Dressing your design piece for the occasion

Dressing your design piece for the occasionI recently had an opportunity to meet with Steve Colin, creative director at Creature, a world-class ad agency in Seattle, Washington.  He emphasized the importance of “dressing your design for the occasion”.  “It’s important to keep the company’s personality and appearance,” Colin said, “but change their creative wardrobe frequently.”  This creates a challenge for designers to maintain brand equity while reaching new creative heights.

Dressing for the occasion

Picture yourself at a concert for your favorite rock band.  Now picture yourself at a black tie affair. Finally, picture yourself in the office. Chances are, unless you over dress for rock concerts or work at a morgue, the three images were very different.

Dressing for a particular occasion, however, doesn’t change who you are. Deep down you are the same person, you temporarily change your appearance to appeal best to the situation you currently find yourself in.

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Designing for the occasion

Likewise, you would not advertise the same way to an Asian audience as you would to an audience in South America. Nor would you use the same design when targeting teenagers as you would when speaking to retired veterans.

Maintaining Brand Equity

The challenge is to maintain the integrity of the brand you are representing.  You would not want to use a purple fuzzy dinosaur in a piece for Gatorade, for example, even if young children are the particular primary target audience.  You might, however, change your approach from the usual track stars or athletic adults and twist it to include younger children who are involved in the same activities.  This doesn’t necessarily turn the drink into a child’s beverage, but has been “dressed” for the particular need at the time.  Thus, the image and feel of Gatorade has been maintained while still tailoring to the need of a particular audience.


It is important to frequently change your creative wardrobe when designing for a company.  You would never wear the same outfit everyday becuase it is boring. Therefore, you should strive to change your creative wardrobe without changing the personality of the company or organization.

What other tips can you share about maintaining brand equity while changing creative “wardrobes”?

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.


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