Can you tell me more about what your views are on the importance of branding?
Most international branding agencies overrate their power and influence by a magnitude. As much as they would like to insist otherwise, in everyday life their work has a small impact on the actual service or product their clients provide or manufacture. But by far the biggest impact on the perception of a brand is the quality of that service or product. There are a couple of exceptions, fields where the consumer cant tell the difference between products (say, vodka or water), but in general the consumer is smarter then they paint her.
Describe one experience creating a flexible identity for a client.
Wayne: I have long thought that sameness in branding is overrated. There are situations where a static logo makes sense, specially when used as a quality mark, but there are many other instances where a more varied approach turns out to be superior. Flexible identities need:
1. A client that utilizes many, many brand applications and an attentive audience that will be able to see a wide variety of these applications on a regular basis.
2. Thinking designers also at the level of implementation. Its important good people are involved on all levels.
Design can seem so impersonal and I've read that you want to be able to touch someone's life. Do you think it is possible and have there been any times where someone has told you so?
Wayne: Yes, I do think it's possible, and I do think it's very hard. The only instance where I knew I touched someone's heart for sure was when my friend Reini came to New York from Vienna and was afraid that none of the sophisticated NY women would talk to him and he'd wind up very lonely. We printed a poster with his photo and the headline: "Dear girls, please be nice to Reini" and plastered it all over the Lower East Side. He was touched. And got a girlfriend.
How do you go about inspiration/having ideas?
Wayne: The process I've been using most often has been described by Maltese philosopher Edward DeBono, who suggests starting to think about an idea for a particular project by taking a random object as point of departure. Say, I have to design a pen, and instead of looking at all other pens and thinking about how pens are used and who my target audience is etc., I start thinking about pens using.....(this is me now looking around the hotel room for a random object)....bed spreads. Ok, hotel bedspreads are...sticky....contain many bacteria...., ahh, would be possible to design a pen that is thermo sensitive, so it changes colors where I touch it, yes, that could actually be nice: An all black pen, that becomes yellow on the touching points of fingers/hands...., not so bad, considering it took me all of 30 seconds. Of course, the reason this works is because DeBono's method forces the brain to start out at new and different points of departure, preventing it from falling into a familiar grove it has formed before..
When you're stumped for an idea, what do you do to get your creative juices flowing again?
Wayne: - switch to another project
- use Brian Eno's Oblique Strategy cards (these are directional cards you can randomly pick up. They help to throw you out of a beaten path).
- Think about the project starting with a nonsensical statement: For example, if my problem is to design a car, may statement might be: The car has no wheels. Using this as a beginning thought, I will arrive at solutions from another angle (even though my resulting car might have wheels again)
You've talked before about not having style, but also appreciating the need for style. Can you elaborate about that here?
Wayne: Somebody smarter than me described style/form as the outside of a concept, and the concept the inside of style/form. We used to have a sign in the studio saying style=fart, but I am not so sure about this notion anymore. I found that attention to style can make the delivery of good content easier, so why not pay attention to it. I also found that by changing our own style on every project we stayed much on the surface stylistically and were in danger of ripping off styles developed by other people.