Sessions @ The Dieline Conference: Brian Collins

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"Brian Collins is Chief Creative Officer of COLLINS:, an innovation-led firm dedicated to inventing branded experiences, digital interactions and communications that shape both companies and people for the better.

His team’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC World News and Fast Company, which named him an American Master of Design. From 1998 to 2008 he was Chief Creative Officer of the Ogilvy & Mather Brand Integration Group (BIG), the agency’s brand and innovation division.

His team’s work at Ogilvy includes the Hershey Chocolate Factory in Times Square which Business Week named a “Retail Wonder of the World”; Helios House, BP’s sustainability-driven, experimental gas station in Los Angeles; NYC2102, the campaign to win the Olympic Games for New York City; and work for Coca-Cola, Motorola, Jaguar Cars, Mattel, American Express, IBM, Goldman Sachs and Kodak. They launched the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” in North America with an international photo exhibition that explored what beauty meant to the best women photographers in the world. The National Organization for Women honored his team with their annual Image Award for this work.

In 2006 Brian founded “Designism: Design for Social Change,” an annual forum to inspire young creative people to take active roles in social causes. In 1996 Brian produced “The Ecology of Design”, a handbook on environmental design thinking published by the AIGA. Brian is Vice President of the Art Directors Club and is on the faculty of The School of Visual Arts Graduate Program in design".

The Session:Yes is More: The Need for Optimism in an Age of Anxiety

Brian has let me know that his session will be a "surprise". Until then, we will have to make do and speculate as to what we will be treated to.  A further exploration of Brian's work renders one possible outcome - we are sure to be blown away!

1. Hershey's

"The iconic Hershey bar is all many people know of the world's greatest candy company. The client envisions a spectacular Times Square billboard, but Brian's team thinks beyond the ad.

They transform the retail space under the billboard into a Hershey's 'chocolate factory.' Eager visitors snap up branded products and whip up mixes of Hershey confections using whimsical machines. Business Week calls it 'one of the Retail Wonder of The World.'"

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“'A 16-story cathedral of merriment and wonder' is how one observer described the new Hershey’s store. In a digital age, when 'spectacular' means anybody’s ad on a giant screen, the Times Square chocolate factory is a throwback to the days of giant coffee cups and signs with a million blinking bulbs."

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"Inside the store, reflective surfaces bounce light everywhere to make brands pop and create a sense of space in a very small retail footprint. The Reese’s display is designed to appear as the base of one of the chocolate factory’s smokestacks." 

2. Helios House

Whenever I have the lovely task of heading into Beverly Hills, I always pass the Helios House. I say lovely sarcastically, because driving into Beverly Hills is like an obstacle course of speeding Land Rovers, engorged egos, and very-old people in BIG cars. The fact that no freeways run through the city only add to the detrimental effects of traffic. Needless to say, I will never drive into B.H. during rush hour, Friday afternoons, or Holidays.

Of the times I need to travel into the 90210, I always look forward to the Helios House. Dominating the corner of Olympic + Robertson, Helios House commands so much attention that I don't even know what's on the remaining three corners - and I've lived here my entire life.  As you can imagine, I was pleasently surprised to find out that -Mr. Brian Collins, himself-  worked on the project along with Boston based architectual firm, Office dA! 

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"A drag to overcoming our energy crisis is the public's limited exposure to green techonologies. So Brian's team and Offce dA, transforms one gas station into a laboratory for sustainable design thinking.

The result is a solar-powered gas station that minimizes energy and water use, reducing costs as well as CO2 emissions. Pumps dispense energy-saving tips along with gas. Within weeks, Helios House becomes a new California landmark. It winds the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, the nationally accepted benchmark for the contruction and opation of high-performance green buildings."

3. Microsoft Stores

"In partnership with The Martin Agency and Gensler, COLLINS: led the brand and design development for the new Microsoft stores.

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4. NYC2012

As "candidate" cities bid to host upcoming Olympic games, only a few are chosen as potential hosts - and only after a city's infrastructure has been determined suitable.  NYC was chosen as a candidate city for the 2012 games back in 2002!

"The title of 'Candidate City for the Olympic Games' is an achievement in and of itself. Selected cities pass through a rigorous gauntlet proving infrastructure stability, government support, public enthusiasm, security capabilities and transporation robusteness.

But to rise above 'Candidate City', each metropolis must prove it will deliver the values of the Olympic Games. Only then, will a city be crowned, 'Host City'."

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"On the last night of the [The International Olympic's Commitee] IOC’s visit, NYC 2012 launched its most ambitious media effort: designing and synchronizing the endless digital screens in Times Square to promote NYC 2012."

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“'New York is all about hope, ambition, and internationalism. People come here from around the world with their hopes in their pockets to succeed. The Olympics are the same thing,' he says. The split icon logo, marrying the Statue of Liberty with a triumphant Olympian, brings these ideas into energetic friction.'"

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"To further blend New York City with the Olympic Games, our campaign repurposed naturally occurring landmarks in the city to tell the story of 2012. A popular digital art installation in Union Square became this clock counting down to the IOC’s announcement of the winning city."

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"This billboard in Times Square revealed a strategic choice behind the campaign design. For the campaign to stand out in the visually manic environment of New York City, it had to be a counter weight. The choice of matter-of-fact visuals and language gave the NYC 2012 billboards a powerful, collective impact across the entire city."

The host city bid eventually went to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

5. Dove Beyond Compare

Lastly, we have a campaign that I personally love.

"A personal care company asks Brian and his team to launch a new beauty product.  The team asks a bigger question: What is beauty? A transformation begins. Damaging clichés of female beauty fall from grace. Self-defined ones multiply.

The team enlists notable female photographers to capture images of the real face of beauty for a touring exhibit. The photographs spark a national dialogue and a media tsunami. Women flock to the exhibit and brand. Awarness soars 90%. The National Organization of Women gives it their Image of Woman Award."

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"A flexible design system allows for easy travel and set-up. Intended for “everyday women,” the show visits public spaces, not galleries. It goes where busy women go. Even so, visitors spend an average of half an hour with the pictures."

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"The show features donated photographs by Annie Leibowitz down to emerging photographers and bypasses galleries for more democratic spaces like shopping malls and parks. Thumbing through the exhibit book, I see a woman struggling out of a burka, strongly backlit in a nimbus of dust; elderly, former burlesque star Dixie Evans on a late-afternoon beach; twin girls gazing heavy-lidded at the viewer, enigmatically titled “Friends and Enemies (Anne and Bayley)”.

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"The team designed a translucent panel system so passersby will notice interesting stuff and engaged people inside."

6. Creative Week

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Challenge

: The One Club wanted to position New York as the creative capital of the world. To that end, it started Creative Week to serve as the most important week for creative professionals globally. It wanted an identity for it that captured the creative spirit of New York. 

Audience

: Creative professionals. 

What we want people to say

: 'Creative Week is the preeminent global creative event.' 

Unlike any other U.S. city, New York City thrives on the bold, visual cacophony it provides. The mad collision of billboards, street signs, speeding taxi tops, shop banners, sale signs, wild postings—the commercial lingua franca of Manhattan—covers every block here. Our identity seeks to communicate the this idea: that this week is the mad collision of New York and creativity."

7. Mass Art Poster

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"'Triumph' is one of those words that’s hard to incorporate into a lecture title without coming off as just a tad on the sinister side. Brian Collin’s upcoming talk at MassArt, 'The Triumph of the Commons,' is a heck of a lot more than a 'tad.' But hey, relax! This prodigal alum is just stopping by to give a brief history of public space—parks, playgrounds, your living room—and the various ways we use them. Nothing off about that. Well, except for the bit about using them to increase corporate branding opportunities. We’re a little uncomfortable about that one.

Brian Collins will be speaking at The Dieline Package Design Conference Boston on Saturday June 23rd @ 9am.