The Graveyard

In any creative industry there are a lot of bodies. Real bodies? Maybe. But today we’re here to talk about the metaphorical bodies.

Our entire industry is predicated on coming up with new ideas — ideas that haven’t been done before, ideas that accomplish a specific goal, and ideas that are unique and drive action. We’re constantly iterating and refining, trying new methods to get someone’s attention. What does that mean? It means that there are a lot of ideas that don’t make the cut. It means that for every polished and perfectly placed ad you walk by, there are 10 others buried somewhere else. And that place? That’s the Graveyard.

Some of these designs should never be exhumed. They’re there for a reason. But what about the others? What about the ones that were almost there… almost perfect, but just edged out by the stiff competition? Or the ones that were looked awesome, but just didn’t feel right? Those designs are lost, buried, and forgotten. We’ve always joked about this internally at KPS3 — how can we celebrate those pieces of work and give justice to those lost souls? Well, today, I’m going to start exhuming the bodies and sharing some of these pieces.

First, let’s get one thing clear — there are always real reasons these directions weren’t chosen. It’s possible they didn’t resonate well with the audience. Maybe they didn’t accomplish the goal. Maybe they just completely missed the mark. Or maybe they simply weren’t good. All that aside, they were way fun to make, and that’s what we’re celebrating — the fun, creative side of our industry and how much we love what we do. Even if we shove most of it in the metaphorical ground after we’re done.

The Graveyard – Episode 1: Santa Maria Valley

“How bright is too bright?” – Me

The Santa Maria Valley brand was a great project to work on. We were able to explore so many paths and directions while trying to discover their unique voice. I love where the final product landed, too. It feels so authentic and genuine — it matches their vibe perfectly (and you can read more about the winning brand here). But, you aren’t here for that. You’re here for the ideas that didn’t make the cut.

With this direction, I wanted to throw it back to the Valley’s cultural roots — I wanted it bright, full of life and full of texture. I wanted to use unique combinations of texture and colors to create a brand that could extend in infinite directions. Each page could feel unique, like the people of Santa Maria Valley, but still part of the same family. The result was a brand that was fun. It was fun to write for and fun to look at.

But was it them? Was it Santa Maria Valley? No, it wasn’t. But it was damn fun to design.

Huge thanks to the entire creative team for the feedback and helping while working through the designs below, and to Rob and Gillian for word-smithing. Eat til you pop!.. or you know, however else you might have misread that at first glance.

And with that, the designs can be put back in the Graveyard. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Stay tuned for the next installment (once I convince someone else to raid their graveyard).

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