Jeremy Sallee
Owner at Freeman Plat | Design Director at Ralph Lauren | "Fuck stereotypes. Set precedent." | FTMITM

All posts by Jeremy Sallee

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Case Study | Brand Concept and Sketching

Part 1 | Brand Concept and Sketching
A brand concept can take shape in a number of different ways. Some concepts come from a specific story you’re trying to tell. Some concepts come from a specific function you’re trying to meet. Some concepts are socially conscious. Some concepts are just artistic expression. Bottom line there’s no right answer in how you should come up with a brand concept. However, there lies heavy importance in how you talk about that concept.
Let’s take Freeman Plat for example. With this brand, my concept started with a will to breakdown stereotypes and motivate people in society to work hard to fulfill their dreams and purpose. Freeman Plat is my soapbox to better the world. This is my primary objective. From that goal came the sketch of the Quarter Jogger, a dress-sneaker hybrid with Loafer tassels, running shoe details and a leather outsole. It was the physical manifestation of my primary objective. From there I expanded on the idea with other models that followed the same formula. Season after season the product evolves but the concept remains the same.

 

Quarter Jogger London Grey
Jackson Noir
With that said , I’d like to go a different , less socially conscious path with this project.
So without further ado… “The Concept” –
My brand concept for this exercise is to create a singular product for a particular season for a particular city (i.e. a jacket for Spring in London). I like the idea because it’s focused, easily understood and by doing one item , it’s much more feasible to produce.
I’m still up in the air with names, but I’m leaning towards calling it SZNS or SSNS (pronounced “seasons). I think the name is simple yet modern and the abbreviation should lend itself to a dope mark/logo. The name also reinforces the concept…ooobviously.
Now that I’ve got my brand concept it’s time to sketch. I’ve chose “Winter in Manhattan” as my first theme.
As I sketch I’m thinking of all of the functional elements that would be required of a shoe worn in the cold, dirty weather of NYC:
• Weatherproof
• Durability
• High traction
• Warm but breathable
• Comfortable to stand in
• Comfortable to walk in (a lot)
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I’m also keeping in mind what NYC represents in terms of fashion and trend:
• Chelsea boots are a winter staple
• Runners are worn year round
• People are cognizant of how they look and want something that’s functional and fashionable
• Streetwear is becoming more tailored

 

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I’m what they call a “shape” sketcher. Usually I sketch looking for nice shapes that feel good and then apply the functional details once I have a nice aesthetic foundation. However, sometimes the functional details lead to nice shapes. Hey… whatever works! The amount of sketching you do in this part of the process is really up to you. I know A LOT of designers that can sketch allllll day. They draw every perspective, side AND add texture. And that’s completely fine. Whatever gets the job done. I, on the other hand, usually draw quick thumbnails; find something I like and move the the concept into Illustrator. Like I said before, I didn’t go to design school, so my process may be a bit different so feel free to sketch til’ your hearts content!
To be continued….
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Case Study | Open Source Brand Building

 

Hello good people of ConceptKicks!!

Sorry for the delay, but it took a while to figure out what I wanted to contribute to this fine publication. But I think I’ve got it now …

To give you some of my backstory basics…

– I didn’t go to school for Industrial Design
– I didn’t go to school for Fashion Design
– I started designing things at 8 and footwear at 11
– I’ve worked in corporate America for almost ten years
– I’ve built and still run a luxury brand
– I prefer not to design “middle of the road” product (hence I’ll take a bad reaction over no reaction)
– Consumerism is a pet peeve of mine but I respect brand equity
– Product AND story are key

Now that that’s out of the way, one thing that’s been advantageous throughout my corporate career is my willingness to share work openly. Many designers tend to keep their work under wraps so that no one steals their ideas. This was always strange for me because … well… we all worked for the same company. Anyway, I always thought it was better to put your work out in the open in an effort to publicize it. You are your biggest billboard so why not let folks see what you can do.

 

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Moreover, along the lines of that concept I’ve decided to start a project that parallels that experience. I will be using the Concept Kicks platform to create an open source brand/product building exercise. From concept to conception I will go through all of the steps of brand/product development. More specifically, we’re going to look at it from a severely “boot-strapped” point of view because money doesn’t grow on trees and most of us don’t have Trump money (that can purchase elections…too soon??).

 

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Anyway, the goal of this is to educate and provide an example/advice to those that want to do the same. As I mentioned before, I’ve experienced a lot of different situations within the shoe industry, and with my learnings I’m hoping that this project will be as efficient as possible. Of course, nothing’s perfect and we’re bound to have some unexpected issues arise.

 

With that said, feel free to engage. I want to hear feedback, questions and any and everything else.
Godspeed and thanks for tuning in.
Jeremy

Freemanplat.com