Branding | Pip Squeeze Creative

// Branding Lecture at Villanova University

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to a large group of students at Villanova University. The audience had over 50 students from the College of Engineering, Business College and a few Art Science students. Additionally, there were Professors among the students who were just as engaged to my presentation on Branding as the students. As thrilled and flattered as I was –being invited by Dr. Edmond Dougherty, Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship program and an Assistant Professor at Villanova University — I was a little nervous. Yes, envision tissues under the armpits. I didn’t of course, but I was close.

Dr. Dougherty specializes in project management, expert systems and fuzzy logic. He is President of Ablaze Development Corp and was the CTO of Wavecam Media. Mr. Dougherty has many years of experience in the design, development, and management of complex electronic and software systems. He was part of a team that helped develop the Emmy and Academy Award winning Skycam, an aerial robotic control camera system. We met about three years ago when I was contracted to develop a brand identity for John H. Dixon, Co-Director of Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n) Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC). A presentation, designing a logo, a little discussion and poof!!! I found myself in front of engineering students guiding them in the ways of brand identity and creativity. I also found myself learning from young, and energetic students.

I gave an informative, fun and hopefully educational presentation on branding, phases of logo development, discussed examples of great logos, talked about girl scout cookies (I pined for thin mints for a minute or two) and ended it with a fun place mat exercise. Dr. Dougherty engaged these bright, exciting students to start sketching their pre-prototype, logo and product idea. Off they went! I walked around to help provide hints, inspiration and #youngstudentslearning, how fun!

A few students stood out and found me thinking and creating on my feet. Yikes, my OCD kicked in a little but it was exhilarating. One student group asked how they make a blowfish fun and creative for an audience of children. As I looked down at her sketch, I complimented her ideas and sketch. I thought they were off to a great start. Color was her concern and typography placement. I suggested, “hey blowfish, blow up, get really big and their pointy spindles are a great way to capture color”. Add a bubble with one of those shiny marks and use bubble letters for the product name on the inside of the bubble. Very kid friendly, fun and she loved it. She sketched away and her other teammates grabbed markers. Go for it!

Another student group had a great idea- backpack changing. Anyone with kids will understand that every year “I need a new backpack”. “Why, is the zipper broke? Ripped?” “No, I just want a new color!” “$50 or more, no parent wants to add yet another backpack to the closet you can’t close or waste money” So, this group had a great way to add value. Their dilemma was drawing a backpack that changes. Should it be an infinity symbol? Great idea! I was in the hot seat. Giving them a great font or color choice didn’t seem helpful. So I asked them to think outside of the box. What changes? Seasons change. Kids change, taller, etc. We paused and thought, oh no, backpacks, kids will think school and not want to buy it. So, again, what changes? Kids love animals, what animal changes. Chameleons! Oh the excitement! Off they went! “we could have the font follow the shape of the animal and as the font changes color, the chameleon does too.

As the classes came to an end, I recapped that fonts can be as simple as Mattel’s Barbie typography; fun, cotton candy, bubblegum pink that looks like a little girl wrote it! I suggested that by understanding the audience, the ideas will solidify. If it is young children, have your little brother write the business name or product. Feel the color, what is your company’s personality? Have a little fun with it.

I am excited to see their projects. I left feeling proud of my presentation; my little business and that surprisingly, I didn’t even break a sweat. High school public speaking jitters? No way… a very special thank you to Mrs. Gansauer, my mentor and Honors English Teacher.



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