Tennessee Legacy: Incorporating Art Into Your Brand
As an artist, I live for the “wow factor”—that moment when you see a client’s smile or hear their elated jubilation when they receive their completed project. When my work hits the mark, I am totally and utterly fulfilled. Anytime a project is added to my slate of work, I constantly look for new and creative ways to really exceed client expectations.
My discovery process begins with an investigative approach. I start by listening to the client’s thoughts, ideas, and how they want their brand represented. What is their goal for the project? What do they want it to achieve for their company? What ideas have they had for the final product? I also uncover what they don’t want to see representing their brand, as these details can provide important parameters for my creative process.
I utilize brand guidelines and industry knowledge to further understand the proposed work’s boundaries and ground rules. I may also collaborate with my teammates when needed to develop a path forward, set deadlines, and estimate the required time and budget.
Once all of that is set, my process goes inward. What does my mind’s eye see? Where are the areas for the most creativity and how can I exploit them to my fullest capabilities? How can I translate the client’s vision into a real, effective, and beautiful design? Finally, what is the “wow factor,” and how do I reveal that to myself?
For Town & Country REALTORS®, they were looking for a Tennessee-shaped design for an interior space at the Town & Country office. They explored other, simpler ideas for the signage prior to meeting with B3 Creative Agency. Concepts included a waterway map, a map with county lines, a topographic map, or some combination of the three. However, based on our previous work together, Joey Hale wanted to see where we could take his vision.
My initial concept, based on only the first conversation with the client, was to elaborate on their ideas a bit. I wanted to pull interesting facts or culture from a select few individual counties and use those to add some illustrated pop to the design. My sketches came together smoothly, as the overall look was fairly straightforward.
A few days later, we had a meeting with Joey and other team members at Town & Country. At this time, I wanted to confirm the size of the piece. For a large item like a sign, it’s important to get a sense of scale. Because the design was to be produced digitally, I wanted to ensure my lines and drawings would look appropriate when scaled up. To my surprise, the size was much, much bigger than I expected.
My initial ideas were built on the piece being around 4-5 feet wide. I now learned the sign would be about 4-5 feet tall. Scaling the state of Tennessee to that height would mean a sign that ran nearly 18 feet wide. It would take several days to fully work through the changes needed for my idea.
I think of myself as a problem-solver, and I always pay attention to details. These two aspects of my personality push me to be concerned about how my work looks when it’s finally used—whether it is to be printed on a shirt, hung on a wall, or scaled up gigantically.
In this case, I wanted to be sure that this mural would look perfect when sized according to the final product. One of my techniques is to crop the image, calculate the final dimensions of that section, and print to scale. One little 8.5×11” piece of paper will at least give you a glimpse of a very small section, and, in doing so, will help navigate your decisions as you progress in your work.
Once I established the line-weight and fully understood how much room for detail there was, I knew that I had a great deal of space to do essentially whatever I wanted. This is dangerous territory for me, as my inclination is always to “go big or go home.” If you know me or my work at all, you can agree that I almost always go big…very big.
A More Meaningful Approach
In reading B3’s Brand Story [LINK] for Town & Country REALTORS®, I was inspired by the word “legacy.” As mentioned in the brand story, “after 50 years, Reggie Smith decided it was time for someone new to lead the charge at Town & Country REALTORS®. It was important for the new owner, Joey Hale, to honor the legacy that had been created by Mr. Smith, while still leading agents into our ever-changing market with innovation.” Legacy. The State of Tennessee. Town & Country REALTORS®. An idea formed in my head.
Topographic maps show natural and human-made features of an area, such as valleys, mountains, and other land-specific elements, usually to show their positions and elevations. What if, instead of a typical topographic map, we had a cultural topographic map? Tennessee has a rich history of people, music, food, wildlife, outdoor activities, and much, much more, so what if we designed the sign to represent this collective culture to display, in detail, how those elements of life make up the “map” of Tennessee?
With this idea forming in my head, I knew I was setting myself up for a massive undertaking. I wanted to include something from almost every county in Tennessee. I would need them to flow together in a way that would show how we, as Tennesseans, are not divided by county lines, but are brought together by many things—the way we live, what we eat, how we spend our time, and so much more.
After hours of research studying every single county, city, and what the client company is known for, I slowly put together a major design. I both prominently and discreetly featured Town & Country REALTORS® branding throughout the artwork. For example, I added a “for sale” sign over Madison County. I also included the year the company was founded on the rock representing Knoxville, and Town & Country REALTORS® branding on the race car over Bristol. These, along with many other individual elements, make up the entirety of the Tennessee map.
Strengthening Your Brand
This project is a perfect example of how art can complement and even enhance your brand. Joey Hale realizes this and that’s what makes him a great steward of the Town & Country REALTORS® brand. With this piece now displayed in the Town & Country office space, it invites clients and team members to engage with the Town & Country brand on a deeper level.
When your clients see a piece like this and examine it, they are encouraged to think more meaningfully about your company’s values. No matter what kind of education or previous experiences a person has had with art, they can still appreciate the aesthetic value and history displayed in a mural like this. Its mere existence sets the Town & Country offices apart from competitors around town, as it is unique and personal to the company and instantly relatable to all Tennesseans.
When we ask clients to let us evaluate their branding, whether it be a new company or an established one, we do it because we care about them. We want our clients’ brands to be effective and to communicate the right ideas and the right values. And we want to do this in a way that allows the process of discovery, analysis, and creativity to take place.
We take the time to fully understand our clients, their brand, goals, and customers. The best work—whether it be a visual identity, a print piece, a website, or even a mural—requires careful thought and research before successful execution.
We don’t just want your business—we want to help make your business succeed in ways you never thought possible. When we partner with a company, we look for the opportunity to provide the “wow factor” moment to elevate your brand and take creativity to new heights.
If you’re interested in partnering with B3 Creative Agency, or have questions about the Tennessee Legacy artwork, call 731.240.1153 or email email@example.com.