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How to say "No, it doesn't need to be re-branded"

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  • How to say "No, it doesn't need to be re-branded"

    Hey all,

    Sure has been a while, and I hate to come in here on my soap box as my big return, but ahhh, I need a little vent.

    I work as an in-house designer for a large company of roughly 400 employees. We have two designers. For the past year my boss has been on maternity leave. She is not a designer/art director, but deals more with public relations. In the interim, we have had a fill-in running our marketing department. Things are deteriorating quickly, our brand, which we paid a lot of money to create is swiftly being thrown out due to boredom. Everyone wants a fresh look, less corporate, but don't want to pay for a redesign. The want an evolution of the brand but do not have any goals, outcomes, or reasons. There is no end goal. We suggest things, they like it, then someone makes a single comment, and we can't ever do that style again. Me and the other designer would do a rebrand, but it would never fly. Noone would agree. The only way it would happen is if we outsourced it, and even then, it would be a huge struggle, and they refuuse to do that. When we design something branded to our style, it gets thrown out. We have no consistency, we brand things according to the publication its going in, not to our identity. We almost camouflage ourselves...

    We are a big company, and we have events that repeat every year. We have memos that go out about office activities (ie clean up day, performance review time, town hall etc) These events are usually once a year. The branding for it was developed, but here's my complaint. Every time someone discovered our company has designers they want things re-branded... they want to change the memo's background, they want to "jazz" it up. If I hear "jazz it up" one more time.... How can I tell them, that your memo doesn't need new imagery. It's a huge waste of my time, as I have so much other stuff on my plate.

    Are there any arguments I can make for brand consistency? Keeping the same look and feel for differenet events. We do not need to recreate the wheel every single time. Can't we have a template an dj Do you guys know what I could say to these guys who just want me to make it look new because they are scared if the same look goes out twice the world may end?
    If three designs are shown to a client, your least favorite will be chosen or any combination of worst components of each. If two designs are shown, a third will be requested. If provided, then one of the first two will be chosen.

  • #2
    I would just give them the brand standard and say "This is why we can't just 'jazz it up' all willie nillie".

    you could also tell them that it is the communication is designed to be consistent because it creates a unified voice for the company. Without consistency or a standard it makes the company look unorganized and divided.

    McDonald's brand standard goes so far as to include interior decor styles that are explicitly defined, it allows some controlled variation but delivers a consistent consumer experience. I think that alone says something about how important following a brand guide is.
    Design is not decoration.

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    • #3
      I'm not in-house but I deal with this problem quite often. I get sent a company's branding guide, then a brief that goes against it. I always put up a fight so that they client knows what they are asking is off brand.

      Do you have a branding guide? I would just point them to that and say, "I'm sorry, we cannot make the design changes you have requested for this piece as it is off brand. You are welcome to make text/copy edits, but any rebranding requests will need to go through a formal process".

      It could be tricky if that person then squeals to the fill in running the marketing department. If that person comes to you, then just say that you're sorry, you thought that designers were there to keep everything consistent. Someone's got to do it.

      If you have a lot of work on your plate, you prioritise. If you're being asked to do unimportant filler type jobs like internally used memo backgrounds, just ask them when they need it by and then tell them you can fit them in xxx amount of time. Most likely they're do it themselves using MS Paint.
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

      Comment


      • #4
        I've noticed some mcDonalds introducing some local history into their interior decor. I ahve to admit to being absolutely horrified though at one McDs that had a display made to resemble a library. But they had cut books off, sawed em right through about 2" in from the spine, just to use the spines! Old books too. Some old classic titles like Huckleberry Finn.
        Terrible thing to do to a book.

        On the subject of branding, Both buda and Kem covered it pretty well.

        Comment


        • Buda
          Buda commented
          Editing a comment
          In the '80s, I lived in a city with a lot of Maori people. When McDonald's opened up there, it was designed like a traditional Maori meeting house (marae) with wooden carvings of local Maori legend and gods on the walls. The tables were formica but made to look like they were woven flax.

          That was the only McDonalds I knew so naturally, I thought all McDonalds were built to look like traditional Maori meeting houses. Boy was I wrong!

          Now that I know better, it was completely horrific and culturally offensive.

      • #5
        This sounds like a problem with marketing departments that have no Art Director to set the standards. Whenever corporate America skips the Art Director or Creative Director and goes straight to the Marketing department these things happen. Marketing, as I have said before, is the bane of my existence. They don't understand advertising, preferring the latest trend or gimmick they see and change with the wind. I don't see any way to circumvent this until you get a boss that understands your worth and advice as a designer.

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        • #6
          I think you guys are totally right with the no Art Director issue. It really does effect our ability to set standards. Half of the requests we receive are from my boss, and the other half are employees coming to us directly, (who have most times, discussed with my boss, but he has not communicated this to us)

          Kayekaye, you are incredibility on point with the latest trend or gimmick. Things are so static here, its whatever whoever wants. One person likes pink, lets make a pink ad. Oh, one employee saw this ad on the way to work, lets make ours look like that. It's all very fickle.

          Buda, I love the sentence about going through the formal process. I think when my maternity boss comes back she'll be more open to us using that kind of language if revisions are requested. For now we have the fill in and he is basically saying yes to any and all revisions, no matter what they are.

          Kerming, I am going to steal your paragraph "the communication is designed to be consistent because it creates a unified voice for the company. Without consistency or a standard it makes the company look unorganized and divided." in my efforts to explain how our brand is completely ruined. Thank you.

          Anyways guys, you all rock, and I think its maybe my position that is the problem.
          If three designs are shown to a client, your least favorite will be chosen or any combination of worst components of each. If two designs are shown, a third will be requested. If provided, then one of the first two will be chosen.

          Comment

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