10 Questions with Cybele Grandjean, Partner at Design Consultancy
1) Where did you work before this?
Myself, my co-partner, Kevin Brainard & our team have worked both in- and out-of-house, leading teams at several major branding firms and publications including Collins, Condé Nast, HarperCollins, Interbrand and Martha Stewart Living.
2) What does Area of Practice do?
Area of Practice is a collaborative brand consultancy made up of four senior creatives with over twenty years of expertise in brand strategy, content creation, art direction, design, and information architecture. We work closely with our clients to develop their brand story and help them meet their business goals.
3) What brands have you redesigned or launched?
We recently collaborated the e-commerce start-up Montauk Mainstay on the launch of their website. We developed the logo, the visual identity, art-directed photography, and helped develop the content for their blog.
We created a flexible design system that will expand as the brand grows. Knowing that the client will open more mainstay locations in the future, we developed the identity system and assets to be easily expandable.
4) What brands have you collaborated with?
We collaborated with Clinique on the launch of their editorial site, The Wink. The micro-site is an integral part of their strategy to introduce their products to millennials. We art directed the photography of influencers including D.J. and entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman and EatPops founder Sophie Milrom. We also enlisted Ben Wiseman and Justin Fantl to create illustrations to convey complex beauty concepts.
We were also hired by Sagmeister & Walsh to design a book on the history of Barneys New York. The project was a team effort between Area of Practice, Sagmeister & Walsh, and the Barneys New York staff — which was led by creative director Dennis Friedman. We are honored that that the book will be included in this year’s Type Directors Club Annual and traveling exhibition, which will tour 17 countries and 42 cities.
5) Describe the meaning of The Bridal Council logo.
The logo is a combination of four B's representing the idea of multiple people coming together to form a whole. The mark is set at a 45 degree angle to give it energy and forward momentum. The mark is a monogram that can stand on its own — with or without The Bridal Council wordmark.
6) At what point does a company decide to use your services?
We are always excited about taking on new challenges and collaborating with new people. We begin by asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of listening. It’s important that we not only understand a potential client’s immediate needs but also their future business goals. It is our job to focus on the big picture and develop forward-thinking, flexible solutions. And we do our best customize our process to meet our clients’ needs. If our goals are aligned we decide to work together.
7) How does the design process and collaboration with the client work?
We like to be in constant communication with our clients and involve them in the process. Although the deliverables of a project may be a mark or a website, we are always thinking about the client’s larger branding and business needs.
8) What priority advice do you give your clients?
Do the hard work up front, so you don't have to do it again later.
9) What has been one of the most exciting projects you have worked on?
We worked with The Bridal Council founder, Rachel Leonard on the redesign of Condé Nast’s Brides magazine. The magazine’s editorial and art teams worked closely together to completely reinvent the content and visual direction of the publication.
We scrapped the old magazine, locked ourselves in a room, and threw out ideas for new stories and sections. We came out with an outline of a brand new magazine. A couple of months later we had the redesign issue in our hands. It was really exciting to have such an amazing team and blank slate to work with.
A large aspect of the redesign was reinventing the photography and rethinking assumptions about what the term “bridal” means. We were lucky to work with up-and-coming photographers including Erik Madigan Heck and Charlie Engman—as well as established artists including Jessica Craig-Martin and fine artist like Laura Letinsky.
10) What is rewarding about this?
Collaboration is the heart of our practice. We love learning about our clients and their businesses. We love bringing people together to do their best work. We all make each other better.
Check out Area of Practice online: http://area-of-practice.com/