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Context is key

When Giorgio Armani was first shown Chermayeff & Geismar’s new logo for Armani Exchange (A|X), he rejected it outright. The designers later found out that due to Armani’s infamously busy schedule, the new mark had been presented to him between meetings, on a white piece of paper.

Armani Exchange logo

The A|X directors of advertising and branding, Tom Jarrold and Matthew Scrivens, then suggested approaching Armani a second time (which they almost never do) with the entire Chermayeff & Geismar presentation, which showed the logo in such applications as magazine ads, storefronts, and billboards. Once Armani saw the increased visual impact of the new identity in context, he immediately approved it.

Armani Exchange logo

Armani Exchange billboard

A good lesson, from Chermayeff & Geismar’s 2011 book Identify.

Here are a couple of tools for preparing design mockups:

LiveSurface (mentioned previously)
Openbrand (in development)

Also search for “design mockup PSD” or browse sites like GraphicBurger. A lot of the options aren’t great, but you can find a few timesaving gems from helpful designers.

My second book on Amazon

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3 comments about “Context is key”

  1. Interesting how much presenting work in context can impact a client’s opinion on a design. I learned this lesson early in my design career and always go the extra step in presentation whenever possible, and it’s paid off many times!

  2. Good work, Amy, and I like that C.S. Lewis quote.

  3. I’ve definitely learned this the hard way. I’ve had some concepts rejected because of the way they were presented and they were some of my best work. Although I could see how the logo looked together with the brand and identity in my head, I foolishly didn’t present them together.

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