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Blank You Very Much is an online platform where brands can further connect with their fans and customers, but also where fans can give back to their brands by submitting designs through BYVM’s design competitions. Launched last year, the platform has already gained a significant following, being sought out from a wide range of brands from apparel and cartoons to soft drinks and more.
Darren Romanelli (a.k.a. Dr. Romanelli), the founder behind the platform, recently sat down to talk about this latest venture and his many projects whose beneficiaries include Brisk, The Clash and at present, HYPEBEAST itself.
Your chance to design a T-shirt for HYPEBEAST ends on December 24, 2013.
What was the reason behind starting Blank You Very Much?
The reason behind starting BYVM was to create an innovative crowd-sourcing platform that StreetVirus (my agency) and myself could curate. I wanted to give designers the opportunity to partake in something special that creates opportunities for their work to be seen and acknowledged by major brands. With the responsibility of hosting contests with incredible brands, BYVM allows designers and brands to interact with each other, creating a community inspired around our agency’s beliefs of building a community in both the physical and digital space.
What has been some of the most interesting things to emerge from this platform?
The organic evolution of our design community since its infancy stage has been most interesting to watch. We’ve spent lots of time curating the digital community to bring it to life and it is most rewarding to see members of our design community being recruited by the brands. BYVM is really starting to come alive, and what first started as a T-shirt design contest has now shifted into a platform that “blanks” just about anything that has a blank canvas such as Burton Snowboards, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. We will soon be launching a surfboard and shoe design contest.
The T-shirt is a pretty democratic platform, how does this further enhance the BYVM initiative?
The T-shirt has a universal language. Since T-shirts are for everyone, we honed in on this element because we wanted everyone around the world to be a part of Blank You Very Much, with the primary purpose of creating a personalized and engaging experience as a community.
What sort of benefits do brands face when allowing their identity to be potentially reappropriated?
Brands usually stay confined to the parameters of their company’s corporate rules. Blank You Very Much gives them the opportunity to break out of the box and gauge the public’s point of view. When a brand is so constricted to the creative resources of their internal team, the outcome is restricted. It is important for brands to stay relevant and BYVM gives them a good opportunity to reinvigorate their brand, by knocking down potentially ancient walls and providing a new perspective on their brand.
What constitutes a timeless iconic logo or design to you?
A timeless, iconic logo is something that has been around for decades, if not generations. The longer a logo is around, the more history it has to tell… just like a good wine or whisky, the older, the better. The marketing and consumer relationship a logo has with its fans is super important, the more consumers engage with it, the greater the opportunity for it to become iconic.
How about a design that was successfully reappropriated or modernized?
We launched an extremely successful iced tea can design contest for BRISK. The art was amazing and Brisk loved the designs so much that they decided to select 4 designs instead of only 1, which will go to retail soon. It’s great to see our community members’ work sitting on store shelves. We are excited to announce a new BRISK program for 2014.
What are some of your favorite designs thus far to come through BYVM?
The Clash was one of the greatest contests thus far, since the band embodies the idea of DIY culture more than any brand we’ve worked with. On top of the high-level of designs, members of the band judged the contest. Other contests that really yielded great results were Burton Snowboards, with the winning designs produced and sold worldwide in select Burton retail outlets and Coca-Cola also did us proud.
To you, how should successful participants tackle these opportunities?
Being creative is such a risk, but designers have to be passionate and confident when submitting. This is a great opportunity for a designer’s voice to be heard through their work.
What upcoming projects are you looking forward to?
I’m very excited about our contest with Channel Islands to design a surfboard for pro-rider Jordy Smith, launching this month. Surf culture is an important part of our daily inspiration and we’re looking forward to see what our amazing community does with a surfboard.