Global image provider Shutterstock landed in Melbourne last week as part of its B&T Breakfast series roadshow.
Exploring the theme of visual identity, the event was hosted by B&T editor in chief David Hovenden and held at the Southbank Promenade to a jam-packed room.
Shutterstock Custom general manager Grant Munro gave the keynote address for the breakfast, during which he spoke of the dire importance for brands to create a unique and specific visual identity.
To dive into this topic of making brands stand out, Munro was joined by some local talent to discuss the challenges of creating a seamless visual identity in a panel discussion.
Jess Lilley took to the stage, who is an award-winning advertising creative director at Leo Burnett. She began her career working as a copywriter in 2000 and it has since taken her to Toronto then London and back again.
Joining Lilley was Trent Hendrick who has more than 12 years’ experience in brand building and creative problem-solving.
He has created a number of campaigns that have been recognised locally and internationally for both creativity and effectiveness.
He is currently the Head of Art at Cummins&Partners and in charge of all visual communication, setting the standard in one of the World’s most creative Independent Agencies.
And finally, Leigh Barnes joined the discussion, who is currently the Chief Purpose Officer (CPO) of the Intrepid Group, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences.
As a group, Munro, Lilley, Hendrick and Barnes touched on a plethora of topics, though the discussion point which held the audiences’ attention, that being how to define visual identity and how each brand is adapting to this.
Speaking on defining visual brand identity, Lilley said: “If you’re going back to brand building blocks and go back to your visual assets and assets can be everything from design to tone of voice to illustration.
“For me its understanding your personality and what you’re representing and then creating those assets and putting them together in a completely original way.
She added: “While you might share some assets like colour with another brand the way you’re using them and the way you group them together with your assets creates a completely unique look and feel that you can then perpetuate while creating an original tone which a little bit more difficult to create then that sounds.”
Following this sentiment, Hendrick said: “All brands have a DNA to them and were custodians of those brands.
“Say for instance I was given a brand like VW. They have a history and tone for me to go in there and completely reinvent it is probably the wrong thing to do because it’s set that tone for 50 years.
“We have to be smart about what we can keep and what we can push away because brands need to shift but we need to do that in a smart and pared back kind of way,” he added.
Meanwhile, coming from a brand’s perspective Barnes said: “A couple of years ago we had a real struggle with how to sell brands that look the same, we had to sell Machu Picchu.
“All the brands have the same picture it was about being curious with our brand and what we stood for and we came back really curious about what the product was, and I think those were experiences, real moments and fun those three things we tried to bring to the fore.
“It’s about real interaction.”
Lilley then jumped in and agreed with Barnes, adding: “I think that’s a really important point because a good brand makes an important connection no matter what you’re doing.
“It could be a car, travel or ice-cream but if you don’t connect emotionally on some level then you’re not succeeding as a brand in communicating who you are as a brand and what your story is.”