How do we define design?

Our beliefs about design.

When people think of design, they often think of the creation of a logo. Or maybe a print layout. And while that does represent a part of what we do, it’s only a very, very small and narrow representation. Design helps solve business problems. It’s as much an instrumental arm to an agency’s creativity as writing and art direction. And it touches everything we do, across every medium.

Design helps create a visual voice that can develop long-lasting relationships with a brand’s audience. We are responsible for creating meaningful interactions across mediums with clarity, singularity and consistency. We help visually define what a brand stands for and how audience members see themselves reflected in a brand. Simple, powerful design is the splash of color in a world of black and white, the friendly voice in a room of shouts, the bacon in a diet of oatmeal.

Design provides a unique perspective and memorable executions for our clients’ challenges. We establish a visual voice and how it behaves. It can be things like an unboxing experience of a product, a user interface across multiple devices or a wayfinding in a physical space. And through design, a brand communicates its purpose back to its audience. Design encourages interaction and inspires brand loyalty.

Simplicity is far from boring.

Simple. Easy to say but hard to achieve. Simple means something different to everyone. For some, simple means basic or unfinished. Others toss the word around as a solution to a problem. You know, just simplify it and all will be fixed. Yes, I know, we’ve all heard “less is more.” That doesn’t mean we remove things and magically it all makes sense.

So, how do you know when you’ve reached the coveted feeling of simplicity? You’ll know you’re there when you strip away the noise. This is where strong design principles prevail. It takes years of exploring, failing and making design decisions that allow a brand to be noticed.

So, is simple boring? It’s quite the opposite. Simple can be bold, impactful, thoughtful, smart and engaging. When you break free and eliminate all the noise, you start to clearly see the idea. This frees you up to explore more necessary design elements that will support the overall brand identity. Simple doesn’t have to shout to be noticed. It quietly cuts through all the noise and becomes a powerful design ally.

Design unifies brands across mediums.

Expressing a visual voice consistently across every platform doesn’t just build critical differentiation but also drives loyalty with a brand’s audience. Design builds business. Here are examples of the mediums that design brings to life:

  • Digital – Websites, Apps, User Interface, Social Media
  • Visual Identity – Logos, Graphic System, Typography, Color Palette
  • Print – Print Ads, Brochures, Posters, Books, Direct Mail
  • Packaging – Product, Promotional
  • Environmental – Immersive Experiences, Retail, Point of Purchase, Events
  • Experiential – Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Motion Graphics
  • Merchandise – Apparel, Branded Items
  • Illustration – 3D, Hand-lettering, Iconography

About the Author

Shawn Holpfer leads the design discipline at the agency, ensuring our design work resonates with the client and their audience across multiple mediums. Shawn believes that simple design builds powerful and emotional relationships to brands. Shawn has spent his 20+ year career developing award-winning work in brand identity, packaging, digital experiences and environmental design across brands including Patagonia, Disney and the Milwaukee Bucks. When not at work, Shawn passionately aspires to be a better woodworker, weekend athlete and a father of two kids.