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Meet Mark Clifton: Beyond Indigo’s New Creative Director

MarkThis past October, Beyond Indigo brought on Mark Clifton as the company’s Creative Director. This freshly-minted position was created in anticipation of some exciting changes coming to Beyond Indigo in 2015.

While you’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out about what is in store for our clients in the coming year, we are excited to introduce you to Mark and showcase the amazing talent he brings to Beyond Indigo’s table. Our blogger-in-chief, Kate Matthews, was able to arrange a little tête-à-tête with Mark and curate the conversation into this week’s post.

So, without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Mark Clifton…

Tell us a little about yourself, Mark…

My interests in art and technology developed from an early age. I was always very curious and autodidactic. If something interested me, I would hunker down and set about figuring it out. I jumped between art, science, music, writing, programming…

I started to narrow my focus to graphic design right as the Web was in its infancy. I developed a healthy obsession with typography and visual language, while at the same time teaching myself HTML and other Web development technologies. I felt at home with design’s emphasis on form and detail. I’m a very meticulous person, and I enjoy working with systems and solving complex problems. Design can be as theoretical and formally rigorous as you want to get with it, but at the same time it never denies beauty. I like that sense of balance.

It was a coin toss whether I would go to school for music composition or for graphic design. Design was the winner.

I’ve been contracted with Beyond Indigo as a designer and art director for about a decade, and came on board full time as Creative Director in October.

What projects have you done for Beyond Indigo clients that you’re particularly proud of?

Potts Point Veterinary Hospital was a fun project. It was a new practice, so we had the opportunity to work closely with the owners to develop a cohesive visual identity completely from scratch. The owners were well engaged with the process, and had an eye for refinement and restraint.

I was also particularly satisfied with the results for Animal Medical Hospital’s website, both of the previous site and the newly-launched redesign. They’re an example of taking the existing identity of a well-established practice and extending it in a way that feels natural, without changing any of the core attributes their clients have grown to recognize.

Why do you believe that role of Creative Director is important to Beyond Indigo and its growth?

The role of Creative Director brings the design and execution aspects of production together under a singular direction. In interactive design, the way something works as just as important as how it looks. The lines between creative and code have become blurred or nonexistent.

In integrated marketing, the channels a business needs to speak through are extremely diversified, and always evolving. Fragmentation and inconsistency are real concerns when your message is spread out through so many outlets. It’s not just about websites or print media anymore. Between traditional channels, social media, search, reviews, and whatever future media is yet to be invented, a strategy needs to be adaptable enough to cover all potential bases without compromise. Consistent creative direction is important to keeping all of this glued together.

What are you hoping to bring to BI in this position?

My equally-weighted experience in design and front end code, along with an obsessive eye for detail.

What advantages will our clients experience through the addition in this role?

Beyond Indigo’s current and future clients will have someone looking after the integrity of their brand and graphic identity as a whole. Large integrated marketing campaigns can contain a lot of moving parts that are tended to by a lot of different people. Close coordination internally means everyone on a project can be briefed on how their task fits into the greater ecosystem.

What is the underlying philosophy behind your vision?

I like to challenge clients to see their identity as a system, not a collection of standalone pieces. It’s common for a small business to start with a logo, maybe a brochure or a website, and whenever another branding piece is needed they have to scratch their heads and figure out how to extend these elements to something new.

You could have a logo that looks stunning when printed large and in isolation, but find yourself in trouble when you need to make it work in tiny thumbnail image on a social media site. Or, you could be tangled up in the challenge of adapting a print campaign to a responsive website.

An identity system is toolkit of simple, versatile parts that can be combined as needed to establish a consistent visual language. It’s much more than just a logo or set of colors. There are no assumptions about specific applications, just raw components and style guidelines that take the pain out of adapting to whatever new uses arise. Your identity system is a visual manifestation of your brand attributes. The images, colors, typography all have something unique to say about you. None of it is arbitrary, all of it has meaning.

If you would like to learn more about creating a comprehensive visual identity for your veterinary practice, or if you’re just curious about what Mark brings to Beyond Indigo’s table, we invite you to join our free webinar, Building Your Visual Identity Toolkit, on Wednesday, January 7.