SMPL Q+A: The personality of design with Kira Sea

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Simple Q&A is a blog feature in which we interview experts on all things relevant to branding, design, and simplicity. In this Q&A we speak with Kira Sea, senior designer, about her design approach.

 How do brands establish a human connection with consumers?

Humanization is key. In order to go beyond a typical transaction, brands should build themselves upon distinctive personalities that make them approachable and, most importantly, human to those they want to reach. For example, by using a playful tone a brand can set the foundation of a solid relationship based upon lighthearted, relatable qualities. Keep in mind one size does not fit all: playfulness may not work for every brand’s strategy.  Make sure the traits chosen are tailored to the brand itself and its target audience, and that they align with the creative strategy in such a way it speaks with a voice of its own.

Do you have an example of a project where this led your design thinking?

One which comes to mind is a recent visual identity project for GroundTruth. GroundTruth’s brand can be very complex, especially if the customer has never heard of it before. As a location-based technology service that drives results with real data, its image can seem very cold and stark, creating the challenge of giving the brand a friendlier face.

This is where a simple but emotive design came in. The resulting logo captures GroundTruth’s personality by combining a location marker and the GroundTruth monogram in one. By putting a face to the logo, GroundTruth was able to visually create a personality that would allow for customers to keep their brand top-of-mind. It helped to drive GroundTruth’s identity home and position the brand as a player in their category.

What role does simplicity play in a visual identity?

If a story is too complex, it’s harder to communicate the brand message. Their audience is exposed to millions of brands and tends to remember which are unique and simple. Distilling the brand down to its core is important when designing a visual identity.

How has your training influenced you?

I went to the School of Visual Arts in New York. The teachers were all working professionals, which was beneficial to gaining tangible experience in the industry. Some of the learnings that stuck the most were visiting agency offices and gaining insight into how collaboration worked for them when creating client work. We interned for these associated agencies, which provided us with real-world experience.

There was one time, though, that sticks out in particular. Early in school, I still didn’t really know anything about fundamental design. I was taking a first-year graphic design class where one assignment was to create a book. The teacher gave us free reign with whatever type of book it could be, so I started to play around with different aspects of the design and ended up with a rather quirky book that didn’t follow any typographic rules or grid system. When I showed it to my teacher, she said, “Never lose your character.”

Basically, the design I had created showed my unique style, something that’s essential for any kind of graphic you make. Your personality is what defines who you are, so when your work reflects it, it then defines your work as well. It also makes your work stand out from other competitors. My personality is bubbly and cheerful, which translates into colorful and bold designs that have a playfulness to them. GroundTruth reflects this—and who I am—perfectly.

GroundTruth is a global location technology that drives results with real data. Through their proprietary Blueprints technology, GroundTruth delivers superior consumer insights by seeing more people and places than anyone else. GroundTruth delivers superior consumer insights by seeing more people and places than anyone else. GroundTruth currently serves 21 countries globally with an unrivalled first-party database of 95 million active monthly users and 17 million active daily users, across 100 million places and points of interest. 

 

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