In Chapter 10 of 16 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, art director Lulu Chen answers "As an Art Director, How Do You Help Brands Tell Their Story?" Chen notes how brands are in effect personalities and working on brands comes down to understanding the customer, the customer lifestyle, and putting a consistent, on-brand message in place to connect with them.
Lulu Chen is a photo art director working in retail e-commerce in New York City. Previously, Chen worked as a freelance stylist for leading fashion catalogs and magazines. She earned a BFA in design and art history from the University of Michigan.
Erik Michielsen: As an art director, how do you help brands tell their story?
Lulu Chen: Well, it’s really important to stay consistent, and on brand. Which basically means that you’re always answering that same question, like, “Who is the customer?” “How does this fit into the customer’s life? Her needs, her—his needs, you know, their lifestyle, their budget, even, you know. And all of the things that the target audience represents.
Once you understand the brand, and once you understand what the goals are, I don’t think it’s hard to stay on brand. It’s like understanding a personality.
Erik Michielsen: And that’s just something that you try to figure out through conversations as a team?
Lulu Chen: So much of it is something that you grew up with. You know, there are so many brands that you already know without thinking about it, or without having to break down what that brand is, you already know it, right? I mean, think about it, you know. I think it was in an interview and they said, “Do you know this brand?” And I said, “Yes, of course, I grew up with it.” You know, we used to go to the mall and we used to shop there. Yes, you know? Yeah, so even if you don’t think about it, you know, I think you’ve been exposed to brand identities your whole life.