Going With the Flow

written by james


For the span of the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working at Manoverboard as a result of Red River College’s work placement program for graphic design students. I’ve met some amazing people, and have learned a great deal from them during my time here.

Most of my time was spent designing an identity for the Purpose Project. The Purpose Project is a service grant that non-profit organizations can apply for. The project’s concept is to bi-annually give pro-bono design work to a selected applicant, in order to advance a good cause through design. Due to my work on this project, I’ve learned to further consider the importance and nuances of creating a fluid, adaptable brand identity.

Fluid is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “something that tends to flow and take the shape of its container”. A brand which is fluid needs to be concept driven, in order to take shape appropriately to whatever changes are thrown its way.

I’ve learned to appreciate that even more than a publication or website, an identity needs to be adaptable. It goes without saying that it should function across platforms, but it also needs to make sense in a variety of contexts, some of which are unpredictable and unfathomable at the time of its creation.

As a result of my time here, I’ve developed an understanding of the importance of proper, on-paper planning in branding (as well as any design work). From focusing on the concept prior to the execution, a strong brand foundation can be created. This workflow creates a stronger set of conditional logic, defined through colors, messaging, imagery, mood, and just about anything else one could think of, which translates well across any project or medium. This was especially important for the social-media posts I designed for the purpose project. Going beyond the logo mark, the posts needed to have a look, color palette, and message that dictates how the identity will take shape across future uses. You can look for my designs on Manoverboard’s social media accounts over the next month.

I’ll leave you with a quote by martial arts legend and de facto philosopher Bruce Lee, which speaks volumes about the idea of fluidity and its importance.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Overall, the Manoverboard team was kind and welcoming from the get-go. Andrew, Jory, Robyn, and Dan are not only experts in their field, but also patient, supportive, and empathetic.

The space is beautiful, and everybody there made me feel welcome and comfortable. From grabbing sandwiches at the Crusty Bun, to discovering new music, everyone’s excellent design advice, and everything in between, it’s safe to say that my time here will be remembered fondly.

In essence, thank you Manoverboard, for the awesome experience. I’ve learned much more than I ever expected to and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to work here.

As a member organization of 1% for the Planet, Manoverboard gives the equivalent of one percent of all revenues to select nonprofit partners that are benefiting the environment.

Manoverboard is a Certified B Corporation, which means that we meet ongoing, rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.