Brand dialogue

In conversation with Design Director Joris Van Imhoff at Notch Creative

3 years ago
Branding Interview Industry professional
Branding and UX design

Joris Van Imhoff

Brand dialogue

Just with the start of the COVID 19 restriction kicking in we reached out to seek some support from Design Director Joris Van Imhoff to provide us with professional advice on how students can develop successful design and branding briefs. Joris is leading Notch Creative, a studio that is passionate about authentic design. Their work aims for a high standard outcome elevating brands and products to reach their full potential. His clients are boutique shops and hospitality venues as well as clients such as McDonald’s. We have captured some of the highlight in our conversation with Joris and his brilliant branding work here.

R: How did you start your career after graduation

J: After the graduation show Exhibitions I started applying for some junior designer roles and I got luckily, I got a couple of smaller offers, it was good boost of self confidence. I shortly after started working for myself and did about 60% working through a recruitment agency groups that I was with at the time. Its good to have your portfolio with a recruitment agency, they find you work and it’s a really good way to find out on what level you’re are able to provide a design service. So you obviously started junior, and then climb up. By working through an agency, you get good feedback on where you sit, junior, middleweight or senior designer. I did about 40% of my own client work and 60% on the books through recruitment agencies such as FBI and Beetroot. There is other ways as well to get your first jobs, but for me, that was a really good way to get introduced into the design industry.

Desk Space branding system

What I love about freelancing and working for yourself. There’s such a range of clients that you come across and it allows you to really dive into what these people do and what motivates them

This project is actually a medial marijuana company in Australia. Which is heaps of fun, you know, like that’s what I love about freelancing and working for yourself. There’s such a range of clients that you come across and it allows you to really dive into what these people do and what motivates them.

They are usually start ups. I love it because you just take part of a journey. collaborating with people that put their heart into their company and their ideas.

I often start with a questionnaire that the clients returns to me within a week. Once I get the findings back, I usually create a reverse brief. This is a great way to start a collaborative design process.

In this particular case all the findings showed that there is still a stigmas around cannabis. Also, the client response was helping to capture the personality of the brand. I find that very helpful because this is more of a collaborative back and forth dialogue. We identified that the brand keywords are innovation, integrity, education as well as sustainability. This resonated with the client. And once I had these values captures, I was like, okay, great let's narrowed the visual direction down. We were still very broad, but I think that’s the key in designing, you want to start like a pyramid broad an then narrow it down. We established the broad directions together with the client, and once you get positive responses you implement them, refine the concepts until your visual territories are in good shape.

I started introducing usually three branding concepts to clients

I started introducing usually three concepts. This concept indicates the medical marijuana. The client wanted to really step away from that recreational use, and really focus on the medical beneficial part of it. The aim was to make it quite progressive and educational. The organic compounds was what I really focused on here and the client ended up leading towards the organic concept.

So that was great, you know, ideally I present three territories or concepts that I also like to work with. Most of the time, to be very honest with you, you don’t get to capture the clients imagination in all three. There is usually one strong concept that you obviously hope the client is going for. And you can pitch to the client that this concept is offering maximum benefits, and really try to sell that idea but they decide at the end what they like.

In this case, I thought all three concepts were equally nice and that’s ideal that you have three concepts that you would like to explore. Once this was done and we decided to continue with the hero concept, we then started the process to role out the designs.