Getting my driver’s license was one of the more terrifying days of my life—and let’s be honest, my parents’ lives, as well. Not because I finally had the freedom to hit the open road at the ripe old age of 16, but because I knew that it was the beginning of the end of being eternally “lost.”
I have always been what my family calls “directionally challenged,” even with my keen visual sense of the world around me. Getting in the car with me behind the wheel is nothing short of an adventure—for the passenger, obviously. People can’t just tell me to “head north” or “head east.” They also can’t say “go x-miles” because I have no sense of mileage whatsoever. It would honestly be better if they just told me to drive for three Beyoncé songs and then turn left at the light. The only time someone’s directions help are when they are literally sitting right next to me telling me to “turn right here” and then “wait until you get up to this light, yes, this one, coming up…almost there…and turn left here.” Anything that involves less handholding than that just means we are all screwed and likely very late.
So, how is it possible for me to be so lost when driving, but when it comes to design I can navigate through any challenge with confidence and lead our clients down a very specific path to get to where they want to be? It’s really quite simple; I use design thinking as my guide, or GPS, if you will.
At Intrinzic, design thinking is an approach that applies to the breadth of all our work, across all branding and digital. At its most basic definition, design thinking is a methodology used to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for our clients that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition and systemic reason to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.
Our team designs specifically to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take an action that benefits the brand we’re working with. So, designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing and inefficient. That’s why our process combines business and art, structure and chaos, concept and execution, and control and empowerment; it’s how we design more intuitive, logical and engaging work that matches the way people think, work and play; across print, website, application and product.
1 Uncover the spark
The first phase of our process uncovers the spark that connects and drives a brand’s employees, customers and audiences. We help companies examine their own organizations so that they can identify the unique interests and beliefs they share with their customers. We do this by asking hard questions, immersing ourselves in everything that surrounds the challenge in front of us, and digging deep to uncover business goals, cultural practices and market insights that will ultimately impact where we go. We get a defined sense of what success looks like moving forward based on the current situation, gaps and opportunities that were uncovered and our unbiased point of view. Or you could simply say, we begin to map our route and pinpoint our final destination.
2 Build meaning through inspiration and strategy
As a designer, inspiring and being inspired is the single most important ingredient to being creative. And, coincidentally, it is also the single most difficult thing to attain. It’s so easy to feel lost and unmotivated if you don’t have inspiration or feel inspired. Inspiration often gets overlooked because of its elusive nature. But not at Intrinzic. We have built inspiration into our process as the second phase of all project work. It’s a paramount step in setting the foundation for the project, both visually and verbally. Having the right inspiration truly paves the path and propels our projects from apathy to possibility, and transforms our own capabilities to take us to unimaginable places.
3 Bring strategy to life with visual and verbal assets
If we’ve done everything right in the first two phases, this third step is easy. (Right?) All we have to do, in theory, is follow our mapped out directions to get to our final destination. Although there will be expected twists and turns in our journey, it’s the unexpected bumps and abrupt U-turns that make our work fulfilling, exciting and memorable. If you ask any creative why they do what they do, they will all say it’s the process of developing verbal and visual elements that truly make an impact on people and our world. We get to build and create all the parts and pieces; from brand architecture, messaging matrices, naming strategies and the brand pathways; that truly paint a beautiful masterpiece that our clients cannot imagine on their own. We are driving into a beautiful sunset together.
4 Develop and refine until effectively activating the strategy
Even though we may be driving into the sunset together, there still could be unexpected construction ahead. Sometimes you need to look at the beautiful picture in front of you and then refine it to make it even better. You also need to document the route you’ve taken to ensure consistency moving forward. That’s exactly what the fourth step of our design thinking process does. We construct and finalize all the verbal and visual elements in a brand style guide that serve as definitive handbook on the precise way to consistently execute the brand. Think of this as the journal of our trip together.
5 Connect to, inspire and empower audiences with launch
A great brand needs to inspire and empower its employees and audiences in the same way we’ve been inspired along the journey. To do that, we have a responsibility to educate leadership and employees on the way the brand impacts the culture of the organization, how to make it actionable in their daily lives, and how to bring it to life every day in experiences they create for the audience. Our brand activation process combines employee indoctrination, training, tools and practices to make the brand something all employees are inspired to live up to and add to every day. We can turn up the radio and enjoy the ride, because we know where we’re going.
6 Keep the conversation open
Even though we’ve reached our destination, the trip isn’t over. It’s never over. We need to constantly learn from our journey and make improvements. Could our route have been different? How? Were there turns we didn’t need to take? Did we meet our goals? Are there still goals we need to reach? We always keep the conversation open so we can continue to optimize and improve.
If you are thinking about taking your brand on the open road and feel like you’re 16 with a shiny new driver’s license but aren’t sure about how to get where you want to go, let Intrinzic map your trip for you. I promise, you’ll love the places we go together.
Photo credit: Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash