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Q&A with DEAN HAZELGROVE
2 February 2015

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Q&A with DEAN HAZELGROVE

WHEN IS A BRAND RELEVANT TO ITS CUSTOMERS?

Ultimately a brand needs to offer something of quality & value to its customers, whether it is a product or a service.

Secondly a brand needs to communicate a clear & consistent message, visually and verbally. If you don’t do any of these, then you are in trouble.


WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER WHEN CREATING A NEW BRAND IDENTITY?

I don’t think you can distill this answer to one ‘thing’, as there are multiple elements to consider. As Mike Dempsey said in this recent Design Week post about definition of a brand

“A brand – though I prefer the word identity – is the total personality of an organisation: what it does, how it behaves and how it communicates to its customers.”

So there are many questions to keep asking when developing an identity: Does the identity truly represent your company principles and values? Does it clearly communicate your offer, is the identity fresh and noticeable, is the tone of voice right for your customer, is the identity flexible for multiple formats, does it have a shelf life…

But if you pressured me into picking one ‘thing’ I would have to say, is it memorable? Will people think of you later down the line when they are looking for a product or service that you offer? 

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

First, it's always a collaborative process with the client. It's the most constructive and efficient way to develop the project.

Everything starts with understanding the brief. By asking the right questions, querying everything, researching the obvious and the obscure. We call this the Discovery stage, and it’s essential for us to learn as much as we can about you and your customers.

From this we move into Direction – we investigate various design strategies that we could use to take your brand forward. We later test these in the Design stage.

Here we visualise all the initial concepts to show the potential routes. Then with the client we distil everything down to a single route and develop up the full suite.

By communicating little and often with the full project team, we find it easier to overcome minor challenges and make design decisions. This in turn allows the process to be more fluid and efficient.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE DESIGN PROFESSION?

From a very early age I was always creating things, either replicating my favourite cartoon, constructing from my imagination with Lego or building camps in the great outdoors. I think this curiosity is what led me down a fully creative path at college and university, from studying Art, Photography & Design to a degree in Graphic Design with Photography. You could say that I didn’t choose my profession but was led here through following my interests.

 

WHAT SAGE ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR THOSE ENTERING THE PROFESSION?

Work Hard. Listen & Learn. Be influenced by others, but have your own take on things. Experiment. Don’t fear rejection and be persistent. It’s important to have a balanced lifestyle – by this I mean have distractions for thinking time when you have creative block. More than anything have fun and enjoy yourself.

 

WHAT ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR TIME ON AT THE MOMENT?

We’re currently working on an exciting identity for a Creative Services client and now we are in the Design Development stages for all customer touch points, website, business cards & presentation slides. I’m really eager to see this identity come to life – as it clearly defines what the business does!

It will be live very soon – so keep your eyes peeled!

 

HAVE YOU SET YOURSELF ANY PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR 2015?

Take more chances and risks. Put myself in more uncomfortable situations to learn more. Nothing exciting ever happens when you're in a safe situation.

 

ENGLISHMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO LIFE IN SYDNEY E.G. WHERE TO GET A GOOD CUP OF TEA/PINT OF BEER? WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS?

Ha – believe it or not, I used to drink 5 to 6 cups of tea a day back in the UK. Mainly think that had something to do with the cold grey weather. But now I’m in Sydney I’m mostly drinking coffee. Who would have thought it could taste so good, much better than the hot brown sludge we had back home. I do love a nice Flat White with some Avo on toast for brekky!

On the beer front, I have to say I do miss the good old flat Ales, but there is a good craft beer scene here if you look around for the smaller breweries. The bigger breweries I won’t even go there…

In London cycling was my main mode of transport so I was always out and about on two wheels. Without a doubt I think this is one of the best ways to explore and find out what a city has to offer – so for anyone new to the city, get yourself a bike. 

2 February 2015
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