MindFire Communications, Inc.
Inside design: Putting a designer in the hot seat
September 27, 2021 | Dre Manor

Design Arsonists at MindFire are used to answering lots of questions. From explaining why we chose a certain color palette to how we’re using photography to visualize a story, we love talking about design choice and firing up creative for our clients.

To keep up the inquiry and shed even more light on the creative process, check out our list of frequently asked questions about the wonderful world of design by our rockin’ Design Arsonist, Dre!

What kinds of projects do you work on?

At MindFire, we work on all sorts of projects. From creating a new brand identity and developing a logo to editing a social video, crafting a newsletter or website development, there’s really no shortage of projects. We work on printed pieces, digital pieces and even television. If any aspect of our client’s project is visual, then the design team has touched it. We even make print ads, touch up images of our clients’ products and design large graphics for tradeshows.

Do you have to be a great artist to become a graphic designer?

No! Not every graphic designer is great at drawing, sketching or painting – and it’s certainly not a required skill. Sketching is important, but sketches are rough drawings used to plan the layout. They don’t need to be perfect; instead, sketches are a great way to get ideas down on paper.

How do you start a project?

Each designer has their own flow, but no matter what, we all gather as much info as possible before diving in. And that info will depend largely on the client’s existing brand. Some clients have an established brand already; others rely on us to create a brand look for them.

When working on a new brand, we’ll build the new look from research and our teammates’ work, forming a brand narrative. That brand narrative will include a brand position, promise, pillars and voice/personality. Then we’ll begin to visualize what this brand will look like from choosing colors, fonts, textures, photography style and graphic elements. We then use the thoughtful choices in all pieces moving forward.

If the brand is established, then it’s a matter of understanding the project’s goals and the parameters of what the client needs and the audience the piece will reach. A brochure will have a different layout than a website or a direct mail postcard. Once we understand what the client needs and what the project needs to do, we bring what the client needs to life in an interesting and brand-specific way. Afterall, even the smallest project needs to align with the brand’s established identity.

When I fire up my computer to start a project, I usually tell myself to “dive in and get messy.” Don’t overthink it – after all, sometimes the best design starts with a not-so-great idea!

Why is good design important for a brand?

Think of your personal brand – your clothes, your hairstyle, what you say and how you say it. These choices create a perception of you that others see and ultimately helps them form an opinion. A company brand uses good design and thoughtful copy to create a positive perception of the company to their audience. If the brand looks good and sounds good, the company ultimately looks good. Simple as that!

Brand recognition is also important, and you want your visuals to accurately represent your brand. This means unique, relevant design that stands out in the crowded marketplace. Have you seen the way people panic when a popular brand changes its logo? We interact with so many branded visuals and those designs influence the way we feel about those brands.

What is your favorite design trend?

Each designer has their own favorite, but I personally love a good infographic. We are living in a time where we are constantly being thrown data and information. I love how an infographic gets information to the user quickly, and almost always makes the content look like an easy read. Who has time to read paragraphs? Give the people their content in a snap of the fingers!

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration can truly hit at any moment. It could be a sign I saw at the grocery store (true story) or something funny that I spotted on social media. I always am on the lookout for those sparks.

The design team also keeps our fires burning by doing spontaneous Designer Challenges. A designer sets the stage, telling the team what we are designing, any parameters or limitations. We set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and see what we each come up with (no peeking at others’ screens). It’s a short, fun exercise that keeps us thinking outside the box and helps with quick idea development.

What’s your favorite kind of project?

I truly love the print world. From ads and packaging design to brochures and even environmental design, I love it all. Print is special because it’s not just about the design; the type of paper used and special print techniques (like embossing or a shiny foil) can take a project to another level.

Is it strange to see your work around the community?

I think it’s great! It’s funny to see a billboard, ad or even packaging design and know the work that went in to making it. Plus, it’s awesome to see the great work done by our MindFire team!

What do you think the future will look like for graphic designers?

I don’t think we are going anywhere. I think graphic designers are just becoming more in-demand. With social media and the way we interact online becoming increasingly important, brands are going to need trained, thoughtful designers who can create visuals that stand out.

If your team needs some design help, drop us a line.

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