At agencyEA, our love language is gift giving. So when it comes to the New Year’s gift for our clients, we spare no great idea. This year’s gift was a particularly fun one to dream up and execute — custom-designed Bucketfeet shoes. Bucketfeet is a Chicago-based company that stands for self-expression and artistry — what better way, we thought, to show our appreciation for our clients’ creative partnerships?
The idea for the gift began way back when agencyEA’s Director of Marketing Claire Holland was inspired by the right and left brain and the different types of thinking associated with these hemispheres. The left brain is the home of logic and analysis, while the right brain fosters creativity and intuition. Our agency, she noted, was made up of both right- and left-dominant people. After all, EA is creatively fueled and logistically driven. Why not design shoes that reflected this?
With the idea solidified, EA’s Creative Director Rick Cosgrove, Art Director Paige Pera and Senior Designer Casey Crisenbery took over. First they decided the left shoe’s design would reflect the order of the left brain while the right shoe would express the right brain’s imagination. Paige would design the left and Casey, the right. Their goal was for the designs to be very different but still complementary.
Paige and Casey’s was a true team effort. Together, they decided the color palette and general aesthetic, using bold, gender-neutral colors and drawing inspiration from street artists like Keith Haring and Jon Burgerman. They created mood boards and studied each other’s techniques to ensure consistency. Then they got to designing. Paige worked on a grid and Casey let his inner illustrator take over.
“Creativity is a stream of consciousness,” Casey says. “That’s why all the illustrations on the right shoe are all interwoven.”
Conversely, the left shoe includes numbers, lines and symbols. “There’s a lot of speculation as to why the number seven was included on the left shoe,” Paige says. “Honestly it may have been my subconscious thinking about the year 2017.”
When they finally shared their designs with one another, “we were thrilled with the results,” says Paige. “They both represented each side so well, but blended together perfectly in style and appearance.”
Next it was on to the box. Rick, Paige and Casey reasoned that if the shoes were the brain, the box must be the head.
Inspiration struck when Rick came across a vintage phrenology model head at a thrift store. Phrenology being the outdated and controversial “study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities,” the team didn’t draw inspiration from the psychology of it, but rather from the aesthetic of the model head. It resembled a medical school teaching aid and on it, lines sectioned off the head and were labeled with traits and emotions.
The team decided to take a similarly medical approach to the box and Casey designed it in black and white with the top of the head corresponding to the top of the box, the face corresponding to the front of the box, etc. He then sectioned off the head and added labels.
“We looked at the different zones of the brain and what each controlled and how this corresponded with the idea of the right and left brain,” Rick says. Then they took some creative liberties with the labels, using words specific to EA’s experiential marketing capabilities and approach.
Then it was time to get the whole agency involved. A survey went out to every team member, asking them to answer a few questions determining their right- or left-brain dominance. Each person reported their score and signed their name. Paige then placed their signature where on the brain their score indicated. The result was a visual representation of the varied skillsets and natural abilities of EA’s team. The design was then put on the underside of the box’s lid.
And voilà — a New Year’s client gift! The process of creating it was a fun one, and we hope our clients enjoy the shoes as much as we enjoyed developing them. So, in 2017, whether you’re right or left brained, here’s to imagination and logic, facts and feelings, and of course, fun footwear.