Evolution of Zombie


Thanks to the great folk at All-Silhouettes for the great zombie package, hip hop package, crowd package and running package. Saved me a ton of work doing silos of me doing all of those poses. Also special thanks to Daniel W. Kelly (NSFW) for his zombie movie expertise and his dire warning that zombie purists will declare a holy jihad by some of my inclusions. Who cares. It made me chuckle.

Creative Directors, Graphic Design, and Brand Building

Up front, everything—even if never touched by a designer—has a brand. Even people or products you hate have a brand. The brand is recognized by the thing or person that is out there, not by a logo. So, a brand can exist even without someone intending it to exist, but it’s there and the public defines the brand.

We can think of an effective brand as the conjoining of three spheres: (1) what a person intends to the brand to be (Goals/Aspiration); (2) what the public perceives the brand to be (Perception); and (3) what the brand actually is (Identity).

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Some things have less effective brand recognition as the spheres overlap in a lopsided way, but great brand recognition is the equal overlapping of the spheres.

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Here the designer, art director or Creative Director might say ”well, what’s wrong with having a bigger perception than the actual identity or goals?” The hope here is that with the right design we can make the product better in the public eye. The thing is, while that is financially great in the short-term, in the long term the brand’s perception could be quickly exposed and collapse in on itself. Think of the housing market bubble and the bank crisis and you’ll get an idea of what I’m saying—the same thing can happen with a product or person.

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What we Creative Directors have to do then is figure out ways to back up the brand that functions beyond the Marketing Director’s focus group briefs.

Brands have all sorts of things that pull against each other and the traditional avenues of input are the advertisements and the final product. We measure those things but by then countless dollars have been invested and the brand is already in play.

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Admittedly, in some cases it might mean shifting the aspirational intents to focus on the aspiration itself. Look at Apple, who has HUGE  Brand Perception; they don’t ultimately focus on their product. They turn your eyes to the fact that this is an Apple Product. The market never needed an iPad, but it understands the Apple Brand and now it wants the iPad.

Creative Directors have to increase their exposure to cultures outside of their design sphere. I don’t mean marketing goals but rather how to use a creative piece to tap into actual market research.

New media affords us a way to interact with the actual market research before our own brand launches. With social media we can get conversations going about what people like and what they’re looking for. J.J. Abrams is known for plot twists so we saw absolutely no marketing for Cloverfield except for the fact that there was a block on marketing. The buzz was created simply by underscoring that there will be no buzz. What about viral marketing that is launched without the actual product in play? Or what about strategic patent filings? How much buzz is created by Apple filing a patent for a 7 inch bevel-edged rectangle with a circle on it?

We have to be careful here: I’m not saying that we lie with our filings or viral video. I’m saying we figure out ways to get conversations going and use all that information to bolster the brand.

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What do you think:  is there a way here to re-think how we Creative Directors think about our field? Should we be pre-influencing our brand or do you think there is an ethical line here that is being crossed?

Bristol Bible Chapel Redesign

I recently volunteered to re-do the website for my chapel. I wanted to work it up with an original wordpress theme, but without access to the MySQL, I was forced to rely on their current methodology: editing web pages with new info while adding audio.

I decided that php would be the best way to go, since it would allow me to use includes. This way, I can keep the structure of the site and the website operators in the chapel don’t have to worry about messing anything up. Of course, all design elements were put into their own css style sheets. Before and After post-jump.

The chapel was obviously stuck in 1995, right down to the aqua background with the yellow text. I wanted to stop the information explosion on the pages, segment off things into a navigation, and get the idea across that the church is simple. Of course, I didn’t want to imply simplicity by making it backwards. Their strength, as they see it, is that they are indeed simple and that strength is progressive in a time and place where people keep adding programs.

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Free 2012 Wall Calendar

It’s that time of year: the cold air bites lovingly, shoppers go nuts with their treasure, Holiday music graces the air waves and the office administrator is wondering if you would like a new calendar.

Personally, I’ve found that the standard office calendars (be it desk or wall) are pretty annoying. The best ones take time to set up on the dry erase board and then they are subject to information loss.

That’s why I created my own calendar.  More after the jump.

It splits the year in half, throws weekends to the side, and lets the work week be a viewable block with continuous days. Some people might not like the idea of having a calendar that flows from one month to the next (finding comfort in the satisfying rip that occurs as they remove a month from the docket) but I like being able to see what needs to be done in one shot.

That being the case, I’ve attached it for you here in 300dpi, 1000dpi and a pdf. You can get it printed at your UPS Store or FedEx (starting at $22) or even Wal-Mart (starting at $6). Just make sure to disable the automatic resizing options when you upload to any service. I have the thing set up to fit a 20×30 piece of paper and it’s just grayscale on white.

Enjoy. Preview followed by box.net

2012 Calendar

300dpi

1000dpi

pdf

(Re)Designing:Brand Focus and Exposure

I’ve long decided that my shortened name (Rey Reynoso not Reynaldo Reynoso) is my brand. It’s the name I use on the magazine. It’s what I use on Facebook. It’s what I’ve been using on my Bible site. It’s what I’ve been using on my most recent edition of my design site.

But why not use something zany like “Multifaceted Designer”? Well, it’s a mouthful for one. And secondly, it doesn’t really represent the totality of what I’m about. Sure I design for print, web, interior and exteriors—but it ignores other things like illustration and writing. And though it is very true that a company building a brand wants a focus on what a brand entails (for example, you hear Pepsi you think soda and not shirts), an individual trying to create a worldwide accessible identity shouldn’t be one dimensional.

I bought the main url name (rreynoso.com) so that I can have a catchall for all my interests—which immediately opened up some things I want the site to accomplish. I don’t only want it to be a business card slash resume. I want it to be an online repository of the official me.

The thinking behind this is simple. I’m the same person offline and on even if I don’t always talk about everything I talk about online. I only mention Star Wars a few times on my sites, but you’re more likely to hear me talk about the intricacies of a well-executed light saber battle than anything else. That being the case, I want an online hub of my e-me so that people wanting to know me can easily find out what I’m about without too much work.

Of course, that needs to be set to the proper exposure. You have plenty of people who use their names as their brand (Hillman Curtis, Chermayeff and Geismer), but they consistently ensure that things their bran isn’t flying all over the place.

I’ll need the content to be clearly delineated and I’ll need it all compiled and highlighted the right way. As Jeffrey Zeldman said “Content informs design; design without content is decoration.”

I have the content, I just need a way to present it.