Americans love our cars, and brands know it. Graphic designer and illustrator Filip Yip helps those brands connect with their audience, creating car graphics that speak to people’s lifestyles and loyalties. “I do love cars, but not in that car-guy kind of way,” says Filip. “To me, cars represent where you are in life, what your needs and dreams are at that moment.”
Filip has conjured powerful racecars for companies like Kingsford and Havoline and cars with throwback charm for Eddie’s Premium Salsa and Sierra County Chamber of Commerce, along with many more. “With cars, and really all brand design, you’re trying to create a shared experience between the brand and the viewer. That’s where my process starts,” Filip says.
The relationship between company and consumer is one Filip takes very seriously. A decade into his successful design career, he took it upon himself to earn his MBA so he could fully partner with his clients on their strategic communications efforts.
Some may not immediately see the connection between Filip’s hard driving business instincts and his inspirational idols Van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin, but for Filip, that’s the power of design and visual communication. “I try to create something authentic and emotional every time because those are the building blocks of strong branding,” he says.
With clients from Anheuser Busch to FedEx to EBay to Clif Bar, Filip’s vast portfolio reaches far beyond driving machines. Check out his cowboys, monkeys, schooners, skyscrapers and much more here.
This piece originally appeared as a blog from Freda Scott Creative.
Illustrator and Graphic Designer Filip Yip can see through buildings, machines and more – and he’ll help you do the same. Filip’s precise technical illustrations are often used to show the inner workings of complex machinery, or to help explain how things are used.
“With all technical drawings, first I have to know the communications goal,” he says. “Then I can decide how much information to include in an asset. Too much or too little leaves the viewer confused.”
That finessed judgment is something only an experienced designer can offer, which is why Filip is still highly sought for technical jobs, despite developments in 3D and rendering software. “We make decisions in terms of line weight, how to transition from straight lines to curves, how to be simultaneously elegant and accurate,” he explains.
And yes, even in this era of technology, Filip still starts with a pencil sketch. “If I can achieve clear communication in a sketch, I know the idea will only get more clear with clean, fine digital finish.”
And though Filip is well known and awarded for many styles of graphic design, including character development, logo design and packaging work, he finds a special satisfaction in technical jobs. “Solving a practical problem for a client is rewarding – and so is improving the user experience.”
Filip has created technical assets for clients in industries from pharma to tech, pet products to hospitality and even the cannabis industry. But his most…ahem, interesting project was for an electrical intimate health product. “My wife was rolling her eyes at the online research I had to do for that one,” he says.
Most recently Filip wrapped assets for Rhoda Goldman Plaza – turning 2D floor plans into “much more contemporary and cooler 3D visions of where retirees will live.” Check out more of Filip’s work – the technical and beyond – right here.
Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Magazine
" Anthropomorphism—giving human characteristics to animals, objects, constellations, and other nonhuman things—is a natural and ancient human inclination. Eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume wrote about a “universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves”—a tendency, he argued, that stems from an intellectual urge to understand a frightening and erratic existence. All over the world, and throughout time, people have fashioned gods after people—and some have envisioned god-favored heroes in the constellations. Sailors named storms and hurricanes, a tradition continued by meteorological organizations. We see faces in clouds and trees, and attribute to our pets motivations that we can’t prove.
In the past few decades, thanks to advances in technology, we have created things that talk, sing, dance on screen, smile, frown, and exhibit nuanced human expressions. We think of products and brands as other people with fully formed personalities—as companions, friends, and relationship partners. When companies develop anthropomorphized characters, consumers pay attention. A video of geeky, dancing hamsters shilling for Kia has more than 8 million views on YouTube.
But despite our apparent need to anthropomorphize objects, the issue was rarely studied from a business perspective until recently. Now researchers are beginning to understand the psychology of anthropomorphism, which can be a useful tool—not only for selling cars and other products, but in understanding how we interact with animals, computers, and entire ecosystems. Anthropomorphism could be used to help overcome fears about self-driving cars, or to persuade a sometimes-skeptical public to confront climate change. A sense of humanity, we are learning, is a powerful motivator.
What makes us see humans everywhere?
Hume implied that our anthropomorphism is uniform. Nicholas Epley, John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavioral Science at Chicago Booth, disagrees. He says that when it comes to assigning human qualities to things, there’s huge variability. We don’t even anthropomorphize the same object in all situations. Sometimes, he points out, we start a car and press the pedal. Other times, we may pet its dashboard and plead for it to start.
“It changes over the course of a lifetime, in different situations, and across different cultures,” says Epley. Though it contradicts our higher logic, we still get sucked in: we know a talking peanut can’t exist, yet he’s an endearing and remarkably adept salesperson. We know that a computer that crashes right before a big presentation can’t be out to get us, but we curse at it anyway. It seems to be in our nature to humanize things despite our capacity to reason—or perhaps in part because of it.
Packaging a brand with a sellable message to hide its ethos sounds archaic. Back then in the 60's it was cutting edge. In this case the ad agency might have permanently altered UA's core value and persona unintentionally. Brand authenticity was seldom an agency's first priority unless it contributed to short term revenue boost. Sure, culture can change but it takes leadership's vision and time.
Selling the friendly skies
BY VICTORIA VANTOCH, AB’97 | UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE —JULY–AUG/13
American stewardesses and the making of an iconic advertising campaign.
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS | EXCERPT
During the Mad Men era, virtually every heavy-hitting advertising agency was based in New York City. But hundreds of miles away, the boutique Leo Burnett Agency on East Randolph Street was proving itself a formidable competitor. In 1963, the Leo Burnett Agency was invited to bid for one of the nation’s most coveted ad accounts: United Airlines. Leo Burnett, the acclaimed ad- man behind the small Chicago agency, corralled his top creative team. They poured themselves into brainstorming sessions—analyzing United’s image, strategizing the pitch, and waxing philosophical about the future of air travel. Later that year, a cadre of United executives in pinstriped suits convened in a smoky boardroom to hear the admen’s pitch. The Burnett team laid it out: United was the General Motors of air travel—“professional, official-looking” and “a little stuffy and cold—coldly efficient, with a production-line attitude.” Then came the real blow: the ad team called United “stodgy” and “dull.” William Patterson, United’s president since its beginnings in 1934, prided himself on the airline’s hard-won reputation for reliability, but he knew that United desperately needed to sell more seats...
- Full Article
Something I have been trying to emphasize with my partners and clients. However it's very hard to implement the change, not the technical nor the tactical part but the philosophy, strategic vision of the business and its core business model. Take McDonald for example, it did a great jobs in the recent years trying to portrait a healthier and greener image for itself. Unfortunately its core operation such as recipe and ingredients would not likely to change if the law is not broken or the negativity externality not exposed (We thank the whistle-blowers for keeping the pressure on). How can it be transparent and authentic if the message of being good is only a marketing pretext while the core strategy is still maximizing profits legally while not optimizing (health, as one of many) benefits for the customers? At the moment, it is much harder for a large corporation than a small startup to achieve genuine authenticity and transparency.
“We are currently losing $25 million per day,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned earlier this month. Somebody save the poor Postman please! Take it private if necessary.
The bad management of USPS has trickled down to the end user level. Customers are more annoyed beyond rate increases and long lines. USPS has worsened the quality of their products and customer service as a response to their own failing/winning product and marketing strategy.
I had a fun chat with a staff yesterday on Flat Rate Priority Mail. Besides raising the intl priority flat rate by ~20%, they also degraded the envelope with flimsier, easier to torn recycle stock; and you are NOT allowed to reinforced the edge with tape, or it'll be treated as “package”, when they are obliges to charge you much, much more.
It was USPS' innovative idea to offer flat rate priority mail to customers: all you can put inside the envelope for up to 4 pounds for a flat rate. It seemed to work well for the postmaster and customers, for a while until recently... About a year ago my mom started dreading going to the post office to forward me my posts via intl flat rate priority mails. Every time she went the postal staffs started harassing her about the envelope being too heavy (usually around 2 pounds); until I nudged her to remind them about the 4-pound rule (their own rule), then they stopped. I was told that the employees were pressured to discourage customers from taking advantage of the offer to improve revenue.(???)
Internet eliminated most of our needs on sending letters but increased our reliance on them (and other carriers) thanks to online shopping. E-commerce sales during the holidays increases by 16 -18% per year, 4 years in a row. Was USPS able to capture any of its spill-over benefit? There is something obviously not working with its management and business strategy. Let alone customer service (I haven't even touched on their pickup-note-instead-of-package delivery strategy). if they continue this route we might one day see this great American brand turns into another bygones. Please, somebody save this USPS.
Article on Facebook Envy:
The name “Facebook” finally makes sense to me, because it's really all about the “surface”, the superficial stuffs.
Most of us in our shared networks came from a generation of never to display our closet' skeletons nor our laundry in the open; and share only the happy events in life. Only those who are really closed to us have seen our worst... very few of our failures would be recorded on our timelines. No wonder we see only hot chick and rods, extravagant vaca and sappy family photos on FB. I never posted about my dad having a stroke last summer (more a blog material). I'm aware not to be a party pooper on FB, cause it's a happy place for us to flaunt and bond. Ranting about others, politicians, celebs is however acceptable and very appropriate cause we bond even easier when we share our hate against common nemesis.
Those born in the 90's and after have a very different way of using FB. I love glancing their posts! They openly broadcast their success and failures, loves and hates... yet the consequence of doing that has relatively less impact since most of them are still dependents with very little to no life obligations.
Personally I don't take FB too seriously. I like to entertain and be entertained by images or words. It's a GREAT way to connect with new and old friends currently living in different time zones. However I rely mostly on personal visits to connect/reconnect whenever possible. Fb after all is really just a surfacebook, but I did make a few great friends such as Jeffrey Jones and Kerrin Howard whom I met first on FB.
Notice the new DC logo at theatre when watching Dark Knight Rises? It's one of many variations in a brand identity system that invoked lots of online passionate debates about whether it is better and working. Remember Gap?. The difference is, Gap had almost zero likes. DC's new logo got lots of good reviews among designers, comic fans, and “normal” folks.
For a love brand such as DC Comics, you know for sure any change will draw tons of resistances whether they are justified or not. People are just so attached to their own projections of what the brand is, guaranteed there would be no sure win (“sure lost” , again, like “Gap” is much easier to “achieve”:P).
I personally like this design (creator being a client has nothing to do with it) a lot. Like most geeks, I grew up reading comic books. When I saw a few of the variations upon this system's release, I got all the super hero narratives right away. The visuals invokes deep story telling, unlike the previous flat, line art rendition. The new system is dimensional, dynamic, and works very well onscreen (from Iphone to Imax... (not part of Apple's ecosystem ;)). Some said the logo is corporate, I disagree. Not the versions with the illustrative treatment. The flat version can be, which is appropriate, it's owner by Warner Bros after all.
Downers out there, do give it some time... it'll grow on you. I recall how negative some of our cohorts felt when they first learned about the change of our B-School's name from Chicago GSB to Chicago Booth. Some even created an online group to boycott against the evolution. Few years after none of us refer ourselves as GSB alumni anymore.
A very different type of branding, driven by a different purpose and business and supply chain model.
Leveraging the indigenous resources (raw materials, human capital...) at the bottom of the pyramid, yet by the time it gets distributed to the specialty stores in Manhattan and SF...etc, it's priced like a premium brand. $9/350g for loose leaf tea, that's almost as much as you'd pay at Mariages Freres!
let's hope that the foundation do benefit from such a high margin (the only high cost expected in the operation will be marketing). Distribution is still limited since they aren't even in Wholefoods. Winning a package design award may get them the needed exposure. Keep up the good work and congrats on winning the design award!
Recently several clients requested me to create brand assets with a specific yet similar visual style. I started asking myself when was the last time that happened? Was that coincidence or a reflection of a bigger trend? In fact I can recall several significant visual fads in the past couple decades. They were indeed the results of certain technological or market disruptions (or bubbles). I do have a few subjective observations, they are of course by no mean the outcome of any empirical research.
Bubbly 90's: During the dot com bubble when the optimism was high, businesses competed to demonstrate their creative capacity as assets. All fundamental financial ratios were irrelevant as long as your business has something to do with web. The bubble has furnished us with numerous projects requesting us to create assets that are gestural, creative, whitty and whimsical. Everyone was in a good mood. We all know what happened when the bubble was burst.
Photoshopper: When Adobe Photoshop became such a hot app that threatened the livelihood of many professional photographs, designers and illustrators were also pressured to create assets that shamelessly revealed off the different special and layer effects of the software. In my opinion, the design field has entered a dark age that resembled the naissance of desktop publishing. When visual communication served a better purpose promoting the tools than communicating a message, regardless how brilliant the tools are.
Recession realist: Recession hit US right after W took over the white house. Layoffs, budget cuts, for sure less experimentations on marketing communication. The consumers were spending mostly on the essentials. Big companies were playing it safe, even with brand building. We were assigned many projects using more realistic visual styles, depicting products instead of concepts.
Technical line art: I had no idea where this came from, The line drawing used mainly in instructional inserts or back panels (which we also do a lot) became mainstream. They took on a more heroic role in communication in packaging, collaterals, and info-graphical materials. Interestingly, this style seems straight forward at first glance, but indeed requires a quite strategic mind. Designers who create artworks has to make smart decision on what to show and what not. Importance of elements represented only by differentiating line weight or some minimal uses of colors.
Revival of fun (or bubble?): They called it the second coming of tech bubble in the silicon valley.Companies such as Groupon, Facebook...etc, with unjustifiable earning ratios and valuation do well in their IPOs. With VCs hedging their bets investing in multiple startups ran by young leaders who were born shortly before the first bubble, we see a lot of parallels between the two markets. We are getting requests for doing fun concepts again. More metaphorical story telling, more gestural and fun visual styles, simplistic, humorous, gestural...and less direct depiction of products and services.
The increasing demand for creative execution reminds me the best time in 90's, yet it also reminds me the lost of paper wealth that many of my peers suffered. Stock options that once worth millions became liability if realized. Some of us didn't get hit as badly due to a high percentage of assets invested in Real Estate, which did quite well for the following decade. Equity grew at double digits for years... until of course the recent crash of market in 2007.
Worst of it all, is that we've not yet seen the bottom of the real estate bubble yet. After recent Facebook's IPO, many newly minted millionaires have entered the housing market looking for homes. Maybe this second coming of tech bubble will help lift the market, and bail out some of those Real Estate investors who are still drowning under water now. Wishful thinking, I know.
A designer, illustrator, repro-media consultant, brand strategist, new product developer, real estate investor, new venture builder, scuba diver, martial artist… and most importantly, husband and father, Filip holds a BFA from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is constantly seeking equilibrium between Form and Function; Purpose and Survival; He is equally comfortable with fuzzy feeling and fussy