New Talent: Daniel Freytag, Creative Director/Founder BERG
LBB > Talk to us about BERG - who are you guys and what is it that you do?
DF > We're a UK based independent design studio. At the heart of all our activities is a collaborative process where we draw upon a network of creative professionals. We build teams around client needs and project requirements at a bespoke level, thereby making use of resources in the most effective and efficient way.
Basically this structure allows us to stay nimble and reactive to the project needs, allowing us to offer our clients the best possible return on investment whilst delivering effective world-class creative services across a full range of media.
LBB > BERG is an eclectic mix of several different people with different specialisms. Who are each of you and what are your talents?
DF > That's true, we're all different and each of us brings something to the table. As mentioned above, we have a collaborative approach. There's three of us at the core of the business but we work with a much larger network of creative individuals - therefore our specialisms are really unlimited - it's really all about the project requirements and making sure that the creative skill-sets match.
LBB > BERG recently rebranded the Little Black Book. Can you tell us about the brief and the inspiration behind the new design?
DF > We were asked by LBB to refresh the brand identity for their established online business. We were initially engaged to 'develop' their existing brand identity but after a few discussions we convinced our client that a completely new brand identity was more appropriate and indeed necessary.
We understand that sometimes it can be hard for clients to distance themselves from their own businesses, to achieve a fresh perspective. That's our first job, to orientate ourselves to the project. To see what works and what doesn't in the context of a specific market . This 'Orientation' stage forms part of our internal 'design process' and is crucial in building a solid foundation on which to start creating. Only once we've completed this first stage can we effectively advise our client of the best course of action. It's not always an easy process but that's part of the reason we get out of bed in the morning.
With regard to what inspired us when designing the new brand… Firstly, we felt it was important that the new identity convey the idea of a physical ‘black book’. This allowed us to create a physical connection between the website content and the brand identity. Furthermore by creating physical rendition we could tap into supporting ideas - such as bookmarks, grid rules and margins. The dominant use of black lends a premium / exclusive quality to the brand. These elements all help to create a memorable and emotive interaction with the user.
LBB > You recently collaborated with Urban Outfitters where you put on an exhibition/event for the launch of your online shop ‘Editions 100’. Talk to us about the event, the Editions 100 work and what this venue brings to BERG?
DF > We collaborated with clothing retailer Urban Outfitters to put on an exhibition and launch event to mark the first birthday of our online store Editions of 100 (www.editionsof100.com
) is a collection of original limited edtions prints curated by BERG). The event came about through a chance meeting with their visual design team who were familiar with our Editions of 100 store. They thought we might be a good fit with the UO brand. The upshot of which was to create an exhibition of prints in their stores.
The exhibition launched at the end of February and will run for 8 weeks during which we will be showing a selection of Editions of 100 prints. In addition, the exhibition also features a number of large format printed MDF panels and QR code reference panels allowing customers to purchase prints inshore directly from the website. We also created a custom Editions of 100 table featuring all the prints available. These lo-fi techniques and materials work well with the raw and utilitarian Urban Outfitters store environment. All in all it's great exposure for the Editions of 100 brand and has resulted in quite a number of sales. It's also great to collaborate with an aligned brand such as UO - who knows where these things might take you.
LBB > Tom Claxton asked you recently to redesign his very established Claxton Projects Photography website. Can you talk to us about this process and does each client have a different set of expectations, or is your style becoming so recognized that people come to you for a specific look and feel?
DF > We were asked by Tom to develop a new identity for his already established Claxton Projects photography book review website. The main objective was to show the work to its best potential. This meant large images and a fluid and immersive user experience. The strength of the project comes first and foremost from the user experience. It's all about giving people the space to browse images in an uncluttered environment - it's almost non design or more correctly 'hidden' design. Each element has been carefully considered, we've removed what's not needed and hidden what doesn't require to be shown.
I think clients come to us because we have a sound design knowledge and employ a solid design process rather than a specific style. That is not to say that our individual designers have their own design sensibilities / qualities. It's just that these do not dictate the project outcome but work in unison with a commercial responsibility.
LBB > What’s next for BERG? What does this spring bring from you guys?
DF > We've just moved into our new office - so when the dust settles we'll see what 2012 brings. It's already looking like a busy year.