Be Part of Something Big

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Twenty big thinkers from the four offices of Silicon Valley’s much-awarded Liquid Agency — San Jose, Portland, New York, and Santiago, Chile — converged in the Pacific Northwest last summer to share ideas and establish Liquid’s strategy offerings for 2019.

“We help clients turn their employees and customers into a tribe of true believers who share the same values and are pulling in the same direction,” says Liquid’s chief strategy officer Dennis Hahn. Since 2000, the agency has helped clients including Accenture, Microsoft, Nasdaq, Nike, Nordstrom, PayPal and Walmart connect more deeply with their core audiences of employees and customers.

Unlike the shoemaker with holes in the soles of his shoes, Liquid does the same for itself. They truly put their money where their mouth is. For this one-time, three-day event—in which a core group of 20 percent of the agency’s professionals participated—they created a full-blown branding program that included logo design, signage, a phone app, print collateral, apparel and more.

Making it fun.

The designer, Jeanette Aramburu of Energy Energy Design in Santa Cruz, CA, has been the art director on projects for clients ranging from Infinity Capital and Virgin Electronics to the San Jose Ballet.

“Liquid came to me because they were looking for a merchandise designer to create cool products with their new ‘line art’ logo,” (the transparent ‘L’) she explains. “When Dennis Hahn saw my studies, he decided to brand the training weekend. “He said, ‘I’m going to make this fun,’” she recalls. Based on his free associations about camping, boy scout badges, and being a park ranger, Aramburu presented six alternatives:

Logo concepts by Jeanette Aramburu, which incorporate elements from the Adobe Stock vectors below. The design in the top center was selected, with wording changes.

Although Aramburu drew most of the elements that make up these charming, complex logos, she adapted the trees and tent shape from Adobe Stock vector set 139035169 by Mike McDonald. “Why use stock, if you draw so well?” I asked. Her answer: “When you’re under a deadline—everything was due three weeks ago—I’m going to use the best available resources smartly to create a presentation that sells itself.”

Adobe Stock Vector set 139035169

Liquid Agency’s final Strategy Camp logo

Celebrating a passion.

Aramburu made a smart choice with Mike McDonald, who specializes in creating art that celebrates his personal passions, including camping. Self-taught in the art of making vectors that other designers and art directors can customize to meet their own requirements, McDonald has been contributing to Adobe Stock for more than four years and has built up an impressive portfolio of patches, shields, seals, and graphic elements. He runs a small, successful New Jersey branding studio, but derives about 40 percent of his income from stock sales. “My images sell anywhere from a few hundred times to more than a thousand times on Adobe Stock,” he reports. Here are a few ways his elements were incorporated into the Strategy Camp design program:

At the Strategy Camp retreat, the Liquid Agency folks developed the idea of future “Swarm” camps, executive retreats for clients. “We need cool stuff,” Hahn told Aramburu. So she created a library of Swarm Camp assets — that can be used on any application or merchandise, going forward, such as caps, mugs, water bottles, notebooks, and lanyards for name tags, for which she used other elements from the Adobe Stock Vector set.

The trees and the arrowhead shape and sunrise in the ‘Team’ and ‘Tribe’ patches were adapted from Adobe Stock set 139035169

Stock can lead to bigger assignments.

Many stock contributors have found that buyers who appreciate their style and approach will want to use them again, and will often commission them to create something unique — at a market rate much higher than the stock royalty. “At our boutique design firm, we often use stock as placeholders in comp presentations, then present the client with the option of hiring the illustrator for a custom piece,” Aramburu points out. “Lots of art directors are looking through stock portfolios for the the right look and feel for their presentations, and then will hire the illustrator.”

Other stock buyers agree.

Corey Jones, executive creative director at the Dallas office of Golin, one of the world’s largest PR agencies, says that his team also makes extensive use of stock vectors and illustrations, especially for presentations and mood boards. “We choose to be smarter about how we spend our clients’ dollars,” he says. “There are always timing constraints, and stock helps us with quicker ideation. Our job is to make something original, that feels like the client’s brand is doing the talking, even if we start with stock. If we’re doing our job, there’s no way the file will ever be used the same way by another agency or for another client.”

Like what you see? Want to be part of it?

As an Adobe Stock contributor, you’ll not only help yourself by earning royalties, you’ll help art directors and designers around the world create cool stuff for their
clients. Just make your files relevant, appealing, and easy to work with, and you, too, can be part of something big. All of Mike McDonald’s vectors, for example, are designed to be ungrouped in Adobe Illustrator so that each element—the outline shape, the background, and objects like the trees, tent, campfire, sunrise, etc., can be isolated and enlarged and/or re-proportioned to be incorporated into an original new composition.

If you would like to bring your illustrations and vectors to a worldwide audience of buyers, including top agencies, sign up to become an Adobe Stock contributor today. It’s free to sign up. Join Adobe Stock today!


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About Ellen Shapiro
Print contributing editor Ellen Shapiro is principal of Visual Language LLC in Irvington, NY. She has been designing for her whole life and writing about design for more than 20 years. Her website is all posts by Ellen Shapiro →