Dave Hanson

Bringing our brand to life through art

By Dave Hanson on December 12, 2012

“Stop being afraid and just do it already,” Steve said as he grabbed me by the arm.

“But I…”

It was too late. The brush had already hit the canvas, leaving a huge, misshapen splotch of red paint in its wake.

“See, that wasn’t hard. Now you’re painting,” he said. “If we don’t like it, we can just paint over it later.”

It was August 15th, 2012. The entire agency was gathered at Splash Studio, a painting-themed bar in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, for our mid-year report and a half-day retreat. After the formalities from the directors, we were broken up into nine teams, issued nine canvases and given only two rules. One, use our creativity to express what the Core brand means to us. And two, each team was asked to paint a select portion of the words, Bring it.

Once the universal sense of blank canvas syndrome began to subside, our brand started coming to life on these canvases in fascinating ways. Our internal mantra, Bring it., came to life on the canvas as Angi, Jesse and Colin wrote the words, “il est interdit d’interdire” a call back to the French student protests of 1968 which means, “It is forbidden to forbid.”

Kevin, Sarah and Rebecca tackled Core’s approach to branding, painting layers of “What,” “How,” and “Why,” and a ruler indicating the critical 12 inches between the head and the heart.

And our WE philosophy came to life on several canvases. Dana, Doug and Megan’s canvas featured the word written in large letters with several faces panted inside – a visual expressing the idea of working together toward a common goal.

[pullquote align=”right”] “Bring it,” at our company doesn’t simply mean to go out and create brands. “Bring it,” is to go out and use our creativity as a means to uncover the essential truth behind the brands we represent. [/pullquote]

Jeff, Saige and Mike took an entirely different approach to WE, painting a spiral of red and yellow coming together to make orange. An interpretation showing the idea of two people, two companies, two ideas coming together for the greater good.

Back to our canvas, the splotch of red paint and Steve’s short lesson in fearlessness.

What emerged over the next hour was, let’s say, abstract. But somewhere between painting with a plastic fork and adhering a pair of 3D glasses to our canvas, there was a lesson to be learned.

To “Bring it,” at our company doesn’t simply mean to go out and create brands. No, to “Bring it,” is to go out and use our creativity as a means to uncover the essential truth behind the brands we represent.

I learned that we are not the creators. We are merely interpreters who translate an abstract idea into a reflection of the human experience. This is what it means to bring a brand to life.

Seeing all nine canvases, all nine interpretations come together into one piece of art solidified this for me. While it’s unlikely they’ll be hanging it in the Louvre any time soon, the end result was undeniably cool. This piece of art is a living, breathing representation of the Core brand. And I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of it.

Watch it all come together right here:

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”480″]http://vimeo.com/52238180[/vimeo]