Australian consumers are exposed to thousands of ads every day, but our senior designer, Camilo Suarez, can always find a way to establish a genuine bond between audiences and brands.
Today we took Camilo away from the drawing board to chat about how graphic design has evolved over the past 10-years and the best way to engage a digital audience in 2019.
So, tell us a bit about yourself Camilo
I’m originally from Colombia. My father is an architect, and my mother is an interior designer, so I’ve always been surrounded by art and it was easy for me to follow my passion.
I studied graphic design in Bogotá, Colombia and am also an illustrator, specialising in drawing and animation.
After university, I started working at an American company which was a great opportunity to learn about the industry outside my country, especially at a time when the digital industry was just beginning.
How did you get to Keep Left?
About two years ago I was featured in an Australian article about the best illustrators from around the world. That put Australia on my radar, and a friend said that if I went anywhere in Australia, it had to be Melbourne.
Despite working in the industry for more than ten years, I had no local contacts in Australia and had to build my network from scratch. I was very lucky to find Keep Left and am so happy to be part of the team.
How has design evolved since you first started?
Creative industries are always evolving so every day is different. The biggest change I experienced was the transition from old school technology to the digital world we live in today, where anything is possible. Another change is that anyone can claim to be a graphic designer. It’s part of life now. You are fed images all the time so, as a designer, you really have to innovate to stand out.
Has it been hard to transition onto more digital design?
I kind of worked backwards. I started my career in a digital environment, then moved into a Creative Director role at an advertising company that mass-produced billboards and TV commercials. So for me, the new is like the old, and vice versa. Transitioning back to digital design at Keep Left has felt like going back to my roots.
What’s the best way to engage the audience on digital platforms?
I would say the best way to engage audiences online is to create emotional bonds between people. You should aim to make your audience laugh or cry, because that’s the best way to form a connection and seed an idea. But it must be real. People can tell when you are trying to sell them something so as a marketer, you should try to entertain, rather than persuade.
What do you love the most about your job?
Every day is different. You never know what the next challenge is going to be, so you keep thinking and learning and that’s what makes you feel young.
What’s the key design trends for 2019?
I think the next trend will be bringing design back-to-basics. We have been living in a special-effects driven world for the past 10-years, and I think people are getting tired of it.
Bringing design back-to-basics requires focussing on the details. For example, typography is so important now. You can’t just leave the text as an afterthought in your design, and you need to put your soul into your work.
In 2019, we will shift the message from just product characteristics to experiences, dreams and inspiration. We will bring humanity back to design.
Keep Left has been awarded the creative and content account for Coles Local, an exciting new retail offering from Coles Supermarkets.
Coles Local is designed to inspire a love of quality food and provide a tailored, in-store culinary experience for the local community.
The first Coles Local store opened in Melbourne’s Surrey Hills on 13 November. The smaller format supermarket features 100% Australian grown fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh seafood. It also boasts an in-store chef and exclusive products from speciality and artisan suppliers such as Meatsmith, MoVida, Brunetti and Laurent, with a strong focus on the environment and local community.
Peta Allsopp, Head of Local & Special Projects Marketing at Coles, said the support of a creative and content agency that understood storytelling was essential to help differentiate the Coles Local brand in Australia.
“Coles Local is here to give local communities the convenience of a supermarket, with the character and experience of a speciality store and to make shopping, cooking and eating a joy.”
“We were looking for an agency with a strong strategic, creative and digital skillset to help us launch this new brand in Australia and were impressed with Keep Left’s integrated offering.”
Keep Left’s scope of work includes creative and content production, including OOH and print advertising, bespoke magazine content and design, hero video production, always-on social creative and management of biddable media across Facebook and Instagram.
Keep Left Acting CEO, Caroline Catterall, said working with Coles Local had provided a great opportunity to road test the agency’s new in-house kitchen studio.
“The Coles Local magazine shoot gave us the chance to put the space to the test and I’m pleased to say the feedback from the photographers and stylists was very positive,” said Catterall. “It’s a real bonus to have a fully-functioning kitchen in our Melbourne head office that we can use for recipe shoots, flat lays and to generally produce high quality food creative at a competitive price.”
With a concentrated media landscape, it’s never been more important to take an integrated approach to client storytelling.
Since formally expanding our services to include content production two years ago, we have met a number of talented creatives who visually bring our client’s key messages to life. One of those artists is Kate Tartsus, an experienced video producer with a passion for visual storytelling and multimedia production.
Today we took Kate away from the computer to talk about the power of animated storytelling and how businesses can use this tool to effectively communicate complex, boring or sensitive ideas in a visually engaging way.
Tell us a little bit about yourself Kate
Where do I begin…I was born in Estonia and moved to the UK in my early twenties to complete a Public Relations degree at University of the Arts. When I graduated, I started working as a film publicist at a global communications agency in London. This is where I discovered my passion for visual communications. The company I was working for helped me enrol into several courses and before I knew it, I was a qualified video producer who knew she had found her calling.
What is animated storytelling?
It’s a design technique that puts storytelling at the heart of animation. You can tell a story by shooting a live action piece or create a whole world from scratch, using animation. Shooting live action is fun, but sometimes there are elements that are totally out of your control such as lighting, location availability and talent. With animation, you can design, light and animate characters however you choose.
While each method has its own challenges, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision come to life after hours of toying around with different character rigs. You have complete creative control of how a message is visually portrayed which means everything is there by design and nothing is left to chance. For a brand it means that every character move, every bit of typography, colour or shape is intentional, and part of a bigger picture.
Why should businesses embrace animated storytelling?
We have used animated storytelling initiatives for a variety of our corporate and consumer clients over the past 6-12 months. It is a great option when there are elements of your video that you cannot capture using live action such as when you are making a forward prediction or want to communicate a futuristic concept. It can also be effective when you want to say something sensitive in a way that your audience can easily digest.
When done well, I believe animated storytelling adds an extra layer of satisfaction to a viewer’s experience.
Orthodontics Australia by ASO explainer animation
What are your tips for animation?
The most important part of your animation is the script. At Keep Left, we work with a team of very talented copywriters who perfect this part of the workflow before production begins. For a designer, it can be tempting to jump right in and start devising visuals, but you need to make sure you have a strong, clear and logical script first.
Another thing I always say to our clients is to make sure they focus on one or two key messages. When it comes to visual communication, you don’t want to bombard your viewer with superfluous information because they won’t be able to grasp what you are really trying to say. As a rule of thumb, stick to one or two key messages per 30 seconds of visual information.
Something that often gets overlooked when it comes to animation is the quality of sound. I recommend hiring a professional audio producer as having someone who is specialised in sound can make a real difference and elevate the creative work.
FlickPay explainer animation
Any final words?
Animation brings together the strengths of multiple communications specialists, but we always build on the foundations of storytelling by leading with a strong character and helping a brand connect with their audience in a meaningful way. We create commercial films that take viewers on a journey with a brand’s product or service and when it comes to content marketing, there is nothing more powerful than that.