Part 2 of 2
Catch up with the rest of our interview with Séamus and Julian by diving into how the studio tagline and mint leaf have changed from the early days to our recent rebrand.
The Growth of the Mint Leaf
What do the nodes in the logo mean to you guys?
Séamus: We design moments in time, so the nodes for me represent specific moments when someone is experiencing a product or service. Throughout our daily lives, people all over the world are experiencing good and bad moments at the various phases, stages and steps on user journeys. Graphic Mint’s goal has always been to find negative experiences at particular moments and turn them into positives by improving clarity, creating relevance and meaning, and optimising user flows.
Julian: It essentially represents a typical user journey, a map or diagram of sorts that symbolises the various choices users have with any digital product or service. No two journeys are alike as people have choices and make their own decisions about where, when and under what circumstances to advance in that journey. Decisions they make throughout the journey ultimately influence their outcome. Independent of the journey they take, each step of it needs to be considered, to ensure the best possible outcome is the one they reach.
The mint leaf has been around for a long time. Have you ever played around with it like this before?
Séamus: “Minty” has come up a few times before. Being called Graphic Mint, we have explored how to visualise the concept of “mint” on several occasions. Back in 2008, we had tried to characterise a mint leaf but gave up as it all seems a little bit too cheesy! Mario, who worked with us at the time dubbed the character “Minty” who ended up being shelved permanently.
When we started to realign the brand last year, one of the requirements was “Please don’t bring Minty back!” What is interesting about the final new brand is that there is a personalisation of the mint leaf that is not too trite or over the top. I love how it shows that connection between the organic and the technical aspects of the work we do. Everyday at Graphic Mint we map natural and blue sky user journeys with the hope of making better lives for people. Ultimately, we are using technology in an organic way to help users everywhere achieve their goals.
That’s an interesting concept. Why is it so important for you to show a meeting of organic matter with technology?
Séamus: These days there is a proliferation of technological and human interactions which means that new areas such as robotics, the IOT (Internet of Things) and zero UI are redefining the way in which we live. The hope is that our logo alludes to the concepts of humans working with technology as opposed to against it. These advancements are not going to replace human interactions, instead, they are going to make them better. We need to embrace the fact that the world is going that way, and it’s changing fast!
The new tagline seems a bit more personal than the last. Is it fair to say ‘people’ played a part in the re-brand?
Séamus: People are part and parcel of our daily craft. From working closely with clients on the journey to understanding their customers and users, to the ongoing collaboration with teammates on projects, Graphic Mint have put ‘People’ at the heart of our business. We want to create refreshing experiences that help our clients connect more strongly with users. In that sense, the tagline alludes to positive change.
In most projects the technology is mature and the business strategy is watertight, but where the most help is needed is around understanding what users really want, and improving the desirability of the product or service.
Our user-centered-design approach means we put users at the heart of a project from the beginning to the end. We connect with people as people first, before technology comes in and open a revolving door of user feedback. By the end of a project, stakeholders always realise the importance of empathising with the users’ thoughts, feelings and frustrations. This approach helps our client and us to achieve a truly user friendly service.
When you say ‘Refresh your Experience’, whose experience are you talking about?
Séamus: You really can’t design an experience for somebody because they are subjective, but you can change the touch-points and steps along the journey for the better. Graphic Mint hopes to improve these moments on an ongoing basis, so that there is a real connection made between humans, services and products. Sometimes it is better to start with a blank canvas and to ask the users what it is that they want, what they need and what is not working for them right now. By calibrating the product or service design and development goals towards real user needs, it makes it all more meaningful for all concerned.
The Next Step
Are there any other big changes or announcements we can expect in 2016?
Graphic Mint’s journey is breaking out into bigger and better things in 2016. What we learned from winning our UXies award is there is quite a lot of interest in Irish design and our method of User Experience Design, so we will continue to apply what we have learned in our day to day studio practice.
We are excited to have launched a new design education initiative called the Graphic Mint Academy. We are hoping to help build the bridge between academia and industry in Ireland. Our first all day workshop “UX for Business” is on the 20th May in Dublin.
On top of this we are planning to speak at a few more events this year and fingers crossed win some more awards. The most important thing is spreading the word of putting people first. You really can’t lose when your goal is to make users happy.
Check out Part 1 of our interview to learn about our new logo and typography.