Blood, Sweat + Tears: An Interview with UAL
By Jonathan Emmins | Founder
For students on the Graphic Branding and Identity MA, at UAL London College of Communications, a booklet about the course isn't just a brochure – it's a design opportunity. The beautifully designed Blood, Sweat and Tears asked students, lecturers and industry people alike the same questions about their creative process. Amplify Founder, Jonathan Emmins, contributed the following interview.
Would you define the design process as a process of “Blood, Sweat and Tears”? Why?
As someone who is a conceptual creative and defiantly audience focused, I’m treating ‘design' in its broadest terms spanning from the big ideas to the subtleties of look and feel, and from the consumer journey to the smallest of touch points. The design process should be an eternal quest to make brands better through purpose, empathy and adding value.
I believe process should make things better, simple, efficient and focused. Simple things like chatting to the client to check the brief is actually what they want, or that the question you’re attempting to answer is the right one. You need to quickly immerse yourself in the brand, and understand the organisational appetite for change. Above all, we check their take on their audience is true – to make sure it’s a real face not a cartoon character pen portrait.
I also believe once these basics are understood you need to have the freedom to explore, ignore, push boundaries, challenge, have silly thoughts, back hunches and littler nuggets as much as bigger strategic pieces.
Getting the best solution will always be a ruck, and never a straight line sprint, as you need to explore every angle and there are always obstacles to overcome.
In your opinion, what is the future of Branding? Has the process of creating a brand changed over time?
Brands are more transparent than ever before and, if not, they need to be. The days of brands just being a shiny logo and a strapline are over. The brand needs to have purpose and vision, and that foresight needs to play a part in guiding and shaping the brand or company as much as being projected to existing and potential consumers.
A brand is what a brand does. Brands need to keep their promises – and if they don’t they’ll be exposed and pay the price for it. Consumers want to know (and do know) more about the brands they’re buying than ever before.
Brands are shared. Ownership no longer completely lies with the brand, as consumers demand more than ever before. They see that relationship as reciprocal, rather than that of a seller and purchaser.
How do you trigger your creativity? / What are your sources of inspiration?
Through working across multiple brands, projects and audiences – and seeing parallels across those that maybe you wouldn’t see if you were limited to one client, field or part of the marketing mix.