods were their target audience, and two, how hard was it to get them to, like, keep it pretty close to the original? – Those are two very good questions. So the first question,
the short answer is no. So the first question being, did they know that the Green Bloods were
their target audience. Well, the target audience actually varied, it’s pretty diverse
audience, they have some different segments with
Girl Scouts themselves, so you have the people
that have been a part of Girl Scouts for a very, very long time, you also have some very important people that are part of the Girl Scouts that have only been part of the Girl
Scouts for maybe a year, maybe two years, maybe three
years, and they’re the girls. And so the first people that
we spoke with were the girls, and the hard part is about, how do I go to an
eight-year-old, a ten-year-old, and say, “Well, what do you
think about the Girl Scout logo? “Here, tell me,” you know,
that’s something that, it was hard and we said, no, we’re not going to approach
it like that at all. We basically, and this is pretty funny, we bought tons and tons of teen magazines and kid magazines, Nickelodeon-type of stuff, and we bought a whole bunch
of those type of things, man, I tell you, I’m probably
on some type of watch list after going to, like, Barnes and Noble and buying all these
teen and girl magazines, and they look at me like I’m crazy. But we took all these and
had these working sessions with the girls, and we’d
ask them questions like, you know, “What do friends,” you know, “What type of things
are your friends up to?” or, I think the question was, like, “When you’re with your friends, “what do you guys care
about, what do you do?” Things like that, we’d ask questions, and they’d cut it out and
we had them make these big collages, which we have,
and that’s another presentation for another time. But what we ended up doing, it’s a bit of an iterative process, not necessarily the way
that we would normally want, but we did this massive
presentation to the board, and of course, on the
board, we have some that are the ones that are helping
to guide the business, you have those that are very invested in the work they were doing
and understand branding, you have those that are
there because they have been part of the Girl Scouts
for 30, 40, 50 years. We literally, I had a woman
after the board meeting of our first presentation, she
said, “Hey, it’s funny that “we’re going through this
because I was in the meetings “when we did the first re-design,” and that re-design was in 1978, when Saul Bass came in
there and presented, and that blew my mind. And so we need to, it was
actually after that meeting, that we realized that, okay,
there’s some people here that are going to be
really upset if we change too much, and we didn’t want
to change too much either, we just wanted to give
them more of a system. So that was one of the things that we kind of learned along the way. We had some sense of
what it was going to be, but we had to tread carefully. Yeah, and the second
question, did I get that one? Yeah, okay. Yeah, we didn’t want
to change it too much, and actually, some people
wanted to change more, and we had to be very careful about why and what change, and to make sure that it retained, because you could also argue the point of, that’s there’s not a lot of equity built, because the target audience
is eight, nine, 10 years old, and they don’t have any equity, but what they would say is, “Oh, but my mom has that logo,
my grandma has that logo,” so, oh, but see, we can’t, so we need to be very careful about that. – [Voiceover] So, thank you for the talk. My question is,
coincidentally this morning, I was looking at a side by side from the old Girl Scout
logo and the new one. I didn’t realize that you worked on it. I was wondering, like it’s just so nice, because I was looking at it and wondering, why did they put bangs, and
so that’s my question to you, I’d never get that chance
in a million years, but here you are. – Well, for a handful of reasons, and I also have that in a
more elaborate presentation, but I didn’t want to put
you all to sleep here. So the first thing that we learned is that this trefoil
shape is hugely important, and if we used that trefoil shape, then the system can be much more robust and it could speak to the
girls but it could also be something could be
received on the White House and taken seriously. Now, so, if we give
them this trefoil shape, the one that was originally done in ’78, was softened to where it
just looked like a cloud if we didn’t have anything in it, but the actually trefoil
had this very strong kind of point at the bottom. So we redrew it to be a
strong but distinctive mark that could be used with
the faces and without. During the process of
that, we realized that there was a reason why that
shape was the way it was. So they have that rounded, softer bottom, that was developed, that
was done originally, is because if you put people in this thing and you have this weird point, then it’s just awkward
and strange visually, and so we had to start
to do some very careful shifting around and
redrawing to make sure things fit well within that shape, and during the process, there was a version where there was a longer kind of hairline and it still looked a
little bit old school, it still felt a little
bit Charlie’s Angel-esque, and there was another
version that was explored that had this just subtle
kind of cut in that line that worked as a band and
it felt more contemporary and it also helped to signify that this was more than just one
girl repeated, it helped to signify that it was many,
many girls coming together, and it just adds a memorable, more timeless mark, it really hit that quality
a little bit better for us. And so, and the distinctiveness of it, just some of those things as well, so there were storytelling
cues that were really important as well, there’s just
some simple kind of scale and gestalt issues that we
had to deal with, so yeah. – [Voiceover] In working
with an established identity, there’s a lot to draw from, in a lot of these examples,
almost a century of resources. What’s the difference in
approach when you have to work with a comparably very new identity, as opposed to one who’s
got a lot of things rooted, like the trefoil or blue
note from the Lincoln Center? – Well, what’s interesting
with Jazz at Lincoln Center is the identity itself was quite new, but it was leveraging
some of those qualities that people were familiar with, and so when we had to actually
build out that system, it still felt a little bit old school in a way that just didn’t
allow for it to stand out. And I think there’s two approaches to answering that question. One is, if there’s a fairly
new brand that’s coming to us and asking for work or help, now, with that, like, for instance, the High Line has been around for, the High Line was first started, Friends of the High
Line, this organization, was first started in 1999, and there was a logo
developed for it then, and it’s the H that has two crossbars because the High Line is
built on a train track. And that was done by a friend of ours, Paula Scher from Pentagram. Now, over the course of
them building the High Line, it became very, very well known, a lot of money and funding went into it, and it opened, I think it was in 2009. We were brought in in 2010 or ’11 based on the recommendation from Paula to help to build out
that system over time. So what we didn’t do, and
what we didn’t want to do, is go in and say, “Oh, this
logo, it’s so hard to work with, “this typeface is bad, and why
are you using these colors?” What we did instead is we said, okay, here’s the elements that people
have become familiar with really quickly, it’s been
around for, let’s say, kind of for people, for New Yorkers, it’s been around for maybe a year, I think it was the second
year when we came in, and they were just starting
to get things established. So what we did then is we built out a more robust identity by applying, by starting to apply that over and over to all of their different things, so we designed fliers and signage and invitations and
magazines and calendars and merchandise, and along the way, we learned so much more about what works and what doesn’t work in this system. So we learned how to use
the H, big and strong, we learned that when you use photography at the High Line, use it big and boldly, because the High Line is just so beautiful and the photography that
they’re able to get was great. So instead of trying to
think about what changes, what we wanted to do was figure out how we work within a limited tool set and start to use that as much as possible. And it’s almost like,
you know, drinking wine or a good beer, I’ll say
wine, let’s say with wine, so if you like wine and
you drink Pinot Noir over and over and over again, you’ll start to notice the differences between a Pinot from, you know, Oregon versus a Pinot from,
you know, France, right? And if you start to
know that, you know that because you drink so much Pinot Noir that you can understand the differences. And then, when people see
the High Line materials, they see the High Line as a whole, but we’ve been able to
build it out in a way that we start to
understand all the nuances and differences, and so we
were able to kind of learn how to use the typeface by
using it over and over and over again, we learned, like,
it could be big or it could be small, it couldn’t be
small, but it could be bigger, but we learned a lot of things about it. And having to work
within those restrictions rather than the easy way
out, which is just finding new typefaces, using new colors,
doing things differently, actually helped that brand to be stronger and I think it helped us, team-wise, to understand how to implement
brands in a better way. So that’s one way of doing it. The other answer to that question, which I’ll be shorter with,
is when people come to us with a new idea and we
need to start from scratch, and that goes through a bit
more of the typical ideation and concepting process and
then we just have to start making things, but we
don’t make things based on kind of how we feel about
stuff, we make it based on the things that we’ve
discovered in our research. – [Voiceover] Thank you so
much for your great talk. My question is about the New York Times that you talked about, you
talked about the diversity and I know they have, like, a
huge gender diversity problem in terms of, like, their
authors and people who comment on their articles on their website. Can you elaborate more on that, like, where did that come from? – Well, I think when we
mention diversity here, I think, yes, I think there’s
a lot of companies out there that have diversity issues
within the makeup of the company, within the payment, salary payment, and as graphic designers, brand designers, it’s not something that we normally have that much of an impact on. However, with the New York
Times, there’s a couple of things that I, just from my
experience, that I can say. One is, I think the diversity
of the topics that they have and that they talk about is quite rich. We have shown here the
New York Times Magazine, but we have been working with them on a lot of different products, whether it’s the NYT VR,
which is their virtual reality collaboration with Google Cardboard, that’s around and out now, whether it is providing
content to different groups, so NYT Now, which is
their app-based content, well, it’s their app, versus those that reach people that are a little bit more higher-end, so I think there’s a lot of different ways that they reach their audience, and there’s a lot of different ways that they are creating content. But as far as my experience, I think my experience
with the New York Times has been pretty fantastic. I think, was it Jill Abrams,
was the executive editor leading the New York Times
a couple of years ago. Now that role is taken by
an African American man. My original connection
with the New York Times was through Arem Duplessis, who
is one of the most brilliant art directors and creative
directors there is, he’s now at Apple, he’s a friend
of mine, African American. The people that we work with
daily at the New York Times now whether it’s leading the marketing and creative direction
team, they’re women, Gail Bichler, who is now in Arem’s role. So my experience with the New
York Times has been fantastic, I mean, really, really
good, and I feel like we are very much collaborators and
I’m actually pretty inspired by the diversity, I think overall, things can be much, much better
in a lot of different places but I’m not sure the New
York Times are the ones to use as that example. – [Voiceover] I’ve got a silly question. So the second years, we
just had a brand project experience class and we
built a lot of brand pyramids and one of the suggestions
that our teachers had made was, in thinking about our brand, think about a celebrity
that you might connect. So if you had to choose a celebrity for OCD that might represent
OCD, who would it be? – If I had to choose a celebrity
it would be Jennifer Kinon. That’s interesting, I think, what’s interesting about OCD is, Jennifer and I founded it and in the process, we learned, and we kind of knew this going in, that we’re actually quite different. So the things that she’s really good at, I’m probably less good at. Her kind of personality is a
little bit different than mine and so we’re bringing
a good mix and richness to the company. So I think that there’s
probably a few different, I don’t know, I guess that one’s a bit more I’d have to think about, I’d have to first think about
celebrities and things, but, hmm, that’s a hard one. What celebrity? – [Voiceover] What if two
celebrities had a child? – Well, I, because I think
there is a little bit of variation between the two. I love, I think the work
that Shonda Rhimes is doing, she’s a celebrity, I think she’s smart and
pretty, outspoken, and pretty groundbreaking in a way that
she’s approaching things. You know, I think, when
you think about celebrity and couples, I think about, you know, President Obama, and I think, with that, I
think that there’s a little bit of, especially now,
because we’re in the season for, you know, what was
interesting about Obama, was very much about a
vision and aspiration, and I think we’re pretty ambitious and a lot of times we’re
bumping up against walls and ceilings and hopefully
breaking through them. The thing that is happening now is, Jennifer’s not here because she is serving as the design director
for Hillary Clinton, so she actually works for
Hillary right this second, and so with that said, I think that there’s a lot of things that, from kind of standpoint of being very good and capable, that I think Jennifer also embodies, so I think that this, it’s
probably a pretty broad answer to a pretty difficult question, but I definitely like,
actually, both of those, of Obama and Clinton together. – [Voiceover] I have a question. I saw recently a presentation, it was an interview online
with Michael Bierut, who designed the Hillary logo, and he showed it as a system
with lots of different permutations and imagery in it, but I’ve never seen one, and I’m wondering if that was killed because of the imagery that
people were going to make that was not sympathetic to Hillary, because it seemed like
such a brilliant idea, never once did I see any
perm other than, like, the blue being the red,
the red being the blue, white being the red, but
in terms of adding images into the H and the arrow, and
I was kind of heartbroken. It just seemed so wonderful and obvious, and it was just like, oh,
that’s why they’re not doing it. – Well, I think actually, if
you hit the right hashtags, there’s a lot of it out there. I think it’s also because, what I’ve learned about my
kind of peripheral involvement is there are some states that are much more in it
than I think even New York is at this point because
of just the schedule. Now, I’ve seen pictures. For instance, they have a
Flickr page, and you can see some of the pretty amazing
stuff that people are making, I’ve seen these two ladies, I
think it was in South Carolina that made these three-dimensional H’s, with, like, blinking lights
and they were wearing them like Flavor Flav clocks, I mean,
that’s just pretty amazing. And Hillary is, the campaign is making those as well, so they had an event in Brooklyn, I think it was in Brooklyn
a couple of weeks ago, it was a high event so I wasn’t
there, but I saw pictures, but where images of Hillary were in the H or New York City. – [Voiceover] We’ll see it when we’re getting toward election. – Yeah, and it happens more, and there actually has been a lot of, well, there’s been a lot
of illustrations and things like that, that have also
been done, so it’s been, I think they’ve been carefully
crafted and put out there so that those in different
areas can feel like, and so at the events when
you see the pictures, there’s actually a decent amount of it. – [Voiceover] Again, I don’t
think we can be careful about it, but that’s why I’m
wondering what’s happening. – No, no, no, and I think that’s, there’s, I think the campaign does make a lot of materials, and when they talk about system
from their point of view, a lot of it is around the message, so there’s a lot of the message itself, but it’s also kind of looking at things that either Hillary has said or friends of and even kind of in the opposition, so there’s a lot more around that, and I think you’ll see,
whether through social media or other places, that those messages are typically pretty wordy, and so I think there’s also a balance of what the campaign is sharing versus, and what they need to say, so for instance, if
you’re “Get out to vote,” or, “What is a caucus, how do I caucus,” so it’s very much
informational and tactical, and so I think that
sometimes there’s gonna be places where kind of the brand and the H and other things like that stand out, and right now, especially when it’s like, get knocking on doors,
getting people to the events, I think it’s a bit more informational, but we might see more of that soon. – [Voiceover] I mean,
am I the only person? Did anyone know that this was a system, the filled H and the arrow
and with other things, other images and colors? – [Voiceover] I had heard
controversy about it, because that arrow points to the right. – [Voiceover] It’s all on the arrow, too. – [Voiceover] But again,
to me, it wasn’t introduced as a system, it was a little different. – Right, and I think that’s the big, the, a lot of what Michael Bierut has done is the logo, which as I’ve
shown with others up here, one of the key components
to when you want to know what something is, you say,
oh, there it is, it’s the logo. And what Jennifer’s been
doing now for eight months is building out the system, and a lot of times the
logo is a part of it, but it’s much more, there’s
a lot of other stuff. But there’s some, I think if you go, I think they do a great job on Twitter, and you can see a lot of the messaging and the system there,
they’ve broken out of just using blue and red,
they do a lot of things with the type and message and images, so, and I think it’s just
continuing to build, so yeah. – [Voiceover] May I ask you a
question about the business? You’re how many employees now? – It’s around, between six and eight depending on the day. – [Voiceover] Yeah, so
you’re right on the verge of not being able to
design anymore, right? And managing and doing sales and legal? – It’s a lot. – [Voiceover] So can you talk
to the students a little bit about this moment in your career, because this is a key moment, like, you’re going to grow and, you know, do less design or you’re
going to stay where you are and have a lot of hand in that, as the conventional wisdom goes, and certainly, you know, many
of the people that I’ve met. – Well, it’s a very good question because when we started, it was two people sitting in a room, and we were making everything, responding to every email, running out to every meeting, building and giving every presentation, and from there, we then brought in interns to see what it’s like to have
a different person in the room and then we said, okay, we’ll hire, and so we hired somebody, and
it scared the heck out of us to have to, like, they’re
relying on us, like, but then, actually, once we did it, kind of like a lot of other things, you’re like, okay, this
isn’t as hard as I thought, and then we hired two people, and there’s times were it
does get a little bit crazy and challenging, but that’s also what makes it so exciting. So these are the things that I’ve learned. As we continue to grow, I’m less involved in the
day to day design work. However, having a vision for where you want things to go, or the confidence to be able
to coach and guide the team to get things to where they
need to be is hugely important. So design-wise, I’m probably
now around 15 to 20%, and that can be more or
less, depending on the day, but, for instance, yesterday
I had to run out to a meeting, not run out, I mean, we
knew it was happening, we had to rent a car
and drive to New Jersey for a meeting in New Jersey, and while we’re at that meeting,
the person in the meeting was asking for some
revisions to the presentation that we had given them the day before. And so, how did we get that done? We could say, “Sorry,
we can’t get it done, “you’re going to have to wait,” and, you know, it’s a thing
where that can become a problem, or we could say, “You
know what, we’re working “on that, thanks for sending
over that feedback today, “you’ll have it by the
end of the meeting.” And that confidence in us helps us to build, that confidence that the client can then have in us that we’re just going to
get it done goes a long way, it helped us to build trust and continue to get more and more work from them, which helps to be able to pay
the bills and all of that. But at the same time, it, like, these are the clients, like
these types of clients, they’re not small clients, and so they could easily
go to a massive company and they can have tons
and tons of people on it, but they’re trusting us
for maybe the way we’re approaching things, for the
way that we work with them, and for our kind of being able to deliver. So now, I actually am much, very excited about talking about the
work that we’re doing, about kind of giving you the
insight and the background to how we’re approaching things, to figuring out, what do
we do on social media, what do we share? And also I get much more involved in, yes, we had to find a legal team, and man, they’re expensive. Or we have, what do we do with hiring and firing and things like that. So it’s a maturity that we’ve had to quickly, you know, grow into, and it’s something that, at first, you might not be comfortable with it, and then we have to
learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable
and continue to push. I don’t know how big we’ll get. I don’t know how big
we actually want to be. Sometimes I wish we were twice as big, and other times, I wish it
was just two people in a room, and that can change almost every, you know, depending on the day. One thing I do know is that
it’s work and it’s hard. Working with clients, working with people, working with companies,
no matter what, it’s work. They’re paying us because it’s not easy and they expect us to figure it out. And I have some incredible
stories because of it, I have some really fun work because of it, and I think it’s definitely what I want to continue to do and
just learn more from. And I think the one other fun part that is one of those things that not too many people get
until you’re in the situation, but when I was working at
Jazz at Lincoln Center, I was living uptown in
Harlem and I would come down on the A, I’d go to work,
and I’d go back on the A. When I was working at some other place, I would come down, go
to work, and come back. But now, I go to the office,
which we’re in the East Village and then I’ll have a meeting
down in the financial district, and then I come back and
then I have a meeting up in midtown, and then I come back, and tomorrow we have to rent a zip car so we can drive to New Jersey. I’ve never seen so much of New York City and traveled all over the
country and even the world because of what we do, and that, to me, is one of the big, big payoffs,
so I thoroughly enjoy that. There’s always some ups and downs, but that’s what makes
it, you know, exciting, and we learn from it and grow from it. So, cool, thank you. (applause)

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