This blog is about a mural. A mural which lives on a wall in ZGM’s new Edmonton office on Whyte Avenue. And I, Brooke, have decided to write about how the idea for this mural came to be. Then you can watch it happen.
June 10, 2019: First Day at ZGM.
I have no idea what kind of wild, creative ride I was about to dive headfirst in to. It’s intimidating at first, but exciting all the way through, just like first days usually are. The ZGM and CB offices are finally under one roof together, and my first day was the company’s second week in the new (but temporary) space.
In one of my first conversations with Scott (my manager), I mention how I had recently finished painting a mural, and that someday I’d love to do another. “Well maybe I can get you a wall in the new office to paint. Wouldn’t that be cool. Your permanent mark on ZGM.” (maybe that’s not exactly what he said, but very close to it) and this comment from Scott is music to my ears
Sometime later in June 2019: What do we do with the new girl?
I get briefed in on the project that inspires everything you’re about to see: ZGM brand. The beginning of an eternal internal project. The brand update begins, and I become the creator of all things ZGM. It starts with a few diagrams, but later leads to refining how the company looks, how we use colour, the way we treat type, accompanied by a new suite of isometric icons.
May 9, 2020: Brooke's got the quarantine crazies.
It’s a Saturday and Scott invites me to meet him at the still-under-renovation Whyte Ave office to “pick out paint colours”. We are greeted by the contractor and a vision of our future workspace. Scott knowingly asks if I need a reason to get out of the house and offers up a wall.
That’s the brief history of how this project kicked off. Before the thinking, drawing, planning, wall-mapping, taping, and painting happened. Anyone who works in the world of advertising knows that every good campaign starts with a good idea. So how do we give this mural more meaning than just visual art?
I needed an idea, of course. Which initially felt like it should magically come to me in a dream. BOOM! Suddenly I’d just know what to paint. But that’s not how I approach any other project, so why would this mural be any different? So, I tackled the ideating with Truth-Idea-Execution. It’s this strange (but maybe foolproof?) formula for thinking of ideas (Check this out for more on what that is).
And if you keep reading, I’ll take you through the process.
So, what’s ZGM all about, and what’s undeniably true about this place?
We write and design beautiful things. We work with a variety of clients, strategize, navigate problems, and come up with creative solutions. But most of all, we tell stories. And like we determined before; all stories start with good ideas. We are in the business of creative ideas, collaboration, and teamwork.
Ok, we have determined a lengthy but very true truth. What's the idea?
Well it all started with the thought that MAYBE, SOMEHOW, I could ask everyone at ZGM what their own creative process was, then gather up all this information, and boil it down to make this abstract visual representation of what “ZGM’s creative process is”. Well that’s just crazy isn’t it?
There isn’t one creative process at ZGM. Nor should there ever be. Sure, there are common ways to do things or approach thinking, but everybody brings their own fabulous flavor to the table. It’s what makes it such a great place to be, work, and learn.
And there we have it! The big idea for the big wall: Anti-process. Beautiful, creative ad chaos.
Executing chaos. How does anti-process translate into mural form?
I focused on the inarguable facts, the factors that go into our work, and put a 3D optical illusion twist on it all...
- There’s more than one way to arrive at a great destination.
- You’ll come across unexpected challenges and need to navigate them creatively.
- Some directions don’t go anywhere and there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Communication is the job.
So I’ve got the idea, an iPad, and a wall. And I tackled them in exactly that order. Taking it from a digital image to a real wall required more math and calculating than I ever anticipated I’d do in my design career. I poured my heart, soul, an absurd number of hours, and 8 rolls of frog tape into that wall. And I made a time lapse video of the whole process, which does a better job showing you how it really went down than my words can. Voila.
Watch 170 hours of work in 2 minutes below.
And that’s the end of my blog. We’ve reviewed the journey, you’ve seen the destination, and I’ve given my best shot of explaining how I ended up there. Thanks for reading!
Huge thanks to Wrecked Beach for the video music ✨
(Fried by Wrecked Beach)