Today, we are joined by Perry Haydn Taylor , he is a Graphic Designer. You can view his portfolio here.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you are currently doing – give us a brief bio.
I’m 48, born in Jersey, educated at Marlborough College, went to St. Martin’s School of Art before working for the BBC, United Newspapers, Unilever and then Michael Peters. I setup big fish 20 years ago (1994) with the aim of enjoying every single day of my life. To that end, I’ve achieved what I set out to do! I have a wonderful wife called Vik and three beautiful daughters who are all named after fonts – Perpetua (12), Helvetica (9) and Clarendon (6). I live in Somerset and commute to Chelsea Wharf 3 days a week.
My business is called big fish, which is a branding, design and marketing consultancy. I’ve spent the last 20 years developing, designing and marketing brands for entrepreneurs most of whom are substantially richer as a result (thank God!). I specialize in challenger brands because I loathe mediocrity and love the freedom from dull corporate decision making. I am also an entrepreneur and like to take risks and help small businesses grow. I have taken stakes and shared some risk in businesses such as sofa.com, Cornishware, Boden, Biscuiteers, Alma de Cuba, The Coconut Collaborative, The Chesil Smokery, Tom&Co and a few others.
I’m a firm believer that life’s too short to settle for second best, in living everyday as if it were my last and that typography should be made part of the national curriculum. My time is currently spent meeting people with problems, opportunities and conundrums and helping th
What are the common criticisms of identity design and is there any validity to them?
It’s rather difficult to answer this as every identity is different. If pushed, I suppose the most common criticisms of identity design that I come across are that identities can often be mis- representative, over thought, too rational, poorly executed, lacking in emotion and generally dull. A lot of people just rush into creating a visual identity without really forming a brief or understanding what they are trying to achieve. I suppose it’s a bit like trying to write a song without considering who the listener is or what you want people to feel when they hear it.
Business owners often pay to have everything taken care of by professionals except their identity mark. Why should a business care about its logo?
A logo represents everything you stand for. If you don’t care about that then you shouldn’t be in business in the first place. As for getting professional help to create your logo, well, you wouldn’t perform your own heart surgery would you? In fact, even if you were a heart surgeon, you wouldn’t perform your own heart surgery, which is why I asked a friend of mine to create the big fish logo.
What constitutes a good identity mark?
A great mark should be instantly recognizable and connect with people on an emotionally as well as logical level. It should be easy to apply and differentiate you from your competitors. Most importantly, it should become better with age and loved by those who have to use it, otherwise, they won’t use it! When we created the Gü logo people loved it so much, we had to limit them using it!
What are some common mistakes which identity designers make?
I think a lot of designers over think identity design and spend hours post rationalizing why there’s a leaf in the logo, or why they’ve used the particular color blue or an upside down apostrophe, etc. Hey! If people don’t get it when they look at it, you’re not going to be there to explain it to them. Marks are visual emotional things not logical codes that one has to crack. They are pieces of art that human beings look at and use to help them remember and associate your proposition with. When you look at Google you think “internet, search, information” you don’t think “food, drink, holidays” – the mark is famous for being undesigned but it works brilliantly because we’ve all come to associate with what the brand does.
Can you detail the identity design process and how long this usually takes?
Yes I can! We spend most of our time developing the creative brief. Our process is as follows…Understand what the business does Understand who it’s targeting Understand what you want those people to feel Understand what you want those people to associate with your mark Understand what success looks like Define the criteria for evaluating the work with the client BEFORE setting off Then, and only then, start the process of creating a visual. How long should this take? That all depends on how quick on the uptake you are. I’ve done identities in as little as a few hours and as long as twelve months! Mostly, the time spent on a logo is inversely proportional to how successful the mark will be. If you have to spend 12 months on a logo you should probably fire you client. I wish I had!
What are common challenges which identity designers encounter?
Clients who know what they like before the brief has been written Clients who don’t value the creative brief process Clients who don’t understand that logos are about emotionally connecting with human beings
Designers are generally easily distracted by other designer’s work and tend to veer towards designing things that feel right rather than challenge convention This leads to “sameness” and a lack of differentiation. This is then made worse when presented to a client, because humans are like sheep and tend to follow the flock and will choose something they’ve seen before over something truly original.
How do you account for the great disagreement over the quality of identity marks even among identity designers ?
I had no idea there was a great disagreement over the quality of identity marks.
How much do top identity designers usually charge for a logo and how much is it really worth?
Designers do and should charge as much as they possibly can and more. We have always told clients that they are paying for our creativity not our time. Measuring the value of an identity is like measuring the value of a wife or husband. It’s not something you can quantify, but you know damn well, that if you get it wrong it’s going to cost you a fortune!
In your opinion who are the top five identity companies in the world?
I can’t answer this question as I simply don’t know.
Can you list a few of the best well known identity marks and what makes them good?
Pirelli because it has an insanely distinctive P that if you presented in a meeting you’d probably get fired for these days! Pathé because it’s, brave, weird and wonderful and like nothing I’ve ever seen before Gü because I did it and it still makes me smile (plus it even works when you type it in normal text Gü) Toblerone because it’s remained timeless and I love the “triangle” nature of the sound, mark and product Penguin because it makes me smile and is so simple and easy to apply to just about anything – it’s one of those logos that makes whatever it’s place on look better Google because it’s anti-design and demonstrates that you don’t need a great designer to create the world’s most famous logo The playboy bunny because it’s so clever and most people don’t think about why it’s a bunny! (rabbits like a lot of sex). Viviene Westwood because it was not a signature and is bravely unconventional (which every designer seemed to use as their logo)