A Push In The Right Direction

What if it was something more?

At Gravity, that’s a question we find ourselves asking a lot.

During our recent rebranding effort, we sat down to take a look at what we represent and stand for as a team and as a company. Something we agreed upon early on was that we consider ourselves “outside-the-box” thinkers.

But then we had to ask ourselves…doesn’t everyone?

Of course we think “outside the box.” We’re creatives—we’re messed up like that. But all those other agencies are ALSO filled with creative people. I mean, gills seem pretty cool from up here, but you don’t see the fish bragging about it. It kind of comes with the territory.

So we started to question what it means to “think outside the box.”

What exactly is an “outside-the-box” solution? Should it be scary? Exciting? Does every problem really benefit from one? And what about the box? What’s wrong with it? It’s just trying to live its life. It can’t help that it’s a total square. Why just dismiss it? Why not try to change it? It’s not your boyfriend—it’s totally willing to change for you.

What if it was something more?

Make it bigger.
Poke holes in it.
Make a fort out of it.

A brand is a living thing that needs what all living things need: Love, attention, and Beyoncé. She’s really expensive though, so just stick with the first two.

A brand has to grow. It has to breathe. It has to be nurtured. Lock that box too tight and you’ll be burying it in the morning.

If you expand the idea of your brand, suddenly that scary “outside the box” idea might not be so scary anymore. Push the boundaries of what your brand can do and you’ll never need to search out some crazy off-the-wall idea to get back in the game—you’ll never be out of it in the first place.

All it takes is a little push.

Recently, we did some work for print production powerhouse Phototype. They were looking to tout their new aluminum printing capabilities, and wanted to reach out to everyone from the big soda companies to local microbrewers. They tasked us with creating a sell sheet to highlight their capabilities—but encouraged us to be creative.

Luckily, creativity happens to be in our wheelhouse.

A sell sheet’s a good start. But what if it was something more?

We proposed a new idea: You want to show off aluminum can printing—why not hand out cans? If you want to woo craft brewers, show them you care about craft too. Let them hold the product in their hands and see it for themselves. Show them you can make it real.

Welcome to the Phototype Can Lab.

To highlight Phototype’s different printing capabilities, we created four unique can designs: Ice Ice Baby kept it cool with cold-sensitive color-changing, while Body & Sol praised the sun with its UV-sensitivity. Faux Real kept its focus on the fine details, and Midas Touch gave our fingers a happy feeling with its textured finish. Then we wrapped them all up in our shared hometown of Cincinnati, featuring some of the Queen City’s most famous faces, delicious dishes, and stunning structures.

It quickly became a passion project for our designers, allowing them to flex their creative muscles and have fun exploring different styles and techniques. And with passion comes excitement, and with excitement come new ideas. Soon, our whole team was involved, throwing out new suggestions and possibilities—and then the client got excited too. And like that, the project grew. Just a little push to set things off in a new direction, and suddenly, we were designing carriers and posters along with the cans and sell sheet.

(The whole thing also scored us some awards, but we don’t wanna brag. That’s what case studies are for.)

Expanding the simple idea of a sell sheet into something like a poster isn’t a crazy idea. It’s not “outside the box”—but it starts to push towards its edges. Take it further—push those boundaries more—and you wind up with a sell sheet that isn’t just a sell sheet anymore. It expands the idea of what’s possible and what’s practical. It takes the expected—and makes it surprising.

You don’t always need to go crazy to try and elevate your idea. Sometimes, you just need to question how far an idea can stretch.

Because what if it was something more?




Trey Zink
Designer & Writer
Published: 04.04.18