The Colin Turner story of Graphic Design, Art Direction and Creative Works
In the course of a fifteen year career I have had significant touch points in delivering creative vision, technical execution and managerial discipline. For two years now I have been pursuing a personal interest, Latent Music, that has tested and driven me to improve in each of these areas.
The sum of my CV alone includes experience in design of corporate materials, branding, stakeholder interaction, pharmaceutical advertising, coding languages, programming frameworks and paradigms, management with Prince2 certification, mentoring, membership organisations and an interest in technology frontiers. The real value I have to offer comes from my ability to combine these parts. Expecting there will be new and exciting challenges for me. I bring imagination and curiosity to the role. Charles Eames said “The extent to which you have a design style is the extent to which you have not solved the design problem."
Latent Music has been manifested in creative branding, technological implementation and clear efficient workflows. Drawing on lessons learned with household brand names as diverse as Pepsi and Deloitte I am drafting my own branding guides. Continuing the frontiership began in the early internet days, I have been building digital projects with fresh yet stable frameworks that work alongside legacy infrastructures. I turn to the web for continuous learning as well as influential books like Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond by Louis Rosenfeld.
There is a lot of activity in projects and logging personal documentation has proven to be my greatest ally. In order to wear so many hats effectively, processes have been scripted with lesson logs for continuous improvement. At previous agencies the configuration of file management has always been a standard, so that I cannot imagine it any other way. Ideation can be a messy process, and while I must allow myself some creative chaos, the realisation of value only becomes possible when work is filed away properly at the end of play.
Concept to delivery is a real comfort zone for me. It is the bread and butter of my work experience. It starts with asking all the questions and ends with having all the answers. To achieve the journey, it is essential to develop and maintain good relations with stakeholders and suppliers. Individuals approach creativity in many ways. It is my personal view that great design tells a story. The little engine that could, behind that story, is the why of it. Seth Godin tells us to start with why. I believe him because, not only in marketing but also in production, it is too easy to get caught up in the tasks. Remembering why helps me to navigate between the hurdles and the reasons. It is important to read the materials that you are designing.
Both previous roles at IMC Healthcare Communication and PAC - The Packaging Association allowed me to lead designers, external developers, image makers, printers and other suppliers in bring marketing projects to life. Each project has its unique aspects and surprise twists, but there are also common predictable themes. One of the most pervasive laments I hear on projects large and small is the lack of sufficient Job Specs. Indeed, I have participated in this favourite pastime myself. In response I have made it a priority to provide the Job Spec myself when needed or merely make improvements where possible. A natural knock on effect of the quality of the Job Spec is the accuracy of the quotes and projections. When it comes to client and employer satisfaction, I cannot think of a better place to start.
Another lesson from experience is that having a well thought out branding style guide is an extremely valuable investment for both client and agency. One that needs to be defended by a brand guardian vigorously and ruthlessly. Not only does it accrue brand equity through consistency, it also increases production efficiencies for branded materials. To realize this value, it is important to see beyond the basic logo, colour, font and grid considerations, and document subtler nuances such as the philosophies driving graphic treatment or photographic and illustration styles. Also consider that change is the only constant in the multiverse. Even the speed of light is changing. A roadmap for brand evolution can offer another level of empowerment.
There are times when you know you are part of something special. Shairose Ebrahim is real entrepreneur with energy, expertise and vision. It was infectious and inspiring to engage with her on pitches and strategy at IMC. The pharmaceutical industry is high stakes with big players and highly regulated. We always wanted to do more. It is a global industry and we travelled to provide that personal touch. The extra mile with Shairose is longer than I have ever seen, and it pays because it matters in building strong relationships.
I have also come to understand that the best leaders know how to follow. I learned this working with Jim Downham at PAC. He was leading the rejuvenation of PAC by seeking out innovation leaders in the industry as members and partners. It was my responsibility to create impressive branding and communication materials in support of these relationships.
Jim made the inspired decision to hire a designer into the role titled Communications Director. The mandate was to rebrand PAC with graphics that would “bring more sizzle to the steak”. I would have been more accurately described as the in-house design department for all marketing and communications initiatives across print and digital. PAC had a busy calendar of events targeted to a membership of blue chip and also smaller companies.
It is a wonderful thing to be in the right place at the right time. That is what I hope to find. That is what I want to make happen. I have big ears and pay attention, but I also know how to make a decision and defend my position.