Think Miami for a second. What comes to mind? The beaches, Art Deco, that played-out Miami Vice font, La Carreta on SW Eighth Street, and dare we say Romero Britto.
Unfortunately, that's some of what passes for branding in our city. And that sound you hear is the collective dry heave of the design community. For a place that boasts the Design District/Wynwood, Art Basel, and a bunch of other arty events, you would think Miami's design aesthetic would be a little less retrograde.
But you'd be wrong. "You know how they say humans only use a small percentage of their brains. Well, Miami branding is kind of like that. We only use a small percentage of the city's personality in its branding," says Marcel Lecours, founder of SimpleFly Creative and unofficial Pied Piper of good branding in Miami. "There is a whole part of Miami on the other side of Macarthur Causeway that we don't use. The real Miami like Domino Park, Wynwood, and Eighth St."
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And he's not the only one that feels that way. "People here don't seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that branding is more than purely graphic. It's about the ideas that underpin a business or place," says Julian Martin founder of Lemon Yellow in Miami. And Lecours is trying to fight the good fight. Right now, SimpleFly offers free branding consultations, organizes design/branding workshops for small business professionals and just launched a free logo contest, all with the intended purpose of furthering branding aptitude in the city. That and drumming up some new business.
Even though Lecours and Martin acknowledge that there is a dearth of good design in the city, they can see the situation slowly changing. "We certainly aren't the only creative studio in Miami dedicated to good design," Lecours says. Successful agencies like FriendsWithYou and Crispin Porter + Bogusky(which had moved much of its operation to Colorado a few years back, but is now returning to Miami), promise to keep the local design industry fresh, even if most of their business is for clients outside of the Magic City.