Thursday, 11 January 2018

second thoughts

I just handed in my final assignment for a course I'v been taking the past semester. The course is called Visual Identities from a Sustainable Perspective and well, the name says it all I guess. We've been studying the basics of branding, how to communicate sustainability through profiles and how companies can present themselves as more sustainable, maybe more than they actually are. I chose this course because I want to continue learn more about graphic design and branding, but also because I think sustainability is an highly relevant topic.

So, today I delivered my project for final assessment. And literary five minuyes after I'd hit the "submit" button I came up for a better concept than the one I just handed in.


The case that we were to work with for the past few weeks was to make fashion giant Calvin Klein in into a sustainable brand. Which included redesigning their logo, pick a new color scheme and create a brand manual and examples of a look book, an ad, clothes tag and webpage. It was an extensive and pretty fun task, and I was quite happy with the way I decided to interpret it. My concept was to work with the existing positive qualities of the brand, like timeless design and good quality, and basically argue that these things represent sustainability and should be emphasized. I had a bunch of other, more clear arguments as well, but that the basic point. The result was a more organic looking feeling, a logo including mr Kleins signature, beige and rusty red color palette and imagery including models looking friendlier and more relaxed than the classic, sexy CK ads. It was coherent and logical. And my final thought when I saw all of the pieces I made put together was that it was a bit boring, looking more like a catalog for h&m... But there would have been no time to change it.

So what was the better concept I came up with just now then? Instead of downplaying their usual provocative aesthetics I should have exaggerated it. Made a more radical and gutsy change to their products and saying everything is now made of natural, recyclable materials and made an ad with models dressed in leaves, grass and mud only. I should have used a bolder color scheme with higher contrast and shown that sustainable doesn't have to be bland and neutral.

So what have I learned from this? That feedback is important, but it doesn't help if the feedback you get is only from your own peers (in this case a fellow student) who might be afraid to criticize you. And that you should spend more time trying out different concepts before settling on one. Sometimes you might want to go in the complete opposite to what seems like the right direction.

And no, non of this is news to me. Having worked in a creative profession for eight years these are all well know and established facts. But the truth is, in my experience, in the real world you rarely have time to experiment that long with different ideas and concepts, and it's more effective and less costly to just go for the first good one you find. Even if you might have come up with an even better one if you spent a bit more time on it.

I will still try to learn from this and spend just a little bit more time on reflection and conceptual design. Crossing my fingers I will remember to do so.


  1. Nu blir jag nyfiken! Vad är det du pluggar egentligen? Mode? Hållbarhet? I sverige eller utomlands?

    1. haha, jag får blir bättre på att förklara! Jag har sedan vi flyttade till Borneo för ett och ett halvt år sedan pluggat fristående kurser inom grafisk design, branding och illustration. Kurserna är distanskurser på olika svenska universitet, och anledningen till att jag inte går en helt program är för att det inte finns något tillgängligt inom det område jag är ute efter på distans, plus att jag velat prova mig fram lite... Tack för att du läser förresten! Jag kommer nog skriva en hel del om mina studier och framtidsplaner här i vår.