Creating a timeless logo for brands is vital in the marketplace today, including for the U.S. government. In this week’s The BIG Idea podcast, talented graphic designer Aaron Draplin, president and CEO of Draplin Design Co., talks about his work with President Barack Obama, how he works well with screen printers, and what advice he’d give his newbie self.
Draplin, who worked on the logo for the ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, got the call to design the governmental logo on a Wednesday, and he had it done by the next Monday. “Designing for all of America is terrifying in some way,” he says. “It was a great project because I asked myself, ‘What does the government look like?’ It all boils down to how you hit on a good solution that works.”
Draplin’s many years of working with screen printers helps him head off any issues at the outset. “I ask printers, ‘What are the problems you guys have when designers send you files? How do you want me to send it in?’” he says. He’s also a big proponent of training employees on customer service skills. “The power your employees have over the relationship is incredible,” he says.
Working with many different companies has led Draplin to understand the “time suck” of endless revisions and how to refocus on just getting the design right the first time. “We took the money, so now it’s our job to perform—it’s about ownership,” he says. “But if it turns into three days or a week, you have to put your foot down and say, ‘Maybe you’re not seeing what I’m seeing here, and we need to go in a different direction.’ I have the confidence to say that.”
And what would Draplin like to go back in time and tell his newbie self? Lots of great advice, actually. “Ask questions,” he says. “Be engaged. When [customers] call, pick up the phone. Respond to emails as quickly as you can. Be accommodating. Above all, be a good citizen.”
Listen to the entire The BIG Idea podcast, hosted by Marshall Atkinson.