In week six of RISE, we were joined by Alex French, Creative Director and Founder of Liverpool agency Black & Ginger, to talk all things brand.
Black & Ginger is responsible for developing the branding, visuals and language used by some of the coolest businesses in the Baltic area and beyond. The company’s contemporary and compassionate edge can be felt across its varied design portfolio, combining traditional art styles with innovation and wit, leaving a lasting impression in a fast-paced landscape.
My personal favourite offering from Black & Ginger is their community-driven Good Market, which was founded by Alex during lockdown. What started as an online shop, is now a bi-monthly market and a hugely coveted event within the city, bringing together an eclectic array of Liverpool’s best and brightest small businesses, all in one place.
Alex started his session with an introduction to how he started his career, something the team is always eager to find out about when it comes to guest speakers. Discovering how industry professionals at the top of their game navigated their careers from entry-level upwards is invaluable and makes starting a career in the industry feel a little less daunting. Alex talked us through the rationale and creative processes he applies to his projects. Having seen and engaged with Black & Ginger’s work in the wild, talking about taking a concept to a final outcome gave a unique perspective on how Alex’s team approach creating brands.
The practical element of Alex’s talk focused primarily on understanding the importance of a brand and how we could utilise those same skills when creating a personal brand. Alex helped the group analyse how companies use branding to align with their customers, and how branding plays an integral part in various creative and digital industry roles.
After talking through a series of case studies, we started researching existing brands that we as individuals felt aligned with, discussing how and why a company’s branding had a meaningful and personal impact on us as a consumer. Alex went on to show the importance of developing our own personal brands as professionals. Focusing on something Alex said, “A brand is something others say about you when you are not there”, the team worked collaboratively to understand how we were perceived by our peers and how we could apply this to our professional brand. It was a perfect excuse for the team to dish out some compliments to each other.
Alex’s talk struck the perfect balance between engaging and informative. It encouraged us to think outside the box and gave us the space to explore how we want to market ourselves as professionals after our time on the programme is over. Not only that, but Alex’s branding advice couldn’t have been more timely, as the team continues to progress with the final stages of our live client brief. Alex left the group feeling energised and enlightened, as individuals, as professionals and as a team.