On Brands and Copyrights

an interview with Copyright Lebanon

Interview with Nathalie Fallaha
retrieved from http://www.iipi.org/CopyrightLebanon/

You work with brand building. What makes a strong brand? How do you separate your designs from designs used by other companies?

A brand that creates and leaves an impact is first and foremost timeless and relevant. Brand building is about associations; relevant associations. A successful brand image is noiseless. It does not allow interference. It speaks the language it should speak, it is trustworthy; and referential. It does not allow for plagiarism. It rejects clichés and trends. It allows for interaction. It is empathetic. It simply serves its purpose.

Clients come to us with an initial idea and our input helps shape their business model: how they should talk, have they thought about this, that... Now, the emotional aspect of a brand is equal and sometimes more important than the functional aspect of a brand. The overarching rule behind our design practice is to engage, engage with a brand's audience. vit-e strives to keep a balance between aesthetics, uniqueness, and mostly, relevance.

Can you give some examples of how businesses have benefitted from your studio's work?

To date, vit-e has collaborated with several businesses and institutions, whether at their inception or rebranding phase; in this age of want, as opposed to need, we aim to create work that conveys desirability. Clients such as ABC, EFG Hermes, Faqra Club, PracticalHost, Smogallery, Beirut Art Center, intramuro, Cadrans, Liza, artheum, G spa, Bassoul Heneine, and many others, are entrusted to talk about our work. With all our clients, we lay the ground for a 'professional friendship', working towards providing what they want, while exploring the thin line with what they actually need.
As designers, brand managers and creative people, we make sure all the brand’s touch points are speaking the same voice, giving the same feel, making the customer feeling the same way; it’s all about consistency.

Is there a cultural aspect to your work as well?

Culture and visual communication are inevitably intertwined. Throughout my undergraduate then post-graduate studies, I was lucky enough to be exposed to an open-ended approach to design education, whereby history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics… were all welcome into the classroom. Today, my non-commissioned work is an amalgam of several interests, which is revolving around the expressive power of letterforms. From an initial question raised in 1998, trying to correlate between how we Lebanese make use of languages, to our understanding of national identity and confessional identity, I came across myself, my roots, my upbringing. The outcome of this investigation was laid into \"round table: a typographic journey into multilingual Lebanon\".

Your art is inextricably tied to technology. How has technology changed your art, and how do you predict it will change it in the future?

We live in an age where thinking processes and technology have surpassed what anyone of us was ever taught in design school. The speed of the marketplace has changed. Everything seems to be happening at a faster and faster pace. New technologies, new apps, new companies – they seem to pop up every day. The options for executing campaigns and engaging with consumers seem to be endless.
Design is now at the center of business planning, restructuring... due to the emergence of all those new direct and 2-way communication channels. Brands cannot afford anymore to just rely on a one-off billboard in the street corner, but they need to address many other aspects of how consumer lambda will interact with the manifestation of the brand, be it digital, tactile or experiential.
We entered the age of constant adaptability, due to the convergence of technologies and platforms. We need to adapt to a multitude of new communication channels, an ever growing number of platforms. Welcome to the chameleon age.

Do you have any advice for students interested in graphics design as a career?

Practicing design requires an open mind, a willingness for introspection, and a readyness for self-discovery. Understanding that designers have the power to create change, to convince, to inform, to influence an audience via different communication strata is indeed a good starting point. When choosing a design program, make sure that it provides a good balance between theory and practice, alongside real insights into 'the school of life'. Don't settle for programs that are skill-based only, look for an environment that will nurture what you have to voice.