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Yo Santosa took a big leap when she decided to quit her job as a motion graphics artist. But her fledgling design agency, Ferroconcrete, has gone on to create award-winning branding campaigns for companies like Pinkberry, TNT, and TBS. As Yo explains it, there are parallels. Branding, like film, is about storytelling. But instead of telling a story over a few minutes or hours, a brand's story is told over a period of months, years, or even decades.
In this Creative Spark, Yo explains how her team maps the personality of a brand, creates messaging and imagery that support it, and helps clients earn the love and loyalty of their customers. See how this played out for Pinkberry, which under Ferroconcrete's guidance evolved from a single storefront to a nationally recognized name. Yo's team also introduces its fragrance line, Commodity, a project they started to gain firsthand experience building a product alongside the brand. Plus, get a glimpse of the uniquely collaborative design team hard at work in their downtown LA offices.
Yo Santosa: I'm really fascinated with concrete. I'm not the type of person who really likes overly decorated things. I like things to speak for itself. It's the philosophy of being as natural and as simple as possible in the way you communicate. Branding is about communication and it's about creating a personality and, and, and a feeling around a product or a company. Yo Santosa: Ferro Concrete means iron concrete, and it's a technology when you actually put steel beams and then you pour concrete on it.
We want to be the hit instructor that helps build brands, the one that lays the foundation, and the one that shapes the brand. Yo Santosa: We approach every brand like a person. It has to speak to us. It has speak to the customers. At the end of the day, people want honesty. People want open communication. People want brands that are optimistic and, and that are good that, that really enrich their life. And I think that was probably the foundation of how we grew Pinkberry. Yo Santosa: Pinkberry is very designed oriented because of how the, the store looks and how the founder is very, very much into design.
The product was so white and pure and simple, and the only colors that comes is from the toppings, so somehow it reminded me of this one scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where it is just this white room with bright red chairs that became the inspiration for the final look of the Pinkberry Hero Shot, which was the white yogurt with raspberries on top and a little mint leaf. I went to art center for graphic design, and I always knew I loved to do branding. So, after I graduated, I went to work in a branding firm.
The first week they asked us to make logos and eight hours a day doing logos wasn't really what I love about design. And I thought what is the opposite of boring? So I went to entertainment design, which is motion graphics. I worked in motion industry for about four and a half years, and it was really, really fun. And at that point, I worked on main titles for 300, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty Catwoman, but somehow I still felt I was, I was missing something.
I was, I, I still really, really miss branding. That's well, how I fell in love with design, was basically surrounding myself with things that speak to me. Just walking into a, a store and seeing really new exciting product, and what makes me pick this product up as opposed to this other product? It just reminded me time and again, why, how, how could a company make me love them so much and be such a loyal follower? What I learned after a while was branding, just like motion is, is about storytelling.
Of course, motion is storytelling in a period of minutes and seconds, but branding is story telling in a period of months, and sometimes years, and hopefully decades. Some brands last for a lifetime. Brands have to be entertaining, and it has to be emotional. It has to draw you in. Yo Santosa: We do get clients that come in with entirely new products. I mean, when Pinkberry first came to, to us, it was an entirely new food category, and we're currently working on another project right now that is, we would like to say it's the next generation of mouthwash.
When we start a project like Olio, we always do a personality brief. Is it playful? Is it serious? Is it funny? It's really a very active and visual visceral brand. Shaking the bottle was really an act of quality of how you experience this product, and we want it to be fun. The moment you shake it, the color change into more a milky and lighter color. So, we created two inks. One reads when it wasn't shaken, and the moment when you shake it, another word would appear because the color of the liquid makes the typography pop.
There's certain words that we use to really create energy of optimism and fun around the brand. For us, copyrighting is a very, very important part. Tone of voice is very important because the company is so new, and we were so lucky to be able to jump on board, at really the beginning. That's why we were able to help define the colors. Create naming for it. Really coming up with an entirely new brand and entirely new product line. We have worked on a few projects that are similar to that nature.
Yo Santosa: In the old days, people come up with products first and then later on branding is the last minute. These days companies have evolved that they feel, they know the importance of design in starting businesses. Commodity is our own personal project. It's cofounded by myself and two other Ferro Concrete designers, working on brands with clients has been such a great experience, but one of the things I, I, I wanted to learn was, how do we see brands from the other point of view? How does branding affect a business? And how does business affect branding? I wanted to learn both sides of the story.
I wanted to see if, if design was a part of how we start thinking about business in the first place. How would we grow? What kind of company would it be? So, I encourage my entire team, so if you have ideas for products of brands, come to me and let's talk about it. Let's build something ourself, and so, one day Owen came up to me and told me about what he wanted to do with Commodity. Him and Song has been talking about men's fragrance and women's fragrance and how they feel it's really hard to shop for fragrance in store because the smell is overwhelming.
There's just so many different options, and shopping for fragrance online is a guessing game because you cannot smell it. Yo Santosa: Going towards the future, we would love Farro Concrete as a company to be able to come up with passion projects. So, it wasn't really about motion graphics or web interactive. It's being able to come up with an idea. Create a personality for a brand or product. We are kind of like matchmakers. We make the brands match the people who are going to love that brand. People don't fall in love with businesses.
People fall in love with personalities, and, at the end of the day, if we can make a business or product of personality, of somebody's friends, I think that would be the ultimate goal.
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