I was once this 20 something year old attending the Seattle Art Institute. Studying Advertising & Graphic Design. All my classes, all my cutting and pasting, and all my ad designs came down to one single thing. “What message are you communicating when someone SEES your ad?”
I made an ad for a local restaurant. An Italian restaurant agreed to accept the ad design from one of the students in the program I was in. If I was that instructor I would have asked that all the students enjoy a meal before starting the two week turn around for the ad. I had to base my decision on visual only. Not taste, not atmosphere, or all the senses that go into a restaurant experience. I asked one question to my instructor.
“Are the owners really Italian? I mean did they really come over from Italy and are now wanting to start a restaurant from family favorite recipes?”
She had to get back to me on that question. It turned out that they were in fact from Italy and it was a yes to my question of sharing family recipes.
Visual Branding has been around for decades. It’s not something new in media. We just keep giving new hip cool names to what we have been doing all along. The reason I asked about being a real authentic home grown Italian is that two years prior to this class project I was in Italy. And guess what? If you have traveled and dined in the back country of Italy you know one thing… Italians take great pride in making the perfect bowl of pasta. My experience was that pasta is served before the salad came. A big hot buttery, garlic seasoned bowl of pasta made perfect.
“Pasta Made Perfect”
That was my winning tagline. I then hand made a big bowl of pasta pouring out all over the ad. I won the gig. My ad was chosen and used on the print materials for that company. To this day I have no idea what restaurant. I took no pictures of my work and all I know is that it was a restaurant in downtown Seattle. A bowl of pasta and three words. Visual Branding in telling the story and the message that resonated with some restaurant owners. My experience in Italy was all I had. It was a great piece. One I could recreate from memory. Only 31 years later I would not have to hand letter the words. I would not have to carefully cut and paste with my blade. Each letter was traced from a blown up Kinko’s font. Then colored in with a red paint. And then carefully cut out by an exact-o knife. And then placed on the board. There was no fixing a mistake. This is how it was done. A project like this took many, many, many hours of careful and precise work. Today that same message and picture took me about a minute.
The messages we create in one sentence, one picture, and one tag-line is going to produce an emotion to those who have eyeballs. Those who have eyeballs are your audience. Visual Branding is not something new if you are in your 50’s like me. Yet we speak as if it all brand new to our marketing strategies. And to the person starting out, then yes this is a new concept. One picture, one branding statement could carry a company for a year. Today we are convinced to be pumping out daily new messages to get our audiences looking in.
Here is a simple idea for your brand. Find that one image that brands your company. That one piece that says, “WOW”. Then come up with about ten true and real statements about your company in one simple sentence. Then take that sentence and photo-shop into your pictures. Share that same branding pictures communicating those statements about your company. For those who work in this space, this is a very simple and impacting way to jump start your Visual Branding. One that many boutique companies have no idea on how to do. I would love to help you. If you are struggling in your vision, your voice, your messaging let me help you. Is it enough to be just sharing the content of other brands? Or should you have your own marketing schedule of sharing your own brand?
Perhaps we could meet at an Italian restaurant and have the perfect bowl of pasta. You can contact me here for more information.