Brandspeak: Design Takeaways from Brand New #BNCONF 2016

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Under Consideration Brand New Conference 2016 #bnconf

The 2016 Brand New conference took place on Sept. 15-16 in Nashville, TN, drawing designers, creatives and brand strategists from around the world. Dzung Tran, Design Director of Interbrand Canada, was there too, and shared these thoughts and photos from the event.

Day One: When you have a design conference for designers, the results usually end in handmade items (and this conference is known for that). This year, each guest was given handmade name tags on printed conference-branded record vinyl, hand-glued rhinestone programs and hand-screened printed conference tote bags (the amount of hours that goes into doing all of this!)

More work in progress for #bnconf

A photo posted by Brand New Conference (@bnconf) on

The venue is at the gorgeous Schermerhorn Symphony Center, with a live country and blues band opening the show.

The highlight of day one was the very last speaker, Matias Duarte, Google’s VP of Design, who showed us the thinking behind the new Google logo and also a special treat of showing us the sketches and work that went into it (he showed us bad logos and other cool concepts that never made it to the Senior Team and CEO).

Key words and takeaway for today:
1. Manuel (fashion designer who’s known for making cowboy duds for the stars): “These rhinestones are not for you!” and “Whatever Liberace wants, Liberace gets!”
2. The best ideas are your first and last designs.
3. Break the rules when you make the rules.
4. Holistic Designs are the future.
5. Collaborate, Listen, take and give critiques from every discipline.

Brand New Conference 2016 logo #bnconf

Day Two: Highlights included Hulse & Durrell from Vancouver, who worked on the identity for the Vancouver Winter 2010 Olympics, the rebrand for the Canadian Olympic Team, and now the daunting challenge of ICO Olympic Heritage Collection; and Theresa Fitzgerald of Sesame Workshop who showed us the cutest guidelines for Sesame Street (you can never flip Cookie Monster’s eyes — the right eyeball must always be lower than the left eyeball) and Do’s and Don’ts for Muppets.

The Sesame Street formula. @tttfitzgerald #bnconf

A photo posted by Brand New Conference (@bnconf) on

Key words and takeaway for today:
1. Design for people, not your peers.
2. Design for distinction, not for approval.
3. Trust your gut!
4. Words can be powerful visuals.
5. “A hint of Muppet goes a long way.”


Follow Dzung Tran on Twitter and LinkedIn and check out more guest columns.

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