by John Silva
24 people in a room. A hand raises in the corner— “I just want to go on record saying that I think this is going to be a waste of time and money.” Leading the kick-off for the Ventura branding project, I smiled and knew this project was going to be a blast and even more important than before.
Maybe I love a challenge. Maybe I’m a bit competitive. Maybe I’m kinda arrogant— hope not. Maybe I just know the value of a well-fitting brand that is rightly telegraphic of true values and a soul that can stir people.
I do know I felt then and still feel now that the opportunity to re-brand Ventura was a deeply personal thing— I live here, work here, own a home here, raised a family here, intend to stay here— and I’m a designer.
This was a fairly involved program— a little dicey at moments with quite a few vested voices— but the journey led to a solution that was pretty clear and the alignment with our stakeholders was strong. Our DuPuis team, with DVP, VVCB and City partners, first arrived at a distilled understanding of our town’s authentic DNA. It has natural, historical, cultural and very rich human attributes. What stood out though was a duality. A productive tension between two mindsets, that while aspirationally different, are grounded in the same love for this amazing place. One view wants to preserve it for what it’s been. The other wants to develop it for what it can be. Alone, neither are right or wrong.
The final Ventura identity, a rotational ambigram, rightfully embraces both mindsets and literally allows two points of view to come together around the same jewel. People get a casual, fluid and friendly vibe from the identity that stops short of polished. Subconsciously they sense ‘beach’, ‘surf’ and ‘denim’— love that.
Our team never grows tired of seeing it flying, waving, spinning, walking, floating— not because it’s our work but because it’s our town. I haven’t thought of what my portfolio would look like in a long time. But were I to sift through the long string of crazy-great brands I’ve had the joy to work on from local to global, it would be hard to not put our Ventura brand— YOUR Ventura Brand— at the very front. That’s the power of design work that is truly personal.
Oh— that doubtful raised hand from the start of the story— today, a good friend, a wearer of the brand, and dare I say— a believer.