The following is a translation of an original article by French journalist Denis Chaumereuil which appeared in Le Journal du Centre in August, 2014.
The graphic designer for Coke, Dove and Leffe takes his vacations in la Nièvre!
Ian Brignell is a renowned lettering and logo designer for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Unwittingly, you have almost certainly bought one of the products which has benefitted from his artistic flair.
In the hamlet of La Bretonnière, deep in the Donzy countryside, there is a magnificently restored old farmhouse. It is the summer home of Ian Brignell and Catherine O’Toole for six or seven weeks of each year.
He is the creator of Ian Brignell Lettering Design. She is its marketing director and the business is based in Toronto (Canada). Ian designs the fonts and logos for internationally famous brands.
He has specialized in this for the last 29 years.
No big deal, you might say, but one only has to mention Dove, Leffe and Hoegaarden beer, Smirnoff vodka or the iconic Coke font (for the Share-a-Coke campaign) to realize what Ian does. He is the lettering designer for numerous star products.
He doesn’t deal directly with these big companies but works through their advertising agencies or marketing consultants. That said, his work nonetheless represents brands that are known and recognized worldwide. As a freelance graphic designer for the last 29 years (he also worked in London for three years) Ian says “it’s all the result of a long process. I had a lot of clients in Toronto and have built up a complete network in New York”’. Ian has made his mark. He is a major reference in his line of work which has few competitors, “design requires a subtle approach and has to create an emotional response. One must listen very carefully to clients”, his artistic ability does the rest. The campaign directive is invariably very precise and deadlines relatively short, sometimes only four or five days. On average he generally has between one and two weeks.
A notable exception was Smirnoff “there was an eighteen month gap between my initial research and the finished product” For Coke’s personalized-cans campaign everything moved very quickly “one of my New York clients contacted me in 2011. The briefing was to design a typeface for the brand. I did it in only two weeks. It was test launched in Australia and since then it’s gone worldwide. It’s great, I’m very proud of it”
Lively spirited (and speaking very capable French) Ian stays on the ball. He has made good use of his holiday break to create the logo for his new company, IB Type. It is due to be launched this coming October.
Gill Sibley is a translator (French-to-English). Her areas of expertise include film sub-titling, screenplays, scripts, press releases, magazine/journal articles and ad/packaging copy. Contact Gill (in France) email@example.com