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Production Effects are No Substitute for a Brand Position

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 12:00

The whole can sometimes be less than the sum of its parts.  This happens most often when those parts don’t fit together properly.  Which occurs when a project’s objective is not to be good, but rather to accommodate some trendy bell or whistle.

You can imagine a film studio where the producers know a project needs to be in IMAX 3D before they have a script.  The writers are inventing reasons for their characters to lunge toward the camera when they should be developing a plot.  Before you know it, the film isn’t interesting enough to fill a 60 second trailer.

Graphic design can at times be no better.  It doesn’t matter what kind of design we are talking about either.  It could be the packaging project that is designed around the hologram.  Maybe it’s the collateral piece that absolutely must use a die cut.  Perhaps it is a website required to utilize a fancy parallax background.

In each of these cases a stakeholder is imposing the ‘substrate’ without consideration for the bigger picture. 

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with:

  • Holograms
  • HTML5
  • Foils
  • Parallax
  • Metallic ink
  • Die Cuts
  • Fixed Position Navs
  • Gate Folds
  • Colored Glass
  • Embossing
  • Modal Popup Boxes
  • Drop Shadows
  • Bevels
  • Mega Menus

The problem only occurs when the brand is put in the service of these materials or techniques instead of the other way around. 

‘Metallic Ink’ is not a competitive brand position.  Anyone can use it, and ultimately it says nothing about your product. Instead make an effort to know your audience and your competitors so you can steak out a truly unique brand vision and voice. Then and only then should you invest time and money in the consideration of such bells and whistles.

Remind yourself that in the movie business the highest honor is best picture, not best effects.  Moreover, the most effective production tricks are the ones you don’t really see.

John Gavula
Contributed By John Gavula

John is the creative director of Gavula Design. He has provided design and illustrator services for many of New York and the region's biggest brand consultancies. Leveraging this experience, and his multidisciplinary background he now works closely with Gavula Design’s clients as a trusted branding partner and steward.