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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….
Jeremy Sallee

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