Visual Thesaurus visualizations, brand development and GIRVIN.


As a designer, and someone that works in the space of branding and the human character of business communications, writing plays a significant role. Moreover, there’s the issue of how people understand things — and any brand, ultimately is driven by two things, one — the spirit of the enterprise, that emotionally captivating story (what’s the story and what does it mean for me?)that builds premise and promise; and two, the layering (literally) of information. That is, a consumer relationship would be about — “let me know your story and see if I relate, and if I do, tell me how to understand more”.

Language is all about that. It’s at the heart of it — our practice finds that language is the beginning of the leap to relatedness — and that might start in the name, the development of principles, core values, aspects of enterprise messaging and structuring of the human organization.

But as well, the identity, the logo, the packaging, the shopfront, all these components together in hopeful synergy will build out the corpus of expression and connection. VT, for me, symbolizes and actualizes the kind of mapping that we consider in how words and language wrap a brand; it’s a vocabulary that frames the way things are said, that speak to a person in a way that’s congruent with who they are. And what the brand might stand for.

As well, the beauty of the interface and the fluency of this worded cartography is something that is alive. Like the work — it’s for people, so the presumption is that it’s about being alive; it’s not just a biz proposition; it’s human. Interestingly enough, then, when we work with a client, there are opening collaborative workshops that frame the brand — we call these gatherings brandquests®. They are part idea session, part strategic charettes, part innovation workshops — but all collaborative, all listening and gathering seminars, working as a team to capture ideas and potentials for the foundation of the brand, the culture and the marketing moving forward.

We frame concepts — and language — and in a way that teaches us as a team about the concept of attributes and context, as it relates to the business proposition. So working sketches like these build this out, culled from the team to create a sense of direction.


VT, and the illustration of language…it’s alive — I love it, savor it, use it, create links to it, project it on screens to explain verbal relationships — and evangelize the spirit of excavating words and their etymology to get to the “etymon”, the true meaning of the thing, as powerful as that might be. And that’s is it: the true meaning, the heart of a proposition, it’s truth — and that authentic place is where relationships are mobilized and strengthened.

And, in a way, this project that I did for Bloomingdale’s, NYC, in designing and conceiving their 2006 Christmas campaign used the VT modeling in a couple of ways. For one, the opening sketches were radiant, spoked and relational in structure, all global languages for “celebrate”; and two, progressively, they worked to set the framing of the entire theme — language, overlaid on language, in multiple formal patterns, to create a formal visual vocabulary that built out that experience from shopping bags and credit cards, to signing and environments — and gift packaging to complex little dimensional ornaments.


What’s the work? www.girvin.com.
What’s the philosophy? www.tim.girvin.com.

Love what you do!

Tim Girvin | Seattle + NYC

GIRVIN is a brand development and communications group, based in Seattle and NYC, with international liaison, that consults in strategy, story development and visualizations in retail, entertainment, packaged goods and luxury for clients small and large, worldwide. For more than 30 years, it’s been working with clients like Apple, Encyclopedia Britannica, Kerzner, Microsoft, Paramount Studios, Procter & Gamble, Millennium Retailing, MGM MIRAGE, Warner Brothers and Wynn Resorts.

Tim Girvin

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Exploring creative integrations:

Strategy | Story | Name | Message | Identity | Environment | Print | Packaging | Interactive