Narrating The Brand Stories Through Colours: In conversation with Leaf Design Studio
Leaf Design Studio shares their secrets, tips and tricks on the field of brand stories and designing, thus providing invaluable inputs while also sharing the woes, challenges and hurdles which aroused due to the global pandemic.
Could you kindly share the story of your studio’s origin and its growth to its current heights?
Leaf Design. We are a brand and digital design company that collaborates with entrepreneurs and businesses to create integrated experiences developed through radical insights and strategies. Since 2002, we have been using design to empower companies to successfully respond to change and we have worked across several industries including finance, travel, media among numerous others. Our core competencies lie in strategic thinking, branding and user-centred design to help organisations establish their brand presence and grow.
As a firm who has worked with various sectors and industries, what is the one crucial element of branding/designing, which we must remember regardless of sector/industry?
Leaf Design. Success isn’t an experiment born out of a lab. It’s created repeatedly in the living environment with constantly changing dynamics. This is why we listen deeply, design meaningfully and adapt rapidly, all at the same time. We blur the boundaries of the physical and the digital world and stay invested in the change to keep ourselves ahead of the curve.
What is the role played by colours in branding? Could you highlight its importance with regards to your colourful branding for Empyrean school?
Leaf Design. A brand’s aesthetics is an essential part of its storytelling since the design and colour combination of a brand’s logo, website, product and packaging, form a visual representation of its identity. Colour plays a significant role that gives insight into a brand’s personality. The colourful branding system integrates with the Empyrean way of learning. The visual branding system plays with simple shapes, varied forms, and vibrant colours in a child’s life – in a different size, combinations and dimensions, symbolising new perspectives. The style extends to add collaterals illustrating the Empyrean method of learning.
Providing a sense of trust, ease and security are crucial when it comes to financial firms. How can design provide these to the customers? How did you help manifest Waterfield’s vision for their clients in terms of design?
Leaf Design. Waterfield is a Multi-Family Office & Boutique Advisory Firm. Following up on the findings from our research, a new brand platform emerged were one of the key driving elements became the new mission: “Insights with integrity”. A mission that was built from the insight that Waterfield’s clients benefit from treating their customers respectfully and fairly.
How can you capture the dynamic energy and spirit of a company through branding? Could you shed some light on this subject with relevance to the financial firm Avendus?
Leaf Design. Avendus is a firm providing financial services with an emphasis on customised solutions in Investment Banking. To mirror the progressive and dynamic spirit of Avendus, our approach was to match the fearless and open attitude of the company with a forthright and powerful visual language. We depicted a metaphor for risk, action, and the act of rising to the
the occasion, reinforcing the brand essence “Next is the only level”.
How did you incorporate India’s multiculturalism and appeal to the Indian audience when you designed for Spotify India?
Leaf Design. Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming service which was set to expand to the Indian market. It was highly anticipated among the millennials, and hence it is pertinent to appeal to them. We partnered with them to build the frameworks for an intuitive digital editorial design and design a culturally relevant strategy.
We focused on behavioural similarities of music lovers across genres and geographies; and then localised the experience for the Indian audience. We layered the regional/cultural themes and colours with that of the varied playlist moods. This blend was more focussed on visual narratives that evoked emotions. We desired to showcase real situations, expressions and emotions. ‘Real people living in the moment’ became the benchmark to connect with Spotify’s real audience. We wanted to be regional but not stereotypical.
Translating care and assurance is an especially critical necessity in the healthcare sector. How did you achieve this when you designed the brand for Lifecare Health?
Leaf Design. Lifecare Health is a subscription-based pharmacy that provides effortless and cost-effective management of a patients’ healthcare needs. Our approach was to elevate the perception of Lifecare Health from just a pharmacy to be a partner in one’s wellness journey. We redefined the word ‘care’ from a noun to a verb. The highlighted letter ‘C’ in ‘care’ is a symbol of continuous action.
How has your studio been handling the pandemic?
Leaf Design. If we look back on the pandemic, one of the first decisions we took was to retain and support our team. To facilitate it further, we collectively planned to address the challenges, from the financial stability concerns to the creative stimulation boost. For the same reasons, we welcomed our new initiative of entrepreneurial collaboration –– the percentage share module on the new business development and conversion. While it works as an incentive program, it also gave each one of us the opportunity to learn the business side of design. Education is one of our common interests, and we took upon the opportunities to reconnect with academic institutes to teach and conduct few workshops.
Government of India announced a lockdown on 25 March 2020. What were some of the steps taken by your studio to facilitate work from home for your employees?
Leaf Design. Since we were already using the cloud, the transit to a remote working environment did not take long from our central data access to the software. All that was needed was our personal computer that we arranged to take home. What came into practice was the new set of web tools and collaborative processes that we adopted as quickly as possible.
Could you kindly share the concerns you’ve been hearing from the clients regarding on-going projects? What are the steps taken on your behalf to address these concerns?
Leaf Design. We were working on a couple of global assignments when the lockdown was announced. Since we were already corresponding with them through online meetings and video conferencing, there was not much change in our functioning or daily interactions. We were able to complete and launch the brand during this time successfully, and we are now their long-term partner for brand governance, assisting them in improving and evolving continually.
Did you witness any impact on new project inquiries and billings due to this pandemic?
Leaf Design. If we view through a pie chart, the biggest pie during this time has been taken writing new business proposals and now that the economy has resumed, more pitches than ever before. Unfortunately, not necessarily equally proportionate to business conversion or even billings.
If you could list a few positive outcomes of this pandemic, what would they be?
Leaf Design. We have a short answer here –– stay positive, no matter what!
Any parting words of wisdom to those in this industry?
Leaf Design. It is necessary to look beyond ourselves, understand and see how we could make a difference for others. We applied this principle to everything we did, including the new work opportunities. Possessing empathy is important; remember the famous quote from the film Dr Strange “It is not about you!”
Published in Issue 51
Business, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.
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