12.6.2017
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Alejandro Chavetta on Astro Branding

For the past 23 years, Astro has been building brands and designing products in the Bay Area. We take a great deal of pride in the fact that our human-centered approach spans across our multidisciplinary practice, and continue to define how that translates to Astro brand development.

This past year we have released several branding and communication projects that have given us a great deal of perspective on our audience, clients and team. More than anything, design is about listening; taking the time to hear what our clients/co-creators are going through is key to properly framing inspiring solutions. If we fail to do so, design can very quickly become an expected commodity that leads to temporary patches or half-baked solutions that lack the substance needed to achieve longevity and the soulfulness clients deserve.

When we begin collaborating with a client, we try to put ourselves not only in their shoes, but the shoes of their audience. Why are they here? Do they have a clear objective? Have they properly framed the problem to develop their objective? Understanding the mindset of our clients is key to providing the best value we can bring to them in the short and long term. At Astro, we often say that we get paid for our point of view as much as our design chops. Our role as a design partner is to ensure our clients clearly realize their purpose, so that we can jointly work towards a tangible objective.

This particular part of the design relationship is also key to inspiring the design team. Creative teams crave problem-solving and have a breathtaking willingness to tackle challenges head on; but if we do not afford all team members the opportunity to be part of the conversation, to frame the problem and define the objective, we are missing an invaluable opportunity to elevate the role of each designer.

Bringing the designer to the strategy and vision portions of the process is very important to the development of a brand and the articulation of a particular vision. Their perspective at this higher elevation ensures that we minimize the amount of friction during the translation and production steps in the process. Giving designers early visibility and ownership on a given project has proven to be our most successful approach for both clients and the studio. This approach affords us the opportunity to push designers out of their comfort zone and foster growth, as well as a clear understanding of the real-world challenges our clients may face.

Brands are the cumulative expression of a sound vision, original ideas, experiences and products that connect with an audience. At an individual level, our team members understand that it takes more than just design skills to build a brand. It takes a great deal of research, conceptualization, planning, writing, and visual storytelling to develop a brand. Our approach is to have our designers be as well-versed as possible across the board so that we can do our best work to bring our client’s purpose to life.

Astro is here to help our partners and clients develop their vision in a way that they can leverage for years to come. Our ethos is to get as close to the center of their world as we can. Doing this enables us to launch well-rounded brands and experiences that orbit closely around their audience. A successful part of Astro Theory is the mantra “People are our ultimate clients.” This year has been filled with projects ranging from brand development, naming, digital communications, script-writing, and advertising. We couldn’t have done it without the fearlessness and tenacity of our brand team. Looking forward, we will continue to explore and go beyond the expected to inspire our clients and ourselves.