Don’t Let Your Brands Hold You Hostage

May 5, 2010 Blog/News


by Matt Bellisle, Creative Director

All artists have their own style or they simply wouldn’t be artists. This applies to all disciplines whether it’s a fine art painter, actor, writer, fashion designer, filmmaker or a graphic designer. We are all working in professions that allow us to explore and manifest our creative impulses.

But designers often have to work on a shared vision we call “The Brand.” We need to adapt and modify our design sensibilities like a chameleon to work in concert with one another on a company’s cohesive brand. All in an effort to ensure that the message feels like it is coming from one voice… one brand. That’s part of the job, and most designers understand that nature of the business. But that doesn’t mean we are robots on an assembly line either.

As soon as companies build their brand or try re-branding, they want to quickly lock it all up in a “Brand Manual.” A rigid document that lays the law down on how the brand should look and be presented. For large companies with hundreds or thousands of employees, this can make a lot of sense on the surface, because keeping a brand cohesive is extremely important. But sometimes, these brand standards can be a bit too confining in their detail. Brands need to grow or they will quickly become stagnant.

So as artists working within a brand’s standards, how do we maintain our own individual styles and sensibilities?

The trick is to allow your own visual style and instincts to guide you through the process. You’ve absorbed the brand. You may have even created it. But that doesn’t mean the brand can’t flex a little. If a company wants absolutely nothing to change, then all they need is a production artist to execute the latest sell sheet or newsletter. But if you are brought in for your creativity and design prowess, then the client is expecting you to help maintain the brand, but also bring that creative engine along for the ride to help keep it fresh and relevant.

The point is stay true to the brand, but also stay true to your design instincts and work together to push projects to the next level. Remember, brands are an organic thing… they need fresh ideas to take root, grow and be alive.



We’ve rolled up our sleeves and are ready to put our talents and tools to work on your business. Please contact Mark at or (920) 379-4575.