Meet the creative mind behind Vibe’s sweet new branding

Nick Johnson is a Poulsbo-based branding and marketing expert, award-winning designer, 'idea guy' and owner of Cima Creative. 

Nick Johnson is a Poulsbo-based branding and marketing expert, award-winning designer, ‘idea guy’ and owner of Cima Creative

Vibe: How would you describe your approach to design?
NJ: In a word: Immersive. I like to really get to know my clients. I like to know what makes them tick. How they perceive their company, and what they are trying to achieve. I think that you have to know all of this in order to create a visual identity that not only looks ‘kick ass’, but accurately represents the company and correctly positions it within its industry.

Vibe: As a human, as a designer and as an entrepreneur, how does the environment that you’re working in impact you and the work that you do?
NJ: A ton! When I was at a leading firm in Seattle, we had an extremely collaborative environment that was fantastic for bouncing ideas off one another. When I went out on my own and got a private office, I realized how important that aspect is to the creative process. Not having it makes my job much harder than it needs to be.

I’ve always thought of moving to a coworking space for my business. This seemed like a great way to learn more about it.

Vibe: When Vibe Cofounder, Alanna Imbach, first approached you about designing a ‘kick ass’ logo for Vibe Coworks, what was your reaction?
NJ: I liked that fact that she swore in her email. It made her stand out. I mostly work with larger companies, and they tend to be a bit more… reserved. It’s fun to work with a client that you can act a bit more casual with.

Vibe: You’re a busy guy, and are very selective about the clients you take on. Why did you decide that Vibe was a project that you wanted to sink your teeth into?
NJ: A few reasons. My favorite projects are when I get to develop the foundation branding and visual language for a company, which fit this project perfectly. I also immediately felt that Alanna and I would work well together, and that I understood what Vibe was all about. Lastly, I’ve always thought of moving to a coworking space for my business and this seemed like a great way to learn more about it.

Vibe: Talk to us about Vibe’s cool new logo and branding. What was your inspiration? What’s the story? 

NJ: After our kick off meeting I felt that I had a really good sense of the tone and personality of Vibe. Modern, Fresh, Approachable, Professional…

The first thing I did was to research the term ‘Vibration’. I especially liked what I found when looking at mathematical equations and the relationships between displacement, amplitude and time. I next looked into sound waves and ways to visually represent them. Lastly, I played around with creating a logo mark that could also serve as an abstract letter ‘V’ that would work well in social media and other smaller applications where you can’t fit the entire company name.

I think the final logo is a great combination of these three elements, and is right in line with the tone and personality I was trying to hit. I’m also really proud of how the logomark lends itself to some really interesting visual motifs with the organic lines and repeating patterns. I’m excited to see what Vibe does with it.

Vibe: How do you think Vibe will change the world of work for local creatives, entrepreneurs and remote workers in Poulsbo and beyond?
NJ: Finding the right working location. I know this sounds like a plug for Vibe, but it’s true. I am lucky enough not to really worry about getting clients because they seem to come my way. My main issue is that I am a one-person shop with no desire to grow bigger, but I still need an office, and there are very few options that fall within my budget and still have the ‘feel’ I want. Also, I get really tired working by myself, which is probably why I am at coffee shops all the time.

Vibe: What are you passionate about, beyond work?
NJ: My family. I love spending time with my girls (wife and two daughters). Beyond that I daydream about classic cars and motorcycles more than I probably should.

Vibe: What’s the best piece of advice that you have heard and repeat to others? 
NJ: Over deliver. I never want a client / friend / family member to feel like I didn’t do everything I could to help them.

Vibe: What’s your favorite thing about Poulsbo?
NJ: The community. I love that when I walk down the street I know people and that I feel like I am part of the city.

Vibe: In your opinion, what is the future of work?
NJ: I think it will get more and more virtual, but that people will always want a home base. I can do 90% of my job virtually, but I know that I won’t get much done if I work from home. I don’t think I’m alone in this.