As a designer/brand manager, one of the greatest privileges of my job is learning. To make an ad, you have to understand the customer. To make an infographic, you have to understand the process. To open a 5-star luxury lodge on the Oregon coast, you have to understand a lot more than business cards. It’s a learning process.
I like to think of every brand as a person. This helps me understand its nuances, what it likes, who it associates it with, what it wants to be when it grows up. This helps develop not just what it looks like, but what it feels like – a personality if you will.
When we began working with Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa, it was in the infant stages. Our first on-site meeting was in the open air, in front of a soon-to-be grand fireplace in the middle of a partially-built restaurant on those “fancy” Costco fold-out tables.
To say it’s come a long way is an understatement.
As the lodge was physically being built, its brand was being built in unison. After about six months of development and nurturing this baby to growth, I got to experience it in-person about a week after opening day.
I was able to sit in the exact spot as our first meeting, this time surrounded by the beauty and satisfaction of a finished lodge and knowing what it took to get there. I got to sign paperwork with the pens I made. I checked in at the reception desk I designed. I walked down the halls with the wallpaper I created. I saw how guests interacted with their menus, and listened to them voice their concerns. I experienced the struggles staff had with maintaining the in-room app I built. It became apparent what worked well and what didn’t.
From physical to digital and even spatial design, I was able to touch every angle of this brand. Knowing the people, vision and dedication that were behind this lodge, in comparison to seeing it in everyday use from a consumer perspective, adds a new layer of education that I could never have accomplished from behind my screen.
Putting ourselves in these different perspectives is an important part of our company values. Visions can be skewed by our own experiences, but taking a step or even a leap backwards puts it all in perspective. Finding these new angles are something that improves not just the brands we work on, but ultimately who we are and what we bring to the table as an agency.